• PRAYING FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY — When I heard the news of Mandi Cooks’ Achilles injury and subsequent surgery on Monday, my heart sank.
One of the most talented three-sport athletes who’s ever come through McPherson High, Cooks' expected recovery time reportedly is a minimum of six months.
Not only is she a talented athlete, but she’s such a nice person who works very hard at being the best she can be.
Cooks will miss all of the volleyball season. She was expected to be one of the state’s top hitters as the Bullpups are seeking to make an unprecedented eighth straight trip to the state tournament. Longtime MHS coach Christy Doile will have to devise a new plan after so much of the Bullpups’ offense figured to go through Cooks.
As for basketball, it is not known when or if Cooks will be able to return. It all depends on her rehab and how quickly it progresses. Cooks and Taylor Robertson are expected to be the only seniors for the Bullpups this season and this is the year they have been pointing to ever since they began their careers. In the state championship game in March against Miege, they combined for 50 points — Robertson with 30 and Cooks with 20 — as the Bullpups put up a tremendous battle against the Stags before falling.
Fortunately for MHS coach Chris Strathman, he has a lot of depth as his sophomore and freshmen classes were outstanding last year. And he has a top-notch eighth-grade class moving up.
But it will be difficult to replace the experience, athleticism and leadership that Cooks provides. Hopefully she’ll be able to return at some point and help take MHS to the rarefied heights that are expected.
• BULLPUP ATHLETICS TOP-NOTCH – I read with much interest the story that my good friend Taylor Eldredge posted today on The Wichita Eagle’s website.
Eldredge compiled a formula to rank the top athletic program in Central Kansas, with schools from the AVCTL, Wichita City League and Great Plains League included, totaling 41.
McPherson High checked in at No. 5 for the past school year. MHS’ dominance of AVCTL Division III was evident as no other school in D-III ranked in the Top 20, with Buhler the next-best at No. 23. Circle (No. 28), Augusta (31), Winfield (36) and El Dorado (39) were the other teams.
Schools ahead of MHS were Carroll, Maize South, Maize and Andale.
I think if this poll had been compiled each year recently that McPherson High would have been a perennial Top 5.
• ROYALS RED HOT — When I look at the Royals, I keep wondering how they’re doing it.
The winning streak reached seven on Tuesday as they already won the series from the Detroit Tigers with a 3-1 victory. They go for the sweep tonight.
In winning the first two games, the Royals beat the Tigers’ top two pitchers in Justin Verlander and Michael Fulmer.
Danny Duffy was solid on Tuesday and the Royals did just enough to support him. Defensively, this team is playing the best in baseball.
This is a great way to start a long road trip. A sweep was certainly not expected, but it would give the team some cushion going into what will be a difficult series at AL East-leading Boston. With Tuesday's win, the Royals are now the No. 2 wild-card team in the standings.