• SWIMMERS AT TOPEKA — Hopefully McPherson High and Smoky Valley’s girls swimming teams — they are divided for the state meet though they were combined for the regular season — can send coach Bonnie Sue Fisher out in style.
Fisher will be moving to Colorado this summer as her husband has been transferred. She plans on coaching the McPherson Aqua Pups before leaving.
The Bullpups are competing today and Saturday at Topeka in the state championships. MHS has five girls attending, Smoky Valley two. The Vikings, however, have the best chance for a high placing as Clare Denk went into the meet ranked fourth in the 50 freestyle and ninth in the 100 freestyle. Also competing for the Vikings is Shea Cook.
Competing individually for the Bullpups are Katie Wurm and Ellen Yowell. MHS also has a couple of relay teams and other swimmers competing are Amanda Starkel, Kellsie Corrigan and Lindsey Moore. The goal is to get an entry or two in the Top 16, which means they get to compete on Saturday.
Fisher has done a tremendous job with both MHS swimming programs during her tenure, as she gets more out of less than probably any coach in the state. She has received a Kansas Coach of the Year honor in the past from her peers and while her teams have lacked numbers, her performers often place high.
Fisher is going to be greatly missed. She has been to youth swimming in McPherson what Janie Bremyer has been to tennis. Bremyer and the Mac Advantage enter their 20th year and is a big reason MHS has done so well, including this year when the girls won the Class 4A state title in the fall and the boys took second last week.
• SOFTBALL UPSETS ABOUND — It was like dominos the way the top seeds fell this week in Class 4A Division I regional softball.
McPherson High, which qualified for state for the first time in school history, and Augusta were the only No. 1 seeds out of eight regionals to advance.
Because of all the train wrecks that occurred to No. 1 seeds, the Bullpups found themselves with a No. 2 seed at state with a 16-6 record. Augusta is No. 1 at 18-4.
The No. 1 seeds to fall included Paola, which had been 20-0 at the start of the week. It lost to Louisburg, a No. 3 seed.
Other top seeds to fall included Basehor-Linwood, Independence, Clay Center, Bonner Springs and Mulvane.
Wamego and Rose Hill, in fact, were No. 3 seeds in their four-team regionals. Kansas City Piper, DeSoto and Fort Scott qualified as No. 2 seeds.
MHS opens state play at 5 p.m. Thursday against Wamego at Salina’s Bill Burke Complex. The games will be aired on 96.7 KBBE.
• REGIONAL TRACK AND FIELD TODAY — McPherson High and all the area schools will be involved today in regional track and field meets, provided the weather cooperates.
MHS probably won’t qualify a large contingent, but does expect to get through some performers who could place high.
The school to watch in the area is Hesston. Both the Swather boys and girls should push through a quality number of performers. The Swather boys have to be considered a state title threat because of potential 40-point scorer Ryan Schadler, but they’re a lot more than just the future Wichita State Shocker. Justin Smith is a triple jump threat and the Swathers also have a couple of excellent relays.
The state meet is next Friday and Saturday at Wichita State.
• INTRIGUING SIGNING — The Kansas Jayhawks perhaps have signed the most intriguing prospect in the Bill Self era.
On Wednesday, Self announced he had added teenager Sviatoslav Mikhailiuk from Ukraine to the Jayhawks' recruiting class that already includes big-time talents Cliff Alexander, Kelly Oubre and Devonte' Graham.
"Slav," as I'm going to call him because his name is so hard to type, is a 6-8 guard who is only 16, but turns 17 in a couple of weeks. It's hard to imagine one so young would help the Jayhawks immediately, but Self is raving about him. Apparently he's a phenomenal shooter, something KU drastically lacked last year as it did not shoot it well from 3-point. I just wonder if he's physically mature enough to handle the pounding of the college game.
Self was quoted as saying that "his skill level, knowledge and aptitude for the game are way beyond his years" and that he makes this year's recruiting class on par with last year's.
The beat goes on at KU.