Varsity Kansas has introduced a new series, Moment of the Year. The series will highlight the top moment or performance from the 2017-18 high school sports season for each of the Wichita-area schools. And now, the Hesston Swathers.
For a city that hosted one of the biggest volleyball tournaments in Kansas for almost two decades, the hosts haven't had the glory.
They came dangerously close in 2017.
Hesston finished third in the Class 3A tournament and finished with a 40-5 record. The Swathers lost in straight sets in the semifinals to eventual state champion, Hays TMP, 25-20, 25-19. They bounced back to take third over Nemaha Central, 25-20, 25-7.
The Swathers were clearly a powerful team all season, but they were tested throughout the regular season to prepare them for the state tournament.
Hesston didn't win the Central Kansas League, losing to Kingman 2-1. The Swathers played state powers like Trinity Academy and Rose Hill during the regular season, and that had a huge payoff.
In pool play at the 3A tournament, Hesston started with Erie and handled that match 25-9, 25-14. But the Swathers hit trouble in the second match.
Silver Lake beat Hesston in three games to put a dent in the chances of advancing. The Swathers had to beat Nemaha Central in the final pool play game, and they did 25-20, 25-19.
Hesston was built with playmakers across the court in 2017. Senior outside hitter Kailey Jo Ince finished the season with 551 kills for a 5.6 kill per set average. She also led the team with 289 digs and was named to the Eagle's 2017 All-Metro Volleyball Team.
Senior setter Alaina Dunlavy provided balance in the attack. She finished her senior season with 1,109 assists on 2,255 attempts.
Hesston will lose a lot of senior leadership in 2018. Five players won't be back, but the Swathers will have a solid crop of young players to build around and make another run at the school's first state title.
Other Key Moments
- Hesston football team reaches the Class 3A sectionals against Phillipsburg. The Swathers beat then-undefeated Conway Springs 45-42 to get there before losing 47-7.
- Hesston's Grant Brenneman wins the Class 3A individual boys golf title after shooting a +1, 72. Brenneman's father was the last Swather golfer to win an individual state golf title. Hesston finished fourth as a team.
- Pair of Hesston girls doubles tennis teams make it to the 3A final. Senior Makaiya Russell/junior Ashley Hubbard beat senior Jera Wolke/sophomore Kara Koester 6-3, 6-0 to win the state title. The Swathers finished second as a team.
- Hesston senior Kylie Klassen wins the girls 3A pole vault with a 10-foot-9 vault. She held off Hoisington junior Maleigha Schmidt by three inches.
- Hesston's boys tennis team finishes fourth at the 3A state tournament, just four points from a team title over Prairie Village.
- Hesston junior Parker Roth comes runner-up in the boys 3A 100 meter dash at 10.91 seconds. He also finished fourth in the 200 at 23.04 seconds.
- Swather sophomore Celbi Richardson finishes fourth in the 3A girls shot put. She tossed 38-9.
- Hesston's boys 4x100-meter relay team of junior Joshua Roth, senior Ayden Fleming, senior Mitchell Martin and Parker Roth finish fourth at 44.31 seconds.
- Sophomore Elise Kaiser finishes fourth in the girls 3A 400 meter run at 1:00.05.
- Swathers' girls 4x400-meter relay team of freshman Connie Schott, sophomore Emily Koehn, sophomore Marisa Vogt and Kaiser finish fifth at 4:10.65.
Read Other Schools' Moments
- Andover Central
- Arkansas City
- Bishop Carroll
- Conway Springs
- El Dorado
- Garden Plain