2010 sports headlines in review

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The year started with the Lafayette County Basketball Tournament.

Concordia, behind 16 points from Tori Kopp and 15 from Laura Blankenship, downed Saint Paul, which had 10 points from Louisa Mehl, 51-40 in the girls' championship. It was the Lady Orioles' fifth such title and first since 2007.

The Wellington Tigers eased Higginsville's five-year grip on the first-place trophy. Kent Hendrix hit one of two free throws with 1 second left on the scoreboard clock for a 58-57 victory. It was the first-ever appearance in the championship game for the Tigers.

The Tigers also won the I-70 Conference regular-season title at 7-0, not winning any conference game by less than 20 points. The Orrick Lady Bearcats also went unbeaten in regular-season I-70 play, beating Sweet Springs 61-28 on Feb. 19 to close out the slate.

Orrick beat the Saint Paul Lady Saints 54-33 for the Class 2, District 15 crown before being knocked out of the state playoffs the next game by Penney (Hamilton) and finishing the season 26-3.

Wellington captured the district boys' championship with a 71-43 win over Santa Fe. The Tigers finally lost to eventual state champion Sturgeon 66-61 in the quarterfinals. The Tigers finished 28-1.

The Saint Paul Lady Saints won their second straight I-70 Conference softball tournament, 1-0 over Crest Ridge.

Three local golfers made it to state in the spring. Bryan Nierman of Saint Paul finished in a 5-way tie for 45th at 189, Concordia's Josh Bushman wound up tied for 69th at 192 and the Saints' Matt Conner tied for 112th at 219.

Wellington accumulated 158 points to easily outscore Orrick's 111 for the boys' I-70 Conference track and field crown. The Crest Ridge Lady Cougars were best, outpointing Wellington 143-98.

Kurtis Gregory, a 2005 Santa Fe High School and a 2008 University of Missouri-Columbia graduate, was not selected in April's National Football League draft but signed a free-agent contract with the Carolina Panthers of the league. He eventually was cut and signed a contract with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. Before that season began in September, Gregory was released again.

In LaCoMo East Little League action, the Minor League and Senior League softball all-star teams won state championships. The Senior League girls advanced to the regional where they won one game and lost two, only missing advancing to the Final Four by 0.01 of a run in the tie-breaker system. The state tournament is as far as a Minor League team can go. The Major and Junior League baseball all-stars also won district crowns before being ousted on the state level.

Saint Paul's Samantha Mueller and Nicole Mueller both advanced to the state golf tournament but declined to play because of previously scheduled family activities in October.

The Saint Paul soccer team set a new record for wins with 21. The Saints, under the direction of Luther Schmidt, won a district title before being defeated 2-1 by Barstow in the sectional round of the state playoffs. The Saints finished 21-4 and ranked in the final Top 10.

The year's big events ended with the I-70 Conference basketball tournaments at Concordia.

Top-seeded Concordia lost to the No. 2 Wellington Tigers 57-38 in the championship game. Blake Seitz led the Tigers with 19 points, with Christian Bryant scoring 12 and Taylor Bryant 10. Carter Brown paced the Orioles with 13 points, Drew Smith adding 10 points.

Top-seeded Orrick smothered the No. 2 Concordia Lady Orioles 41-20 in the title clash. Amanda Rodenberg led the Lady Bearcats with 12 points. Hailee Langkrahr scored seven points for the Lady Orioles.

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