Sports Source: A lesson in Kansas geography

11/6/2012

For most of the fall sports season, I spend my time covering games and schools in our immediate 12-county, 19-school readership area.

For most of the fall sports season, I spend my time covering games and schools in our immediate 12-county, 19-school readership area.

Roughly, that includes schools in Greeley, Wichita, Scott, Lane, Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Gray, Haskell, Grant, Stanton and Stevens counties.

Rarely are trips more than two hours one-way and it makes coverage reasonably accessible for our sports staff.

Things change, though, when it comes to district playoffs and postseason competition in multiple sports. Throw in the fact that Garden City High School has numerous road trips into the Wichita area, and you get the idea that a membership in AAA makes a great deal of sense.

In early October, there was the Friday trip to Wichita for the Garden-Wichita East football game. Staying over, it was possible to cover the GCHS cross country teams in El Dorado the next morning. A conflict, however, kept me from getting out to El Dorado Lake to watch the Buffaloes run that day. It was doable, though, to drive to Derby and catch a Garden girls volleyball match at the Derby Invite.

That same day, it was back up the Kansas Turnpike to El Dorado for the Garden City Community College football game with Butler. And back home on Sunday.

Two weeks later, it was an overnighter to Hutchinson for the Buffs-Salthawks district playoff football game. And back home on Saturday.

The following week, sports coverage saw me on the road headed east (is there any other direction teams from this area go?) for the state cross country meet in Lawrence for Classes 3A and 6A. The highlight was covering top finishes by the Garden City girls, individually with Alex Miller (2nd) and the Lady Buffs (2nd place team). Joey Meyers and Scott City also had top 5 finishes in 3A boys while Holcomb's boys were a close fourth.

The first week of November is football playoff time.

A quick, and short, trip to Holcomb for the first round of Class 3A on Oct. 30 was followed by a Friday excursion north to Oakley for the Stanton County Class 2A regional championship. Then, it was a drive back to Garden City, only to wake up on Saturday morning and prepare for the 235-mile jaunt to Beloit for Holcomb's regional title game against Beloit.

Now, with Scott City the lone remaining area team in the postseason playoff picture, it will be a commute drive north on Friday to watch the Beavers against Garden Plain. A win by Scott City will put them on the road again the following week.

If anybody thinks that Kansas is truly a flat state, then they only need to drive north of Scott City to Oakley and to see the rolling hills that also includes Monument Rocks and Lake Scott. As the sun sets on that area, the colors are brilliant in the west sky.

Driving to Beloit on Saturday on K14, one winds through and up-and-down hills of the western edge of the Flint Hills. It's another one of Kansas' geologic wonders.

All told, approximately 2,500 miles have been covered by this writer since the first Friday of October.

Kansas is a cool state, with its own distinct beauty.

When do I get to travel to Pittsburg?

Sports Editor Brett Marshall can be emailed at bmarshall@gctelegram.com

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