Apologies for my absence — I’ve been gone the last 3 weeks as part of The Eagle’s NCAA Tournament coverage team, which we all know by now took a pretty wild turn when Wichita State ended up in the Final Four for the first time since 1965. I spent a week in Kansas City with K-State and KU, the next week in Dallas with KU and finally to Atlanta with the Shockers.
But now I’m back, so let’s take a look at some of what I missed while I was gone:
-Former McPherson College football player Alton Franklin’s second-degree murder trial has begun in McPherson. Franklin is charged in the beating death of Tabor College football player Brandon Brown last fall. Another former McPherson College football player – DeQuinte Flournoy – was also facing the same charges but has pled no contest to aiding and abetting aggravated battery and is expected to testify in the trial. Both sides agree Brown was drunk — his BAC was 0.3, nearly four times the legal limit of .08 — and that Brown and a teammate were asked to leave a party. Everything else? That’s why they’re having the trial. The thing that sticks out to me so far is that Brown didn’t receive any medical assistance for the 10 minutes after the police found him unconscious in the front yard of where the party was happening.
-The Tabor and Sterling baseball teams are in a heck of a battle for first place — they’re both 15-1 in KCAC play and meet up again April 18 in Sterling.
-It’s the same in softball, with Kansas Wesleyan and Friends both 8-0 in KCAC play.
-The Butler softball team is still tearing it up – they’re 32-2 overall, 8-0 in Jayhawk play and ranked No. 2 in NJCAA Division I. The Grizzlies are deep, talented and have their sights set on making a run deep in the national tournament. Five teams in the Jayhawk are ranked — the other four are in Division II with No. 6 Highland, No. 8 Cowley, No. 17 Labette and No. 19 Johnson County.
-In baseball, there is just one – Jayhawk East leader Cowley at No. 6.
-The Emporia State track team has been tearing it up. Wichita Northwest product Andrew Etheridge, an ESU hurdler with a national title under his belt, seems poised to make a run at another title.
-The MIAA announced its 2013 Hall of Fame class – among those who made it in was Pittsburg State football player Ronnie West, who won the Harlon Hill Award in 1991 and led the Gorillas to the NCAA Division II title the same year. He was the only one of the 10 inductees from the four Kansas schools.
-The Jets have a new volleyball coach, Natalie Rawson, the top assistant at Midwestern State. Newman’s last two seasons have been among the worst in school history — they went 4-19 in 2012 and 5-22 in 2011. They haven’t had a winning record in the last five years – 14-16 in 2010, 11-21 in 2009 and 8-25 in 2008.