Thomas More Prep and Lakin easily won their quarterfinal matches of the volleyball sub-state at Lakin.
The Monarchs improved to 36-2 by spiking Southwestern Heights 25-10, 25-7; and the host Broncs (32-7) rolled over Hi-Plains League rival Syracuse 25-8, 25-10.
Next up is #4 Hugoton (16-20) vs. #5 Cimarron (15-19) on the West court, and #3 Norton (22-13) vs. #6 Hoisington (8-25) on the East court.
TMP gets the Hugoton-Cimarron winner in the semis, and Lakin plays the Norton-Hoisington winner.
Norton has won just one sub-state match since making it to the 2007 state tournament. That was two years ago at Scott City, when the Bluejays won in the first round over Southwestern Heights before losing to Lakin in the semis.
This is the first match Norton is the higher seeded team in sub-state since 2005, when Chelsea Cox was a senior. How time flies.
I spent much of yesterday feeling very guilty.
The first thing Crista told me when we started our session was that she saw Norton play Smith Center in the third place match of the Mid-Continent League volleyball tournament last Saturday. If you recall, I did not go to the MCL tournament the second day, although I did go the first, which coincided with my birthday.
I wish I had been there Saturday. I would have loved to introduce Crista to Peggy and Caitlyn. Now I feel terrible about not going.
I was pretty certain I was going to Norton’s sub-state in Lakin tomorrow, but when Crista told me that, it cemented it.
To that end, I’m now in Garden City, 30 miles east of Lakin on US 50. It was a three-hour drive from Russell, I-70 to Oakley and US 83 down. The TownePlace Suites, where I’ve stayed before, is on K-156, the road which heads towards Jetmore, Larned and Great Bend. I could have saved a few miles if I had taken US 281 from Russell to Great Bend, then K-156 all the way down, but I figured the way I went saved some time.
I passed a tanker about a mile south of Oakley on 83. He was throwing rocks. IDIOT. Every time I then dropped to 65, he would tailgate me. I was ready to call the Kansas Highway Patrol and report him, but after crossing into Scott County, he disappeared from my rear view mirror.
Lucky I passed through Scott City. I had something I forgot to mail in Russell. Better I drop it off than keep carrying it in my car, although it wasn’t super important.
Norton plays Hoisington tomorrow following the completion of the match between Lakin and Syracuse, which begins at 2 p.m. on the east court.
TMP, which is 34-2 and the top seed, plays on the West court at 2 vs. Southwestern Heights. The second match on the West court is Hugoton vs. Cimarron.
The TMP-Southwestern Heights and Hugoton-Cimarron winners play on the West court in one semifinal, while the Norton-Hoisington and Lakin-Syracuse winners play on the East court in the semis. The championship is on the West court.
The winner advances to the Class 3A state tournament next Friday and Saturday at Emporia.
Norton hasn’t been to a state tournament since 2007, when Caitlyn’s sister, Courtney (Otto), was a senior. The Bluejays were 10-20 heading into sub-state, but beat Lakin, Cimarron and Phillipsburg to advance. The state tournament wasn’t so good, with Norton going 0-3, but it was remarkable to make it.
The 22-13 record Norton carries into sub-state is the best for the school since 2005, when Caitlyn’s OTHER sister, Chelsea (Funk), was a senior. Norton has generally had great success in all other sports, winning state championships in both boys and girls track in the years I’ve been here, in addition to seven wrestling championships in 11 seasons, but volleyball somehow has been left behind.
It could be much worse. Some schools have very little athletic success. Like one I’m very familiar with.
The next time Norton has an event in Hays isn’t until Feb. 3, when the Bluejays play basketball at TMP. I will remind Crista many times. .
I’m going to find a place to play Buzztime this evening. Either I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings, which recently opened, or Old Chicago. Those are the only locales in Garden City, but hey, it’s better than Hays, where the only place you can play now is the Fort Hays Student Union, and I’m sure they hate non-students going in there. Therefore, the closest place to Russell to play is Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina.
Maybe it’s a good thing there isn’t a Buzztime location in Hays. I might spend too much time there and stay too late, which would disrupt my sleep patterns. It’s just too bad the best games are at night, which force me to drive I-70 between Salina and Russell at night. It’s a boring stretch any time, but it’s dangerous at night.
I’ve learned to cut myself off in Kansas City. Never later than 10, usually earlier. And staying very close to Zona Rosa helps.
I have a stop to make at Dillon’s to buy Caitlyn’s teammates some Gatorade for tomorrow. High is supposed to be around 27 Celsius (81 Fahrenheit), which is absolutely absurd for October 22. They’ll need hydration, even though Lakin’s gym is air conditioned. I already bought Caitlyn’s grape Gatorade in Oakley when I stopped for gas and to use the restroom.
I’m hoping I’m not back in Garden City too early tomorrow evening. Bad news if I am.
My day at Scott City is going to end a little earlier, but way too late still.
Phillipsburg could not complete the deal after taking the first set from Hoisington. The Cardinals rallied to win the final two sets and the match 19-25, 26-24,
It will be Lakin and Hoisington for the championship. The Panthers’ season ends at 19-18.
The Mid-Continent League will be represented by two teams at state tournaments, league champion TMP-Marian in Class 4A-Division II at Salina and Smith Center in Class 2A at Emporia.
I’m heading for Garden City. Maybe I’ll be in a better mood. Probably not. Especially if the Royals take the lead.
The quarterfinals are in the books at Scott City. Phillipsburg ousted Cimarron 25-16, 25-17 to clinch the final spot in the semifinals vs. Hoisington. The first semi between Lakin and Norton is going on right now.
If I get out of here early, it will only be because Phillipsburg loses to Hoisington. I’m not counting on that happening, so I’m here until the end. If I’m going to be here until the end, Phillipsburg had better win.
That wasn’t the case the last time I was in Scott City for sub-state volleyball. In 2006, the Panthers made it to the final, but ran into an Oberlin buzzsaw which featured Miki Dorshorst, who went on to play at Wyoming. I remember not checking into the hotel at Garden City until after 10, which may be the case again tonight.
It looks like I’m going to have an early Friday morning at Emporia on the docket. Smith Center won the first set over Ness City 25-20. If the Lady Red wins one of the next two, they’re back in the state tournament.
I have arrived at Scott City, a little later than I would have liked, but early enough nonetheless. The first match of the Class 3A volleyball sub-state tournament, top seed Lakin vs. host Scott City, should get underway a couple of minutes after 1 p.m., following team introductions.
I took the time to stop in Hays to get my car washed. The damn water seeped into the trunk, however, and left some things damp, including a notepad. I don’t think that will be much of an issue, because I’ve got plenty left from the one I was using last night at Smith Center. The car needed to get vacuumed out. And cleaned of the bugs.
I got gas at my favorite station on US 283 in WaKeeney, then made the decision to drive south on 283 towards Ness City rather than what I’ve done in the past, which is take I-70 to Oakley and turn south on US 83 directly to Scott City.
I’ve been south on 283 from WaKeeney to Ness City many times, but this was my first time going west on K-96. I almost regretted immediately, because there was a construction worker standing in front of the Ness County courthourse. Oh great, I thought. I’m going to be waiting for the pilot car to lead the convoy, and this will make me late, or cutting it close.
The wait for the pilot car was not long, and the construction was not the full route today. Once the pilot car pulled away, the drive got insanely boring. Really boring. Fields of nothing. The monotony was only broken up by passing through Dighton, where the track at the stadium was being torn up and replaced. This was my first ever drive through Lane County, probably not my last.
The drive from Dighton to Scott City was pretty much more of the same. I couldn’t find the high school at first simply because I came in from a different direction but once I got my bearings, it was no problem.
Lakin and Scott City have begun. A long day of volleyball is ahead of me.