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Top seeds steamroll into semis

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.

Norton moves on

Norton defeated Southwestern Heights 25-17, 25-21 in the second match, so the Bluejays will now match up with Lakin in the first semifinal. Before that takes place, there are still two more quarterfinal matches, Hoisington vs. Russell and Phillipsburg vs. Cimarron.

Jay Blair, who announces many of Phillipsburg’s matches on KQMA radio, sat down next to me in the press box. Jay had an even shorter turnaround than me, since he went to Ell-Saline for the Panthers’ football game last night at Brookville, back to P-burg, and then all the way down. Jay’s daughter, Melissa, was an All-State player for Phillipsburg from 2007-10 and is now wrapping up a solid college career at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina.

Tad Felts, the legendary KQMA broadcaster who covered high school sports from 1968 through 2011, is also here. I would thin so, because he spent time in Scott City and other places in southwest Kansas.

Russell and Hoisington are about to start. It stinks to high heaven these schools are located only 28 miles apart, are of similar size, yet aren’t in the same league. And they haven’t been in the same league since 1996, when Russell left the old Mid-State Activities Association for their current (crappy) league, the North Central Activities Association. Hoisington bounced around and finally landed in the Central Kansas League this year.

Here we go again. Back in a little while.

Spiketacular underway

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.