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Spirits High
Spirits High GBHS Fall sports teams look back on season and forward to the next
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GBHS Girls Golf Coach Travis McAtee honors six State qualifiers, Hanney Sanders, Micayla Bownes, Carly Dreiling, Kaily Griffith, Taylor Hommertzheim, and Allison Neeland. (Not in order.) - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Editorial note:  In Tuesday’s paper, the accomplishments of the football and tennis programs were highlighted.  The spotlight today shines on the remaining programs.

On Monday night, Great Bend High School Panther athletes and their parents attended the 30th Fall Sports Banquet sponsored by the Panther Booster Club at the Great Bend Convention Center.  GBHS Athletic Director David Meter spoke first, sharing with the full-house his sense of pride in all the young players had accomplished over the season, and noting that some teams, including soccer, volleyball and football would learn All State honor status in the next couple of weeks.

Cheer and Pep
“We’re looking forward to cheering for the football play-off game this week,” said cheer sponsor Emily Mulch.  She shared about the cheer squad’s decision to support the freshmen football team this year, with freshmen and sophomore members cheering at both the freshmen and junior varsity games Monday nights.  
“Our varsity cheerleaders travelled through heat, lightning and rain this season,” she said. Some cheerleaders suffered concussions while others suffered sprained wrists as they worked on choreography and stunt and dance routines at 6 a.m. practices all season.
Mulch is also Pep Club sponsor, and later returned to the stage.
“This year, we had the best pep assembly ever kicking off the season” she said.  She offered credit to the football team, who made a point of fully participating in the audience participation portion of the program.  
The Pep Club board this year has inspired the highest participation in dress-up days in several years, and the student section at games has made into the top ratings on “Catch it Kansas” for four weeks, she said.  
“This Friday, the board has planned a black-out theme,” she shared.  “I want it to be solid black, so it’s a scary, scary place for Maize South to visit.”  

Girls Golf
Golf Coach Travis MacAtee’s girls golf team is growing, he said.  The fledgling team started the season with only three seasons worth of combined experience, and eight first-year players, who he said he was more than happy to out.  
“When we started, we were realistic in our expectations,” he said.  “The year started out bad, and as far as our WAC standing, we can go nowhere but up.  But we’re seeing improvement, with 20 to 40 yard shots.”
And while they were started with little experience, one sophomore, Halley Sanders, and five juniors, Mikayla Bownes, Darly Dreiling, Kaily Griffith, Taylor Hammertzheim, and allison Neeland, all qualified for State.  
The team played at Dubbs Dread Golf Club earlier this year, he said.  The team, at first nervous about the course, and while it was a difficult course and a windy day, his team saw good players and teams there, and are looking forward to making it to state next year.  With no seniors on the team, MacAtee had no one he needed to say goodbye to this year, and is confident the team will put in time on the course next summer.  

GBHS Soccer Head Coach Gustavo Prieto thanked assistant coaches Rodrigo Adame and Aldo rodriguez and introduced each team member by name.  
He recognized junior Erik Martinez, who made 10 goals in one game, breaking a school record, and had gotten 20 total goals in the season, setting another record and “saving the team several times.”   
freshman Carlos “Danny” Franco was also recognized for his record year with 12 goals and 9 assists.  Prieto shared that he has been Franco’s coach since the kicker was six years old.  In addition to being a valuable soccer player for GBHS, he is also a noted kicker on the GBHS varsity football team. When he was introduced, the football team cheered for him.   
Finally, Casey Rehm was recognized as a senior and a first year player who, he said was “by the end of the season one of the best goalkeepers I’ve ever seen.”
He invited Rehm to the podium, where the young man named his parents and shared that he will be attending college at University of Minnesota.

Recognizing assistant coaches Melissa Watson, Kurt Schaub and Natalie Boss for their efforts with players this year, GBHS Volleyball Head Coach Kelsey Perry said at the beginning of the season, the team motto was summed up in one word, “family.”  Upperclassmen mentored underclassmen. The varsity team and varsity moms attended the University of Colorado team camp over the summer.  But by September, the team was disappointed with where they were and talked about where they wanted to be.  In October, they came back with a new team motto, “Own October,” and that’s just what they did.  They successfully defeated Hillsboro at home in their biggest match of the season.  
“It felt like two seasons in one,” she said.  Quoting a meme from Proactive Coaching, “Good teams don’t have an “in group” and an “out group”. Leadership must prevent this by keeping their arms around the whole team and insisting the players do as well. Everyone matters on great teams,” Perry ended her presentation.  She also wished the Panther Football team good luck on Friday.
“We will be there for you like you’ve been there for us all year,” she said.    

Cross Country
Todd Kaiser, the GBHS Cross Country head coach, first wished the football team good luck on Friday, and praised Assistant Coach Carley Wells for her “outstanding work with the girls,” all six of whom were freshmen who were pressed into service with the varsity team, and who would be travelling to State for the first time in three years.  
Boys are ranked 4th and girls 5th in the WAC, he said, and the girls took 3rd at Regional to earn their spot at State.  The Boys missed State, coming in 4th, with hopes of making the third time a charm next year, Kaiser said.
He also recognized team members Karen Razo, 1st All WAC and a Regional medalist, Kerby Depenbusch, 1st All WAC, and Eric Vazquez, Honorable Mention All WAC.  After saying farewell to seniors Abby Stiner, Ashley Weingard, Chandler Miller and Jeffery Muiruri, Kaiser said he anticipates withdrawal from cross country, but looks forward to the team regrouping for winter conditioning for track.  
Over and over, coaches of each sport thanked members from other teams for their support and attendance at one another games and matches throughout the season.  It has been a focus of the high school athletic department to build school spirit and cohesiveness this year.  Winter sports training begins the Monday following Thanksgiving break, Nov. 30.  Programs include basketball, swimming, bowling, wrestling, dance line.