December 31, 2008
Sedaliaís two high schools enjoyed successful seasons in sports in 2008.
From the Smith-Cotton football teamís run to the Class 4 final four to Sacred Heartís second straight Class 1 volleyball championship, Sedalians had plenty to celebrate.
Hereís a look at my top 10 local sports stories for 2008.
1. S-C Football
The Tigers went 10-0 in the regular season, won the West Central Conference title and captured their second-ever district championship.
They rolled through the regionals and beat three-time Class 3 champion Harrisonville for the second time this season in the sectionals.
Their epic playoff run ended on Nov. 15 in Kearney where they lost 36-7.
Fans packed Jennie Jaynes Stadium to see most of the teamís big wins.
The Tigers beat Harrisonville 31-24 on Oct. 17† and defeated Grain Valley 49-13 the next week to win the district championship.
They beat Grandview 47-12 in the regionals and Harrisonville 47-23 in the sectionals.
The only big game S-C fans missed was the Tigersí 55-0 win over Warrensburg to complete a perfect West Central Conference season.
2. Sacred Heart volleyball
The Gremlins won their second straight Class 1 state championship in November.
The Gremlins beat Eminence 21-25, 25-22, 25-23 in the title game.
They finished 31-6-3, winning the Kaysinger Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
3. Smithton girls basketball
The Tigers rode the talent of Alina Voronenko and Heather Letourneau and a solid supporting cast to the Class 2 quarterfinals for the first time in school history.
Smithton went 25-2 in the regular season before beating Concordia 41-28 in the sectionals.†
The Tigers lost 66-57 to eventual state runner-up Westran in the quarterfinals.
4. New playoff format
Seven of the 14 high school football teams in The Democratís coverage area made the playoffs this season.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association decided to send the top two teams in each district to the postseason instead of just the district winner.
Concordia, Smith-Cotton, Tipton, Warsaw and Versailles won district titles.
Knob Noster and Sweet Springs advanced as district runners-up.
5. Tipton boys golf
The Cardinals won their second straight state championship last spring, beating Leeís Summit Christian by 29 strokes.
Trey Allison shared the individual state title with two others including Windsorís Josh Saddler.
Tipton, which won the 2007 title by two strokes over Sacred Heart, has captured four of the past six state crowns.
6. Knob Noster wrestling
The Panthers finished third in the Class 1 state tournament in February.
Kirk Luzano (112 pounds) and Cole Miller (171) won individual state titles.
Quincy Hawkins placed second at 135, Tony Demma fifth at 145, Jacob Hoagland fifth at 140 and Roman Vega sixth at 119.
7. Track standouts
Teams from The Democratís coverage area combined for 20 all-state medals in track and field last spring.
The top eight finishers in each event won medals.
Smith-Cotton medaled in two events in Class 4. Blake Price took sixth in the discus, and the Tigersí 800-meter relay team placed eighth.
In Class 1, Benjamin Calvert, of Smithton, finished third in the 3200, and Joey White, of Concordia, placed sixth in the 400 and eighth in the 800.
Knob Nosterís boys finished 10th in the Class 2 meet.
Joel Krause placed fourth in the 800. The Panthers were third in the 1600 relay and sixth in the 3200 relay. Cullen Rosine took fifth in the high jump.
Knob Nosterís girls took home three medals.
Christina Jones was eighth in the 100. The Panthers were fourth in the 400 relay and 800 relay.
Tiptonís Tanner Edwards finished third in the 200 and seventh in the 100.
Lori Mortenson, of Tipton, placed second in the 100 and eighth in the 200.
Teammate Chelsey Hainen was third in the high jump.
Windsorís Megan Sheffield took third in the triple jump.
In Class 3, Marshallís Cortni Ervin was third in the shot put, and teammate Kyle Farrelly was sixth in the shot put.
8. LA Raceway
A combination of the poor economy and bad weather forced LA Raceway to close early last summer.
Eight programs were rained out. Owner Mike White said that the track earns most of its money in those early races.
The track also eliminated the late models class to shorten the program and save money.
9. S-C boys soccer
The Tigers lost most of their players from their 2007 district championship team.
The Tigers still had enough talent left to repeat as West Central Conference champion, making what might have been considered a rebuilding year a successful one.
10. Cole Camp volleyball
The Cole Camp volleyball team reached the state semifinals for the sixth time in school history† and the first time since 1998.
The Bluebirds finished fourth in November after winning their 18th district championship and fourth straight.