Fall Sports Wrap up their
Volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, and golf all wrapped up their fall seasons during the first semester. Golf, however, will continue play in spring 2003. Following is a capsule look at each.
Joanna Howell’s Lady Tiger volleyball team reached the 30-victory mark, the first time that had been done since Deb Nittler’s 1997 squad went 39-22-1. Also, Cowley finished second in the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division with an 8-1 record, one of the highest finishes in the conference in recent memory. “We had a great season,” Howell said. “And we have a lot to build on. I’m looking forward to the future. All of our freshmen are coming back, and it’s an awesome group. They’ll bring us a lot of experience. In pressure situations, when it comes down to winning the conference or beating a good team, we’ll have the girls to do it.”
Cowley ended its season Nov. 9-10 in Hutchinson at the Region VI Tournament. Seward defeated the Lady Tigers 21-30, 22-30, 30-27, 20-30. It was only the ninth match all season in which Seward lost a game. Cowley then came back and lost to Garden City 23-30, 21-30, 30-28, 20-30. “We were down 10 points and trailed two games to none,” Howell said of her team’s match against Seward. “We were down 24-14 in the third game and we scored seven straight points. Then we trailed 26-23 and scored five straight points.” Setter Tessa AraSmith lobbed a set to an open corner to give Cowley the game.
Four Lady Tigers earned All-Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division honors. Heather Grubbs and Lynsey MacInnis were named to the first team, while Natalie Wheaton and Karissa Thomas earned second-team honors. Grubbs, MacInnis, and Thomas also were named to the Second-Team All-District M team.
Casey Belknap’s cross country teams may just be 2 years old, but they competed like seasoned veterans this year. Sophomore Kevin McDougal became an All-American, finishing seventh overall, leading the men’s team to a sixth-place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association championships Nov. 9 at South Plains Community College in Levelland, Texas. McDougal, from Kearney, Mo., was the fourth American to finish the 8-kilometer race. His time was 27 minutes, 49 seconds on a flat course made much more difficult by a 40-mile-per-hour wind.
The Lady Tigers also cracked the top 10 as a team, finishing ninth. Belknap was pleased with the outcome. McDougal, the Tigers’ No. 1 runner all season, broke away from his pack with about a mile-and-a-half to go to secure his seventh-place finish. He was 34th at nationals as a freshman. Although the women earned a top-10 finish, Belknap said it was not their lucky day. Dijana Kojic didn’t feel well and finished 32nd in 20:40.8 over the 5-kilometer course. Chelsey Hanzlick had a personal best time of 20:46.9 to finish 35th. What makes Hanzlick’s performance even more impressive is the fact that her father died just a week ago. But the story at nationals was Ruth Kinyanjui, one of Cowley’s top two runners all season. Kinyanjui was in seventh place with 3/4 of a mile to go, got tripped up, and fell hard. Belknap said she could barely finish the race. He estimated she was at 30-percent speed to finish in 55th place in 21:59.7.
On Oct. 28, in Overland Park, the women took first place and the men second in the Jayhawk East, improving their positions from 2001 when both finished third. McDougal emerged as conference champion, defeating all other Jayhawk East runners with a time of 26 minutes, 24 seconds over the 8-kilometer course. Jayhawk West schools also ran, turning it into a Region VI meet as well.
Cowley’s women finished second in the region, while the men were third. McDougal earned All-Jayhawk East and All-Region VI honors, while Jake Conley finished fourth in the conference with a time of 27:21 to also earn all-conference honors. For the women, Kinyanjui (third in the East in 19:51), Kojic (fourth in the East in 19:57), Jonelle Contreras (sixth in the East in 20:54), and Hanzlick (seventh in the East in 21:11) all earned All-Jayhawk Conference honors. Kinyanjui, Kojic, and Contreras were named All-Region VI.
Rex Soule’s Tiger golfers competed in six events this fall, including three Jayhawk Conference tournaments. Entering next spring, Cowley is in seventh place as a team with a 652.3 team average through three conference tournaments. Team scores are based on 36-hole tournaments. In the individual conference standings, Cowley sophomore Louie Girardi is tied for 10th place with 7 1/2 points and a 78.8 scoring average per round.