Area high schools St. John and Hoisington are set to compete in opening Class 1A Divsion-I and 3A state tournaments, respectively, this afternoon.
St. John (32-6) is playing at Gross Memorial Coliseum on the Fort Hays State University campus in Hays.
Hoisington (31-8), meanwhile, is playing at the Bicentennial Center in Salina.
A perennial powerhouse, St. John has won back-to-back state championships, and has won all of the marbles in three of the previous four seasons — all under fifth-year head coach Trish Wade.
Hoisington, meanwhile, returns to the state tourney for the second straight season after finishing in second place in 2011.
The Lady Cardinals are guided by first-year head coach Jon Bingesser.
Hoisington, the fourth seed, opens against No. 5 seed Gypsum-Southeast of Saline (29-8) at 4:30, the first of three pool-play matches for the Lady Cards. They will take on Marysville (23-20) at 6:30 and at 8:30, they will collide with top-seeded Garden Plain (37-3) in their final match of the night.
Meanwhile, St. John’s initial match also starts at 4:30.
The fifth-seeded Lady Tigers start off with No. 4 Olpe (29-4), followed by a 5:30 encounter with top-seeded Dexter/Cedar Vale (37-2) and then wrapping up the opening day against No. 8 seed Scandia-Pike Valley (20-15).
Teams must win at least two matches to advance to Saturday’s championship rounds. Semifinals at both locales start at 2 p.m.