Category Archives: Fort Hays State

Weekend Wrapup: Newman/Bobby Wesley, Ryan Schraeder, Craig Nicholson, Hutchinson CC men stay perfect


Lots of stuff going on over the weekend – thought this might be a good primer to show you a few of the highlights:

-Newman is 8-0: The Newman men improved to 8-0 over the weekend, setting up a big, big game Saturday in Wichita against No. 2 Washburn. The Jets beat William Jewell on Saturday night 86-84 behind some late-game heroics from senior guard Bobby Wesley, who scored 7 points … with 5 coming in the last two minutes on a three-pointer and a 12-foot jumper with 2.5 seconds left that won the game.

-Ryan Schraeder: The former Butler Community College All-American offensive tackle is back playing for the national championship – this time on the NCAA Division II level with Valdosta State. The Blazers beat Minnesota State-Mankato 35-19 on Saturday in Mankato, and will face Winston-Salem State for the title. More good news for Schraeder – he was named a D2 1st team All-American for the second time and he had a feature written about him in the Wichita Eagle. Schraeder is moving up draft boards as we speak – here’s a link to his Twitter account @RyanSchraeder78 – Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown and former Washburn cornerback Pierre Desir, now at Lindenwood, were also named to the first team.

-Craig Nicholson turning heads: Northwest product and Fort Hays State freshman point guard Craig Nicholson was named the MIAA player of the week on Monday (not the weekend, I know), but the 5-foot-8 playmaker is already showing that the Tigers scored a coup in signing him.

-And there’s Hutch: The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team improved to 14-0 over the weekend and are ranked No. 4 in the country. Brad Hallier of The Hutch News breaks it down for you. 

Talk to you soon -TA

Washburn/Bishop Carroll product Joe Hastings signs with 49ers


A pair of MIAA standouts signed free-agent contracts with NFL teams Tuesday – right after the lockout came to a close – and will be in camp with those teams within days.

And one of them’s a Wichitan.

Washburn wide receiver Joe Hastings, a Bishop Carroll product, signed with the San Francisco 49ers and will head to Santa Clara, Calif., for camp starting on Thursday. Hastings led the MIAA in receiving yards (1,546) and receptions (87) last season, setting his school’s single-season records for both. He had eight 100-yard games in 2010 and tied a Washburn single-game record with four touchdown catches against Nebraska-Omaha … a game in which he only played the first half.

Also signing on Tuesday was Fort Hays State wide receiver O.J. Murdock, who will start camp with the Tennessee Titans on Friday. Murdock set the single-season record for the Tigers this year with 1,290 receiving yards and holds the MIAA career record for yards per catch at 20.9.


FHSU men’s soccer signs 31 in first recruiting class


Fort Hays State men’s soccer coach Brett Parker made a big splash last week with his first recruiting class — the school’s first recruiting class — made up of 31 players, including 12 with ties to Kansas as the Tigers get ready for their first season in 2011-2012 (they also added a women’s team). Here’s my story on it that ran in today’s paper. Big props to FHSU for getting ahead of the curve — I feel pretty confident that within 10 years all the teams in the MIAA will have both men’s and women’s soccer. Getting that drop on the competition and that extra foothold, especially in in-state recruiting, will be invaluable in the long run.

Parker’s big pick ups, in my opinion, were a trio of Wichita kids in Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Michael Sheets and Luke Campbell and Wichita Southeast goalie Merrick Rhodes. Sheets is a scorer, which makes him a commodity, and Rhodes, with his 6-foot-1 frame, could be an impact player on the next level.

Here’s the full signing list for your perusal:

Fort Hays State
2011 men’s soccer signings
Name, Pos., Ht., Yr., Hometown, Prev. School

Omar Aguilar, MF/F, 5-9, Fr., Dallas, J.J. Pearce; Jared Bailey, D, 6-1, Jr., Lee’s Summit, Mo., Metropolitan (Mo.) CC-Blue River; Tanner Barrand, D, 6-0, Jr., Topeka, Neosho CC; Cody Black, MF, 6-1, Fr., Denber, Collegiate Academy; Bryan Bott, GK, 6-0, Fr., Johnstown, Colo., Roosevelt; Tanner Brock, MF, 5-10, Fr., Winfield, Winfield; Luke Campbell, D, 5-9, Fr., Wichita, Kapaun Mount Carmel; Daniel Davila, D, 5-11, Fr., Garland, Texas, North Garland; William Davis, MF, 5-11, Fr., Parker, Colo., Chaparral;  Kaden Downing, MF, 5-8, Fr., Englewood, Colo., Englewood; Dula Fadis, MF, 6-1, Jr., Minneapolis, Minn., Barton CC; Kent Freund, GK, 6-1, Fr., Garland, Texas, North Garland; Jonathan Hernandez, MF, 6-0, Fr., Oklahoma City, Okla., Putnam North; Eric Hymer, D, 6-2, Fr., Overland Park, Olathe East; Andre Learned, MF/F, 5-9, Fr., Manhattan, Manhattan; Tomas Mares, F, 5-11, Jr., Tulasa, Okla., N. Oklahoma; Hunter Nail, D/MF, 6-3, Fr., Centennial, Colo., Chaparral; Matthew O’Rell, D/MF, 6-1, Fr., Longmont, Colo., Silver Creek; Ryan Pakieser, GK, 6-1, Fr., Lakewood, Colo., D’Evelyn; Daniel Peralta, MF/F, 5-10, Jr., Tulsa, N. Oklahoma; Adrian Ramirez, MF, 6-0, Jr., Garden City, Barton CC; Jacob Rangel, F, 5-9, Fr., Oklahoma City, Putnam North; Chris Rathjen, MF/F, 5-10, Fr., Leavenworth, Lansing; Merrick Rhodes, GK, 6-1, Fr., Wichita, Wichita Southeast; Roman Rodriguez, MF/F, 5-9, Fr., Dallas, JJ Pearce; Jacob Sayre, MF, Fr., Wichita, Maize South; Devin Schmidt, MF/F, 6-1, Fr., Hays, Hays; Michael Sheets, F, 6-0, Fr., Wichita, Kapaun Mount Carmel; Remington Stitt, F, 5-8, Fr., Greeley, Colo., Northridge; Nathan Walker, D, 5-5, Jr., Goddard, Barton CC; Ricardo Yeverino, F, 5-9, Jr., Garden City, Barton CC.

I’m out. TA

Sunflower Slate: The Mystery of the Mike Garrison Post

On June 25, 2009, I was having a pretty good day, mainly because of a killer interview I’d done with former Butler and current Fort Hays State quarterback Mike Garrison. I knew it was killer not because of any great question I’d asked, but because Garrison opened up that day. I’d talked to him a few times before and it had been pretty standard. But on that day, for some reason, he let it fly. And I tricked out the post with some pics, a Disturbed video … made it look good.

You can look at it right here.

I remember the post well only because I got some props for it. Our sports editor, Kirk Seminoff, sent me an e-mail and said he liked it. Fort Hays State SID Ryan Prickett did the same, and also linked it to FHSU’s site. It got decent traffic for a few days … and then it faded out of our daily reports and into Sunflower Slate history. Garrison played really great to good football the next couple of years and that was that.

Then a couple of months ago, something happened.

Our daily report that track hits to our blogs, stories, galleries and videos started to register the post was getting hits again. Between 60-80 per day. And it has never stopped. That is, in my estimation, close to 5,000 hits in the last two months. That’s a lot for my little blog.

And I have no idea why. Comments were closed on the post a long time ago, otherwise I’d just ask on the comment section. Is it because of the Disturbed video? Is it because Garrison, who is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, is an NFL prospect? Is it because of former WVU president Mike Garrison?

This post is about as Encyclopedia Brown as I’m going to get. I’d really like to know what the deal is. If you have any idea, either comment below or shoot me an e-mail at … until then, happy trails, and here’s a video of Garrison in action.


Breaking down Fort Hays State, Emporia State, Pittsburg State and Washburn

My MIAA preview hit newsstands today and the focus was on Washburn CB Pierre Desir and his unique story. Desir, in case you didn’t know, might be the very best Division II cornerback in the country. Here’s a look at the 4 MIAA teams in Kansas and some thoughts on them:


Junior quarterback Dane Simoneau had a breakout season in 2009, his first year as a full-time starter. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Salina native threw for a school-record 2,955 yards and 26 touchdowns on his way to second-team All-MIAA honors and is a leading candidate for MIAA Offensive Player of the Year this season. Simoneau, who is also an all-MIAA shortstop for the Ichabods, was a serious candidate for MIAA MVP last year until a few tough losses late in the season. With Simoneau, NW Missouri’s Blake Bolles, Fort Hays State’s Mike Garrison and Central Missouri’s Eric Czerniewski, this could be the year of the QB. Ickies will be hard-pressed to replace MIAA Defensive player of the year Zach Watkins at LB, but safety Casey Curran is no slouch.


Longtime Pittsburg State assistant coach Tim Beck takes over for Chuck Broyles, and will try to steer PSU back to the top of the MIAA after going 5-6 last season — the first losing season for PSU in 30 years. Senior free safety and Ness City product Alex Kuhlman is a two-time All-MIAA performer and the team’s top returning defender, recording 71 tackles and two interceptions last season. Starting quarterback is going to be either Mark Smith or Zac Dickey, although I’m not sure if either can make that much of a difference. Running back Terrance Isaac ran for almost 1,000 yards last season and was a second-team all-MIAA pick. He’ll shoulder most of the load on offense.


Last season’s 2-9 record capped another disastrous year for the Hornets under Garin Higgins, whose teams are 9-24 since he arrived in 2007 and haven’t had had a winning season since 2003. Honorable mention All-MIAA linebacker Nathan Linsey is the bright spot on the defense, recording 82 tackles last season and leading the league in fumble recoveries. It’s amazing to me that ESU can be so good in so many sports but fall short in football over and over again. They should be better, point blank. You’ve got to think time is running out for Higgins.


The Tigers went 6-5 last season for their first winning record since 2004 and first since joining the MIAA. Fort Hays returns 9 of 11 starters on offense, including second-team all-MIAA quarterback Mike Garrison, who led Butler Community College to a national title in 2007. Garrison is a dual-threat QB who passed for 2,606 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 375 yards and five touchdowns in 2009. Tigers should also get a boost on defense from Michigan State transfer Roderick Jenrette, a linebacker/safety type.

I’m out. TA.

Ps. Headed to Butler-Navarro tomorrow. Check back here for live, in-game blogging and tweets.

Chase Nitcher will wrestle for FHSU



Huge score for the Fort Hays State wrestling program and coach Chas Thompson in signing Valley Center’s Chase Nitcher. And no, I have no idea why he is holding that dog in the pic. But that’s what we like to call a Classic Find here at Sunflower Slate. A signing this late means that Nitcher may have been holding out for a bigger program to come along … or it could just mean he was taking his time waiting for the right offer. Either way, it’s win-win. Nitcher absolutely dominated his last two years of high school, winning two state titles and going 94-1. In his career, Nitcher set the Kansas state mark for wins with 179 and is projected to wrestle at 141 pounds for the Tigers.


Shaw leaves Ottawa to start women’s soccer at FHSU



Fort Hays State University won’t have women’s soccer until 2011, but they’ve already got a pretty good coach.

The Tigers nabbed Ottawa’s Craig Shaw on Thursday to lead its brand-new program after three years with the Braves. This seems like the right move for FHSU — Shaw just led Ottawa to the KCAC title by going undefeated in KCAC play last season and earned the school a trip to the national tournament. More importantly, he’s shown he can recruit Kansas and California very succesfully. But mainly Kansas. The high school girls soccer talent in our state is pretty fair and you can build a winner out of homegrown kids by throwing a few out-of-staters in the mix no problem. He’ll be at Ottawa until the end of the month and then head west?

The next question: Will he bring any of his kids with him? I can think of a few that would help…


Fort Hays State hires Steve Johnson away from Butler



Steve Johnson is leaving El Dorado for the WK.

Fort Hays State hired the Butler Community College baseball coach away from the Grizzlies today, and this seems like a great move for Johnson. He’s done what he needed to do (win, win, win some more) at BuCo to get an opportunity like this, so when said opportunity comes along you need to take it. He can win at FHSU, where they haven’t been able to achieve the same rare air they were breathing since Bob Fornelli left … but the FHSU administration seems to be willing to put $$$ behind the product it puts on the field. On the flip side, the MIAA is a tough nut to crack and he’s got his work cut out for him.

BJ McVay takes over at Butler, btw.

Here’s the full release from FHSU.


Weekend woes for Newman and Fort Hays … but not Friends … and then some more problems for Tigers

Just thought I’d check in and feed the monster after the big weekend — both Newman and Fort Hays lost over the weekend, falling to Incarnate Word and NW Missouri, putting the Tigers in a tie for first place in the MIAA … until they lost at Missouri Western, 75-69 on Monday. Friends, however, held on at No. 1 in the KCAC with a win over Saint Mary. What’s it all mean? It measn that Newman has a grueling road trip coming up — five straight away from Wichita — that will pretty much determine its season. It means Fort Hays saw its 13-game winning streak snapped, but they were bound to slip up somewhere because there was no way they were going to run the table in the MIAA. Now, with two straight losses they have a real problem on their hands. What is going on in Western Kansas?

As far as Friends? They travel to McPherson Feb. 13 for what could very well decide the regular-season title for the KCAC.

Me? I’m just thinking about tomorrow night, Baby. OH, and I’ll be following a JuCo coach around Friday night for our special, behind-the-scenes issue coming out Saturday. That, my friends, will be something else. So ch-ch-check it out.

Take it easy.


No. 13 Fort Hays St. at No. 1 Central Mo. (LIVE UPDATES)

I’m Fiesta-watching and doing this — be still, my beating heart!!


It’s 33-32 FHSU with just under two minutes left in first half and guess what? Dominique Jones has 16 points for Tigers already. But Sanijay Watts has 17 for UCM.

Jumper from Alex Moosman gave Mules a 34-33 lead at halftime.


Second half underway — UCM has pushed its lead to 46-40 five minutes in.

Uh-oh … UCM pushes lead to 53-43 at 12:00 mark … and Watts has 23 with Jones still stuck on 16 …

And FHSU JUST STORMED BACK and took a 63-60 lead with seven minutes to play. Whoa. Dominique Jones has 24 now with Corbin Kuntzsch and Ken Bowman sitting on 10 each. That’s the difference. This is a lot of fun, actually.

FHSU up 70-64 with four minutes left — Willie Hassel is the fourth Tiger in double digits with 11. This could really happen. And without their best player.

FHSU 74-69 with two minutes left … Jones has 26 points, 7 assists and 5 boards. Watts stuck on 23. Yeah this might happen.

FHSU up 76-69 with one minute left.

FINAL: NO. 13  FHSU 81, No. 1 CMU 71 at Warrensburg, Mo. WOW WOW DOUBLE WOW AND ON THAT NOTE …