AVCTL Media Day scheduled later today

By Steve Sell
August 14, 2014

Thursday’s thoughts...

• AVCTL MEDIA DAY TODAY — The Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League is conducting a Fall Sports Media Day today in Wichita.

All media members, including yours truly, and Voice of the Bullpups, Nick Gosnell, will be on hand for this first-ever event.

Coaches of all the fall sports at each of the 26 schools will be on hand, along with selected student-athletes.

This is a great opportunity for we media members to get a passel of information at one time. McPherson High’s fall sports include football, girls tennis, boys soccer, volleyball and cross country.

Many of us (in my case the Mid Kansas Sports Magazine) have preseason publications we put out and this helps accelerate the process. There is no reason for any of us to go home empty handed. Our coffers should be full.

The first session involves Division III and IV schools. For those not aware, Division III now consists of MHS, Buhler, Rose Hill, El Dorado, Winfield and newcomer Augusta.

Mulvane drops down to Division IV to join Andale, Circle, Clearwater, Mulvane, Wellington and Wichita Collegiate.

There’s been no changes in Division I, which was the one-time home for McPherson High. Teams include Derby, Campus, Hutchinson, Maize, Newton, Salina Central and Salina South.

From a basketball standpoint, I really miss Division I for the Bullpups. They had some tremendous league battles with those schools, though MHS Athletic Director Shane Backhus has done his best to keep some of those schools on the schedule.

Division II consists of Andover, Andover Central, Goddard, Goddard Eisenhower, Arkansas City, Maize South and Valley Center.

It should be a unique and fruitful experience that I’m looking forward to.

• FOUR KCAC FOOTBALL TEAMS RANKED NATIONALLY — Tabor was not picked by the coaches or media to win the KCAC football race last week in Wichita, but the Bluejays are the highest-ranked conference team in the NAIA preseason national poll announced Wednesday.

Tabor checked in at No. 8 to headline the four KCAC teams in the poll.

Ottawa, the choice of the media (including this voter) to win the KCAC title, comes in at No. 14, one spot ahead of Sterling, the defending champion that was picked by the coaches to repeat as champion. Friends is ranked No. 19.

Defending champion Grand View of Iowa opens at No. 1. Rounding out the Top 5 are Carroll (Mont.) at No. 2, Morningside (Iowa) at No. 3, Cumberlands (Ky.) at No. 4 and Kansas school Baker at No. 5. 

Ottawa opens the season against Baker in what should be a dandy of nationally ranked powers.

• TIGER MAKES TOM’S DECISION FOR HIM — I’m sure Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson was feeling uneasy about Tiger Woods in regards to next month’s matches.

Woods, of course, was nowhere near close to qualifying for the team that takes on the Europeans Sept. 26-28 in Scotland. However, Woods could have been chosen to the team as one of Watson’s three captain’s picks.

Anyone who follows golf even casually knows that right now Tiger is just a shell of his former self. He’s battled numerous injuries, the last being back surgery on March 31. He perhaps rushed back too soon, as his game in no way resembles that of the dominating Tiger that used to make his opponents shake in their spikes even before they took the first tee. Tiger barely made the cut in the British Open and was little more than a spectator for two rounds in the PGA as he trunked it early.

Watson left the decision up to Tiger, asking for an honest answer. I admire Tiger for declining the offer, as he doesn’t want to hurt the team. From all reports, he’s going to shut it down until at least December, as he hopes this time he’ll come back 100 percent.

The U.S. Ryder Cup team already had taken two hits, as Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner aren’t available. Johnson reportedly is in treatment for alleged substance abuse, while Dufner is battling a neck injury that has ended his season and perhaps threatened his career. Johnson and Dufner were a combined 6-1 in the 2012 Ryder Cup match.

The U.S. has struggled mightily against the Europeans in recent years and you have to think the Euros will be an overwhelming favorite on their home soil.

• VIVA LA VARGAS — What a gem turned in Wednesday by Kansas City pitcher Jason Vargas against baseball’s highest-scoring team.

Vargas retired the final 23 batters to cap his three-hit shutout masterpiece against the Oakland A’s.

Kansas City, as has been its wont, barely scraped together enough offense in the 3-0 win. Omar Infante’s two-run homer was all Vargas needed as he took care of the rest.

Kansas City remained a half-game ahead of Detroit, which was down 4-1 early to Pittsburgh before charging back with seven answered runs for the 8-4 victory.

This afternoon, Kansas City goes for the series win against Oakland with ace James Shields on the mound. They already have secured no worse than a split, but that shouldn’t be their thinking. They shouldn’t be satisfied with just a split. It’s that kind of thinking that will leave you on the outside looking in when the playoffs start.