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At the Mike
Nothing like a great first impression
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 Dean Wade is used to being the center of attention. He is used accolades after starring at St. John High School for four seasons and leading the Tigers to state titles.

He didn’t take long to garner the attention of the teams in the Big 12. The Kansas State freshman showed he can make the transition from 2A high school basketball in Kansas to major college ball.

Wade scored eight points in 21 minutes in the season opener then went for 17 points in 34 minutes on 7-of-10 shooting in his second game. It could be a fun four years local fans watching him make a name for himself at Kansas State.

Prep thoughts

The last of the area football seasons came to an end Friday with Hoisington’s loss to Hillsboro. It was a pretty darn good year for Barton County – a combined 33-9 record and three playoff teams. Of the nine losses, seven were to playoff teams. Eight-man will hold their state titles this weekend in Newton. Why the state puts them on an 11-man field with lines everywhere I don’t get, but oh well. 

I know it’s a small out-of-the-way town but Greensburg has an artificial turf 8-man football field. It would make a great venue for the state title games. There isn’t the same need for hotels for state football games as other state events but Dodge City and Pratt are just down the road and could provide the needed hotels. 

Anyway, here is my predictions for the weekend. Spearville will win Eight-Man I fairly easily. Victoria will win Eight-Man II in a rematch from last year’s title game with Attica-Argonia but it will be a much closer game this time around.

Former athlete/coach update

Ray Bechard has had some great seasons as the volleyball coach at Kansas. None, though, have been quite like this one. Kansas volleyball is in the midst of a record-setting season. Easily one of the school’s finest. 

The Jayhawks are 23-2 on the season. Both losses have come to Texas – 4-time defending Big 12 champion, Texas. The Longhorns, ranked fifth in the nation, lead the Big 12 at 12-1 and 22-2. KU is next at 11-2. Kansas is ranked No. 9. 

Bechard’s team started the season 19-0 before a loss at then No. 2 Texas in straight sets. The 19-0 start was a school record, nearly doubling the previous 10-0 start in 2001 – another Bechard team. The 19-game winning streak broke the old record of 15 straight in 1991. At 19-0, Kansas was ranked No. 7 in the nation – the highest ranking in school history.

Kansas just missed payback a week ago, losing a 5-set battle at home against Texas for the Big 12 out-right lead. The match was played in front of a yet another sellout crowd at KU’s home floor – the Horejsi Center. Texas ended up winning a key third set 30-28 and won the final set 15-9. It was the 24th straight time Texas beat Kansas. 

The Jayhawk have three more regular season matches left before the NCAA Tournament. There is no post-season conference tournament in volleyball. Here to a great finish and a deep run in the NCAA tournament for the former Barton coach.

Around campus

The first semester is winding down quickly. A short week next week due to Thanksgiving. That is followed by a full week of classes before finals are here. That means there are just nine school days left before finals.

One of the neat activities during finals is the late night breakfast. It is held the first Monday of finals, Dec. 7 this year, from 9-10 p.m.

And finally

I am not a superstitious guy. I wore number 13 playing basketball. I’m not afraid of black cats. I like Friday the 13th.

But when it comes to my sports teams – well, that is a different story. If one of my teams is doing well, especially in the post-season, I try to do and maybe even wear the same things. Heck, my old cocker spaniel, Spot, even had a shirt I would put on him for luck if needed.

I thought back and chuckled this past weekend of some of those moments. My friend Steve went out of town for the weekend to visit his son in the Army and I took care the family’s dogs. 

One of them is getting up there in age and doesn’t have much time left. Good ol’ Angie. The happy, go-lucky mutt. She has experienced several of those superstitious moments. During some KU NCAA tournament games across a few garage venues, Angie has been put to use. 

Need a rally, call for Angie to come sit on my lap. That is not working, have her lay on the floor, by Frosty the Snowman. He has been pulled down from the Christmas supply in the rafters and plugged in for luck – then unplugged for a while. Wouldn’t want to use all the good luck at once, right?

Then plug in Santa. Then alternate. Or I get out the chair and let Angie have it to herself. Maybe that will work. Take my hat off. Put it back on. Whatever it would take. 

I always try and do my part to get KU a win. And good ol’ Angie has been a part of it many times.