Garden City Buffaloes
3 Buffs sign letters
By BRETT MARSHALL
As the 2013-14 high school year comes to a close, there are a few remaining senior student-athletes making that life decision on where to attend college, and whether to continue the pursuit of the sport or sports in which they have previously competed.
On Wednesday, three Garden City High School athletes made their choices and signed letters of intent to move on to the collegiate scene and pursue excellence at those levels.
Samantha Norton, who when she finishes her prep career in the next 10 days, will be among the top two in points scored for the Lady Buffs swimming team, signed to attend Tabor College in Hillsboro and compete for the NAIA school that competes in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
GCHS wrestlers Chris Adler and Sammy Reyes, members of the past two Class 6A state championship Buffs' wrestling team, inked their letters to move on to Neosho County in Chanute and compete for one of the top 10 NJCAA programs in the country.
"It's a really good opportunity. I've been swimming a long time and I never thought I'd have a chance to to move on to the next level," Norton said after putting pen to paper with her signature. "Coach (Casey) Wise has been a big supporter of everything I do. He's a great coach, and he is a supporter of all the girls and understands us."
Norton, who has been a four-time state qualifier and a four-time first team all-Western Athletic Conference performer, will be trying to help her Lady Buffs team capture the WAC title today in Hays, something that has eluded them during her careeer.
Her top individual events include the 200-yard individual medley, in which she swims all four of the strokes of the sport (backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle). Her best time is 2:28.71. In the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, her fastest marks are 28.56 and 59.71.
Norton plans to pursue a degree in pre-nursing and then follow that with a degree as a pediatric nurse.
Adler wrestled at 145 pounds in his senior season for the Buffs, only to see his hopes for a state individual title disappear when he suffered a broken bone in his right hand during a first-round consolation match at the state tournament. Still, he finished his final year with a 43-8 record, went 116-43 during his career and won his weight class at the Newton Tournament of Champions.
"Neosho came to a lot of our tournaments during the season, and they expressed a lot of interest," Adler said when asked about his decision to head to southeast Kansas. "They watched us, they talked to us and always wished us the best. Honestly, I think they cared about us more than some of the other places."
Adler, who will pursue a degree in criminal justice, said he likely will wrestle at either 141 or 149 in college, which will be an easy transition from his 145-pound high school weight class.
Reyes, perhaps as much as any wrestler over the past three seasons, saw his stock rise incrementally, eventually placing third his junior year, and came back to nearly knock off unbeaten Seth Pesek of Gardner-Edgerton in the championship match. He finished his season with a 39-7 record, which included three losses to Hays High's Preston Weigel, the unbeaten 195-pounder who will compete at Oklahoma State next year.
"It feels good to have a partner (Adler) going there," Reyes said. "It will be the same requirements as here, always trying to be the best and be a champion. I want to be an All-American and a national champion."
Reyes, who also plans a criminal justice career, said he likely would wrestle at 174 pounds for Neosho, requiring some weight loss over the next several months before the season starts.
GCHS notes: While final pairings are not yet made, it appears that Garden City High School's softball team will host one of the Class 6A regional qualifiers next week. Either Tuesday or Wednesday, the Lady Buffs (12-7) will host. As of Wednesday, the Lady Buffs would be the No. 3 seed in the 12-team field.
The Buffs' baseball team, which plays a home doubleheader at 4 p.m. today against Wichita Word of Life, and then a single road game on Friday against Wichita Southeast at Derby, still has its seeding up in the air. Through Wednesday games, the Buffs were in the No. 7 seed with a 7-10 record and most likely will go on the road.
The GCHS girls soccer team, which finished its regular season with a 10-6 record, is likely to host a first round Class 6A regional game on Monday, with a start time and opponent yet to be determined.
The Buffs' boys golf team will play Monday in Wichita at the Class 6A regional tournament at Sim Park Golf Course. Players and their tee times are: Lucas Goss (9:22 a.m.); Connor Schultz (9:30 a.m.); Logan Durst (9:37 a.m.); Tucker Schiffelbein (9:45 a.m.), Austin Swender (9:52 a.m.) and Taylor Larsen (10 a.m.).
The state tourney is May 27 at Topeka C.C.
Two singles players and one doubles team for the GCHS boys tennis team will begin play on Friday at the Class 6A state tournament at the Riverside Tennis Complex in Wichita.
Dozie Ekweariri and Sebastian Kyaw will compete in singles while Dylan Victor and Esteban Neave will compete in the doubles division. All of those individuals qualified on Saturday at the regional tournament in Hutchinson.
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