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Broncos busted

It didn’t get any better for Russell in its second varsity volleyball match at Beloit tonight. The Trojans rolled 25-7, 25-11. I had to fuel the car before exiting Beloit, stopped for food in Salina, and then got home at 10:20.

The Broncos will have a week to work out the flaws. A very good Southeast of Saline team comes to Russell next Tuesday.

Long day on the road. I would have gone to Beloit from Kansas City had it not been for Jack and Frank wanting to see me at the office in Russell. Instead, I made the 250-mile drive, then drove 82 miles to Beloit, and then more than that back since I went the long way, taking US 24 east from Beloit to US 81, and then 81 south to I-70 at Salina. i don’t like K-14 because of its narrow and winding nature. US 24 is two-lane, but it’s flat. And 81 is four-lane from Salina well into Nebraska.

I’ve got a lot of writing to do tomorrow for the Russell County News. But I will get some down time before going to Smith Center Thursday.

One down, one to go

The new volleyball season began for Russell and Beloit high schools a little under two hours ago. The Trojans defeated the Broncos 25-13, 25-20, spoiling the debut of new Russell coach Don Fenwick.

I’m now waiting for the second varsity match to begin. In the North Central Activities Association, teams play two varsity matches at the same site on the same day, rather than home-and-home, which is common in leagues where the schools do not have far to travel.

The Mid-Continent League, the league I cover in volleyball for the most part, does not have a mandatory round robin schedule. With the membership of the league in flux in recent years, that hasn’t been possible. The MCL determines its champion by a league tournament in mid-October. Smith Center has won the past two tournaments and 14 overall. Phillipsburg won it six straight between 2006 and 2011.

I just checked the weather for my football game Friday. Does not look good. There’s a chance of rain, and if that happens, the field at Kensington will turn muddy.

I agreed with Jack and Frank this afternoon that I should cover Osborne and Thunder Ridge of Kensington this Friday. Kensington is a tiny hamlet located on US 36 in western Smith County, halfway between Phillipsburg and Smith Center. Thunder Ridge was formed in 2008 after the merger of the school districts of Kensington and Agra, another tiny town in eastern Phillips County.

Thunder Ridge won the 8-man Division II state championship in 2011, finished second in 2012, and went 8-2 a year ago, although the Longhorns were bounced from the playoffs in the first round by Sharon Springs.

Osborne won the 8-man Division I state title last year. The Bulldogs played 11-man from 1966 through 2009, winning a state title in 1983, but mostly falling on hard times since, as their enrollment could not keep up with powerhouses like Smith Center, Norton and Plainville, and later Phillipsburg. Schools in Kansas are allowed to play 8-man if their enrollment in grades 9, 10 and 11 is 100 or fewer in years when the Kansas State High School Activities Association draws up new football districts, which are odd-numbered years for the cycle to begin the following year.

I’ve got a lot of stuff between now and Friday. The second match at Beloit, the drive back to Russell, writing and laying out pages for Russell, volleyball Thursday at Smith Center…it will get interesting.

No time to waste

I’m back in Russell, but only for a few more minutes. I’ve got to get my butt in gear and head to Beloit for the first volleyball matches of 2014 for Russell and Beloit high schools. It will be an 82-mile adventure, since Kansas Highway 14, the road which connects Interstate 70 to Beloit, is two-lane, narrow, winding and hilly. Nice combination. It’s dangerous at night, but it is the worst when it snows and/or is icy, meaning there is very little clear road and the slightest slip can mean big trouble.

The drive back from Kansas City wasn’t fun. For some reason, I have a harder time driving westbound during the day than I do at night. The drive east is relatively easy, since I’m anticipating seeing everyone in Kansas City. But the drive west…blah. Especially the part between Topeka and Salina. Save for Junction City and Abilene, there’s nothing to see.

As bad as the Courtyard near the Kansas City Airport has been for past stays, the Holiday Inn Express near the airport was worse. The Internet did not work, and you had to insert your room key in a slot just to turn the lights on. I understand this idea of conserving energy and going green, but this was a little over the top. The Courtyard Briarcliff, which is the only hotel in Kansas City which is LEED certified, doesn’t even go that far. I seriously doubt this hotel will be on my radar again. I was glad to get out of there. Thank God I had points to make sure I didn’t have to pay a dime for this monstrosity.

Time to head out. Beloit, here I come.