Here are the Louisburg Sports Zone Top 10 Stories of the Year. In each brief explanation of the story, there will be a link to the full story of when the event actually happened. Thanks again for a successful 2015 and I am already looking forward to 2016.
Hogan Welch (left) and Wyatt Reece each qualified for state in their respective sports.
10. Welch and Reece qualify for state
LHS students Hogan Welch and Wyatt Reece each put together strong seasons in their respective sports.
In May, Welch qualified for the Class 4A state golf tournament after he shot an 85 at the Osawatomie Golf Course to become one of five individual qualifiers for state. It was the first time Welch had qualified for the state tournament and would shoot a 79 a week later in McPherson to finish 40th overall.
As for Reece, he qualified for the state cross country meet for the first time in his career in October. The Louisburg sophomore came in 13th overall and was also one of five individual qualifiers. A week later Reece traveled to Wamego to compete at the state meet and ran a 18:43 to come in 71st.
Louisburg’s Jimmy Dolan (left) and Mya Diacono each suffered major head injuries from an accident just days apart. The Louisburg community rallied together to help the two families.
9. Accidents bring Louisburg community together
Jimmy Dolan and Mya Diacono live in the same community but were worlds apart from each other.
Jimmy, a junior at Louisburg High School, loves to wrestle, hang out with friends and live the life of a teenager.
It was a far cry from 9-year-old Mya who loves soccer, horses and spending time with her fourth-grade friends at Broadmoor Elementary. In a town of less than 5,000 people, the two had never met.
Two tragic accidents changed all of that.
On Jan. 12, Jimmy lost control of his vehicle while driving to school and suffered a major brain injury. Just 42 days later, Mya was involved in an automobile accident just outside the Louisburg city limits that left her with the same severe brain trauma.
That was when the Louisburg community came together to help the two families cope with a burden no family should have to bear. Since then, both Jimmy and Mya are on the road to recovery thanks to the help of a lot of people.
Louisburg Soccer Club president Karin Olson (second from left), Louisburg HIgh School junior Maddie McDaniel (middle) and fundraising organizer DIana Moore (right) receive the WIN for KC Sprint Teamwork Award on Feb. 13 in Kansas City, Mo.
8. Girls soccer raises funds to start program, wins award
A fundraising committee made a big push to make sure there was a girls soccer program at Louisburg High School.
The committee raised $39,000 in almost a year’s time to fund the program for three years. Thanks to all the hard work, the group was also recognized by the WIN for KC organization. The Lady Cats’ soccer season will kickoff in late March.
Louisburg graduates Kody Cook (left) and Garrett Griffin are each winding down their careers with their respective Division I football programs.
7. Griffin, Cook wrap up college careers
Louisburg High School graduates Kody Cook and Garrett Griffin have lived the lives a lot of football fans could only hope for.
Both are wrapping up their Division I collegiate football careers and are doing it with a lot of success. Cook is living his dream with the Kansas State football team as he has made contributions at both the wide receiver and quarterback positions to help the Wildcats to the Liberty Bowl.
Griffin, on the other hand, battled through an injury-plagued senior season to help Air Force reach the Armed Forces Bowl and made several big plays at the tight end spot.
Louisburg quarterback Austin Terry was one of several players responsible for the Wildcats’ turnaround this season.
6. Wildcat football has big turnaround
After finishing with just three wins a year ago, the Louisburg High School football team put together a strong season in 2015 as they finished with seven wins.
Those seven victories put the Wildcats within a game of Paola for the Frontier League title and Louisburg also earned a spot in the regional playoffs before falling to Basehor-Linwood in a tight contest.
The Louisburg High School soccer team captured its first regional crown since 2010 after a 2-0 win over Coffeyville.
5. Louisburg soccer wins regional crown
Through much of the regular season, the Louisburg High School soccer team didn’t have much to cheer about.
The Wildcats had just four wins during the regular season, but they seemed to find the right chemistry in the postseason. Louisburg rattled off three consecutive wins in the postseason, including a 2-0 victory over Coffeyville-Field Kindley in the regional championship.
It was the Wildcats’ first regional title since 2010 and their sixth in the last 10 years.
Anders Vance won a regional title in the 285-pound weight class last February as he was one of five Wildcats to earn state bids.
4. Louisburg wrestling qualifies five for state
The Louisburg wrestling team hadn’t been a part of the state tournament since 2012 – that is before last season.
The Wildcats put together a breakout season as they qualified five for the state tournament, while Anders Vance won the regional crown at 285 pounds. Brenton Wrigley (195 pounds), Mason Koechner (220), Nathan Keegan (113) and Ryan Adams (138) all made the trip to Salina for the Class 4A state tourney.
Jeff Lohse (left) and Ben York each stepped away from their head coaching posts in 2015.
3. Long-time coaches resign from post
Jeff Lohse and Ben York had been fixtures in their respective sports for Louisburg High School, but both decided to call it quits this year.
Lohse, who spent the last 17 years as the head coach for the LHS baseball team, stepped down from his spot in May, citing personal reasons. Lohse led the Wildcats to two state tournament appearances.
York, who was the head coach when the boys soccer program started, also cited personal reasons for leaving the Wildcat soccer program after 13 years. York helped the Wildcats to six regional titles in the last 10 years.
Connor McMullen won the state title in the discus back in May and became Louisburg’s first track state champion since 2011.
2. McMullen wins state title in discus, Dennis medals in hurdles
Louisburg High School senior Connor McMullen finally got the state title in the discus he had been searching for.
McMullen recorded a throw of 173 feet, 1 inch on his final attempt to win the Class 4A state discus title in Wichita back in May. He would also medal eighth in the javelin with a toss of 164-02.
Fellow senior Sean Dennis also garnered a state medal as he took fourth in the 110-meter hurdles. The boys and girls team combined sent a total of 11 athletes to the state meet.
The Louisburg High School volleyball team finished third overall in 2015 after making it to state for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
1. Lady Cat volleyball takes third at state
The Louisburg High School volleyball team has made a habit of making the trip to Salina in recent years and this season was no exception.
This time, however, the Lady Cats finished with a victory.
After ending their season with a runner-up performance and two fourth-place finishes at state the last three years, Louisburg won its final match of the season in 2015 as it defeated Tonganoxie in the third-place match.
The Lady Cats qualified for the state tournament for the fifth time in the last six years.