Category Archives: Russell HS

Good day to escape Russell

Russell High School is celebrating homecoming today.

Oh boy.

This seems like a great day to get out of dodge, and I am.

Kansas City, here I come.

I have never cared for homecoming in a small town, and I never will.

The first big event is the parade through downtown starting at 2:30.

Parade? I saw too many of them growing up in New Orleans. If you’ve seen Rex once, you’ve seen it plenty. If you’ve seen Endymion once, you’re set for life. If you’ve seen Bacchus once, I question your sanity. I should have stopped going to parades many years before I actually did. I only went to Thoth in 1993 and ’94 because I knew plenty of krewe members. And Thoth takes a unique route, so standing on the corner of Henry Clay and Tchoupitoulas was worth it, compared to some place on St. Charles Avenue.

The homecoming court is presented BEFORE the game, unlike most schools in Louisiana, which do so at halftime.

To me, that’s a very bad way to do it. It forces both teams to warm up on the practice field to the north of the stadium, and at Russell, that is an especially bad deal. Russell has artificial turf, and most teams which visit Shaffer Field are not used to playing on it.

I can’t understand for the life of me why Russell and other schools around here can’t present the court at halftime and extend the intermission by five minutes. It wouldn’t inconvenience anyone.

Smith Center has a better plan. It names the king and queen at a school ceremony in the afternoon, and simply presents the court before the game after both teams are done warming up. The court walks along the sideline and doesn’t get in the way. Problem solved.

I believe Russell has too many people on its homecoming court. Does it really need eight “attendants”?

When I covered high school football in Louisiana, I was not a big fan of homecoming games. Halftime in those cases was 25 minutes instead of 15, and it sometimes pushed me pretty close to my deadline.

One time, I covered a homecoming game at West Feliciana which was played in a driving rainstorm, and halftime lasted 35 minutes. Worse, there was no phone line, so I had to dictate my story. The bad night culminated having to drive down narrow US 61. I nearly spun out at Thompson Creek. Today that isn’t a problem, as 61 is four-laned to Natchez.

I thought about going to Russell’s game this evening vs. Republic County, but I’ll pass. Today is such a nice day I might as well make the four-hour trip east on I-70. It will allow me to get a good amount of sleep for tomorrow, since I’m planning to be there at opening. LSU isn’t playing, but the Kansas Jayhawks are. Good for some laughs.

Week of weird

It has been one of those weeks. Nothing bad, just some unusual happenings.

I’m leaving my house in half an hour to go to Russell High School for the Russell Relays track and field meet, which gets underway at 3 p.m. The intense severe weather is not forecast to arrive until tomorrow, but Russell High is not taking any chances, opting to cancel preliminary heats in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and high hurdles, and scrub finals for five of the seven field events in order to move the meet along. This will be the last meet on the current track at Russell’s Shaffer Field; a new eight-lane track will be ready for 2016.

Tomorrow is supposed to be really nasty. Russell is on the eastern edge for a moderate risk of strong tornadoes. And I’m alone.

Yesterday was another one of those days. It started off innocently enough, with my 9 a.m. appointment in Hays with Crista Geyer. There were some painful things I brought up with her, but otherwise, it was another very productive session.

I dozed off and almost missed the 1 p.m. start time for Victoria’s track and field meet. I got there right at the starting time, and I stayed for two and a half hours. I had to run to Hays really quick after, then made the trip back to Russell for the Broncos’ baseball and softball games vs. Southeast of Saline. I started at softball, then left after the fourth for baseball.

The rain arrived at 5:40, just as the first game of the baseball doubleheader ended. It was a bad day for the hometown team; softball lost 13-2 in five innings, and baseball fell 2-1.

The second game of the softball doubleheader was canceled and will not be made up. Southeast wrapped up the North Central Activities Association championship in game one. The Trojans will likely have a bye in the first round of the Class 3A regional hosted by Beloit May 18-19. Russell is in that regional and likely will be seeded sixth or seventh (last).

The second game of the baseball doubleheader has to be played. Russell/Victoria can win the NCAA championship outright with a win, or Southeast can force a tie if it wins. That game will begin at 4:30 this afternoon. Russell/Victoria wanted to play the game later, but Southeast said no. The Trojans aren’t used to night games, since their field in Gypsum lacks lights.

My parents departed for New Orleans and their 10-day visit Wednesday morning just after 6. I got up way too early to see them off, and I paid the price. I dozed off three times in my office chair while I was working on articles for this week’s Russell County News. At 1:30, Elaine Mercer had to send me a Facebook message to get on the ball. I did. Thankfully she got on me about it.

I stayed up way too late watching Shark Tank reruns which I recorded. I almost missed my appointment with Crista. By time I woke up, it was 8:07. Fortunately for me, I can get ready quickly, and I will admit I took liberties with the speed limit. I made it from my garage door to the parking lot at High Plains Mental Health in 27 minutes.

Tuesday I was speeding along I-70 from the opposite direction. Elaine wanted me to go out to the Russell baseball and softball games vs. Beloit. Problem was, I was in Kansas City, and I was trying to wrap up my work for the week. I had so much track agate typing to do it ate up the clock. I didn’t leave the Courtyard on Tiffany Springs until 1:30, and even then, I had to go to the Chick-Fil-A on Barry Road just east of I-29 to use their Wi-Fi and get everything done. I didn’t leave Kansas City until 3:15, after I fueled the car and got snacks at the QuikTrip on Barry Road near Zona Rosa.

I only stopped for a frappucino at Starbucks in Junction City. I got back to Russell just after 6:30, and when I tuned in to the radio broadcast of the softball game, it was the bottom of the sixth of the second game. Even though the game was tied, it appeared the umpires were going to end the game after six innings and declare a tie if neither team scored. Sure enough, neither Beloit nor Russell scored.

However, the coaches prevailed upon the umpires to play the seventh. Good thing for me, because I got there just in time to take a few pictures in the bottom of the seventh. Better thing for Russell, which scored to win 4-3 and end an 11-game losing streak.

I went over to baseball and took some pictures, but due to the overcast and light rain falling, I had little to no light. I got what I could and went home.

Now I have to pray the house and I stay upright tomorrow. The weather looks much better starting Sunday.

Did it rain last night?

Just before 10 a.m. this Saturday morning, the sun is out. You never would have dreamed Russell County experienced severe thunderstorms only 16 hours ago.

Going back to yesterday and the early termination of the track meets at Osborne and Phillipsburg, I can remember a few other meets which were affected by rain:

  • 2006 at Norton–the Bluejays were unlucky that year. The meet was called off on its original date, April 7, due to cold and rain. Believe me, it would have been a miserable day for all. The new date, April 25, also found it cold and wet, so the meet was completely canceled.
  • 2006 at Hill City–the meet got underway at 4 p.m. (way too late) as scheduled. Two hours later, severe weather moved in and forced the meet to be called. I drove as fast as I could down US 283 to I-70 at WaKeeney to beat the heavy rain, which I did. The meet resumed the next day, although I did not attend.
  • 2007 Russell Invitational–meet originally scheduled for April 5, but rained out. Held April 16. Russell has two meets each year, the Russell Invitational in April and the Russell Relays in May.
  • 2007 at Norton–meet rained out on original date, April 6. Rescheduled and conducted April 23.
  • 2007 state meet–Saturday’s action was interrupted by over three hours due to heavy rain. I later learned the Kansas State High School Activities Association was very close to calling the meet and sending everyone home. The rain ended just in the nick of time, and the meet lasted until 10:30 that evening. That was the first year the 3,200 meter races were moved from Saturday to Friday, or else it would have been closer to midnight before everyone left Cessna Stadium.
  • 2013 at Smith Center–Redmen Relays scheduled for April 9, but called due to snow. Held April 12 with different field.
  • 2013 MCL at Hill City–several events conducted in the rain. Cold front came through with the rain, and thank God I had warm clothes and my parka to put on.

Yesterday marked six years to the day of a memorable event for me at Osborne.

I found a $50 bill laying on the ground near a gate which led from the bleachers to the track and football field. I did not think twice about bringing the cash to the press box so its owner could be located. Public address announcer Rex Johnston at first only announced he had a Federal Reserve Note to be claimed; not mentioning whose picture was on the bill, or of course the denomination.

Eventually, the unfortunate lady and her money were reunited, and I received $5 for finding her greenback.

If it had been a $1 bill, maybe I pocket it. But $50? I could not in good conscience pocket that much.

It turns out rain was not limited to Kansas.

The Royals-White Sox game in Chicago was suspended in the 9th inning with the score tied 2-2. The game will resume at 1:10 this afternoon, followed by the regularly scheduled game. However, more rain is forecast. If the teams are unable to play, the suspended game will be finished tomorrow, and today’s game gets made up on one of Kansas City’s other trips to the South Side.

It wasn’t until 2007 when Major League Baseball regular season games could be supsended. However, this provision only applies when five or more innings are completed and the game is tied. If the game is not tied after five, the game is over. If the game hasn’t reached five, it is scrubbed and starts over. In the postseason, the game is suspended, no matter the score and inning, and nine innings must be completed.

The Royals have the best record in the American League, 12-4, one-half game in the win column behind the Mets, who saw their 11-game winning streak end last night at Yankee Stadium. The worst team in MLB? The Brewers. 3-14. Lovely.

Trojans rock Russell 

The chalk has held in the girls portion of the Class 3A sub-state at Beloit. The top seeded Trojans completed the three-game sweep of Russell this season with a 67-51 decision.

Beloit trasiled only once, 3-2. The Trojans built their lead to 32-17 at hafltime with a 16-1 run over the final 4:25 of the second quarter. 

Russell got as close as four with 1:19 to go in the third, but trailed by seven to start the fourth and was never closer than eight down the stretch. 

The Broncos’ season ends 11-11, their first non-winning season since 2009-10, Frank Schulte’s first as coach. 

Beloit is 19-3 and takes on 15-7 Minneapolis for the sub-state title Saturday at 6 p.m. The Lions, who defeated Phillipsburg 48-34 in the first game, lost both matchups with the North Central Activties Association champion Trojans during the regular season.

Time to go back to Russell. I’m heading west tomorrow. Just don’t know where. 

Lions roar into final

Phillipsburg’s girls are done, losing 58-44 to Minneapolis in the first game of the sub-state doubleheader in Beloit. 

The Lions took control with a 9-0 run int he second quarter which turned a 15-12 deficit into a 21-15 lead. Minneapolis expanded its margin to 29-19 at halftime, as Kynedi Allison and Lindsay Shupe each hit threes. 

Phillipsburg was down seven following Mindy Gower’s 3-point play with 5:26 left in the third, but it would get outscored 13-3 the rest of the period. 

THe Pnathers were never closer than nine in the fourth quater, and that wasn’t until 1:36 remained. Tatum Bartels, Phillipsburg’s 5-foot-10 sophomore, fouled out 19 seconds later. 

Next up is Russell vs. Beloit. The Trojans are going for a three-game season sweep of the Broncos. Regardless of who wins, it will be an all-North Central Activities Association girls final Saturday at 6 p.m. 

Third night, third site

Back to basketball after a reprieve Wednesday. Tonight’s journey is to a familiar location, Beloit, for a girls doubleheader, Phillipsburg vs. Minneapolis and Russell vs. Beloit.

Tuesday’s trip to Scott City was great, except for the game itself. Sean Spoonts and I had a great ride down. He was all excited about the different types of animal meat the truck stop in Oakley sold. I found a new auxiliary audio cable for my iPhone which works perfectly, unlike the piece of crap Best Buy sold me last month. Sean and I were able to jam to songs on my iPhone from Oakley to Scott City and then all the way back home after the game. 

Scott City jumped all over outmanned Russell, leading 25-0 and going on to win 81-29. Many have called the Beavers the best high school boys basketball team in Kansas, regardless of classification, and it may be true. Glenn O’Neil, who also coaches the Beavers’ powerhouse football team, has a group of interchangebale parts which are all athletic, great jumpers, accurate shooters and prolific passers. The coach’s son, Trey O’Neil, scored 26. 

Scott City is the home of Wichita State’s All-Missouri Valley Conference guard, Ron Baker. Ron’s brother, Sloan, is a starter for this year’s Scott City squad. Sloan probably won’t start for a Division I power like Ron, but he will make a program very happy with his presence. 

Sean and I got home from Scott City right at 10 p.m. I got a few hours of sleep, then woke up early to get my work for the Russell County News done before my 8 a.m. appointment with Crista Geyer in Hays. We started a few minuets late since Crista was returning calls and e-mails from Tuesday when she wasn’t in the office, but now that I’m doing far better than I was on my first two visits, the missed time was not a big deal. 

I got out of Russell at 2:15 this afternoon after getting my hair cut. Got to Beloit just before 5, since I took the long way through Salina to make a couple of stops. I’m going back through Salina on the way home, so I probably won’t see Russell until 11:30. I’m going in the opposite direction tomorrow, either to Hill CIty or Quinter in all likelihood. 

I have got to get to Kansas City. Liz’s situation with her mom still in the hospital has me really worried. 

Russell goes on, Norton goes home

It wasn’t much of a matchup in the Amos Morris Gymnasium this evening. The Russell Lady Broncos never trailed Norton, building a 15-2 lead through the first six minutes and coasting to a 44-29 victory.

Russel (11-10 gets a third shot at Beloit (18-3) in the semifinals Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on the Trojans’ home floor. Beloit won the two regular season meetings, 53-47 at Russell Jan. 9 and 73-54 at Beloit Feb. 13. This will be the first postseason game between the North Central Activities Association foes since 2003.

The Bluejays (10-12) got as close as six late in the third quarter, but the Broncos quickly responded and extended their lead back to double figures.

The Broncos will have trouble getting past Beloit. Not only did the Trojans sweep the regular season series, but Russell is 1-9 this season vs. teams with winning records. The lone win was over Class 1A LaCrosse in the semifinals of the Hoisington Winter Jam Jan. 23. The Broncos were also 0-2 vs. Ellinwood, Minneapolis and Southeast of Saline, and lost to Central Plains in the championship of the Amos Morris/George Stephens Classic.

It looks like Phillipsburg will be half the matchup in the other semifinal at Beloit. The Panthers lead Hoisington 36-24 after three. The opponent will likely be Minneapolis, which is going for the three-game sweep of Ellsworth.

Marching in to the new month

The 2014-15 wrestling season, at least for Kansas high schools, ended a little after 7 p.m. Saturday. Norton ended up on top again of the Class 3-2-1A statndings, overtaking Hoisington in the consolation semifinals. The championship is the Bluejays’ third in a row, fifth in the last six years, and eighth since 2004 under Bill Johnson. Norton has won 14 championships all-time, the first six between 1959 and 1973 under Hall of Fame coach Jake Durham, the namesake of Norton’s tournament.

The Mid-Continent League produced only one champion, Smith Center’s David Hileman at 126 pounds. Hileman trailed most of his bout vs. Wabaunsee’s Riley Tubbs, but with under a minute to go, he reversed Tubbs to narrow the gap to 8-7, and he scored a three-point near fall. That would have been enough to win the bout, save for a reversal by Tubbs, but Hileman got the shoulders down enough to earn the fall with 40 seconds left. Hileman is Smith Center’s first state champion in four years, and seventh since 2006 under Brock Hutchinson.

The MCL has not exited a state tournament without an individual champion since 1977, the year before Norton and Smith Center joined the league. The Redmen and Bluejays have won team championships during that time as well, as have Phillipsburg, Plainville and Stockton.

This year’s tournament was free of trouble. And for once, it started and ended on time. I was very relieved to leave Gross Memorial Coliseum, but this time, I could look back and say there weren’t problems like in past years.

I spent Sunday being lazy. And there was no afternoon nap, even though my mother cooked lasagna. Usually her Italian food, while delicious, puts me to sleep. Not yesterday for some reason.

It’s now time for sub-state basketball. First up is Russell’s girls game at home vs. Norton at 6 p.m. This is the first time in 12 years Norton will play a basketball game in the Amos Morris Gymnasium. The last time, the Lady Broncos defeated the Bluejays in 2003. I’ve got a lot of friends from Norton coming down. For once, they’re making the 117-mile drive, not me.

Tomorrow I’m riding to Scott City with Russell athletic director Sean Spoonts. The game is at 6, so I should be home by 10:30, which should give me time to get some work done and be on time for my appointment in Hays Wednesday at 8 a.m. with Crista Geyer. That will be fun.

After Wednesday, it’s up in the air. Depends on who’s left as to where I go Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Home ahead of schedule

I have returned to Russell a little earlier than expected. With the forecast looking iffy tonight and tomorrow, I figured it was time to get out of Norton. Not because I was upset with anyone, but to just get home safely, and save a night’s hotel bill.

I left Norton just before 11, and the drive south on 283 and east on I-70 was uneventful. I arrived at Russell High a few minutes ago, and we are now in a break before the consolation semifinals, the most important round of the tournament. The winners of these matches go to the state tournament, the losers go home.

The other good thing about getting home ahead of the snow: my mother is cooking a pork loin roast tomorrow for lunch. Beats the alternative.

No thrills Tuesday

The outcomes from Sacred Heart were not surprising. The drama was sucked out of both games right from the start.

Russell’s girls led 22-0 in the first quarter. It got a little sloppy in the second, but Sacred Heart could not take advantage, and the Broncos led by 18 at halftime.

Kyleigh Kasper, Russell’s 6-foot junior, hit just about everything she put up. She was deadly accurate from anywhere closer than 16 feet. If the Broncos had to rely only upon her scoring, they still would have won, for Sacred Heart wasn’t going to threaten.

The final was 55-22. Most of the fourth quarter was played with a running clock, which occurs when one team gains a lead of 30 points.

I didn’t expect there to be much suspense in the boys game.

There wasn’t.

Sacred Heart led 13-0 early. Russell was down 17-2 at the end of the first quarter, and it could have been worse had the Knights not missed several open layups.

Russell began to hit a few shots late in the first half and went to the locker room trailing 34-15, but sooner or later, the Knights figured to expand their lead.

With 6:40 to go, Sacred Heart went up 53-23, and the clock was on the run. It ended 61-34.

I have witnessed six basketball games so far this month. No contest has been closer than 18 points, and three have gone to the running clock.

The running clocks and the relative lack of fouls ensured the night would not drag on. Indeed, I got out of the school at 8:45, and by 8:58, I was at Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m glad I came, because Krystine is here, and so is Kendall, my favorite waitress. She hasn’t reached the Brittany-Liz-Lisa exosphere, but she’ll get there one day.

I’m going to stay until at least 10, maybe a little longer. Of course, closing here is an hour earlier than in Kansas City, so the absolute latest I would make it back to the Courtyard would be 12:10, provided I don’t stop–highly unlikely at that hour.