Top 10 Stories of 2018

It was a successful, and eventful, 2018 for Louisburg High School athletics and for those who are connected to the Wildcat program. This past year created a lot of school history for LHS and several programs brought back state hardware to Louisburg.

Below are the Top 10 stories from 2018, along with a brief explanation of each. Included in the explanation is the link to the actual story from the event.

This year was a blast to cover and I was blessed to have the opportunity to go along for the ride with many of these. As much fun as it was, I can’t wait for 2019 to begin. Looking forward to it!

10. Dillon medals at state golf for second straight year

EMPORIA – All season,
Calvin Dillon had been atop or near the front of leaderboard and that didn’t
change in what was his biggest tournament of the season.

The Louisburg High School sophomore went up against the state’s best during the Class 4A state golf tournament on May 19 at the Emporia Municipal Course and did more than old his own. Dillon earned a state medal as he finished 11thoverall with a 3-over par 74.

It was the second consecutive state medal for Dillon
after he finished 10th overall last season at
Wamego as a freshman.

“It is a real honor
to earn another state medal, especially with the quality players that were at
the state tournament,” Dillon said. “There were lots of good players and lots
of good teams.”

was another notch on Dillon’s list of accomplishments that included a Frontier
League title and six straight tournament victories during the 2018 season.

9. Conley, Ebenstein named Class 4A Coach of the Year

girls soccer coach Kyle Conley and Wildcat football coach Robert Ebenstein both
led their respective teams to special seasons.

Those seasons were special enough for both coaches to earn two big awards.

Conley was rewarded for all his hard work in June when it was announced that he was named as the Kansas Soccer Coaches Association’s Girls Coach of the Year for Class 4-1A.

He guided the Wildcats to a 14-7 record and a spot in the
state championship match, where the Lady Cats finished second overall. The
finish was something to remember for Wildcat fans as that was accomplished in
just the program’s third year of existence.

He has posted a
41-18-2 record during his time as the Wildcat girls head coach and also guided
the Louisburg boys soccer team to its best finish in program history in 2017
with a fourth place finish at state.

As for Ebenstein, he
guided the Wildcats to 10 straight victories and a regional championship to
start the 2018 season, before getting knocked out in the sectional round
against eventual state champion, Bishop Miege.

Following the season, the Kansas Football Coaches Association named Ebenstein as the Class 4A Coach of the Year. Ebenstein, who is just in his second season as head coach, has a 16-4 record with the Wildcats as he guided his team to a Frontier League championship this year.

Holtzen finishes Louisburg career with 12 varsity letters

Once Isabelle Holtzen
received her diploma and walked out of Louisburg High School for the last time
as a student, she officially became one of the most decorated female athletes
in school history.

No, she doesn’t have any individual state championships, or even
one as part of a team. Holtzen’s decorations aren’t ones in the form of
trophies or all-state honors, but instead, they can be found on the front of
her letter jacket.

Holtzen became the first female athlete in at least 20 years to earn 12 varsity letters, which means she lettered on the varsity level in three sports in each of her four years of high school.

In research done by Louisburg Sports Zone, it was unable to find
the last athlete to accomplish the feat, which could mean Holtzen could be the
first Lady Cat to do so. She competed in cross country, basketball and track
and field

The last athlete to come close was in 2001 when Krystal Bowes
earned 10 varsity letters before moving on to a collegiate track career at
Wichita State.

“The biggest thing that it means to me is to just have an
opportunity to participate in three sports at a school like Louisburg,” Holtzen
said. “The bigger the school that you go to, the harder it is to play multiple
sports at the varsity level and I think Louisburg is unique in that fact. The
best part of this whole journey was I think my freshman year because there was
no pressure and no one was expecting anything from me. It was surprising and
exciting to be able to letter in all three sports.”

Holtzen is currently at
Northern Iowa, where she received a scholarship to pole vault for the Panther
Track and Field Team.

Dixon earns All-American, Player of the Year honors, signs with Kansas State

senior Anna Dixon led the Lady Cat volleyball program all season and she was recognized
for her play on the court.

Dixon was named to the Under Armour Volleyball All-American team as she received a spot on the honorable mention squad when the list was released in November.

Dixon, the 6-foot-3 outside hitter, was recently named the Class 4A Player of the Year by the Kansas Volleyball Association, and along with that was also selected to the all-state first team.

It was the second year in a row Dixon was named player of the
year, as she had to share the honor last season with Rose Hill’s Gracie Van

The honors certainly didn’t stop there as Dixon was
all named to the All-Frontier League first team as she helped guide the Lady
Cats to an undefeated league season.

Dixon led the Lady Cats in kills with 584 in 105 sets
played. She also finished with 325 digs, as she played all six rotations and
also had 50 aces and 42 blocks.

In her four years with the program, Dixon finished
with 2,003 kills, which would place that total among the best the school has
ever seen.

All that success resulted in a dream come true for Dixon as she made it official last November when she signed to play volleyball at Kansas State.

“I have always known Kansas State was going to be my
home,” Dixon said. “Even since I committed as a sophomore, I always wanted to
go up to Manhattan and see the girls and spend time with the team. K-State is where
I need to be.”

6. Louisburg wrestling sends six to state, Holtzen
earns first state medal

SALINA – As the final
whistle sounded in his blood round match, Cade Holtzen looked up into the
rafters of the Tony’s Pizza Events Center and smiled.

He had finally reached
his goal.

Holtzen defeated Columbus’ Gabe Porter by a 6-0 decision Saturday during the Class 4A Kansas State Wrestling Championships in Salina and secured his state medal.

“It is one of the best
feelings that I have had in my life,” Holtzen said. “Just knowing that I’m
going to place – you just can’t match that with anything else.”

It certainly wasn’t
easy for the Louisburg freshman as he faced a win or go home with nothing
scenario heading into his match with Porter. Holtzen pulled out the victory and
eventually finished sixth overall at 113 pounds to give Louisburg a state
medalist for the third consecutive season.

“It is pretty cool,”
he said. “I have been working for this all season, so to get a state medal is
great. It may not have been as high as I wanted, but any state medal is pretty

Holtzen had a special
year for the Wildcats as he finished with a 45-6 record and broke the school
record for most wins in a single season. He won four different tournaments and
was a Frontier League and regional tournament runner-up.

To add to his resume,
he became only the second freshman in school history to earn state medal –
second to only Austin Hood, who would go on to with three state titles.

Austin Moore finished
one victory shy of earning his first state medal, while Ryan Adams, Thad
Hendrix and Blue Caplinger also picked up wins at the state tournament.

5. Moore, Johnson
finished in top 10 at state cross country, girls qualify for second straight

WAMEGO – It was going
to be hard for the Louisburg High School girls cross country team to duplicate
its magical season of 2017.

Not only did the Lady Cats qualify their team for state for the
first time in program history, but they also had a top five finisher in Trinity

Fast forward to 2018, Louisburg wasn’t able to match that successful
run – the Lady Cats took it a step further.

Moore, along with freshman Reese Johnson, each had a top 10 finish during the Class 4A Kansas State Cross Country Championships at Wamego Country Club, and it is the first time in school history that two female runners had medaled at a state meet. Louisburg added on to that as the girls finished fifth in the team standings with 154 points, which is also the highest finish in school history.

Moore, who finished
fifth at state a year ago, bested her performance by one place as she took
fourth with one of her better performances of the season. Johnson was right
behind her as she crossed the finish line in sixth.

Shaylor Whitham, Carlee Gassman, Kaitlyn Lewer, Delaney Wright and Kennady Wilkerson were also members of the Lady Cats’ team to run at state. Emily Williams was a member of the regional team that finished second overall.

4. Louisburg track
earns six state medals, Gassman state runner-up in 300 hurdles

WICHITA – Carlee Gassman had broken the Louisburg High School 300-meter hurdle record three different times in 2018 prior to the state track meet.

She picked the perfect time to make it a fourth.

Gassman broke her own school record in the 300 hurdles in May at the Class 4A Kansas State Track and Field Championships in Wichita as she ran a time of 45.68 seconds to earn a silver medal as she was the Wildcats’ top performer on the weekend. Andale’s Abby Smarsh, who is a senior, won the event in 44.73.

It was the Louisburg sophomore’s first time competing at the
Kansas meet as she transferred in from Iowa last year, where she qualified for
the state meet there in the 400 hurdles.

Gassman’s medal in the 300 hurdles was just one of six the
Wildcats were able to bring home following the two-day meet. Those six medals
were the most Louisburg has earned since 2011, when the Wildcats combined to
medal in 10 events and the boys won their first team state title.

The 300 hurdles wasn’t the only event Gassman found success in
as she also medaled in the long jump. Gassman, who hadn’t competed in the event
prior to this year, finished fifth with a mark of 17 feet, 0.25 inches.

Isabelle Holtzen
would go on to finish sixth in the pole vault, the boys 4×400 team of Chris
Williams, Blue Caplinger, Ben Wiedenmann and Justin Collins went on to take
seventh. Williams finished eighth in the 400-meter run and Trent Martin medaled
eighth in the boys pole vault.

3. Louisburg
volleyball takes runner-up at state for second straight season

feeling was much of the same.

The pride of finishing as a state-runner up was a popular one
among the members of the Louisburg volleyball team. At the same time, the
frustration of taking second in state in back-to-back seasons was just as

Louisburg wasn’t quite sure what to feel following its 25-13 and 25-14 loss to Bishop Miege in the championship game of the Class 4A state tournament Saturday at Hutchinson Sports Arena.

In 2017, the Lady
Cats fell to Rose Hill by two points in the championship match, and fast
forward to the present, they were in the same spot – holding the state
runner-up trophy. It was the 15th time in
program history that Louisburg finished in the top four at state.

The Lady Cats rattled off four straight wins to start
the tournament, including knocking off No. 1 seed Independence, and defending
state champions Rose Hill and Topeka Hayden. Louisburg then battled back to
defeat Andale in the state semifinals.

“The loss was tough,”
Louisburg coach Jessica Compliment said. “To come so close to a state title two
years in a row, only to come up short is tough. But with that being said, it is
a huge accomplishment for this team to get back to the state championship and
make it two years in a row. Finishing second is nothing to hang our heads on.
Last year’s finish fueled the fire for the team this year, and I challenged the
returning players to use this loss and feeling to fuel them for next year.”

Louisburg has been
one of the more dominant teams in Class 4A in the last decade as the Lady Cats
have made the state tournament seven out of the last nine years and have
finished as a state runner-up on three different occasions, along with several
third and fourth place finishes. They finished 2018 with a 36-9 record.

2. Louisburg girls
soccer advances to title game, has best finish in program history

NORTH NEWTON – The obstacle
seemed insurmountable – and it was.

The Louisburg High School girls soccer team found itself in the
Class 4-1A state championship match in the program’s third year of existence,
but if they wanted to take it another step further, the Wildcats were going to
have to knock the defending state champion of its perch.

Unfortunately, Bishop Miege wasn’t about to be moved.

In a state title game that was played in the sweltering heat in late May at Bethel College, the Wildcats couldn’t stay with the Stags in a 5-0 defeat. It was the third consecutive title for Bishop Miege, while Louisburg earned a state plaque for the first time in its short history.

It was special season for the Wildcats as the night before they knocked off Topeka Hayden, 1-0, in the state semifinals to secure the program’s first state plaque. In 2017, Louisburg both games in its state tournament appearance and finished fourth.

The road to this state
championship appearance has been an interesting one for the Wildcats. More than
three years ago, a group of Louisburg parents and citizens raised enough money
to begin the girls soccer program and fund it for three years.

Louisburg was in the final year of that funding, and while the
program isn’t going away, the team realized they needed to play for more than

“We played for the community tonight,” Louisburg senior Bailey Belcher
said after the Hayden win. “We have to remember that when they raised money for
this program, it was just through this year, so I think we owed it to them to
play well. I really think it might have helped with how we played and I think
it was one of the best games we played all season.”

“It is a third-year program
with 41 wins, three regional championships, two state final fours and now a
state runner-up,” Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said after the title game. “We
just have kids who come in and work their butt off. They are not soft, they
aren’t weak and from top to bottom they are going to work hard.

“We worked hard, but we just played Miege. That is one of the
best teams in the state, and that stinks, but our kids played hard, worked
their tail off and it was a great year. We had people criticize us for how we
got there, but we won games and that really motivated the kids. It got them
fired up to go do something bigger than themselves. I couldn’t be more proud of
they stuck together and what they accomplished.”

1. Football wins 10 straight, takes Frontier League title and regional championship

It had been almost two
months since Louisburg and Piper squared off on the football field in what was
one of the more entertaining games on the Wildcats’ schedule.

Back in early
September, Louisburg left Piper High School with a seven-point win – a victory
that would help propel them to a Frontier League championship and a perfect
regular season.

The two teams squared
off again and the stakes were a bit higher. The game, at least for Louisburg
anyway, was even more exciting.

The Wildcats dominated action from the opening kickoff and never looked back in a 48-0 win over the Pirates. In the process, Louisburg won the school’s first regional championship since 2016 and are off to a 10-0 start for the first time since 2010.

Louisburg advanced to the sectional round where it fell to eventual state champion Bishop Miege, 55-21, and finished its season with a 10-1 record.

It was as season
marked with special moments, including a 28-7 victory over then-undefeated
Paola late in the year to secure a league title.

“Being 10-0 and then having
that first loss of the season was very disappointing,” Louisburg coach Robert
Ebenstein said. “Losing always sucks, but losing in the playoffs and having to
wait until next August is the worst.  At the end of the day, Miege is a
very good team and we did some good things. We got them to fourth down on
multiple drives in the first quarter, we just couldn’t make the plays on
those big downs. Then we got behind a little and started pressing.

“Overall it was a great year.
I am very proud of our guys and excited for them that they were able to get
double digit wins for only the third time since 2000, and there was a
lot of really good football played during that time period. It was a lot
fun to be a part of.”

Austin Moore was named to the Kansas Shrine Bowl and was a first-team all-state player for the Wildcats. Moore was also named as the Kansas Small-Class Player of the Year by 810 Varsity.

With all that success, honors
started to roll in for its players as running backs Austin Moore and Blue
Caplinger, along with linemen Brayden White and Kiefer Tucker all earned
all-state honors.

Moore and White went on to be
semifinalists for the Simone Awards and Moore was also selected to participate
in the Kansas Shrine Bowl in the summer of 2019. Ebenstein was also named as
coach of the year by the football coaches association.

Most recently, Moore was
named the Kansas Small-Class Player of the Year and Running Back of the Year by, while White was named the Small-Class Lineman of the Year.
Ebenstein was also named Kansas Small-Class Coach of the Year by 810 Varsity.

Moore, Johnson earn state medals, Lady Cats take fifth

Louisburg junior Trinity Moore makes her way toward the finish line Saturday during the Class 4A Kansas State Cross Country Championships at Wamego Country Club. Moore finished fourth in the state and teammate Reese Johnson was sixth.


WAMEGO – It was going to be hard for the Louisburg High School girls cross country team to duplicate its magical season of 2017.

Not only did the Lady Cats qualify their team for state for the first time in program history, but they also had a top five finisher in Trinity Moore.

Fast forward to 2018, Louisburg wasn’t able to match that successful run – the Lady Cats took it a step further.

Moore, along with freshman Reese Johnson, each had a top 10 finish during the Class 4A Kansas State Cross Country Championships at Wamego Country Club, and it is the first time in school history that two female runners had medaled at a state meet. Louisburg added on to that as the girls finished fifth in the team standings with 154 points, which is also the highest finish in school history.

Baldwin won the state title with 51 points and Eudora was runner-up with 81. Buhler was third at 107 and Bishop Miege was fourth with 128 points.

“It was fantastic to finish in fifth place,” Louisburg coach John Reece said. “We ran well and ran our races. From No. 1 to No. 7 is a gap, but our gap was less than other teams and putting two runners in the top 10 was the big difference between last year and this year. We are only losing one of the top 5 runners so next year could be special again.”

The Louisburg girls cross country team took fifth at state on Saturday. Standing (from left) are head coach John Reece, Shaylor Whitham, Kaitlyn Lewer, Kennady Wilkerson, Trinity Moore, Delaney Wright, Carlee Gassman, Reese Johnson and assistant coach Arianne Seidl.

Moore, who finished fifth at state a year ago, bested her performance by one place as she took fourth with one of her better performances of the season. Johnson was right behind her as she crossed the finish line in sixth to earn a state medal as a freshman.

“Coach A (Arianne Seidl) and I were elated with the girls efforts and for Trinity and Reese to both be top 10 was amazing,” Reece said. “I felt they would both medal, but did not see them finishing as well as they did. We are starting to develop an expectation of high performance, not a hope.

“Trinity and Reese both ran smart races. They did not go out with the front girls and let the race come to them. When it did they were poised to move through the field and they did. You always want the best to be your last race and I think it was for them, but they both said there were places that they might have run different that might have placed them differently. I liked that as that tells me they are breaking down their races and are always looking to make themselves better.”

Moore ran strong in the 96-runner field as she ran a time of 20 minutes and 15 seconds and her fourth place finish is now the highest state cross country finish in school history.

Chapman sophomore Taylor Briggs won the individual state title in 18:57 and Bishop Miege senior Fallon Russsell was second in 19:43. Eudora’s Riley Hiebert was third at 20:03.

“Overall, I think I ran pretty well,” Moore said. “The race felt like it went by really fast. I was able to push through the hills and then surge going out of them. Placing one spot higher makes me feel like I have worked harder, and overall had a better season than last year. I know I have gotten better and had my teammates there to push me all year, so it feels great.

“The race was really intense with the girls competing. I knew I had to work really hard to accomplish my goal of doing better than last year. The weather was really nice so it didn’t affect how I felt during the race. Wamego is a challenging course with hills, but I was able to push through them and could pass people while doing it. I am glad I was able to push myself against the competition and have a great race.”

Freshman Reese Johnson runs down a straightaway Saturday at Wamego.

As for Johnson, she didn’t perform like it was her first state meet. She finished just a few seconds behind Moore to take sixth overall in 20:20.

Johnson went stride for stride with Abilene’s Sydney Burton toward the finish line, but Burton just edged Johnson for fifth in a photo finish.

“I was overly excited to finish sixth,” Johnson said. “I was expecting good results, but not that good. I was really proud of myself and my team. As a freshman, I am just so happy to have done so well.

“When I found out that our team got fifth, I was super excited. I did not think we were going to do that well, but I know that next year we can get in the top three. Having Trinity to run against always helps me go faster because it gives me a challenge and a reason. I really like racing against her and she is a big part of the runner I am. I am so proud of her for reaching her goal.”

To get that fifth place finish, the Lady Cats were going to have to other runners step up and they were able to do that. Junior Carlee Gassman was third on the team and took 34th overall in 22:01.

Senior Shaylor Whitham (24:13) and freshman Delaney Wright (24:19) were 78th and 79th, respectively. Senior Kaitlyn Lewer (25:03) was 85th and sophomore Kennady Wilkerson (27:57) was 96th.

“I knew we were going to go out and have the race of our lives,” Moore said. “When coach ran over to us and said we got fifth, we all jumped in the air and had a huge group hug. Reese finishing sixth made me super happy. She has had an amazing season and has worked so hard all year. She is an amazing runner and she has great determination.”

It was a great way for Whitham and Lewer to end their Wildcat running careers, according to coach Reese.

“Our seniors this year were awesome,” Reese said. “The three years that I coached Shaylor and Kaitlyn were wonderful. They brought great leadership to the team and showed it during practice and races. I was so happy for them to end their cross country careers at the pinnacle of the season by running at the state meet. They will be greatly missed.

“It was a special year yet again. I want to thank the runners as they were a great group to work with. The parents again supported the team with dinners and snacks and a great cheering section that literally moved from place to place at the meets.”

Louisburg’s Trinity Moore gives teammate Reese Johnson a hug as she crossed the finish line Saturday at the state meet. (Photo courtesy of Adam Trower)

The Lady Cats are already looking forward to next season as they will return five of the top seven runners from this year’s team as they try for an even bigger finish at state.

“After this year I am pumped to run again,” Johnson said. “I can’t even begin to explain how much I already miss practice and I miss the team so much. Next year I am hoping to do even better. Running has become a new passion of mine and I am going to keep running during the off-season. I can’t wait to keep getting better and these next few years are going to be great.”

Moore couldn’t agree more.

“This season has given me a lot of momentum for next year,” Moore said. “Even with our first two races getting cancelled this season, I think I was able to work hard to better my personal record and have a great season. My teammates have pushed me really hard and I know they will do the same next year.”

Regional runner-up finish sends Lady Cats to state

Members of the Louisburg girls cross country team hoists their regional runner-up trophy following last Saturday Class 4A regional in Ottawa. The Lady Cats qualified for state for the second consecutive season.


OTTAWA – As runner after runner crossed the finish line during the Class 4A regional meet in Ottawa, doubt began to creep in the minds of the Louisburg High School girls cross country team.

The Lady Cats were hoping to finish in the top three of the team standings and earn a state berth for the second straight season. Louisburg wasn’t sure if the results were going to be good enough to equal last year’s third place regional finish.

It turned out the Lady Cats had nothing to worry about.

Not only did Louisburg finish in the top three, but the Lady Cats recorded the best finish in school history as they took second with 75 points at the Eisenhower Road Course, 10 points ahead of third-place Paola. Baldwin won the girls regional with 40 points.

Moore, Reese Johnson, Carlee Gassman, Shaylor Whitham, Delaney Wright, Kaitlyn Lewer and Emily Williams will all be making the trip to Wamego this Saturday for the Class 4A state meet.

Louisburg runners and coaches celebrate the announcement of their regional runner-up finish.

“I am just so thrilled that we were able to qualify again as a team,” junior Trinity Moore said. “We have worked so hard this year. We were kind of worried because we didn’t know where we were going to finish. We just had to go out and run our race. When we found out we made it, we were all just overly ecstatic. We have worked so hard and to finish second is great.”

Along with the Lady Cats’ regional runner-up finish, they also had two runners finish in the top three individually. Johnson passed Moore late in the race to finish second overall in 22 minutes and 8 seconds, and was five seconds in front of Moore, who ran a 22:13 to come in third.

It was the first time this season that Johnson, a freshman, eclipsed her teammate in a race as both runners have been pushing each other in practice.

Louisburg freshman Reese Johnson leads a pack of runners up a hill Saturday in Ottawa.

“I was not expecting it at all,” Johnson said of her second place finish. “Everyone was telling me I could beat Trinity and I was able to do it. To me, this was my favorite course so far, even though everyone else hated it. I loved it. I just controlled myself in the middle and took it up the hill.

“Trinity and I are good friends now. We are always running together at practice and we are hanging out all the time. I was always too scared to pass her cause I knew with her competitive side that she would pass me. It is kind of cool that we can race against each other like that.”

Although the finish might have surprised Johnson, it didn’t surprise her coach as he has seen her progress all season.

“Reese is a go-getter,” Louisburg coach John Reece said. “There is a lot of gas in that tank and there isn’t anything that is going to stop her. She is going to push through anything and it was just an outstanding race for her. The sky is the limit for her and I think she is going to perform well at state.”

Junior Trinity Moore gets ready to take on one of the many hills at the Ottawa course.

As good as Johnson and Moore ran for the Lady Cats, it was the middle three runners that helped secure the Lady Cats’ state bid.

Gassman was third on the Louisburg team with a 15th place finish in 23:47, while Whitham finished 25th in 24:49. Wright took 31st overall in 25:36. Lewer (26:34) and Williams (27:52) took 36th and 40th, respectively.

“It was amazing,” coach Reece said. “I really had no clue that we would get second. For a long time I thought we were fighting for third. Our three, four and five runners were really huge for us.

“Delaney, Shaylor and Carlee stepped up and had the race of their lives. They ran smart races. They started out like we wanted them to, nice and comfortable, they worked through the middle and ended up passing a lot of kids. The game plan worked.”

The Louisburg boys saw its season come to an end Saturday in Ottawa as the Wildcats took seventh with 163 points. Iola won the regional with 49 points, El Dorado was second with 51 and Fort Scott was fourth with 84.

Junior Anthony Davis led the Louisburg boys with his 27th place finish.

Junior Anthony Davis was the highest finisher for Louisburg as he took 27th in 20:31. Sophomore Cade Holtzen was 29th in 20:39 and junior Evan Murphy took 32nd in 20:49.

Sophomore Carson Houchen (21:26) and freshman Ben McKain (21:39) took 37th and 38th, respectively. Seniors Gareth Baus (22:03) and Jackson Staab (24:28) took 42nd and 54th.

As for the Lady Cats, they hope to put together their best performance of the season Saturday during the Class 4A state meet at the Wamego Country Club. The 4A girls race is scheduled to run at 12:55 p.m.

After running as a team at state last season, and Moore finishing fifth overall to earn her second state medal, Louisburg is hoping for even bigger things this time around and a few less nerves.

“I think it will be huge for the girls that went to state last year to show the ones that didn’t run there last year and help them out,” coach Reece said. “I think when you have girls like Trinity, Carlee and Kaitlyn who ran it last year, I don’t think there will be those nerves this year, and that will help the ones who didn’t run like Reese, Delaney and Shaylor. They will have a good group to lean on.”

For a photo gallery from the regional meet, make sure to click here.

PHOTO GALLERY: LHS girls cross country qualifies for state

Members of the Louisburg girls cross country team (from left) are Kaitlyn Lewer, Shaylor Whitham, Reese Johnson, Trinity Moore, Delaney Wright, Carlee Gassman, Emily Williams and alternate Kennady Wilkerson pose with the Class 4A regional runner-up plaque Saturday in Ottawa.


The Louisburg High School girls cross country team is headed back to the Class 4A state meet this weekend in Wamego. The Lady Cats finished second at the regional meet in Ottawa last Saturday and qualified the entire team for state.

Trinity Moore, Reese Johnson, Carlee Gassman, Shaylor Whitham, Delaney Wright, Kaitlyn Lewer and Emily Williams led the Lady Cats to their first ever regional runner-up trophy. Louisburg also added a pair of individual medalists as Johnson finished second overall and Moore was third on what was a difficult, hilly Ottawa course.

Here is a photo gallery from Saturday’s meet, which also included the Wildcat boys’ final race of the season. The Lady Cats are scheduled to run at 12:55 p.m. this Saturday at the Wamego Country Club. Congrats again to all the runners!


Moore, Johnson earn medals at Frontier League meet

Louisburg junior Trinity Moore gets off to a good start last Thursday during the Frontier League Invitational in Baldwin City. Moore finished third overall and earned first team all-league honors.


BALDWIN CITY – The Louisburg High School girls cross country team made history a season ago when Trinity Moore became the first Wildcat runner to win a Frontier League title.

Now back at the same course a year later, the Lady Cats once again made a name for themselves.

For the first time in school history, the Louisburg girls had two runners finish in the top five of the Frontier League Invitational. Moore, a junior, finished third and freshman Reese Johnson was fifth last Thursday at the Baldwin City Golf Course.

Both runners earned first team all-league honors with their performance and sit among the best in what is a talented Frontier League field.

“It was awesome to have both Trinity and Reese be recognized as first team all-league,” Louisburg coach John Reece said. “It is a tough league and to be recognized all-league is a feat in itself.”

Moore, who finished atop the Frontier League last season, eclipsed her time from a year ago to finish third in 19 minutes and 57 seconds. Moore battled Paola’s Darian Hudgeons most of the race, but came up just short as Hudgeons took second in 19:54.

Eudora’s Riley Hiebert won the girls race in 19:31, but Moore competed hard despite being out of practice with a foot injury in the days leading up to the race.

“Trinity ran a great race for being a little banged up,” Reece said. “She ran 15 seconds faster than last year and the competition was even better than last year. That is the reality of cross country and how every race is different.”

Freshman Reese Johnson heads toward the finish line last Thursday in Baldwin. Johnson took fifth overall and earned first team all-league honors in the process.

In her first varsity season, Johnson has run her way toward the top of the Frontier League. She finished fifth in 20:17 and started near the front of the pack from the beginning and didn’t let up.

“Nothing surprises me with Reese,” coach Reece said. “She is a competitive kid who goes for it every time. She has figured out the sport and the sky is the limit as she gets stronger and gains even more experience.”

As for the rest of the Lady Cats, Louisburg finished fifth in the team standings with 106 points. Baldwin won the league crown with 37 points and Eudora was second with 63.

Junior Carlee Gassman finished third on the Louisburg team and was 35th overall in 22:29. Senior Shaylor Whitham (22:53) and freshman Delaney Wright (22:55) took 39th and 40th, respectively. Junior Emily Williams was 68th in 25:17.

On the boys side, junior Anthony Davis led Louisburg in 32nd to finish in 19:18 and sophomore Cade Holtzen was right behind him with a time of 19:19 and took 33rd.

Junior Evan Murphy came in 39th in 19:38 to finish third on the Wildcat team. Sophomore Carson Houchen (20:07) and freshman Ben McKain (20:09) took 51st and 52, respectively.

Louisburg sophomore Carson Houchen leads a pack of runners last Thursday during the league meet.

Senior Gareth Baus took 67th overall in 20:59, while sophomore Tyler Detherage (21:33) and senior Jackson Staab (22:33) finished 79th and 87th.

The junior varsity runners ran in a combined race with the varsity and freshman Malee Rutherford was the top Louisburg girls JV finisher as she took 65th in 25 minutes.

Louisburg will now prep for what will be the final race of the season for some. The Wildcats will compete in the Class 4A regional race in Ottawa, which begins at 11 a.m., on Saturday at the Eisenhower Road Course. The course features several steep hills and provides several challenges for the runners.

The Lady Cats will try to qualify for state as a team for the second straight season after finishing third at regionals a year ago.

“We hope to qualify the girls team for state again,” Reece said. “The goal is to be top three at regionals, which will be a tough go. There is an outside chance that we could qualify a boy too as Anthony has really improved this year. The course will be tamed by our runners and we will conquer all because we will be mental in the middle and finish strong.”

Wildcats medal five at home meet, Lady Cats finish second

Louisburg freshman Reese Johnson (right) gets off to a good start Thursday during the Louisburg Invitational, while teammate Carlee Gassman was right behind her at Lewis-Young Park.


The Louisburg High School cross country team put its best foot forward Thursday during its home meet – literally.

Several Wildcats ran personal best times as they racked up five medals in the Louisburg Invitational and the runners had a chance to shine on their home course at Lewis-Young Park.

As a team, the Louisburg girls took full advantage of running on a familiar course as the Lady Cats finished second in the team standings with 55 points. Junior Trinity Moore, freshman Reese Johnson, junior Carlee Gassman, freshman Delaney Wright, senior Shaylor Whitham and senior Kaitlyn Lewer earned team medals for the fourth time this season.

Individually, Moore, Johnson and Gassman earned medals for the Lady Cats, while juniors Anthony Davis and Evan Murphy snagged medals on the boys side.

Moore had the best run of her career, time-wise, as she broke her own school record with a time of 19 minutes and 46 seconds to finish second overall. Paola’s Darian Hudgeons was first in 19:42 and it was Paola that won the team title with 46 points, while Fort Scott was third, just one point behind Louisburg.

Johnson, a freshman, improved on her season best time to run a 20:25 to take fifth and Gassman also set a new personal-best time of 21:02 to take seventh. Wright (22:23) and Whitham (22:45) also had personal best times as they finished 22nd and 23rd, respectively, while Lewer (23:36) was 30th.

Freshman Delaney Wright leads a pack of runners around a turn Thursday at Lewis-Young Park.

“The girls performance was solid,” Louisburg coach John Reece said. “I thought Trinity ran a great race and I think she did everything she could to finish first. Reese improved again on her time and I think Carlee ran fantastic.

“Our four and five runners have to continue to work hard and they are going to be the ones we lean on for a chance to be a state qualifier. They are getting better and better. Shaylor is bringing it this year as a senior and it is awesome.”

Davis and Murphy led the Louisburg boys as both earned medals. Davis finished 11th in 18 minutes and 49 seconds and Murphy was 14th in 19:05.

Sophomore Cade Holtzen was nearly the third Wildcat boy to medal, but was edged out at the finish line by Spring Hill’s Chase Rooney in less than a half of a second and took 16th in 19:06.04.

Junior Anthony Davis was one of two Wildcat boys to earn a medal during the Louisburg Invitational.

Sophomore Carson Houchen finished 20th overall in 19:49 and freshman Ben McKain was 23rd in 20:11. Seniors Jackson Staab (21:32) and Gareth Baus (21:53) rounded out the Wildcat team in 30th and 32nd, respectively.

“It was definitely nice to see the boys have some success with Evan and Anthony both getting their medals and Cade almost got one, just missing out in the end,” Reece said. “Those guys weren’t even close last year for medals so it was nice to see them get up there.”

Spring Hill’s Braxton Dixon won the meet with a time of 17:32 and the Broncos also won the team title with 22 points. Paola was second with 57, Fort Scott was third with 82 and Louisburg was fourth at 84.

In the junior varsity races, the Louisburg girls picked up four medals on the day. Kennady Wilkerson finished fourth to lead the Lady Cats, while Alexis French, Malee Rutherford and Ruth Minster also medaled seventh, ninth and 10th, respectively.

The regular season is now over for Louisburg as it focuses on the league meet this Thursday in Baldwin and then will travel to Ottawa for the regional meet on Oct. 20.

Louisburg sophomore Carson Houchen recorded a top 20 finish Thursday.

The Wildcats will battle Baldwin and Paola for a league crown, while Louisburg will also square off with the two league opponents, along with Fort Scott, at regionals. The Lady Cats will compete with those three programs, among others, as they try to qualify for state as a team for the second straight season

“Baldwin is a great course because you can run fast there,” Reese said. “It is a challenging course because there are rollers, but it is going to give us another chance to run against Paola and run against Baldwin and see how we stack up.

“Looking at our regional with Paola, Fort Scott and us all being there, our home meet gave us a good feel for what we are going to do. League will give us another good feel because Baldwin will be there, so it is looking positive since we were able to beat Fort Scott again this season by a few points. We have to keep getting better.”

Lady Cats finish third at Pittsburg, earn two individual medals

Louisburg junior Carlee Gassman was one of several runners who helped the Lady Cat cross country team to a third-place finish at the Pittsburg Invitational. 


PITTSBURG – The Louisburg High School girls cross country team made it 3-for-3 in team medals following its performance Thursday at the Pittsburg Invitational.

The Lady Cats earned a top three finish for the third time this season as they took third overall with 86 points, just six points behind runner-up Paola. Carl Junction (Mo.) won the meet with 40 points.

Louisburg continued its improvement at Four Oaks Golf Course in just its third meet of the season. The Lady Cats medaled two individual runners as junior Trinity Moore and freshman Reese Johnson shaved time off their season best.

Moore medaled sixth overall with a time of 19 minutes and 54 seconds as she medaled in the top 10 for the third time this year.

Johnson also made her way up the top times in Louisburg High School history. The Louisburg freshman finished in 19:56, which was good for eighth overall and moved her to No. 2 all-time on the LHS leaderboard.

“The girls team continues to improve and move forward as a group,” Louisburg coach John Reece said. “Our third place finish matched last year, but I feel like we ran even better as a team than last year. Reese and Trinity continue to push the limits and race great. Carlee (Gassman), Reese and Trinity train together on all pace work so the take that into meets and race well together.”

Junior Carlee Gassman finished in the top 20, just a few spots out of a medal. Gassman finished in 19th with a time of 21:11 and freshman teammate Delaney Wright was 28th in 21:53.

Senior Shaylor Whitham was 30th in 22:11, while junior Emily Williams (23:32) and senior Kaitlyn Lewer (23:58) took 43rd and 48th, respectively, out of 77 runners.

On the boys side, junior Anthony Davis led the Wildcat runners with a time of 18:35 to finish 28th overall. Junior Evan Murphy was second on the team in 18:48 to take 35th  and sophomore Cade Holtzen was right behind him in 37th with a time of 18:51.

Sophomore Carson Houchen (19:48) took 61st and freshman Ben McKain (20:25) was 74th. Seniors Gareth Baus (20:38) and Jackson Staab (22:36) rounded out the Wildcat team in 82nd and 98th, respectively.

“The boys made great gains both individually and as a team,” Reece said. “Anthony, Cade and Evan have been working great together and they race well together which showed at Pitt.

“The team did great as a whole. Pittsburg’s course is fairly flat which makes for fast times. The biggest challenge is that the course is flat and you have to push the whole race, no down hills to really relax.”

In the junior varsity girls race, sophomore Kennady Wilkerson finished sixth in 24:14 to lead Louisburg.

The Wildcats are back in action this Thursday when it hosts the Louisburg Invitational at Lewis-Young Park. The meet is set to begin at 4 p.m.

Lady Cats, Moore win titles at Prairie View

Members of the Louisburg girls cross country team are (from left) Ruth Minster, JV winner Kennady Wilkerson, Trinity Moore, Delaney Wright, Reese Johnson, Emily Williams, Kaitlyn Lewer and Shaylor Whitham. The Lady Cats won the team title Thursday at Prairie View.


It didn’t come as a complete shock to Louisburg cross country coach John Reece when it was announced that his girls team had won the Ramsey Invitational title.

Actually, he would have been shocked if the announcement had been anything but the top spot.

“I hate to say it, but I expected them to win the meet,” Reece said. “There were no exceptions, we were there to win again and we did.”

The Lady Cats tallied 32 points and finished four points ahead of runner-up Anderson County to win the Prairie View High School meet for the fourth consecutive season. Trinity Moore, Reese Johnson, Delaney Wright, Shaylor Whitham, Kaitlyn Lewer, Emily Williams and Ruth Minster all ran the Lady Cats to a gold medal finish.

Although this was nothing new for several of the runners, it didn’t mean they were any less excited about it.

“It feels great to have gotten first again as a team,” Moore said. “We are working really hard this year and it has showed. It felt a little different without our seniors from last year, but we came out and worked very hard.”

Not only did the Lady Cats earn top honors, but Moore took first individually in what was a photo finish.

Trinity Moore (right) battles Central Heights’ Lily Meyer right to the finish line Thursday at Prairie View.


Moore ran side by side with Central Heights freshman Lily Meyer for the final 50 meters of the race and it was too close to call at the finish line. When the results came out, Moore won by two-hundreths of a second with a time of 20 minutes and 50.08 seconds.

“The finish was very interesting,” Moore said. “I am not a sprinter, so I wasn’t sure if I got her at the end. She was close behind me the entire race and when I heard her come up so close to the finish, I just gave it everything. That was the fastest I think I have ever run.”

That result also didn’t surprise Reece as he knows the type of runner Moore is and the type of race she is capable of running.

“Trinity did make an early move and then the girl (Meyer) answered and then it came down to guts and Trinity is a fierce competitor and it did not surprise me that she won it,” Reece said. “Trinity is still learning how to manage races and I think she learned a lot at Prairie View on how to handle being in the front pack.”

Along with Moore, two other Lady Cats also brought home individual medals. For the second straight week, freshman Reese Johnson won a varsity medal as she took fourth overall in 21:44.

Freshman Delaney Wright finished 10th overall for Louisburg and earned her first medal.

Another freshman, Delaney Wright, captured her first varsity medal in 23:56 to take 10th overall. Senior Shaylor Whitham missed a medal by one spot as she took 16th in 25:04.

Senior Kaitlyn Lewer and junior Emily Williams took 18th and 19th in 25:16 and 26:05, respectively. Freshman Ruth Minster was 28th in 29:40.

The Louisburg boys also fared well at Prairie View and had two runners earn medals.

Junior Anthony Davis finished 13th overall to earn a varsity medal in 19:47 and sophomore Cade Holtzen was 15th with a time of 19:57. As a team, the Wildcats were fourth overall with 88 points and missed out on team medals by four points.

“Anthony and Cade did great and both earned well deserved medals,” Reece said. “The sky is the limit for all the runners it is just a matter of letting themselves soar to the upper limits and beyond.”

Louisburg’s Evan Murphy (left) and Ben McKain lead a pack of runners during Thursday’s meet at Prairie View High School.

Junior Evan Murphy was third on the team with a time of 20:45 to finish 21st overall and sophomore Carson Houchen was 23rd in 20:54. Freshman Ben McKain took 25th in 21:08 and sophomore Tyler Detherage ran a 26:10 and came in 35th.

Thanks to some inclement weather, this was only the second race of the season for Louisburg as it had two cancelled to start the year. Still, Reece believe his team is right on track to where it needs to be.

“I think we are in a great position to finish the season strong even though we missed a few races that could have helped the younger runners,” he said. “We have great leaders and it is showing as we continue to push towards state. This is a great bunch of kids and they are committed to being the best they can be.”

On the junior varsity side, Louisburg also came away with medals on the girls side.

Sophomore Kennady Wilkerson won the junior varsity girls race in 26:15 to earn top honors. Sophomore Alexis French was fifth in 27:32, junior Natalie George was seventh in 27:49 and senior Molly Rison was 10th in 28:33.

Louisburg returns to action this Thursday when it travels to the Pittsburg Invitational. The meet is set to begin at 4 p.m. at Four Oaks Golf Course

Lady Cats finish third in season opener at Wellsville

Louisburg runners (from left) Trinity Moore, Carlee Gassman and Reese Johnson all earned individual medals Thursday during the Wellsville Invitational. The Lady Cats also earned team medals as they finished third overall.


WELLSVILLE – The wait is finally over, and for the Louisburg High School cross country team, it couldn’t have come soon enough.

Mother Nature dampened the start of the Wildcats’ season as two meets were cancelled to begin the year and delayed their 2018 campaign by two weeks. Despite that, Louisburg was more than ready to run Thursday at the Wellsville Invitational – especially on the girls side.

The Lady Cats earned team medals in their first time out as they finished third overall with 67 points and edged out Fort Scott by a point. West Franklin won the meet with 49 points and Spring Hill was second with 51.

Trinity Moore, Reese Johnson, Carlee Gassman, Delaney Wright, Shaylor Whitham, Emily Williams and Kaitlyn Lewer were all a part of the third-place finish.

“The girls ran well and our young runners learned a lot from their first race,” Louisburg coach John Reece said. “They worked together for the first mile or so and then took what the race brought to them. It was a solid finish placing third in a good field of schools.”

Moore, who finished fifth at the state meet last season, ran a strong opening race as she took second with a time of 21 minutes and 26 seconds. The Louisburg junior led for much of the back end of the race before being overtaken by Fort Scott’s Gabbie Clements.

Johnson, a freshman, didn’t let the big stage of her first high school race bother her as she took sixth overall in a time of 22:02 to earn her first varsity medal. It was also the fourth fastest time in program history.

Junior Carlee Gassman also earned an individual medal for the Lady Cats as she took 14th in 22:46.

(From left) Carlee Gassman, Trinity Moore, Emily Williams, Kaitlyn Lewer, Reese Johnson, Shaylor Whitham and Delaney Wright get off to a good start Thursday in the Wellsville Invitational.

“Trinity ran well for her first race out and she knows she has a ways to go, but she will get there,” Reece said. “Reese showed she has got it. She ran in the front of the pack well into the third mile and finished strong.”

Wright, who was also competing in her first high school race as a freshman, took 30th overall in 24:47. Williams (24:59) and Whitham (25:01) took 33rd and 34th, respectively, while Lewer (26:07) was 41st

It wasn’t the typical start for Louisburg as it normally begins the season on a course that features several difficult hills, but the Wellsville course was a little different and presented some different obstacles.

“It was great to finally race,” Reece said. “The kids did great and were all equal or better than their times last year which is very encouraging. Wellsville is not a difficult course, hills wise, but its curvy nature does pose a few challenges. With that said, it was a good course to start the season.”

On the boys side, sophomore Cade Holtzen led the group of Wildcat runners in 37th with a time of 20:19. Junior Evan Murphy was next in 57th with a time of 21:06.

Junior Anthony Davis (21:12) and sophomore Carson Houchen (21:16) finished 59th and 60th, respectively. Seniors Jackson Staab (24:09) and Gareth Baus (24:15) took 73rd and 74th.

Louisburg’s Cade Holtzen (left) and Anthony Davis race toward at the front of the pack at the start of the race Thursday in Wellsville.

“The boys did a good job and competed great,” Reece said. “We will look to continue our efforts to improve individually as well as a team and start taking the race to the other teams instead of letting them take the race to us.”

Louisburg also picked up a pair of medals in the junior varsity races.

Freshmen Ben McKain and Ruth Minster each earned a medal for their top 15 finish in their respective races. In the boys competition, McKain took seventh overall in 21:06 and Minster was 15th overall on the girls side in 26:41.

The Wildcat runners return to action Thursday when it travels to the Prairie View Invitational. Races are set to begin at 3:30 p.m.

Moore, Lady Cats eye return to state cross country

Louisburg junior Trinity Moore put together the best season for a female runner in Wildcat history as a sophomore as she finished fifth at the state meet and won a Frontier League title. 


In the two decade-long history of the program, the Louisburg High School cross country team didn’t have a better season than it did in 2017.

The Wildcats finished with three state medalists at the Class 4A meet in Wamego and qualified the entire girls team for state for the first time in school history. It was a season to remember for Louisburg cross country.

A year later, the Wildcats are without two of their state medalists – Wyatt Reece and Tim Smith – who graduated and also saw some other members of that state qualifying girls team depart as well.

Still, optimism is high for Louisburg, especially on the girls side. The Wildcats return junior Trinity Moore, who finished fifth in the state last season, and is a two-time state medalist.

Louisburg also returns four members from that state qualifying team in Moore, junior Carlee Gassman, junior Emily Williams and senior Kaitlyn Lewer. The Wildcats added several freshman runners to the program who figure to work their way up as the season goes along.

“Practice has been going great,” Louisburg coach John Reece said. “We are ready to get started and see how we compare to other schools.

“I think the girls will be even stronger this year. They want to do well for each other, and at the same time, want to beat each other in practice and I’m sure in meets as well. We will have a youthful varsity team against this year. There are several in the running for the top seven spots, and after our first meet we will see who the best performers are.”

Senior Kaitlyn Lewer is one of four returning runners from last season’s state qualifying team.

Moore had a strong finish to her 2017 season as she ended as a Frontier League champion, took third in the regional meet and fifth at state in 19 minutes and 47 seconds, which broke her own school record.

As fun as that season was for Moore, she has even bigger expectations this year.

“I really want to improve my time and break 19 minutes,” Moore said. “If I work hard and push myself in practice and meets, I know I can accomplish this. I also hope to make it to state again this year with my team. If we work and race our best every week, I think we will be able to make it to state and exceed what we did last year.

“We have very strong runners this year and I know we can make a huge impact just like we did last season. The talent on the girls team is outstanding. We have great returners, with great experience and some fast freshmen that will help the team a lot. I think we will be able to get stronger and faster as a team and hopefully make it to state again.”

As a whole, the Wildcats have 26 runners out this season, most of which are on the girls side.

The boys lost their two top runners in Wyatt Reece and Smith, but return junior Evan Murphy, and sophomores Cade Holtzen and Carson Houchen, who logged a lot of varsity miles last season and progressed as the year went along.

“The boys side will be a little different than last year,” coach Reece said. “We will still look to improve as individuals, but as far as a team, it will be a lot like last year and we might not field a full team until later in the season.

“Overall, boys and girls, this is an awesome group of kids who will do great things throughout the year.”

Louisburg will get its season started Thursday when it travels to the Anderson County Invitational at the Garnett Golf Course. The first race is scheduled to begin at 3:30, with the varsity not slated to begin until close to 6 p.m.