I can’t believe this is the final day of 2011, but here we are, looking at 2012 starting.
We can’t have the year end, though, without a look back at 2011.
What stories fascinated you? What were the highlights for you? Below are some of my memories from the year. They are definitely not a complete rehashing of 2011, so feel free to add your thoughts.
Happy New Year!
*The Northwest boys soccer team went undefeated.
Northwest ended a decades-drought and brought back a 6A title to Wichita in convincing fashion. This was an outstanding team, led by the dynamic Bobby Bribiesca.
*The Heights girls win the 2011 Class 6A title on a last-second shot.
This was a thrilling game. Heights was the overwhelming favorite from the season’s start, but the Falcons were sure pushed, and it came down to a last-second basket for the win.
*Rose Hill wins the 2011 Class 4A football title.
I find that people generally have a short memory when it comes to high school sports, so I think many have forgotten what a struggling program the Rockets had when Greg Slade took over. That’s why I think it’s so exciting that Rose Hill won this title. This was a talented team, no doubt, but this team also vanquished a lot of those bad memories with this championship.
*Heights boys win their third straight Class 6A title.
Heights’ first state title win under Joe Auer was a blowout over Southeast. But this third title didn’t come easy. The Falcons were pushed by a very good BV Northwest team and proved that they were more than just a one-man — or two-man — team.
*Perry Ellis and Conner Frankamp choose Kansas.
Frankamp, a junior, made his oral commitment to Kansas during the summer, while Ellis, a senior, ended a long and much-followed recruiting time with his commitment.
*Heights wins the 6A wrestling title
Heights wrestling was loaded last year, starting with Daniel Deshazer, now at Oklahoma. Goddard had ruled over 6A, but Heights took that title last year and was part of five state title victories for Heights in 2010-11. As the Heights folks said — it was a good year to be a Falcon.
*Hutchinson and Conway Springs win football titles.
Both programs ended short droughts with no titles. And you had to be impressed that Hutchinson won in such fashion — key injuries to key players, yet the Salthawks overcame it.
*Maize baseball dominates.
What a year for the Maize baseball team. It was widely regarded as arguably the state’s best-ever baseball team, and it finished the season undefeated and even received national recognition.
*McPherson boys won the 5A basketball title.
This was such a fun team to watch, with the tandem of Christian Ulsaker and Jack Pyle. They had a great season, with the only loss to Heights in a thrilling game.
*The Wichita-area continued its dominance in softball, with Carroll winning Class 5A and Andale-Garden Plain taking 4A.