Spring sports begin...
Winter winding down
Rarely is there a more hectic time in the Cowley Athletic Department than right now, when four winter sports are completing their seasons, and seven spring sports are just getting started. But that is the case at Cowley.
Following is a capsule look at the four sports nearing completion and the seven that are getting warmed up.
When this edition went to the printer, the Lady Tigers were battling for their fourth Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division title in the last five years. With a convincing 59-35 victory over previously unbeaten (in conference play) Fort Scott on Feb. 20, and Labette’s two-point win over Fort Scott, Cowley pulled itself into first place with two conference games to play. Cowley, No. 21 in the latest NJCAA poll, was 25-3 overall and 15-1 in the East. It was scheduled to host a first-round game in the Region VI Playoffs on March 4. A victory there sends the Lady Tigers off to Salina and the Region VI Tournament. A win there would earn Cowley its first trip to nationals since 1989.
The Tigers began the season with a 4-9 record, but have steadily climbed the conference ladder and were in second place when this went to press. Cowley was 15-13 overall and 11-5 in the Jayhawk East with two games remaining. Cowley is battling Johnson County for second place in the East. Coffeyville won the league title.
Indoor track and field
The men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams competed Feb. 22-23 at the Region VI Championships at Kansas State University in Manhattan. The women finished a strong second in the Jayhawk East with 133 points, 25 behind Johnson County. The men were fifth with 75 points. In the Region, the women finished ninth with 22.5 points, while the men were 12th with nine points. Four Tigers won Jayhawk East championships: Kevin Mcdougal in the 1,000 meters in 2:35.21; Mathew Ybarra in the long jump at 21 feet, 10 3/4 inches; Chelsea Michael in the 20-pound weight throw with a toss of 40 feet, 11 3/4 inches; and Sarah Helton in the triple jump with a leap of 28 feet, 6 1/4 inches.
National qualifiers for the NJCAA Indoor National Championships: Marcello Dunning in the 600- and 800-meter runs; Brian Duran in the pentathlon; Michael in the shot put; Shausha Lee in the 20-pound weight throw; Dijana Kojic in the 400-meter run; and Mcdougal in the 800-meter run as the at-large qualifier.
The seven-time defending Jayhawk East champion Tigers are off to their usual slow start. Coach Dave Burroughs doesn’t believe in scheduling cupcakes, and he means it. Cowley’s schedule includes six teams that were either preseason ranked nationally or received votes. The Tigers opened the season to clear skies and warm temperatures Feb. 16 against preseason No. 7 Iowa Western. Cowley won that game 13-4. The Tigers dropped a 10-8 decision to Crowder College of Missouri the next day. Preseason No. 11 Connors State of Oklahoma was next up for Cowley, and Connors won that game 15-14. “These first 15 games or so we’ll be trying to find a lineup that works,” said Burroughs, in his 15th season. “We’ve already discovered some position changes we’re going to make.”
Coach Ed Hargrove is beginning his 18th season with the Tigers. Although this year’s team is dominated by freshmen, Hargrove is optimistic. “Offensively, I honestly think it will be the best hitting team we’ve had from top to bottom,” Hargrove said. “This year, our seven, eight, and nine hitters could hit four, five, or six on other teams.” Cowley qualified for the national tournament last spring for the first time since 1986. The Lady Tigers finished the season with a 42-6 record, including a school-record 30-game winning streak. Hargrove will be joined by former Cowley All-American Sandy Erickson. The Clay Center, Kan., native played for the Lady Tigers in 1998 and 1999. Cowley was 5-5 through its first 10 games. That included a tough 3-5 record at the Cowtown Classic in Fort Worth, Texas, where it played several ranked teams.
Coach Larry Grose is beginning his 15th season with the Tigers, and has several new faces on this year’s team. They are Dean Clower of Broken Arrow, Okla.; Josh Cobble of Duncan, Okla.; Mike Cork of Goddard, Kan.; Tim Frick of Shawnee, Okla.; Derek Kellermann of The Netherlands; Sean Margulis of Henderson, Nev.; Ignacio Melus of Chile; and Aaron Paajanen of Phoenix, Ariz. Only three players are returning from last year’s team. They are Erick Green of DeSoto, Kan.; Kyle Miller of Winfield, Kan.; and Nick Wessling of Winfield, Kan.
Coach Andre Spence has four returning players, including defending Region VI No. 1 singles player Donata Majauskaite of Lithuania. Other returning sophomores are Amy Stredney of Abilene, Kan.; Jennifer Hocker of Arkansas City, Kan.; and Angela Platt of Arkansas City, Kan. Newcomers are Mandy Abplanalp of Arkansas City; Hatti Pringle of Wichita, Kan.; Suzanne Fry of Arkansas City; and Amber-Dawn Curtis of Winfield, Kan.
Coach Rex Soule and his six golfers enter the spring portion of their season in seventh place in the conference standings. Nathan Coats, a freshman from Ponca City, Okla., is in ninth place in the conference after the fall competition. Louie Girardi, another freshman from Ponca City, is tied for 11th place, while Chris King, a sophomore from Winfield, is tied for 20th place in the conference. Other players on the Tiger roster are Jesse Martin, a sophomore from Wichita; Sean Roark, a sophomore from Wichita; and Jeff Lunsford, a freshman from Medicine Lodge, Kan.