Back in Norton

Yes, Virginia, there is a sun! The bright orange ball made its appearance just about the time I pulled into Hays for stops at Dillon’s, Walgreens and Freddy’s for lunch. I believe the last time wore my Oakleys was on the trip back from Osborne from the wrestling tournament 13 days ago.

There was nary a cloud in the sky as I headed west on I-70 from Hays to WaKeeney, where I exited the interstate for the always intriguing ride north on US 283. I passed Trego Community High School, but the fact I wouldn’t be covering the Mid-Continent League round robin wrestling tournament didn’t really bother me. I knew I had things to do and people to see tonight which would completely take my mind off of any negativity.

Sadly, a Graham County EMS ambulance sped south on 283 as I reached the Hill City city limits. That’s never a good sign.

I pulled into Norton just after 2, and checked in at the Sleep Inn. Everything looks great. I enjoyed a good nap.

Peggy Cox messaged me on Facebook with some more good news. She and I were supposed to have dinner at Los Canteras Mexican restaurant before the games, but it turns out it will be a party of three.

Hayli Bozarth, a former state champion shot putter and discus thrower for Norton who went on to compete at Iowa State and Boise State, returned to Norton earlier than expected, so she’s joining us. Hayli was one of the first athletes I covered for all four years of her high school career, and she has always been one of my favorite people. She is beyond friendly, always smiling, but always ready to compete, thanks to an impressive work ethic that most people can only dream of.

Hayli also played volleyball and basketball at Norton. Peggy was Hayli’s volleyball coach for her junior and senior season, and when Hayli was a junior, the Bluejays made it to the Class 3A state tournament after pulling off a Cinderella run during sub-state. Norton came into the tournament seeded seventh out of eight schools with a 10-20 record through the MCL tournament, but they knocked off Lakin, Cimarron and Phillipsburg. Norton was spiked hard at the state tournament, but that sub-state run has stuck with me for seven years as one of the great stories I’ve covered.

This is the first of at least two, maybe three, stays I’ll have in Norton this winter. I’m sure I will be here for the Class 3-2-1A wrestling regional in February, and I’m considering coming up for the Jake Durham Invitational tournament in January.

I’m going to have to go back to Russell tomorrow. I’ve got things to pick up at my office and at home. But first, there’s food and basketball on the docket.

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on December 19, 2014, in Norton HS. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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