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At the Mike
A WAC champion and some summer fashion
Mike - At the Mike

 BY MIKE MARZOLF

Special to the Tribune

Congrats to Randy Beck and the Great Bend High baseball team. WAC Champions. While the Panthers ruled the WAC from 2003-09, titles have been harder to win since. After a string of titles during that span, Great Bend won in 2013 then again this year.

It was a title Coach Beck and the Panthers knew was in their grasp when the club loaded the bus for Dodge City Tuesday. The Red Demons were winless in the WAC. Great Bend was 5-1. It was the final WAC games for the Panthers. Two wins and they clinched at least a share of the title.

But closing out can be tough. GBHS was in control most the way during an 8-6 win in the first game. The Panthers had to scrap and claw for a 1-0 win in the second game to snag the title. Jaxx Hillman provided the game-winning home run in the third and Bryce Lytle threw a 4-hit shutout on the mound. The contributions to the clinching win, however, were numerous.

Jared Maneth threw out a would-be base stealer in the fifth. After that Dodge loaded the bases. There was a pickoff at first and a runner thrown out at home. It was not your typical boring, 1-0 game.

Now the Panthers can have some fun before the post-season starts. Busy fun, though. Great Bend heads to the Diamond Classic this weekend in Hays for four games. Then a twinbill Monday and a doubleheader at Larned Thursday before regionals start the following week.

Prep thoughts

Welcome Tim Brooks. Brooks is the newest, newest member of the Great Bend High coaching staff. It is the second major hire for Dave Meter in a matter of a few short months. Not long ago Erin Beck was hired to take over the football program.

Brooks is a veteran in the coaching circles in Kansas prep basketball. He spent last year at Cimarron High School after spending 10 years at Manhattan High School. In two of those 10 years, the Indians advanced to the 6A State Tournament.

Brooks is also familiar with the WAC, spending 16 seasons on the sidelines with longtime coach Dennis Hamilton at Dodge City. Welcome, Coach Brooks.

Former athlete/coach update

Another milestone in the comeback. Leevan Sands is without a doubt one of my favorite athletes I got know coming through Barton. He has proven to be one of the best triple jumpers in the world over the last 15 years. 

Superman won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. He also has a bronze from the 2003 World Championships and was fourth in 2005 and 2009 at the World Championships. 

At the 2012 Olympics he was in second place after the qualifying round. He slipped to fourth with still three jumps to go. On that fourth jump in the finals, Sands suffered a devastating injury. He ruptured a patella tendon. He would finish fifth. It was an injury that would have made most 31-year old jumpers with his accomplishments say “it’s been a good career. I’m done”.

But not Superman. He worked hard to come back with the 2016 Olympics as a goal. He is there. He earned a spot last year when he surpassed the needed qualifying mark and will be taking place in a ridiculous fourth straight Olympic Games.

This weekend he takes part in a Diamond League event. The first time since 2012 prior to the injury. The Diamond League includes the best in the world in series of meets going head-to-head.

Sands landed Qatar Wednesday. He will jump tomorrow. Congratulations and good luck, Leevan.

Around Campus

The spring semester is all but over. This is the last week of classes with finals starting next week. The 46th annual commencement ceremony will take place May 13.

The week of finals and graduation is always a very busy week. It concludes with an extremely busy Friday. With all the school work behind them, Friday is day of ceremonies and celebration. Pinning ceremonies, honors celebrations, ambassador awards, cordings and so on. 

Then the summer begins for the college. A much slower pace but classes still take place as summer session start back up in June. Learning never stops on the hill.

And finally

Warmer weather is on the way. In fact, it has been here once or twice already. That means it’s about time to break out the summer clothing. 

Now I have always been great at fashion. Perhaps a better way of stating it would be I often times have my own fashion.

For instance, I believe it is okay to wear black socks with sandals. They are also okay with crocs. I laughed at crocs until I wore them. They are absolutely the most comfortable shoe ever invented.

I have been wearing my black socks and sandals for some time now. Like 30 years or so. I have been an almost exclusive black socks wearer since the 80’s. I will wear them with anything.

While this has never bothered me, my wife and daughter often walk down different aisles when we are shopping. So I gather it bothers them. Which, also, doesn’t bother me.

Perhaps this is why I stayed single as long as I did. 

But in the At the Mike world of summer fashion, black socks and crocs or sandals are okay.

Also okay for summer fashion is the Hawaiian shirt. It is especially fashionable worn unbuttoned with your black socks and crocs while doing yard work. I get many looks in the yards in this outfit. I know they are ogling me. I’m okay with that.

After all, I figure if the today’s youth can wear cowboy boots and a skirt or shorts then I can wear my black socks and crocs.

Next up, I’m going to start working on that mullet.