Times they are a-changin’

SEK to go back to single-round basketball play

Yes, times they are a-changin’ for two area high school leagues.
The Southeast Kansas League, which Iola High School is a member, made a turnaround decision this spring. After a three-year stay at a double round-robin format, which includes the 2009-2010 season, the SEK will go back to a single round-bin format for league competition.
It’s not unprecedented in the SEK. The league played the double round-robin format from 1948=49 to 1981-82 then switched to the single round of league contests. That went from the 1982-83 season to 2006-2007.
“The league administrators agreed on a single round format. I talked to our coaches here at Iola and they both agreed that they’d like to see it go back to the single round format,” said Martin Bambick, IHS athletic director. “It’s about flexibility of scheduling. We’re in a good location to pick up games against schools to the north like Anderson County, Osawatomie or even with teams from the Tri-Valley League.”
Becky Carlson, Fillies’ head coach, and Steve Taylor, Mustangs’ head coach, told the Register they were in favor of the change for the 2010-2011 season.
“I think the single round format is better because there are so many 4A schools in our league. There’s the possibility of playing a team four times in a year with the double round-robin format, depending on what 4A substate we’re assigned,” Carlson said.
“It’s good for your program to play other schools out of your league. So we’re hoping to see some different schools on our schedule in two years.”
Taylor echoed Carlson’s views on the change.
“Playing other teams outside of the league allows us to see good competition and find out just where we need to be to compete for postseason play,” Taylor said. “It can only make a team better.”
Bambick said there had been talk of finding a preseason tournament to enter or establish another Iola preseason tournament. Iola High held the Iola Lions’ Club Invitational for 22 years. The final one was held to begin the 2006-2007 season.
“We’ve talked about maybe a four-school round-robin type of classic. We’re looking at options for the 2010-2011 season,” Bambick said.

THE THREE RIVERS LEAGUE also has made a change taking effect in the 2010-2011 season. Northeast High School of Arma will become a member of the TRL.
Northeast, a charter member of the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League (CNC), is the smallest school in that league. Joining the TRL will allow Northeast to play against schools its size — 2A and 1A — instead of Class 3A and 4A teams.
The addition will boost the TRL 11-man football division to four teams. At this time, Uniontown, Pleasanton and Oswego play 11 -man football in the Three Rivers League. The league’s other five schools — Marmaton Valley, Crest, Altoona-Midway, Chetopa and St. Paul — play 8-man football.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: Man oh man, what a whirlwind week this has been for area high school sports. And there’s more to come.
First, Monday brought news of three high schools’ qualifying golfers for state tournaments. There are two Marmaton Valley High golfers and one from Uniontown High headed to next Wednesday’s Kansas Class 2A State Golf Tournament in Salina. The entire Yates Center High team qualified for the 2009 Kansas Sand Greens State Tournament Tuesday in Tipton.
Then Tuesday night came cheers out of Humboldt and Garnett. Humboldt High’s Lady Cubs won their fourth straight regional softball championships — one in Class 3A and the last three in Class 2-1A — on their home field. Iola High’s Fillies captured their first-ever Class 4A regional softball championship at Garnett.
Wednesday saw Class 2-1A baseball regional tournament play at Yates Center. Four area teams were involved but it was Humboldt High’s Cubs claiming their first-ever regional baseball championship.
The Humboldt teams will be in Class 2-1A state tournaments in Emporia next Friday and Saturday. Iola’s softball team will be in the Class 4A state tournament in Salina at the same time.
Today, all seven area high schools have track athletes competing in respectively regional track meets attempting to qualify for the Kansas state track meet in Wichita, next Friday and Saturday.