Photo gallery: 2018 LHS Fall Sports Pep Rally

For the 21st consecutive year, Louisburg High School faculty, students, their families and community members invaded the LHS gymnasium in order to get the school year started off on the right foot.

Sponsored by First National Bank, the annual fall sports pep rally brought everyone together as LHS organizations and sports teams were introduced to a crowd of on-lookers after being fed hamburgers and hot dogs thanks to Chris Cakes.

The Wildcat sports programs will kick things off next week as the LHS boys soccer team opens their season Tuesday when they travel to Fort Scott. The Louisburg volleyball team, fresh off a runner-up finish at state last season, will begin their year at home Tuesday against Paola.

Louisburg cross country opens its season Thursday in Garnett, while the Wildcat football hosts Spring Hill in their opener on August 31.

Three of the teams will have scrimmages or open practices Friday. The volleyball team will hold a scrimmage at 4 p.m. and soccer is at 5. Football was scheduled to have a scrimmage at 6 p.m., but that has been cancelled due to wet weather. The Wildcats will hold an open practice at the same time at the practice field.

Here are some photos from tonight’s festivities. Best of luck to all the Wildcat programs this season.

Vohs hits the mark at national shooting competition

Louisburg High School sophomore Konnor Vohs had a successful performance at the Junior World Skeet Nationals earlier this month in San Antonio as he finished in the top five in two individual events and took fifth in the overall competition. 


When Konnor Vohs stood side by side with some of the best young marksmen in the nation, one would think he might be a little nervous.

Vohs, a sophomore at Louisburg High School, made the journey to the Junior World Skeet Nationals in San Antonio on August 3 and was a little curious on how he stacked up against his competition.

He did more than hold his own.

Vohs finished in fourth place in his age division in the 28 gauge event and also finished fifth in 410 shotgun. After it was all complete, Vohs also found out he took fifth overall in his class on the combined scores for all the events he shot that weekend. More than 150 took part in the national competition that range from ages 10 through college.

“I was hoping to improve my average scores, and of course try to place too, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do because of all the talent that was there,” Vohs said. “I was very pleased with the results. There was a lot of great competition and I also improved all of my averages in all of the events.

“I wasn’t nervous, as I have been practicing and shooting almost year-round and I have done competitions all summer and some registered shoots. When it is time for competition, you have to embrace the process and shoot like you do in practice.”

At junior nationals, Vohs competed in the Champs of Champs, which consists of shots from a 28 gauge, 20 gauge, 12 gauge and then 410, and scored a 95 out of 100.

In separate individual events, Vohs scored a 94/100 in 28 gauge, 92/100 in 12 gauge, 91/100 in 20 gauge and 89/100 in 410. He also took part in a doubles event, which is shooting targets at each station when it comes out of the houses at the same time and you have to hit both targets.

Konnor Vohs aims at a skeet during the Junior World Skeet National competition earlier this month in San Antonio.

“Of course you want to shoot a perfect score of 100, but to score in the mid to high 90s is my goal,” Vohs said. “I was very happy and thankful for what I achieved, and the opportunity to shoot in the Junior World Skeet Nationals.”

Vohs spends many evenings or weekends honing his craft and is currently a member of the Kansas City Crushers competition team, in which he travels to events around Kansas. He recently went to an event in Sparta, Illinois, where he came home with trophies and medals.

His family has been a big reason for his involvement in the sport. He started shooting at age 7, where he would hunt deer and turkeys with his grandfather. Three years ago, Vohs started competitive shooting when aunt and uncle, Deb and Ken Selzer, who asked him to be on their team for the Shoot for the Cure for Cystic Fibrosis – an event the Selzer’s have co-chaired for several years.

He recently competed in the Shoot for the Cure event at the Power Creek Shooting Club in Lenexa on Aug. 11 and achieved a personal best in sporting clays as he shot 98 out of 100 clays and will compete in another registered shoot next month in Lincoln, Neb.

“The best thing about this sport is that anyone can do it,” Vohs said. “It doesn’t matter on your gender or athletic ability, all you have to have is gun safety knowledge. This sport is constantly growing and participation in kids has increased 35 percent in the last year.

“I just want to thank my parents, grandparents and coaches for giving me this amazing opportunity and believing in me,” Vohs said. “I just want to thank my Papa Joe for all the time he takes to help me become a better shooter. I am so blessed to have such supportive people in my life and always cheering me on.”

And if Vohs has anything to say about, there will be plenty to cheer about it in the future as well.

Hinkle ready to take on role as LHS activities director

Walking into Scott Hinkle’s office, it doesn’t appear he started a new job two weeks ago.

The moving boxes are mostly gone. His desk is organized with everything in its place, along with a calendar crammed full of upcoming events.

Hinkle is not shy to tell people about his love for the Boston Red Sox. Sitting on one wall are two older chairs from Fenway Park, along other memorabilia.

The one thing that Hinkle hasn’t caught up on is his efforts to get some purple gear. An avid Kansas Jayhawk fan, he hasn’t had need to purchase any purple flair in the past. Seems like that will change shortly as he was hired as the new activities director and assistant principal at Louisburg High School earlier this summer.

“I have been a Jayhawk fan all my life,” Hinkle said. “It will be a little weird to wear purple that is for sure, but I am sure I will get used to it. Before I left my old job, people found out where I was going so they started giving me little gifts with purple on it, like markers and stuff like that. They definitely got a kick out of that.”

Hinkle takes over for Jeremy Holloway, who was promoted to principal at LHS and becomes the third activities director in as many years to take over that spot.

“My wife has family in Kansas City and I have family in Wichita and so we were looking to come this way,” Hinkle said. “I had a couple friends that told me that the Louisburg position had opened up. I had heard of Louisburg a long time ago. I actually coached at Ottawa University in the early 90s and was familiar with the area. I came up, interviewed and here I am. It has obviously worked out well.

“Everyone has been so helpful and friendly and it is a good time to be coming to Louisburg. I am excited to be here.”

Before taking the job in Louisburg, Hinkle had spent the last 22 years in the Liberal school district in a variety of roles. He served as the boys high school basketball coach, along with nine years as an activities director, a year as the head girls basketball coach at the local community college and last year he served as assistant principal at the high school.

Hinkle graduated from Valley Center High School, and went on from there to earn his bachelor’s degree from Friends University, where he played basketball, and his master’s from the University of Kansas.

Basketball has always been a passion for Hinkle, but during his time as activities director at Liberal, he had a chance to learn the life of other sports as well.

“Liberal changed a lot from when I first got there in the mid 90s when they were a football and track powerhouse,” Hinkle said. “There were just athletes galore, but the culture kind of changed. We were really good in soccer and decent in track and volleyball. We still had good kids and good athletes, but it was a big transition as far as sports go when I first got there. My kids grew up there and being involved and being able to watch their events was something that has always appealed to me.

“Basketball has always been in my blood. Other than my nine years as athletic director, I have coached in some capacity and I am a big basketball fan. Obviously, being an athletic director I am just a big sports fan in general.”

Still new in town, Hinkle is still trying to get to know his coaching staff, but he is excited about the situation he is walking into with the Wildcats finishing as state runner-ups in volleyball and girls soccer last season. Several cross country, golf, wrestling and track athletes also earned state medals.

However, if there is one thing he wanted to relay to everyone is that he wants to give his coaches the freedom to run their programs.

“I want to let the coaches, coach,” he said. “I am not going to be the guy that says this is how we did things in Liberal and I am not that type of leader. If it comes to the point where they need some advice, I want to be a resource for them. I don’t want to be someone that is looking for something.

“I have met a few of the coaches. I have let them know that I am here if they need anything. I have stopped by the weight room to speak to a few coaches and some have stopped by to introduce themselves. I am still learning names and faces. We have a coaches meeting on the 10th and I will see and learn a lot more about them then.”

With all the success the Wildcats had last season in the sports arena, Hinkle is happy to be a part of the LHS family and is learning new things about the town every day.

“I have heard all types of things,” he said. “I have heard they take football pretty seriously here. I know they were state runner-up in volleyball and girls soccer last year and that is an exciting thing to walk into. I think expectations are obviously high in those sports, but I think everyone always has high expectations. I am not going to do anything different than normal and I am just going to sit back and observe for a while and take it all in.”

Hinkle will experience some different things along with his new position. This season, the Frontier League will welcome three new teams – Bonner Springs, Piper and Tonganoxie – and will say goodbye to De Soto.

Another big change will be the postseason formats with several sports as the Kansas State High School Activities Association reshuffled their classification system, eliminating Class 4A-Division II.

“With the changes in the league, the classification system and being a new AD, it is probably a good time to be coming on,” Hinkle said. “The learning curve is going to be the same for all of us.

“I walked into a good situation for scheduling because (Holloway) already had everything all taken care of,” he said. “I think the dynamics of the league are going to change. Liberal’s former girls basketball coach is the coach at Piper and I know a little bit about them. As far as the programs and rivalries, that is something that is going to come with time.”

Even with all the changes in his life – moving, starting a new job, getting to know new faces – Hinkle is ready for what lies ahead and the staff at Louisburg has helped with that transition.

“It has been a whirlwind and it has been information overload,” he said. “It is a lot of the same things I did in Liberal as athletic director, I just haven’t done it for the last five years. Being an assistant principal at Liberal last year, I think, helped me prepare for the principal side.

“People have just gone out of their way to be helpful. From the administration to the custodial staff to the secretaries, everyone has been super helpful. When I was out around town, people have welcomed me and it has been a friendly feel everywhere I have been.”

LHS cheer shines at NCA camp, earns bid to nationals

The Louisburg High School cheerleading team poses with their awards following the NCA camp in Overland Park in late June. Members of the team are (front row, from left) Leia Shaffer, Shaylor Whitham, Addie Katzer, Billie Casebeer, Kaitlyn Lewer, Hallie Hutsell; (middle row) coach Dana Shaffer, an NCA camp buddy, Lexi Pena, Brooklyn Mitchell, Lauren Vincent, Gabby Tappan, Ashlyn McManigal; (back row) Cecilia Bindi, Sammy McDaniel, Anna Morrison, Jadyn Amren, Lacie Kallevig, Andrea Gaza, Brielle White, Jayden Trester, Eleanor Willming. 


School isn’t even in session yet, but the Louisburg High School cheerleading team is already off to a great start to its 2018-19 season.

The Wildcat cheerleaders competed at the National Cheerleading Association (NCA) camp at the Overland Park Convention Center from June 26-28 and brought home a handful of awards. The three-day camp saw 14 teams and more than 300 cheerleaders compete for awards and a spot in the high school nationals.

Louisburg was able to get both.

The LHS cheer squad earned the Superior Blue Ribbon in Band Dance, Cheer and Chant. The Wildcats also earned the spirit stick all three days, along with All-Around Team Best Band Dance on the final day of camp.

More importantly, Louisburg earned a bid to the NCA High School National Championship competition in late January 2019 in Dallas, Texas.

“We couldn’t have done any better at camp,” Louisburg coach Dana Shaffer said. “These girls amazed me and made Louisburg proud. The girls really shined bright this year and as a coach I think this is going to be our year.”

Louisburg also earned the Herkie Award all three days, which is the highest award a team can receive for sportsmanship. The award is voted on by the campers and staff.

“All the awards we received are amazing, but the one that makes me smile the most is the Herkie Award,” Shaffer said. “There is only one of those given at camp and we earned that honor.”

Several cheerleaders also earned individual honors. Leia Shaffer, Billie Casebeer, Ashlyn McManigal and Hallie Hutsell were selected to the All-American Team.

“At an NCA camp you have to be nominated to try out and we had six girls nominated in Leia Shaffer, Billie Casebeer, Ashyln McManigal, Kaitlyn Lewer, Jayden Trester and Hallie Hutsell,” coach Shaffer said. “Leia, Billie, Ashlyn and Hallie made the All-American Team. Fifty girls at the camp were nominated and 17 made it and four of them are from Louisburg. The all-americans can choose to attend several events in the future.”

Members of the Wildcat team that competed are Leia Shaffer, Shaylor Whitham, Addie Katzer, Billie Casebeer, Kaitlyn Lewer, Hallie Hutsell, Lexi Pena, Brooklyn Mitchell, Lauren Vincent, Gabby Tappan, Ashlyn McManigal, Cecilia Bindi, Sammy McDaniel, Anna Morrison, Jadyn Amren, Lacie Kallevig, Andrea Gaza, Brielle White, Jayden Trester and Eleanor Willming.

Now, the Wildcat cheerleaders are focused on the upcoming season and the national competition in about six months. They are excited for what the future holds.

“We are really looking forward to NCA Nationals,” coach Shaffer said. “We are ready to compete and looking forward to the challenge.”

Harding breaks, matches Wildcat weightlifting records

Louisburg’s Dalton Harding recently tied the all-time bench press record at Louisburg High School with a press of 365 pounds, and also broke the one for his 185-pound weight class that was 25 years old.


Dalton Harding walked into the weight room on his final day at Louisburg High School and was going to give it one more try.

It was one more attempt at a record he had spent countless hours working toward. One more attempt at a shot of leaving his mark at the school.

Since he was a sophomore, Harding had wanted an opportunity to at least match the school’s bench press record. Just a week prior, he had come up five pounds short of the 365-pound goal.

“I was just so disappointed when I tried it the week before and it was getting in my head that maybe I won’t be able to get it,” Harding said. “I worked for almost three years to get that.”

So, he laid down on the bench, gathered himself and put his hands on the bar. Harding got one more chance at the record – a chance that was three years in the making.

With spotters on each side of him, and weightlifting coach Ty Pfannenstiel looking on, Harding lifted all 365 pounds up in the air and then back down again.

The record was his – well, sort of.

His 365-pound bench press tied the school record for all weight classes, which was set by Joe Nieman in 2004, but Nieman was in the 250-plus weight division – more than 65 pounds heavier than Harding.

A week earlier Harding broke Richie Wrigley’s old record of 350 pounds in the 185-pound weight class that was set back in 1993.

“I was so happy,” Harding said. “I got 360 the week before and I just couldn’t get the 365 and I came back and it was a lot easier that day. I’m not sure why…maybe I got more sleep or something. I’m just really glad to get my name up on that board.”

The last three years have been difficult for Harding ever since an injury basically sidelined him from playing sports from his sophomore year on.

During the junior varsity football season in October of 2015, Harding played on the offensive line and suffered a major knee injury. He tore his ACL, part of his MCL and tore his meniscus in half.

Then after completing his therapy from that surgery, he tore his meniscus again the following May.

“It was really bad because the second tear was about two months after I was done with therapy,” Harding said. “Then I had surgery and started the whole process all over again. It wasn’t a fun time. At least I could walk after the second surgery because after the first surgery I was in a wheelchair for 8-9 weeks. I couldn’t really do anything.

“It just got to the point where I couldn’t walk anymore,” Harding said of his second tear. “Part of the meniscus actually would break into pieces and flop backwards. My leg would lock up at an angle too and we would have to force it back into place. There is about 40 percent of my meniscus left, and if I ever tear it again, it is a full knee replacement.”

It was a scary thought for a high school teenager who just wanted to play sports.

The fear of another knee injury pushed him away from football and Harding had to make a difficult decision at a young age.

“It was tough because football is like a brotherhood,” Harding said. “It is just a big family and that was hard. I got through it though. My favorite sport was baseball and that didn’t really work out either. I kept thinking about playing football my senior year, but I just decided it was too big of a risk. I don’t even lift legs anymore. I can do it for a couple days, but then it just kills me.”

So, with sports out of the question, Harding hit the weights even harder. He would work out at school, but did a lot of stuff at home with his father Dennis and brother Garrett.

His knee injury prevents him from using his legs a lot to lift, which is why he stick with the bench press.

“I use the workout program that my dad used when he was in school,” Dalton said. “He still has the sheets printed out and laminated at home and me and my brother still go by that. I got the upper body part and my brother Garrett has tree trunk legs and he can leg press about 1,000 pounds. Weightlifting is just kind of in our blood.”

That 365-pound mark is also a special one as that is what his father Dennis bench pressed in college and he wanted to at least match his dad – if not break it in high school.

“I definitely want to beat him, for sure,” Dalton said. “My goal since I was young was to get over that, but to get 365 with everything I have gone through really means a lot to me. Then when I saw the records on the Louisburg boards, it gave me even more motivation to reach that. Hopefully my name will stay up there for quite a while.”

Although his days at Louisburg High School are now behind him, Harding isn’t planning on giving up weightlifting. Shortly, he will make his way to Beloit to become a diesel technician, but plans on increasing that bench press number as much as possible.

“There isn’t a whole lot to do in Beloit so I will have a lot of time to lift,” he said. “Hopefully in a year or so I can get up to 385.”

Smith signs with Hannibal-LaGrange for shotgun sports

Louisburg High School senior Will Smith signed his letter of intent with Hannibal-LaGrange University to participate in its shotgun sports program. Sitting next to Will is his stepmom Brenda Smith and father Bill Smith. Standing (from left) is his sister Mackinzee, Hannibal coach Nathan Hammock and his mother Jana Creekmore.


As his senior year was winding down, Will Smith wasn’t sure what was ahead for him after high school.

With so many different options out there to try, Smith had trouble picking out the best path for him. As it turned out, his love for hunting took him to where he needed to go.

On May 8, in front of family and friends at Louisburg High School, Smith made his decision official as he signed his letter of intent to participate in shotgun sports at Hannibal-LaGrange University, an NAIA school based in Hannibal, Mo.

“Signing with Hannibal was a blessing for me,” Smith said. “I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really know where I was going to go for college till this opportunity arose. I am looking forward to the challenge.”

The shotgun sports program is just in its third-year at Hannibal, but the Trojans have already had success as they recently finished 15th overall at the national tournament in Division 3.

Shotgun sports involves a lot of clay and trap shooting, and while Smith doesn’t have a lot of experience with that yet, he is looking forward to learning.

“I have hunted since I was a kid and I guess hunting that long has given me the skill to make the team,” Smith said. “I haven’t been working on this long, but I think I will enjoy it. I expect myself to succeed in things that I didn’t know I could.”

HGLU coach Nathan Hammock is looking forward to Smith joining the Trojan program.

“From the moment I met William I knew he would be a good fit for the HLGU Shotgun Team,” Hammock said. “One thing that impressed me immediately about William was how respectful he was in our conversations. He demonstrates responsibility both in school and in his work outside of school. He is new to the competitive side of shotgun, but brings a lot of experience from many years of waterfowl hunting. I look forward to seeing William grow as a competitive shooter this season.”

Smith plans to major in secondary education during his time at Hannibal.

LHS’ Bila reels in fishing awards, wins state championship

Louisburg junior Brock Bila holds up the 8 pound, 3 ounce bass that he caught during the BASS Nation regional tournament in which he finished 14th overall and won the Kansas adult state championship.


When Brock Bila and his family made the move to Louisburg more than a year ago, he had just one request when they decided to leave their Overland Park home.

“I told my mom I wanted water right next to the house,” Bila said. “I wanted to be close to water so I could just take the boat and go fishing as much as I could. I just love it that much.”

One might consider that a selfish request, but for the Louisburg High School junior, it is one of necessity. You could say it is job-related.

Bila, who started fishing at age 5, has become one of the top high school fisherman in the state of Kansas. Two years ago, Bila was crowned the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) state champion along with partner Thomas Heinen of Topek, at Milford Lake.

In 2017, he was runner-up in the BASS Nation state championship at Big Hill and he qualified for the National High School Fishing Championship on Kentucky Lake. Last September at Perry Lake, he was first at the BASS Nation High School team qualifier.

Most recently, Bila won his second FLW state championship last March with Heinen on Wilson Lake. Bila and Heinen have been joined by boat captain Larry Brumley during their tournaments, and has given the two high schoolers much needed advice along the way.

“Winning my first state championship on the FLW side was a big moment for me,” Bila said. “It is still a big thing for me now, but it is a lot easier on the FLW side than BASS. I was runner-up in the BASS state championship last year at that put me in the national tournament at Kentucky Lake and that was a big accomplishment for me.”

Fishing has been a passion for Bila since he was young and it has only grown over time. He’s found himself competing again some of the nation’s best fishermen, including his stint in the national tournament in Kentucky.

“There were 260 boats and it was crazy to think how much money was there is just boats and trucks alone,” he said. “It was an amazing experience and it was probably one of my favorite times.”

Bila poses with his catch last September at the BASS high school team qualifier at Perry Lake, in which he finished first overall.

Bila is currently preparing for his trip to the FLW High School National Championship with Heinen in late June on Lake Pickwick in Florence, Ala. He and Heinen have become a force to be reckoned with on the lake as they have won several tournaments over the last few years.

Tournaments are harder work than people realize, according to Bila. There are several hours spent pre-fishing the lake and figuring out where the best spot are. Many of the tournaments take eight hours to determine a winner.

“The high school deal is pretty cool because you can join the tournament series with anyone that is over 18, who is your captain or coach,” Bila said. “They run the boat with the big motor, then the trolling motor on the front the high school team has to run. You are allowed to have four timeouts throughout the day and you are allowed to ask your boat captain for advice. My partner is from Topeka and is a senior at Hayden. He is going to fish in college as well.”

Bila also earned a spot on the 2018 Kansas State Team, which is for adults (16-and-over) and is rare for someone that young to qualify. The team consists of the top 16 anglers in the state. Bila is the Kansas State Champion Co-Angler and will move on to fish in the national championships in December.

He finished 14th overall in the regional tournament at Toledo Bend Lake in Louisiana in March and led his Kansas team, which qualified him for the national tournament. Bila also picked the perfect time to catch his biggest bass to date – 8 pounds and 3 ounces.

“It is pretty unheard of for a kid coming in and doing that on his first time,” he said. “A lot of the guys have been doing this for a long time and these are the events that help you get to the Bassmaster Classic, which is like the Super Bowl of fishing. Then we went down there to pre-fish, and I didn’t catch over three pounds in practice. The first day, I was sitting 140th or something, then the second day I fished with a professional who has fished the Bassmaster Classic before and that is who I caught an 8-pounder with.

“I caught a whole bunch of big fish and had a 14-pound bag with three fish and was an awesome time. Then the third day I caught a couple more and ended up getting first in Kansas and 14th overall. That is when I made my actual first check in fishing.”

Some might consider catching fish to be fortunate at times, but for Bila, it has taken years for him to hone his craft and it has involved a lot of research.

“When you are fishing, a lot people think it is just luck, but there are so many variables when it comes to fishing,” he said. “When you put the water temperature, the moon phases, the air pressure and water color all together – it is not luck. It is a lot of thinking. To see that all come together is pretty cool.

“My generation of fisherman are completely different from those who are probably eight years older than me. I learned everything online and by just doing it. I used online resources, having connections you can call and just spending time on the water figuring it out.”

All the success has landed Bila an opportunity to fish for Drury University following graduation and he is excited to be able to have a chance to compete for the Springfield, Mo., school. He also currently has two sponsors that provide him with baits and other items.

“I got an offer from Drury University to fish for them, so my plan is to go to college there and hopefully can try and take it professionally,” he said. ‘I was really excited about that cause it has Table Rock Lake and the Lake of the Ozarks right there.”

Bila currently has a web site,, where you catch up on all his successes. He is also currently raising money for his trip to the high school national tournament in Alabama in June.

He is selling Chris Cakes pancake mix, and if you would like to support Bila is his cause, email him at

Barber excited to join Pittsburg State cheer squad

Louisburg senior Avery Barber (left) spent the last four years cheering for the Wildcats and now she is ready to continue her cheer career at Pittsburg State this fall. 


While her friends were getting ready for their senior prom, Avery Barber found herself 90 miles away trying to calm her nerves as she prepped for what she hoped would be the start of something special.

Those nerves have since been replaced with a high level of anticipation.

Barber spent that April day trying out for the Pittsburg State University cheerleading team and she got the news she was hoping for – her cheer career is far from over.

The Louisburg senior was informed she will be one of 28 members of the Gorilla cheer squad for 2018-19 season. Barber will cheer on the Gorillas during the football and basketball seasons.

“All throughout high school, I figured it would end here,” Barber said of her cheer career. “Being a part of the squad and how much of a family we have become has been great to see. I think I have really grown as a cheerleader and I didn’t want to stop. I was really excited when I found out that I made it.”

The tryouts were an anxious time for Barber as she went up against some difficult competition and was asked to do different things than she was used to in high school.

Louisburg senior Avery Barber (top left) will cheer at all the Pitt State football and basketball games next season.

However, Barber quickly made some new friends that helped ease some of those nerves.

“Tryouts were really stressful,” Barber said. “We had to do a cheer and chant and the fight song and tumbling tryout. We did two stunts with someone I chose and someone they chose. I was nervous, but I stunted better than I expected and I just remembered everything that I learned from my last five years.

“I talk to the coaches a lot at open gyms about what I need to work on. I have gotten close with some of the cheerleaders there and they have helped me feel comfortable at the clinics. Once practice starts, it is all about me working hard to be a better cheerleader and better athlete too.”

Cheer has been a big part of Barber’s life since the sixth grade when she joined the Louisburg FCCJC team, and then cheered two years in middle school before she joined the Wildcat team for all four years of high school.

The idea to move on to Pittsburg State was an easy one for her as she saw what the Gorilla team was accomplishing.

“I have been committed to going to Pitt since I was probably 5-years-old,” she said. “Both my parents went there too, so it has always been a big part of my life. Also, Pitt State recently got third at nationals and that just pushed me toward wanting to be on that team.”

It is that team aspect that has attracted Barber to continuing her cheer career and she is excited for the challenges that lie ahead.

“It is different in college because you don’t do all-girl group stunts, you do partner stunting,” Barber said. “Just practicing stunting with boys and working on tumbling is that is something that is required. It is not something I am used to, but I think I will enjoy it.

“I really just enjoy the team aspect of it and how you rely on everyone else to stay in the air, but not only that, but to inspire the crowd and watching the games as well. It is just one big family.”

Wildcats bring home hardware from state powerlifting meet

Louisburg High School powerlifters (from left) Eli Minster, Brian Houck, Kiefer Tucker, Ben Minster, Tanner Belcher, Dylan Knipp, Avery Graham, Reilly Ratliff-Becher and Izzie Ford each set personal bests during the Class 4A state powerlifting meet March 10 at Clay Center High School.


It has been several years since Louisburg High School sent a team to a state powerlifting competition, but that all changed on March 10.

Led by weightlifting coach Ty Pfannenstiel, he took a group of nine LHS students to Clay Center High School for the 2018 Class 4A state powerlifting meet and the Wildcat lifters brought home a lot of hardware back with them.

Many of the competitors earned a medal, either in a specific event, or if they finished in the top three of their specific weight class.

Avery Graham, Reilly Ratliff-Becher, Izzie Ford, Dylan Knipp, Tanner Belcher, Eli Minster, Brian Houck, Ben Minster and Kiefer Tucker all made the trip to Clay Center and coach Pfannenstiel couldn’t have asked for more from his first time group.

“I thought our kids did great,” he said. “Every kid that we took finished in the top 10 in their respective weight class. The top three kids medal in each event and overall, so for us to come home with that many medals was really impressive. Even though not everyone brought home some hardware, each athlete had a personal record.

“This sport is a lot like track where you are pretty much competing against yourself to beat your previous best, so for our kids to set some PR’s in that kind of environment was very impressive. I was very proud of our athletes.”

Ratliff-Becher had a big day in the girls division as she medaled in all three of her individual events in the 180-pound weight class. The Louisburg sophomore took second in the bench press with 135 pounds.

She also had a 140-pound clean that was good for second and had a 240-pound squat that took third. She finished second overall with a total of 515 pounds.

Reilly Ratliff-Becher attempts a squat lift while she is spotted by teammate Izzie Ford during the Class 4A state meet.

Ford, a senior, was third overall in the same weight class as she totaled 435 pounds. She also medaled third with a 105-pound bench.

Graham, a sophomore, totaled 435 pounds in the 148-pound weight class to take eighth overall.

On the boys side, Tucker had a big day as he brought home three medals. He totaled 1,030 pounds in the 220-pound weight class to finish third.

Tucker finished first with a 465-pound squat and also finished third in the bench press with a 315-pound attempt.

Knipp had a total lift of 755 pounds in the 148-pound class to take third overall. He also took first in the bench press with a lift of 245 pounds.

Junior Kiefer Tucker records an attempt in the bench press after he finished third overall in his weight class.

Houck competed in the 181-pound division and brought home a pair of medals. He finished first with a 445-pound squat and his three events totaled 910 pounds, which was good for third overall.

Belcher earned a lone medal in the bench press with an attempt of 225 pounds at 148-pounds, which was good for third place. He took seventh overall with 690 total pounds.

Ben Minster (198 pounds) and Eli Minster (173 pounds) took seventh and 10th overall, respectively. Ben totaled 860 pounds to take seventh overall and Eli recorded 765 pounds to finish 10th.

“I think they all surprised me a little,” Pfannestiel said. “I knew we had a couple of kids that would do really well, but to see us have that many kids place was impressive. There were over 300 athletes at this meet, so for our nine athletes to perform that well was awesome.”

In the team standings, the Louisburg girls finished sixth overall with 14 points, while Basehor-Linwood won the state title with 97 points. McPherson finished second with 56 and Scott City was third with 47.

The Louisburg boys finished eighth overall with 18 points. Basehor-Linwood won the team title with 80 points, while Buhler was second (54) and Scott City was third (40).

Dylan Knipp attempts a squat lift on March 10 at Clay Center High School during the Class 4A meet. Knipp was third overall in his weight class.

Since this was their first time, Pfannenstiel and his athletes weren’t sure what to expect from the state meet, but he is excited for the results and hopes he can take an even bigger group next year.

“This is not a KSHSAA sanctioned sport, so there is no qualification, regional, or sub state that takes place,” Pfannenstiel said. “Anyone that is in high school is eligible. I just asked kids in class that I thought would be interested and they were all very receptive.  I think a lot of kids were nervous to go because it sounds very intimidating.  But I do know that all nine athletes that went really enjoyed the experience.  I was very proud of our kids. They represented Louisburg well.

“We will take more athletes next year. This is definitely a sport where strength in numbers is the key.  If we can fill out all of the weight classes, I think we can finish in the top three next year.  The kids really liked it, so I think they will help recruit some more kids and our numbers will grow.”

LHS cheer wraps up successful season

The Louisburg High School cheerleading team had a busy 2017-18 season and one that ended  with an awarding finish at the Baldwin competition in February when the Wildcats earned grand champion honors.


The end of the winter sports campaign also marks the conclusion for the 2017-18 Louisburg High School cheerleading team as it will put away the pom-poms for a few months as the Wildcats begin looking toward next year.

This past season brought a lot of highs, and a few lows, for the Wildcat program under first-year head coach Dana Shaffer.

One of the biggest moments for the LHS cheer squad came on Feb. 3 when it competed at the Baldwin Cheer Festival at Baldwin High School. The Wildcat group put on one of their best performances of the season as they earned a ‘1’ rating, that included grand champion honors.

The 20 member Wildcat cheer team includes Jadyn Amren, Avery Barber, Olivia Barber, Cecilia Bindi, Billie Casebeer, Andrea Gaza, Hallie Hutsell, Bria Jensen, Addie Katzer, Kaitlyn Lewer, Ashlyn McManigal, Brooklyn Mitchell, Lexi Pena, Leia Shaffer, Ashley Stuteville, Gabby Tappan, Kaitlyn Urban, Lauren Vincent, Shaylor Whitham and Eleanor Willming.

Louisburg also finished first in dance, choreography and stunts in the competition that featured teams from approximately 20 area schools. What made the accomplishment even more impressive was the girls had just two weeks to perfect their routine.

“That was pretty amazing and the girls did a really great job,” Shaffer said. “If you put something in front of them, no matter the time frame, they are going to get to work and they are going to do it well.”

For the first time, the LHS cheer team also included a manager in Hannah Jones, who Shaffer relied on throughout the season.

“Hannah has been a great manager for us,” Shaffer said. “Cheer has never had a manager before. She has gone to every game, every practice, gone to camp and I couldn’t have done it without her.”

Among the regular performances at football and basketball games, the team also made history in November when it traveled to Topeka to compete in the KSHSAA Inaugural Game Day Spirit Showcase.

Louisburg was one of 18 Class 4A programs to participate in the first-year event. The team was judged based on three categories: Band dance, fight song and crowd leading.

Like with any new competition, there were a few hiccups and one of them cost the Wildcats. Instead of being given a three-point deduction, the judges made a mistake and accidentally gave Louisburg a 13-point deduction that could not be rectified.

That cost the Wildcats a possible spot in the finals as they would have had a chance to battle it out for a state championship.

“It was overwhelming, just for the fact that we didn’t know what we were getting in to and everyone else thought the same because it was new for everyone,” Shaffer said. “We got kind of raked over the coals on our score. They recorded a lot of the scores by hand, and not electronically, so instead of deducting us by three points, we got a 13-point deduction. They admitted their fault and it was a learning experience for them too.

“If the score we were supposed to have gotten would have happened, we would have been in third position to go for first. It stings a little bit still, but with it being a first year I understand everyone is trying to work out the kinks. We will go back next year and are looking forward to doing even better.”

Coach Shaffer is already looking forward to next season for the Wildcat program with a few changes, along with hoping to make amends at the state competition.

One that is already in place in creation of the Cheer Cat-Backers, an parent-run organization to help raise money for the team.

“The parents have been great and they started the cheer version of the Cat-Backers and we are going to do some fundraising for next year so we can afford to go to high school nationals,” she said.

Another change could be the size of the group, along with the possibility of hosting their own competition.

“I don’t think we are going to have as big of squad next year, because I would like to focus on a little smaller scale and nail it that way,” she said. “That is just a preference though. Next year we will have a mascot, too.

“We will have a competition of our own, somewhat like the Baldwin one that we go to, and I think that will be a lot of fun. Hopefully it will be a great fundraising opportunity for us as well. We want to get up to the standards of bigger schools. Everyone knows who Louisburg is, but we don’t have the funds that those other schools have and hopefully we can get there and have a chance to maybe attend nationals.”