The McPherson area had no shortage of outstanding sports achievements and noteworthy news both on and off the field in 2014.
Here’s the area Top 10:
1. Hesston’s basketball teams sweep Class 3A state titles. The Swather fans reveled at the Hutchinson Sports Arena as the town literally emptied to watch the Hesston girls outlast Lyons for the state championship, which was followed by the Swather boys defeating Beloit. The teams were a combined 51-1, with the boys going undefeated and the girls losing only to Class 4A Division I runner-up Wamego.
2. Hesston’s Ryan Schadler wins two gold medals at the Kansas State Track and Field Championships. Schadler will go down as one of the greatest athletes in school history after not only winning two events, but was second in another and third in still another. He scored 34 of the Swathers’ 55 points as they came away with the third-place plaque.
3. Inman’s girls track and field team relies on speed to shine at state. The Teutons were sparked by three gold-medal performances. Krystal Miller won the 100 meters, Emma Aberg won the 200 and the 4 x 100 team of Aberg, Krystal Miller, Krystan Miller and Nicole Neufeldt also took first. The team took fourth overall.
4. Smoky Valley’s Austin Cook wins the 170-pound Class 4A state wrestling title. Cook had missed the previous season with an injury, but there was no stopping him upon his return. Cook tore through 44 straight opponents for an undefeated season.
5. Moundridge's DeShawn Pfeiff wins the state pole vault title. Pfeiff went 13-0 to win a tiebreaker from two other jumpers.
6. Little River’s baseball team takes second at state. The Redskins rode the outstanding pitching of Class 2-1A Player of the Year Tevin Renken to a great season. The team lost in the state finals to Pittsburg Colgan.
7. Little River’s Shane Cordell retires as girls basketball coach. Cordell decided it was time to step aside after 34 years and 604 victories. He led Little River to four straight Class 1A state titles and at one point the team won 91 games in a row, still a Kansas record. The school earlier this month dedicated the basketball court in his honor.
8. Smoky Valley’s wrestling team takes third in Class 4A, its first-ever state wrestling plaque. Behind the before-mentioned Austin Cook, the Vikings had a tremendous tourney in Salina as they finished behind only Holton and Chanute. Cook was supported by Spencer Bird and Brix Brickey, who both took third in their respective weight classes.
9. Little River and Moundridge’s past state basketball championship teams go into the KBCA Hall of Fame. The interesting thing about this was that both schools won four straight state titles in the 1990s, so all the teams went in during ceremonies in Salina. The Moundridge boys from 1990 to 1993 were honored, while the Little River teams were from 1996 t0 1999.
10. Hesston, Smoky Valley and Little River make the football playoffs. Hesston ran the table in the regular season with a 9-0 record before finishing 10-1 as its only loss was to Wichita Collegiate. Little River won a first-round game against Pratt-Skyline before losing to Ness City, while Smoky Valley lost to eventual champion Andale in its opener.