Challenging substates, regionals on horizon
Tonganoxie High wrestling coach Jeremy Goebel has the utmost respect for the Clay Center Community High wrestling team.
"They're the returning state champs," Goebel said. "Usually when you think of wrestling, their name comes up. They definitely have a well-established program."
The Kansas State High School Activities Association released this season's winter sports regional and sub-state pairings in December.
Clay Center, the No. 2-ranked Class 4A team in the state, according to the Kansas Wrestling Web site usawks.com, will be included in Tonganoxie's regional.
"I think we want to wrestle the best," Goebel said.
The other teams participating in the Feb. 15-16 regional are Atchison, Basehor-Linwood, Concordia, Hiawatha, Holton, Royal Valley, Bishop Ward, Piper, Marysville, Jefferson West, Perry-Lecompton, Topeka-Hayden and Wamego.
The regional will take place at Perry-Lecompton High.
There's no team formula for advancing to the state tournament, which will be held Feb. 22-23 at the Salina Bicentennial Center.
The top four individuals from each regional weight class will advance to state. Those individuals will earn points at state to go toward a team score.
The Chieftains finished fifth of 16 teams at last year's regional in Holton. Tonganoxie qualified three wrestlers (seniors Cameron Adcox, Wyatt Coffin and junior Matt Brock) to compete at the state meet last season. The trio went a combined 1-6.
To put Clay Center's prominence into perspective, the Tigers sent 13 wrestlers to state last season.
THS has wrestled admirably the first half of the 2007-2008 season. The Chieftains defeated Santa Fe Trail, ranked No. 5 in the state, in a dual on the road, and won the Pleasant Ridge Dual Tournament before winter break.
"The (regional) location is close to home, so hopefully we can get some people there and have a little bit of a crowd," Goebel said. "Regardless of where we're at, though, it doesn't matter. If every kid wrestles to their ability, good things will happen."
Tonganoxie High girls basketball
The THS girls basketball team (5-2) will play in its sub-state tournament Feb. 25-March 1 at Holton High School.
Other teams in Tonganoxie's sub-state will include Atchison, Hiawatha, Holton, Royal Valley, Jefferson West, Perry-Lecompton and Topeka-Hayden.
There are eight sub-state brackets in Class 4A. Only one team from each sub-state advances to the March 5-8 state tournament at the Salina Bicentennial Center.
Tonganoxie and Holton weren't in the same sub-state bracket last season. They made it to state with identical 22-1 records. Tonganoxie finished fourth and Holton got knocked out of the first round.
THS won sub-state at its own gymnasium last season. Tonganoxie coach Randy Kraft said playing away from home this season shouldn;t put the Chieftains at a disadvantage at regionals.
"It's great to play on the home court, where the kids and the fans are there, but where we play has never been a factor to us," Kraft said. "It seems like we always have a tough bracket. It's a difficult road and we have a lot to do by the end of the season to improve."
Tonganoxie High boys basketball
The THS boys (1-5) will also play at Holton from Feb. 25-March 1 against the same teams the girls will face.
Tonganoxie lost to Baldwin in the sub-state playoffs to end last season
Atchison is the lone team in Tonganoxie'ÃÃ's regional that made it to the state tournament last season. Atchison took an 18-4 record to Salina, but lost in the first round.
Despite the Chieftains' slow start, THS coach David Walker said a turnaround before sub-state was still possible.
"We just need to have the baskets fall for us early," Walker said. "Once we get in that relaxation mode where we don't feel like we have to hurry because we're playing from behind and we're playing a little more comfortable, then I think good things will happen."
McLouth High boys and girls basketball
The McLouth High boys (0-3) and girls (0-3) basketball teams will play their sub-state tournaments Feb. 25-March 1 at Horton High School.
Other teams in McLouth's sub-state will include Atchison Maur Hill-Mount Academy, Pleasant Ridge, Effingham-Atchison County Community, Horton, Oskaloosa, Kansas City Christian and Jefferson County North.
Only one team from the sub-state will advance to the state tournament, which will take place March 5-8 at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
Kansas City Christian was the only boys team from this season's Horton sub-state bracket to advance to the state tournament last season. KC Christian took an 18-6 record into state, but lost in the second round.
Effingham-Atchison County was the only girls team from this season's Horton sub-state bracket to advance to state last year. Atchison County Community was 17-7 and lost in the second round.