Volleyball for two
I wasn’t in the mood to do anything last night. Then again, that wasn’t the worst thing, since I have to be on my way to Smith Center by 12:15 for the first day of the Mid-Continent League volleyball tournament.
This my 10th MCL volleyball tournament. The first was at Smith Center in 2005. I remember leaving at 6 a.m. and going up there mostly in the dark. I had not yet been to Smith Center for an event; my first event involving the school was a football game at Phillipsburg three weeks prior.
It was my first trip on US 281 north of Osborne, and I recall the strange ride north. I was also scared to death of striking another deer, since I had acquired my Pontiac Grand Prix only nine days earlier, two days after I struck a deer on US 183 north of Hays and totaled my Oldsmobile 88.
There were nine teams in the league in 2005, since Victoria exited the MCL following the 2004-05 school year. The first match of the morning was a play-in match between Stockton and Plainville, which the Tigers won. Phillipsburg, Norton, Trego and Stockton played in the pool at the elementary school, while Smith Center, Osborne, Hill City and Ellis played at the high school.
I bounced back and forth between gyms, but I spent more time at the elementary school, since Phillipsburg played Osborne there in the semifinals. I moved back to the high school for the final between Phillipsburg and Smith Center. The Panthers were heavy favorites, but the Lady Red, who entered the tournament below .500, won the match in three sets.
Hill City went 0-3 in that tournament, but the Ringnecks got it together the next week at sub-state to punch a ticket to the Class 2A state tournament. Phillipsburg hosted a sub-state in 3A, but lost to Oberlin in the semifinals. Smith Center was one-and-done in its sub-state at Stockton.
MCL volleyball is one event I have not missed during my time in Kansas. The other is the MCL track and field meet. I missed the 2011 MCL wrestling tournament, the last year before the MCL and Northwest Kansas League got together to host the Western Kansas Tournament of Champions.
The second day of the volleyball tournament starts Saturday at 9 a.m. In between I’ll have plenty of time to do laundry tomorrow and then make the half-mile drive to Russell High for the Broncos’ game vs. Norton.