STATE QUALIFIERS | Odessa Little League wrestling is sending 11 wrestlers to the state championships this weekend; front from left, Landon Scarborough (10U, 60lbs), Drake King (8U, 75lbs), Michael Scott (8U, 80lbs), Gable Gross (10U, 75lbs); back, Shon Badder (14U, 95lbs), Gavin Gross (14U, 130lbs), Jake Evinger (14U, 145lbs), Bryce Palmer (14U, 135lbs), Dalton Coe (14U, 75lbs). Not pictured: Lake Waters (8U, 65lbs) and Jakson Wimberly (12U, 130lbs).
Those 11 Bulldogs recorded top-four finishes at the regional tournament last week to qualify for the state championships, to be held Saturday and Sunday in Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis.
Spring Sports Preview
in this edition
Track team competes at UCM
University of Central Missouri hosted the High School Mule Relays for Class 3, 4 and 5 schools Monday. Team scores are not recorded at the traditional season opener. Individual medals were awarded through sixth place.
Kloe Hilbrenner qualified for the 60-meter dash final and placed seventh with a time of 8.48. Nevaeh Begeman's time of 1:11.38 was good enough for a 19th-place finish in the 400. Alyssa Morris clocked in at 1:16.02 in 25th.
The 800-meter relay team of Begeman, Tori Goulden, Sydney Futrell and Madi Wulfekotter ran to a second-place finish, combining for a time of 1:56.49. Morris, Goulden, Futrell and Brylee Duncan made up the 1600-meter relay team that finished sixth with a time of 4:40.91. Read more in The Odessan.
Odessa places fifth at first tournament
The five-team Oak Grove Golf Invitational took place March 17 at Adams Pointe. Pleasant Hill led the way with a winning score of 349. Grain Valley, 412, Oak Grove, 419, and Lafayette County, 459, placed second, third and fourth, respectively. Bulldogs shot 491 as a team to finish fifth.
Lucas Blacketer shot 111 to place 14th. Logan Parks was the 21st-place finisher with a 122. Conner White's round of 126 placed him 22nd overall. Alec Munson finished 23rd with a 132. Logan Mitchell turned in a 146 in 25th. Read more in The Odessan.
Tiger baseball falls to Sweet Springs
Wellington-Napoleon baseball team led Sweet Springs 4-3 in the top of the sixth Monday in the Tigers' home opener when the Greyhounds came through with a two-run double to take a 5-4 lead. Tigers could not respond in this sixth and seventh to fall to 1-1 on the season.
"We did a good job on the mound, holding them to just five hits," head coach Ryan Burton said. Read more in The Odessan.
Lady Tigers suffer first defeat
Wellington-Napoleon softball team could not get anything going offensively Monday in its 7-0 loss to Sweet Springs. Lady Tigers were the victim of a perfect game until the bottom of the sixth when Abbie Soendker drew a walk. In the bottom of the seventh, Caitlin Niendick recorded Wellington-Napoleon's only base hit.
"Sweet Springs jumped on us early, scoring five in the first and two in the second," said head coach Lincoln Bainbridge. "We made some adjustments and shut them down the rest of the night." Read more in The Odessan.
One senior, lots of inexperience
Bulldogs played a number of young golfers on varsity last season. That will hopefully pay off in 2017.
"Losing our top two golfers from last year makes us pretty young and inexperienced again," commented head coach Chad Meyer. "Last year we were still learning golf, and this year hopefully we can learn how to compete and score."
A quick glance at the roster and it's easy to see why Meyer labels this team young and inexperienced. Read more in The Odessan.
Tennis program seeks consistency
Head coach Bud Nelson has three seniors on the Odessa Bulldogs tennis team this spring.
"We have Tyler Atkerson, Garrett Gosoroski and Isaiah Asher," he said. "We need consistency out of our seniors this year. And we need them to help us get people more excited about tennis."
That worked this offseason as Asher decided to play tennis for the first time this spring. According to Nelson, Gosoroski played more tennis this offseason than anyone else on the team, but Atkerson is the team's number one. Read more in The Odessan.
Odessa returns record setters, state experience
Odessa track and field, under head coach Allan Twilligear, seemingly reset school records every week in 2016. That success throughout the regular season continued in district and sectional meets, which resulted in nine Odessa athletes advancing to the state championships. Six of those nine returned home with medals while resetting three school records. Was 2016 a success? I would say so and so would Twilligear.
"Yes, we're pleased with how well last season went. We had some successes and took a good group to the state meet. We are looking at building on last year's successes and keep our standards high for the kids."
Twilligear believes he has a number of athletes who could potentially get to Jefferson City this May, as well. Read more in The Odessan.
Playing as a team will be key this season
Trey Braswell (Catcher, First Base, Outfield), Trace Brown (P, 1B), Brett Fleener (C, OF), Colton Hughes (P, Infield) and Logan Windsor (P, IF) make up the senior class for head coach Brad Mayfield this spring. They will be in charge of helping the Bulldogs improve on their 15-14 record of a season ago. Mayfield undoubtedly wants to see Odessa move up the final MRVC West standings, as well. In 2016, Odessa went 3-7 to place sixth. Two of the Bulldogs' 15 wins came in the district tournament when they defeated Richmond in the quarterfinals, second-seeded Oak Grove in the semifinals before losing to top-seeded and number one-ranked Boonville 3-2 in the title game. Those games were nearly 10 months ago, but maybe they can be a springboard for the 2017 season.
"Only time will tell," Mayfield said. "I sure hope so!"
If Odessa can build off of those victories and that close defeat, a sixth-place finish in the conference will not be repeated. But that doesn't mean they're a shoo-in for a top-tier finish. In 2016, no one wanted to win the championship. Oak Grove and Pleasant Hill tied for the MRVC West crown with records of 6-4. Read more in The Odessan.
Burton takes over Tiger baseball
Wellington-Napoleon baseball has a new head coach in 2017. Ryan Burton takes over the program from Randy Florence, who resigned after coaching the Tigers for the past three seasons.
"I am originally a central Kansas resident where I attended Buhler High School just outside of Hutchinson," Burton said. "I went to college at Central Christian College in McPherson, Kan., where I played baseball for two years. After leaving Central to pursue a teaching degree, I attended and graduated from Kansas State University. I coached 15-and-under baseball in the Hutchinson area for two years before moving to Boonville and teaching and coaching at the Cooper County R-IX School District in Bunceton. This is my first year at Wellington-Napoleon and second year coaching at the high school level."
Burton will have five seniors to lean on this spring, Matt Block, Blake Bunch, Chris Gammill, Austin Ryun and Darrion Welsh. Bunch, Ryun, Jordan Blystone, Dylan Frazee, Jordon Hill, Scout Schaberg and Trey Shannon are the team's returning letter winners. Bunch, Frazee and Shannon will have important roles on the team as the Tigers' starting pitchers. Read more in The Odessan.