Friday and Saturday at various sites
1 Four-time champions on collision course?
Four-time reigning champion Bishop Miege, 31-6, only drew the fifth overall seed, but the Stags have to be considered the favorites in Pool I at the Kansas 5A state tournament, which begins on Friday at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka. There is, of course, a new challenger to the throne with St. James Academy. St. James, 34-4 and the No. 2 seed, has moved into 5A after having won four straight 4A state crowns.
The Thunder, which split in two meetings with Miege this season, will be heavy favorites in Pool II. It’s a heated rivalry, but one that grew less so when Stags assistant Linda Ernst helped perform CPR on St. James coach Nancy Dorsey’s father when he had a heart attack during the trophy presentation at sub-state last week at Blue Valley Southwest.
2 Something’s got to give in 6A
The top three teams from the Kansas 6A state tournament last season — first-place Washburn Rural, runner-up Blue Valley North and third-place Gardner Edgerton — can’t possibly finish in that order again. All three find themselves stacked in Pool I, which gets under way at 8:30 a.m. on Friday at the Kansas Expocentre. Washburn Rural, 36-3, is the top seed after closing the season winning 35 of 36 matches. Of course, one of the those early losses came against the fourth-seeded Gardner Edgerton Trailblazers, 34-6, who in turn split two games this season with fifth-seeded BV North, 30-8.
3 Hawks snag favorable draw
Recently crowned Sunflower League champion Olathe East, 33-5, drew the No. 3 seed at the Kansas 6A state tournament. The Hawks placed fourth at state last season and will be favored to reach Saturday’s semifinals again from Pool II, which also includes No. 2 seed Wichita Northwest, 36-5, as well as No. 7 seed Blue Valley, 27-12.
4 Jags face tough task
A year ago, Newton was the Kansas 5A runner-up behind Bishop Miege. Getting past the sixth-seeded Railers, 33-9, will be the challenge for undefeated Kaw Valley League champion Mill Valley, 32-5, which earned the No. 3 seed with its glossy record. The Mill Valley Jaguars, led by Molly Oshinski, are saddled with St. James in Pool II but must also contend with Shawnee Heights, 27-11, to reach the semifinals.
5 Louisburg hopes rugged schedule pays off
With Kansas 4A suddenly open wide with St. James Academy’s departure, fifth-seeded Louisburg, 30-11, which took games off BV North and BV Southwest and beat Olathe Northwest during the regular season, hopes to fill the Thunder’s vacancy. The first task, of course, will be surviving Pool I, which includes top-seeded Chanute, 34-1, and fourth-seeded Rose Hill, 31-8, at the Salina Bicentennial Center.
| Tod Palmer, email@example.com