• CLASS 4A STATE TENNIS LOADED — It figures to come down to McPherson and Wichita Collegiate for the Class 4A state title this weekend in Winfield.
When looking at the qualifiers, both the Bullpups and Spartans advanced all six players, meaning they have two singles players competing and two doubles teams.
Independence, Winfield, Wellington, Clay Center and Miege also have qualified their entire teams.
Collegiate has been the No. 1-ranked team all year and its strength is in singles with Sydney Lair and Lauren Conrad. Singles, though, is loaded because of the presence of undefeated entrants Sayaka Smith of Coffeyville and Brooklyn Hunter of Hayden and those two probably will meet for the championship just as they did last year with Hunter prevailing. For Collegiate, the key is for Lair and Conrad to both make the semifinals.
McPherson High’s Ellea Ediger and Rachel Ivers were second in the state in doubles last year and are 19-2 this season. They lost in the finals last year to a Collegiate team that included two seniors.
Collegiate has a one-loss team in Greer Cody and Hannah Geoffrey, while Clay Center’s Hanna Fowles and Sally Vallin are undefeated, though they’ve only played nine matches. That should make for an interesting seeding meeting.
For the Bullpups to win the team title, they’ll probably need for Ediger and Ivers to win the championship and for singles player Maisie Edmonson to finish at least in the Top 5. It should be quite a battle in Winfield and hopefully the Bullpups can come away with the title. They have been in the Top 3 each of the last three years, winning it all in 2013.
• RIVALS MEET TONIGHT — Buhler, in the minds of many McPherson fans, finally has supplanted Hutchinson and Newton as the Bullpups’ chief athletic rival.
For years, MHS had titanic confrontations with both the Salthawks and Railers. But with the event of the four-division AVCTL, those rivalries for the most part have gone by the wayside.
Buhler has emerged and it’s a natural. The schools are only 18 miles apart and have similar athletic programs in that they’re highly successful in most sports.
MHS and Buhler get together again tonight when the soccer teams clash at McPherson Stadium with the league title on the line.
This is an important game for the Bullpups. They have lost at home three times already this season and all have been in overtime. They must protect their home pitch and build confidence at McPherson Stadium since they’ll most likely play one, maybe two, postseason games at home.
Buhler has made rapid improvement this year and won’t be the easy touch it once was. However, if the Bullpups play to their capacity, they should come away with the victory.
I urge everyone to get out and take it in. The varsity teams play at 7:30, with the underlings at 6:00.
• GIANTS WON’T GO AWAY — Until the final out is recorded, you can never count out the San Francisco Giants in an even-numbered year since they captured World Championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
The Giants, already trailing the Chicago Cubs 2-0 in a best-of-five series, were on the brink of elimination Monday night.
Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta hit a three-run homer and was dealing zeroes on the mound as it appeared Chicago was going to complete the sweep. But the Giants, who get more out of less than any team in baseball, responded with five unanswered runs to take a 5-3 lead into the ninth.
Chicago, though, scored two before the Giants won it in walk-off fashion in the 13th inning.
Cubs fans are probably thinking “here we go again,” as no supporters have suffered longer, going all the way back to 1908. There’s been the “curse of the billy goat” and the “Bartman game,” and I’m sure apprehension is creeping in.
But this Chicago team is so deep both offensively and in pitching that I think it stems the tide and wins Game 4. I would really like to see the Cubs win it all this year so their fans have to suffer no more.