Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sports Talk: Top 10 Casey County Sports Stories of 2013

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Dec. 25, 2013.  
1. Track & Field State Champions: Micah Smith & Shelby Stringer
Casey has done well to bring home a single state champion from the KHSAA 2A State Track and Field meet every so often, but last spring both the girls' and boys' team saw a gold medalist. Micah Smith, a 2013 graduate, cleared 6'4" in the high jump to set a new school record and take first among the state competition. Stringer not only won the girls' pole vault, but her height of 10' tied the state record, in addition to re-breaking her CCHS school record.

2. Girls' tennis team wins 12th Regional Championship
The Lady Rebel tennis squad returned a team last spring that earned the regional runner-up title for the first time in school history in 2012. They made history again when the team advanced both of its singles competitors and both of its doubles teams to the semifinals of the regional tournament and went on to claim the 12th Region title for the first time, which meant the ladies competed at state as a team for the first time in school history.

3. Girls Cross Country team qualifies for state
After having only a single varsity runner in 2012, the girls' cross country team qualified a team for the 2A State meet for the first time since 2007. The team was composed of only three high school athletes, Kelsey Arthur, Tiara Cochran and Caitlyn Pollick, while the bulk of the team were seventh grade athletes: Hailee Byrd, Laura Cuin, Breanna Davison, Noel Davison and Jenna Vaughn. With no seniors, the team hopes for a repeat in 2014.

4. CCHS adds girls’ soccer team
The high school added a new sport, girls’ varsity soccer. The last new sport came in 2003 with the cross country team. With a small roster and a limited number of games, the team, coached by Jeremy Franks, picked up two wins in its first season and qualified for the district tournament.

5. Lady Rebel basketball earns back-to-back district titles.
For only the second time in school history, the Lady Rebel basketball team earned back-to-back district titles. The last time the feat was accomplished was 2003 and 2004 when Casey County was part of the 45th District, rather than the 47th District. The team went on to compete in the 12th Region finals, facing Lincoln County for the second year in a row. The Lady Rebs narrowly missed a trip to the Sweet Sixteen Tournament when they lost by two in overtime.

6. Coach Randy Salyers announces upcoming retirement
Lady Rebel head coach Randy Salyers earned a spot in the 12th Region Coaches Association Hall of Fame as an athlete last March during the regional tournament. Shortly thereafter, the coach announced that the 2013-14 season would be his last year coaching the CCHS girls' team, ending a career that began in the fall of 1995 and has seen over 300 wins.

7. Maze Stallworth hired as new boys' basketball coach
After a two-year stint as boys' basketball head coach, Darry Burkett was fired from the position last spring. Maze Stallworth was hired as the new coach over the summer and began his first season with the Rebels this past fall.

8. Softball team earns district runner-up
After a season of only three total wins in 2012, the Lady Rebels advanced to the 47th District finals and took home the runner-up trophy after losing by one run to Rockcastle County. It was the team's first trip to the 12th Region tournament since 2005.

9. VolleyRebs earn district runner-up
The VolleyRebs continue to represent Casey County well with yet another trip to the 12th Region tournament. They earned the 47th District runner-up title after falling to Pulaski County in the championship game. They prevailed over Danville at the region and then fell to Wayne County in the second round, who went on to become the regional champs.

10. Boys' tennis regional runner-up
The boys' team took the 12th Region runner-up title, something somewhat unexpected.. 2012 was the first year since 2007 that the Rebels did not earn the regional runner-up or championship title. The team, which graduated its only 2012 state contender, came back with four seniors that led the team’s regional performance with three seniors advancing to the state tournament.

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