The Mount Rushmores of Sumner County sports

first_imgMount Rushmore of indelible Friday Night Light moments in Wellington since 1992. 1. WHS Assistant John Gifford in that one-man only skybox on those rickety light poles on the WHS football field in the 1990s.2. The late Kent “Red Dog” Webster as a chain gain member. The sideline was much quieter after his passing.3. Mike and Elaine Brooner – The husband and wife radio team of KWME-KLEY is legendary.4. Ringing the victory bell after a WHS victory. Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The popular trend among sports talk blabbers these days is to create what is called Mount Rushmore sports lists. The theory is if you owned this rock and were to chisel a monument much like the four U.S. Presidents in South Dakota, who would be on your “mountain” for a specific sport?For example, the other day, Miami Heat’ Lebron James stated he wanted to be on the Mount Rushmore of NBA Players. He, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Celtic great Bill Russell objected and thought he should be on it.I love debates like this. And it got me thinking about various Mount Rushmore lists on the local sports level.Since I haven’t been shot at lately, I decided to compile a Mount Rushmores of Sumner County Sports. When I started thinking about the list I discovered quickly that I needed to establish perimeters. If I was going to do an all-time Mount Rushmore list of Wellington High School football players, it was going to take a whole heck of a lot more research than I had time for.So I decided since this is my list, I would not include any athletic accomplishments predating 1992. Why? Because that was the year my wife and I moved to Wellington.I didn’t feel I could adequately judge athletes that preceded my presence. Yes, I could go on statistical data, but I didn’t want to do that, because then it would be just a list of reciting old records. Plus, this makes it a lot more fun because most of us can relate to the past 22 years.Secondly, I mixed it up a bit. On a couple of lists I included Wellington athletes with other Sumner County athletes. In others it was strictly a Wellington list.Anyway, here it goes. Remember this is a “best of the best” list and just my opinion. So if I left your or your son/daughter’s name off, don’t take it to personally. It’s all in good fun. Mount Rushmore of WHS wrestlers since 1992. 1. Tim Swartz – who owns the WHS season takedown record of 135 in 2000-01.2. Josh Clark – A state champion in 2002.3. Kody Page – A state champion in 2008.4. Taylan Lamkin – The only two-time state placer since the Decker era in 2013-14.Explanation: Let’s just say, the 1992 stipulation completely changed this list. If I was going to go with an all-time WHS Mount Rushmore wrestling list I’d have names like Josh Gooch, Jonny McCreary, Killer Franks, Val Landes, etc. But I wanted to be consistent with every list here. Now someone out there will point out that Gooch graduated in 1992 which would make him eligible for this list. Yes, that is correct. However, I didn’t arrive in Wellington until the fall of 1992. I never saw Gooch wrestle. Mount Rushmore of Sumner County concession stand food since 1992. 1. Mayfield burgers.2. Concession stand popcorn.3. Snickers candy bar.4. Plastic bottle of Diet Pepsi.Explanation: Mayfield burgers are the best. There is no such thing as bad popcorn. A Snickers candy bar is so beyond any other candy it is not debatable, and Diet Pepsi is a great concession drink because you are having soda pop without the calories. And it isn’t fountain Diet Pepsi which is gross. Mount Rushmore of WHS football players since 1992.1. Billy Conwell – An outstanding linebacker that played on some very talented clubs in the early 1990s.2. Tim Lira – A running back for the Crusaders from 2000 to 2002.3. Jason Burnett – A defensive end, who terrorized opponents for four years in the mid-1990s.4. Taylor Zeka – A quarterback who holds the passing yards during a season and career and led the Crusaders to two state finals.Explanation: This was the toughest list to make. So many could have easily made this list: Shawn McEachern, David Heath, Zane Aguilar and Garrett Brinkmeyer were very high on my list. Conwell and Burnett were easy choices for me because I saw them play in the 1990s and they were just tough as nails defenders. They epitomized what Wellington defense was about in those years. For the other two, I went with the record books. Lira had 4,428 rushing yards in three years a WHS record. The next back was Clift who had 2,944 yards. I can’t ignore that even though Lira is on two other lists in this blog. Zeka had 4,592 yards passing in his high school career. Nate Cornejo had 3,282. Speaking of which, what would have happened had Cornejo been healthy his senior year in football? I’m sure he might have made this Mount Rushmore list as well. Mount Rushmore of Sumner County athletes since 1992.1. Sara Lungren, Caldwell. – an all-Missouri Valley Conference volleyball player for Wichita State in the early 2000s.2. Nate Cornejo, Wellington – drafted as a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, in the late 1990s.3. Tim Lira, Wellington – held state records in the 100 and 200 meters in 2003.4. Eric Pauly, Conway Springs -  a linebacker in the late 1990s, who would go on to play for Colorado State Rams and come close to getting drafted in the NFL if it wasn’t for a severe ACL injury.Explanation: Of all the lists I made for this blog, this, interestingly enough, was the easiest to make. These four just rose to the top because they were pro type players in their respective sports. There are so few of those kind of athletes in Sumner County. Mount Rushmore of Sumner County coaches since 1992. 1. John Gifford – assistant Wellington High School football coaches for all of those years until retiring last fall.2. Linn Hibbs – WHS football coach from 1996-2010, who won two state championships, a state runner-up and a slew of games.3. Alan Jamison – head Caldwell basketball coach in the 1990s. He coached Caldwell to several state tournaments.4. David Hughes – head South Haven football and girls basketball coach. He won a state championship in girls basketball and had a state runner-up in football not to mention long playoff/tournament runs in both sports. Oh, and he coaches a successful track program.Explanation: I thought about putting Mark Bliss of Conway Springs in the late 1990s and early 2000s the coach who started the Conway Springs football dynasty. I left him off simply because he wasn’t here for a significant length of time and Conway Springs has sustained that tradition for more than a decade since his departure. Russ Decker of Wellington would have been on the list as Wellington’s wrestling coach, but his greatest time predated 1992. Randy Sawyer of Caldwell, a coach of everything in Caldwell and Wellington; and Brian Aufdengarten, who has had great success in WHS tennis, were also strong considerations. There are a lot of good coaches in Sumner County.center_img Mount Rushmore of WHS spring (and fall) sports players since 1992. 1. Jesse Cornejo – WHS left-handed pitcher in the early 1990s.2. Nate Cornejo – WHS right-handed pitcher in the mid 1990s.3. Tim Lira – Kansas State record holder in the 100 and 200 meters.4. Myles Miller – Two-time Class 4A state champion in golf and state runner-up his senior year.Explanation: I combined the spring and fall non-revenue sports because these sports are more about individual accomplishments, and there was no way I was going to do Mount Rushmores for every sport. Both J’Lynn Ledesma in the high jump and Megan Campbell in the 100 and 200 meters were close to making the list. There are also a few tennis and volleyball players who could have made this list as well. Mount Rushmore of WHS basketball players since 1992.1. Darin Miller – A post player for Wellington who went on to play four years with the Wichita State Shockers.2. Lindsey Davis – A girls basketball player in the early 2000s, who may have a few records at WHS that will never be broken.3. Dani Anderson – A girls basketball shooting guard, who helped lead a Crusader basketball team to the state tournament for the first time in 50 years.4. Luke Byler – A boys basketball player from 1998-2001, who went on to play as a walk-on at Oklahoma State.Explanation: This was a pretty easy list for me to make, because these four stood out above the rest. Mount Rushmore of Sumner County teams since 1992. 1. Any one of the four Conway Springs state championship teams in the early 2000s. (Conway Springs fans need to make the pick)2. Wellington High School state runner-up football team in 2000.3. 1993-1994 Caldwell High School football and basketball teams.4. The 2011 Argonia girls basketball team. Explanation: People will wonder why I listed the 2000 WHS football team over the 2001 and 2002 state championship teams. Hibbs told me that was his most talented team he coached here and would have won the state crown had it not been for a behemoth team out of Fort Scott that year. Some will question why I combined two sports for Caldwell. Because most of those boys were playing both sports that year. They were the same team, playing different sports. That school year the Bluejays were state semifinalists in football and state runner-up in basketball. Mount Rushmore of Sumner County sports facilities since 1992. 1. Hibbs-Hooten Field in Wellington.2. Worden Park in Wellington.3. Conway Springs football field.4. Mill Street Park (a baseball field in south Wellington which is now defunct but was a great place to watch the little leaguers play ball in the 1990s).Explanation: Really Hibbs-Hooten Field stands alone over all facilities. I would have included the WHS football stadium because of the Friday night atmosphere, but quite frankly that facility has some major issues at the moment. It’s not deserving of any Mount Rushmore status. Mount Rushmore of lists I didn’t do since 1992. 1. SCBL athletes. There have been so many great athletes in Caldwell, South Haven, Oxford and Argonia. I didn’t feel I could make a legitimate list without more research.2. Best Conway Springs football teams. I really wanted to list the top four football teams from that dynasty in the northwest corner of Sumner County since 1998. But no one I spoke to from Conway Springs wanted to touch it.3. Great accomplishments. A list of amazing feats like Conway Springs Tanner Wood rushing for 659 yards in one game. But that’s a list where I would have inevitably forgotten someone doing something really great.4. Cueball sports columns. I’m sure I have many columns that were delightful. But picking four would have been impossible. LOL.last_img

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