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.”

It
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

Louisburg
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.

8.
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.

7.
Dixon earns All-American, Player of the Year honors, signs with Kansas State

Louisburg
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
Driel.

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
amazing.”

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
year

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.

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

HUTCHINSON – The
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
prevalent.

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
themselves.

“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
810varsity.com, 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.




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.”




Dillon finishes 11th at state to earn second straight medal

Louisburg sophomore Calvin Dillon watches a tee shot during the Class 4A state golf tournament on May 19 in Emporia. Dillon carded a 74 to finish 11th overall and earned a state medal.

 

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 11th overall 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.”

Andover Central’s Keegan Ellington won the tournament with a 2-under 69 and Dillon’s cousin, Thomas Dillon, shot a 1-under 70 for Wamego to finish in second.

Calvin Dillon finished in a 6-way tie for ninth and had to play four playoff holes to determine placing and eventually settled for 11th.

Calvin Dillon follows through on his tee shot during the state tournament in Emporia.

Dillon opened the tournament with a pair of birdies on his first two holes to begin the day at 2-under and used that good start to his advantage throughout the competition.

“The two birdies really gave me a lot of confidence throughout the round,” Dillon said. “Whenever I got into trouble I reverted my thoughts back to the first two holes and remembered that I just needed to play smart, and good golf would come after that.”

He would go on to bogey two holes to finish his first nine holes at even par, but struggled on the first three holes on the back nine as he recorded a bogey on each, before getting a birdie to get back on track.

“I feel like I played well, especially early in the round,” Dillon said. “I was putting very well and got off to a hot start, but started encountering some trouble when my tee ball didn’t hit the fairway. The course was very nice, but challenging if you did not hit fairways.”

That was the case in Dillon’s final hole, as his tee shot landed several feet in front of a group of trees. Dillon was able to put his next shot over the trees in what was a challenging shot that put him near the green, and was able to par the hole.

Louisburg’s Calvin Dillon chips onto the green during the state tournament in which he carded a 74.

That shot helped him stay in contention for a top-10 placing and secured another state medal. It was another notch on Dillon’s list of accomplishments that included a Frontier League title and six straight tournament victories.

“It was an amazing season and I am proud of everything I accomplished,” he said. “I really enjoyed the team chemistry we built this year as well as the player-coach relationships.”

Dillon’s high school season may be over, but golf is far from being in his rear-view mirror. He recently traveled to Georgia to compete in the Amateur Junior Golf Association preview tournament for players playing in their first AJGA event.

He shot a 70 and finished seventh overall in the tournament that featured players from all over the United States and some international players, as well.

Dillon also has a busy five days with three tournaments this week, including an appearance in the Kansas City Junior Championship and the Konza Prairie Amateur at Colbert Hills in Manhattan.

“I definitely have a lot of events scheduled,” Dillon said. “It will be a very busy, but fun summer of competitive golf.”




Dillon shoots a 79 to qualify for state a second time

Louisburg sophomore Calvin Dillon watches his tee shot during the Class 4A regional tournament in Garnett last week. Dillon shot a 79 to finish fourth overall and qualified for his second straight state tournament.

 

GARNETT – On Monday, Calvin Dillon found himself on the same course where he shot a personal best score just a week earlier – Garnett Country Club.

However, this tournament featured much bigger stakes.

Dillon and the rest of the Louisburg golf team competed in the Class 4A regional tournament for the right to make it to state tournament. Although, the Wildcats weren’t able to make it as a team, Dillon earned a spot for the second straight season.

The Louisburg sophomore carded a 79 to finish fourth overall and qualified for state as an individual. The top two teams earn a spot in the state tournament along with the top five other individuals.

A week prior, Dillon recorded a 68 on the same course and shot 2-under par, but even though he regressed a little, he is just happy to get back to state.

“I don’t really think the course played any differently, but my short game was off,” Dillon said. “I couldn’t make a putt and didn’t get many chips close. But it is nice to be back at state and having a year under my belt will be beneficial.”

Senior Justin Sievert chips onto the green last Monday in Garnett.

The Garnett course wasn’t very kind to the rest of the Wildcat golfers as they shot 90 and above in their final meet of the season. As team, Louisburg shot a 368 and finished sixth overall. Fort Scott won the regional with a 328 and Ottawa was second with a 331.

“I was disappointed in our overall scored after we played so well at Prairie View four days before that,” Louisburg coach Brian Burns said. “We will need to address that next season and learn how to build more confidence in the swing.”

Senior Justin Sievert finished second on the team at 17th overall with a 90 and fellow senior Grant Ryals was 26th with a 93. Sophomore Drake Varns (106), senior Parker Perentis (107) and sophomore Ryan Haight (112) rounded out the Wildcat team.

Louisburg senior Grant Ryals tries to chip onto the green during the Class 4A regional

As for Dillon, he will try for another state medal this Monday when he competes at the Class 4A tournament at Emporia Municipal Course. He will tee off at 10:20 a.m. and will start on hole No. 10.

Last season, Dillon shot an 80 at the Wamego Golf Course and took 10th overall and is hoping for even better results this time around.

“I’ve played Emporia multiple times during past summer golf events,” Dillon said. “I also recently practiced there in participation for state. Emporia is different than last year’s venue, being a more wide open course so the overall scoring will probably be lower.

“I’m hoping to beat my score of 80 that I posted last year and that I can finish better than 10th.”

Burns believes his No. 1 golfer has a chance to do just that.

“Calvin is hitting the ball great,” Burns said. “He shot one under, four over, and two over on our course recently. His driving and putting is great. Hopefully the pitch shots he hits will be closer to give him more of an advantage of getting birdies to get top 10 at the state tournament.”




Dillon shoots season best at Garnett, ‘Cats second at Prairie View

The Louisburg golf team ended its regular season with a second place finish Thursday at the Prairie View Invitational. Members of the team are (from left) Calvin Dillon, Parker Perentis, Drake Varns, Grant Ryals, Ryan Haight and Justin Sievert. 

 

It was a medal-winning week for Calvin Dillon and the rest of the Louisburg High School golf team as they competed in two different tournaments and put together some of their best scores of the season.

Dillon got it all started Tuesday at the Anderson County Invitational at the Garnett Country Club. The Wildcat sophomore put together his top round of the season as he shot a 2-under par 68 to win the event by three strokes over Spring Hill’s Patrick Hartsock.

“I thought I played well at Anderson County,” Dillon said. “Every aspect of my game was sharp and it felt great to shoot a low round.”

Although the Wildcats didn’t place in the top three as a team with a 378, they got some varsity experience from some younger golfers. Deven Wieland (99), Drake Varns (102), Ryan Haight (109) and Gunner Young (109) also competed for Louisburg.

Louisburg turned it around as a team Thursday for the Prairie View Invitational at Deer Trace Golf Course. The Wildcats recorded a 351 to finish second overall, 11 strokes behind Burlington, to capture team medals.

“Thursday was the second best the team has played all year,” Louisburg coach Brian Burns said. “I let the guys know how happy it made me, especially after our scores at Anderson County.  There were many areas that were lateral hazards and we avoided most of them to keep 4 out of 5 scores at 90,91, 92 and 93.”

Dillon once again led the Wildcats – and once again picked up another tournament win. The Louisburg sophomore carded a 77 to win the tournament by two strokes and picked up his sixth straight victory.

“I did not get off to a very good start (3 over after 2 holes),” Dillon said. “I bounced back with two pars and a birdie and that got me going. I felt like I battled all day and salvaged a good round.”

Senior Parker Perentis shot a 90 to finish second on the Wildcat team, while fellow senior Justin Sievert had a 91. Senior Grant Ryals carded a 92, while sophomores Drake Varns and Ryan Haight shot a 93 and 101, respectively.

Louisburg will begin postseason play Monday when it travels back to Garnett for the Class 4A regional tournament. Tee time is set for 9 a.m. Dillon will try and qualify for his second straight trip to state and hopes his team will be able to go along with him.

“Finishing second gives us confidence heading into regionals,” Dillon said. “I think we have a shot to advance to state as a team, but we will have to play well at Garnett. I think our best golf is in front of us and it helps that we played there earlier in the week.

“I’m super excited to play at regionals as a team and individual. My expectations are to concentrate on the next shot and to compete regardless of the circumstances. I hope that the team collectively plays its best golf and we extend the season one more week.”




Dillon shoots under par to lead Wildcats at Ottawa

The Louisburg golf team took second place at the Ottawa Invitational on Monday after shooting at 350. Members of the team are (from left) Parker Perentis, Ryan Haight, Drake Varns, Kai Tinich and Calvin Dillon. Not pictured is Justin Sievert. 

 

OTTAWA – Calvin Dillon has shot some of the best golf of his high school career so far this season.

It got even better Monday.

Dillon, a Louisburg High School sophomore, carded a 1-under-par 70 during the Ottawa Invitational at Ottawa Country Club to win his fourth consecutive tournament and pulled off some spectacular shots to make it happen.

That performance helped the Wildcat golf team to a second place finish as it shot a 350. Ottawa won its home tournament with a 337.

Dillon wasn’t the only Wildcat to earn a medal as sophomore Drake Varns earned his first varsity medal as he shot a 90 to finish 10th overall. Varns tied with teammate Parker Perentis, who also carded a 90, but won the tiebreaker for the last medal spot.

Sophomore Ryan Haight ended his round with a 95 to finish fourth on the Wildcat team. Seniors Justin Sievert and Kai Tinich shot a 96 and 100, respectively.

It was a blustery day on the course that saw up to 25 mile-per-hour winds, which was difficult on a lot of golfers and led to a lot of high scores.

Dillon, however, managed to avoid the obstacles and shot the best round of his Wildcat career. He recorded three birdies on the day and also got an eagle on the par 71 course.

“I played very well considering the conditions,” Dillon said. “Leading up to this tournament I had been hitting the ball well. Although it was windy, I was confident I could post a good number.

“The course played difficult because of the windy conditions and the small greens. I knew going in that I would have to rely on my short game. Fortunately, I had good control of my ball flight most of the day and my short game was good.”

He nearly pulled off the unthinkable on the par-5 No. 9 when he almost recorded a double eagle. Dillon hit his second shot on the fairway that went over the water, onto the green and just a couple inches from the cup where he was able to tap in for eagle.

“My round got jump started on the 8th and 9th hole,” Dillon said. “I made a nice birdie on 8. On the par-5 9th, I decided I would have a go at the green, challenging the water if I put my drive in the fairway. I had 230 yards to the pin with a big crosswind. I hit a 3-wood and it was on a good line. I knew it was on the green, but I could not tell how close it was.”

Louisburg will close out it regular season next week with a pair of tournaments. The Wildcats will travel to Garnett on Tuesday for the Anderson County Invitational and then will play at Prairie View at Deer Trace Golf Club on Thursday.

The Wildcats will then go back to Garnett on May 14 for its regional tournament.




Even with struggles, Dillon wins home invitational

Louisburg senior Kai Tinich chips onto the green Monday during the Louisburg Invitational at Metcalf Ridge Golf Course. 

 

It may have been its home course, but Metcalf Ridge provided all kinds of problems Monday for the Louisburg High School golf team.

Even the Wildcats’ No. 1 golfer, Calvin Dillon, encountered some issues on his first nine holes. Despite those issues, Dillon was able to overcome those bumps in the road with a strong back nine.

Dillon shot an even par on his final nine holes and the Louisburg sophomore carded a 77, which was good enough to comfortably win the Louisburg Invitational by four strokes. It was third consecutive tournament win for Dillon.

Calvin Dillon makes a putt on hole No. 18 on Monday during the Louisburg Invitational at Metcalf Ridge Golf Course.

“I know how much it meant to Calvin to win our tournament and I was very proud of him,” Louisburg coach Brian Burns said. “Calvin actually struggled some on the course and then came back with even par on the back nine. Our course can be hard if you are hitting it off the mark some.”

Dillon shot a 42 on the front nine to put himself in a hole, but he was able to shoot it was out of it on the back nine as he had one birdie that led him to an even par 35.

It was a rough outing for the rest of the Wildcats as the next highest score was a 97. Ottawa won the team title and De Soto finished second.

Senior Parker Perentis and sophomore Drake Varns finished second and third on the Wildcat team as each shot a 97. Sophomore Ryan Haight carded a 102, while seniors Justin Sievert and Kai Tinich shot a 106 and 109, respectively.

“You have to be very consistent off the tees or you will be out of bounds,” Burns said. “Playing stroke and distance hurt many of the golfers’ scores, especially with ours. The rest of the season we will be working on shorter back swings for more accuracy, reading greens better, placing pitch shots and 30-100 yard shots.”

Louisburg returns to action Monday when it travels to the Ottawa Invitational. Tee time is set for 2 p.m.




Dillon wins Frontier League golf championship

Louisburg sophomore Calvin Dillon watches a tee shot during the Frontier League Invitational on Thursday at Prairie Highlands Golf Course in Olathe. Dillon carded a 73 to win the tournament by four strokes.

 

OLATHE – The Louisburg High School golf team spent a lot time on the links last week as the Wildcats took part in three tournaments.

All the golf didn’t seem to bother Calvin Dillon much – in fact – he only got better as the week went along.

Dillon put together his best score of the season Thursday when the Wildcats took part in the Frontier League Invitational at Prairie Highlands Golf Course. The Louisburg sophomore shot a 1-over par 73 to win his first league title and did so by four strokes.

“It feels good,” Dillon said. “Winning league was a goal of mine and all the work I did in the offseason is paying off. My round on Thursday was some of my best golf and I am proud of my score.”

Several other Wildcats shot good scores as senior Justin Sievert had his best round of the season with an 85 and finished eighth for a league medal after he carded a 40 on the back nine.

Senior Parker Perentis recorded a 92 to finish 16th, while sophomore Ryan Haight shot a 96 to come in 22nd. Seniors Kai Tinich (98) and Grant Ryals (103) took 24th and 29th, respectively.

Senior Justin Sievert tees off Thursday during the league tournament at Prairie Highlands. Sievert medaled eighth overall.

Louisburg finished just one stroke from earning a league team medal as the Wildcats took third with a 346. De Soto won the league championship with a 324 and Ottawa was second with a 345.

“As a team we have medaled in three of the four tournaments and our confidence is building,” Dillon said. “Hopefully we can make a run at qualifying as a team for state.”

The league tournament was also held in conjunction with the Spring Hill Invitational and Dillon’s 73 nearly won him that tournament title as well. Dillon finished second out of 92 golfers and was just two strokes behind champion Jackson Likes of Olathe South, who shot a 1-under 71.

Dillon had two birdies on the 18-hole course and was more than familiar with his surroundings as the Wildcats took part in the Gardner Invitational at Prairie Highlands last Monday.

“I felt like the course played easier than Monday,” Dillon said. “I think playing the course earlier helped me when making decisions off the tee.”

Louisburg returns to action today when it hosts the Louisburg Invitational at Metcalf Ridge Golf Course. Tee time is set for 1 p.m.

 

Dillon wins Osawatomie Invitational, Wildcats take second as team

Calvin Dillon continued the strong start to his season last Tuesday when Louisburg competed in the Osawatomie Invitational.

Dillon carded a 77 to win the tournament by two strokes over Ottawa’s Payton Funk and Dillon wasn’t the only Wildcat to experience success. Parker Perentis was second on the Wildcat team with a 93 to take 15th and earn a tournament medal.

As a team, the Wildcats shot 366 to finish second overall. Ottawa won the tournament with a 327.

Senior Grant Ryals chips on to the green Tuesday during the Osawatomie Invitational.

Senior Grant Ryals recorded a 97, which was third on the Wildcat team, and sophomore Ryan Haight carded a 99. Justin Sievert (99) and Kai Tinich (105) rounded out the Louisburg squad.

After the front nine, Dillon found himself three strokes back of Spring Hill’s Patrick Hartsock, but shot a 38 on the back nine to jump atop the standings.

 

Dillon, Sievert finish in top 10 at Gardner

Last Monday’s Gardner Invitational at Prairie Highlands was just a foreshadowing of what was to come later in the week for Louisburg.

Calvin Dillon carded a 76 to finish runner-up to lead Louisburg and finished five strokes behind the top spot. Basehor-Linwood’s Joey Langstraat shot a 71 to win the tournament.

Senior Justin Sievert recorded an 88 to take 10th, while Ryan Haight and Parker Perentis both shot a 92 to finish 14th and 15th, respectively. Grant Ryals (100) and Kai Tinich (110) took 24th and 35th.

As a team, Louisburg shot a 348 to take third in the team standings. Basehor-Linwood won with a 325 and Bonner Springs was second with a 339.




Dillon wins Paola Invitational, Wildcats take second

Sophomore Calvin Dillon shoots onto the green Monday during the Paola Invitational at Paola Country Club. Dillon won the tournament with a 77 and the Wildcats finished second as a team. 

 

PAOLA – The Louisburg High School golf team had to wait a week to get its season started, but the delay was well worth it.

Sophomore Calvin Dillon won his first meet of the season at the Paola Invitational on Monday at Paola Country Club and he wasn’t the only Wildcat to leave with hardware. Senior Parker Perentis finished ninth overall and also earned a medal.

As a team, the Wildcat group of Dillon, Perentis, Justin Sievert, Grant Ryals, Ryan Haight and David Perentis scored a 367, which was good for second in the team standings. Ottawa won the team title with a 333.

Dillon carded a 77 to win the individual crown by four strokes over Ottawa’s Isaac Bones, while Perentis shot on an 89 as both scores were vital to helping the Wildcats to that second place spot.

Sievert finished third on the Wildcats squad with a 100, while Haight carded a 101. Ryals and David Perentis rounded out the Louisburg team with a 107 and 109, respectively.

“Having a score of 77 from Calvin and 89 from Parker really helped the second place finish,” Louisburg coach Brian Burns said. “We need Parker to stay in the 80’s and our other guys to be in the low 90’s to be successful the rest of the season no matter what place we get.”

Louisburg senior Parker Perentis watches his tee shot sail down the fairway Monday in Paola.

Dillon, who is a returning state medalist, shot a 37 on the front nine to get off to a good start and recorded a 40 on the back. He also birdied hole No. 17 as it was one of the several highlights on the day.

“I played with Calvin last week on six holes and his approaches to the green were slightly off,” Burns said. “However, his short game scrambling for par was great and his one birdie came from being on in regulation on hole 17, a long par three. He shot two over and was not on his best game, but he will be great all season. He is also a good leader for our team.”

The golfers also had to battle windy, cool conditions on the Paola Country Club course, but for the most part, Burns thought they handled it – and the course –well.

“I made sure the guys wore layers so they wouldn’t have to worry about the cold,” Burns said. “Most of the golfers said they were pretty successful for the most part. If they got in the trees some, that was really the only thing that gave them problems.”

Louisburg will be busy next week as the Wildcats will participate in three tournaments.

The Wildcats will compete in the Gardner Invitational on Monday at Prairie Highlands Golf Course in makeup of an earlier cancellation. Louisburg will then travel to Osawatomie on Tuesday and then back to Prairie Highlands on Thursday for the Frontier League Tournament and Spring Hill Invitational.




Dillon back to lead Wildcat golf after earning state medal

Louisburg sophomore Calvin Dillon, who earned a 10th place finish and a medal at the Class 4A state golf tournament last season, returns to lead the Wildcats as he looks to improve on his first-year performance. 

 

Calvin Dillon walked off the Wamego Country Club course last season as one of the top golfers in the state after he earned a medal following the Class 4A state golf tournament.

Dillon’s state medal was the first for Louisburg in several years after he shot an 80 during the 4A tournament that put him in 10th place overall.

Not too bad for a freshman.

Now a sophomore, Dillon is looking for even bigger things this season as he leads the Wildcat golf team into their first tournament Monday at the Gardner Invitational.

“Calvin is very consistent,” Louisburg coach Brian Burns said. “He should be shooting in the 70s all year and will have a good season for us.”

Although Dillon is cemented as the Wildcats’ No. 1 golfer, there has been plenty of competition at practice for the final five varsity spots.

It has been hard for Burns to get a good look at his team as they have only been able to take to their home course at Metcalf Ridge for practice seven times. Despite that, Burns has been able to figure out most of his varsity lineup as seniors Grant Ryals, Justin Sievert and sophomore Ryan Haight will join Dillon.

Louisburg is trying to make up for the loss of Ty Martin, who qualified for state last season, and Burns knows his team has some catching up to do.

“The group is understanding the swing more this year and able to put many parts of it in action,” Burns said. “As a team, we still have tons of work to do on the 50 to 150-yard shots. Our daily routine of pitching and putting competitions will help their short game although they must be able to get a feel for the green other than our course before matches start.”

The Wildcats have several golfers who are still competing for that fifth and sixth spot, including senior Kai Tinich, who saw varsity action last season. Senior Parker Perentis and sophomore Devin Wieland also are vying for the final two slots.

It is a lineup that could change from week-to-week depending on who performs well in practice and during meets.

“There are so many golfers that are pretty equal this year,” Burns said. “I will have to watch closely this year on who is practicing the hardest, has the best attitude and being the most consistent to find my full varsity team. I know my top four spots, but the last two could be taken by four or five different people, so they will have to have playoffs every week.”

Louisburg opens its Monday when it competes in the Gardner Invitational at Gardner Golf Course and will follow that up with the Paola Invitational on April 9.

Regional assignments were also recently released and the Wildcats will compete at the Anderson County regional at the Garnett Country Club. Other teams at the regional will be Baldwin, Burlington, Fort Scott, Anderson County, Iola, Prairie View, Osawatomie, Ottawa and Paola.