Category Archives: JD McKay

Previewing fall sports

By J.D. McKay

Sports at FC are finally upon us. After months of lifting in the new weight room and hours of practices over the summer, it is time to play. Expectations for every sports are high, which seems to be common over the past three years.

Volleyball starts the season off by playing Christian Academy at home tomorrow. But it is almost a month until the first rivalry game. They play New Albany on the road on Sept. 12. The biggest home rivalry games are against Providence on Sept. 18, and Jeff on Oct. 3. Providence is always a tough match, and the Pioneers often beat us in volleyball. Hopefully, this team will be the one to finally beat Providence. They are also in our sectional, so beating them in September could give us the upper hand later in sectionals. 

One team that has a good chance of winning state is boys’ tennis. Last year, they graduated one significant senior, but returned several other players, including senior Alex Poe, who has been all-state, and senior Eric Whitehouse, who was all-conference last year. They finished in the Final Four last year, so it would not surprise me if they had another good year. They will hosting Providence tomorrow. 

Girls’ golf is another sport that always does well. I do not know why that would change this year. Our three best players, sophomore Sophie Cook and junior Zoe Hoehn both return. They went one, two in sectionals, so I expect another top finish in sectionals from the pair. They play against New Albany on Aug. 27 at Covered Bridge Golf Course. 

The other team that has a good shot at winning state is girls’ cross country. They have a great team led by senior Sydney Liddle, who was all-state last year. They came up just two points short last year in semi-state. They did graduate one runner, but the team is strong and deep enough that it should not be a hard replacement. The boys’ will also have a good team. Last year they won regionals and only graduated one runner. They should be able to repeat their regional victory behind senior twins David and Luke Heinemann. Neither team has a home meet this year. 

Boys’ and girls’ soccer are both coming off sectional championships, but, the boys’ lost a big senior class. However, senior Xander Ochsner is one of the best players in Southern Indiana, and senior Drew Cromwell might be the most athletic senior at FC right now. Both seniors should be big players and leaders for this team. They play New Albany at home on Sept. 19. 

The girls, on the other hand, lost some seniors, but this senior class is huge. Audrey Brumfield is a senior and headed to Murray State. Senior Katie Yankey, although hurt in the Turkey Bowl, will be back sooner than expected. Last season she was all-state and the Courier Journal best female soccer player in Kentuckiana. Along with six other seniors, many of whom have seen significant varsity action, they should lead the team to a successful year. The girls also play New Albany Sept. 19, before the boys’ game. 

The last team to mention is football. The schedule has changed significantly over the off-season. Now, New Albany is Week Four, on Sept. 13, and Jeff is a week later. Both games are at home. There were a few key losses last season, but many players are young and returning. However, the biggest excitement is the change in sectional. Columbus East is now 6A. So that leaves New Albany, Jeff, and Bedford North Lawrence. That sectional is more open than it has been in years, so it could lead to an exciting October in Southern Indiana high school football.

 

Predicting the MLB season with 50 games left

By J.D. McKay

Next week is when competitions at FC really start, so I will write my preseason column next week. However, right now there is not much happening in sports. The MLB is nearing the end of the season. The NFl preseason is starting, and just about every other league is in the offseason. My NFL preview will be the Wednesday after Labor Day, so I guess it is MLB. 

There are about 50 games left. The trade deadline has come and gone. I think the Houston Astros won the trade deadline. They traded for Zach Greinke, one of baseball’s best pitchers. Pitchers are the most important players in the post season and that will make them very competitive in October. The Reds seemed to be selling at the deadline, despite still being one winning streak away from really being in contention. They traded fan favorite Scooter Gennett and Yasiel Puig. However, they got my preseason pick for AL Cy Young, Trevor Bauer, for Puig. My trade deadline loser was the Yankees. Their starting pitching has being terrible for the past few weeks but the did not trade for a pitcher. That could prove to be fatal. 

The post season is going to be here in two months. Unfortunately, I do not think the Yankees will win the World Series despite being the best team in baseball. Starting pitching is too important and, as I said above, theirs has been poor. Unless their pitchers pull it together, it may be a quick exit. I like the Astros to be the American League representative in the World Series because of their trade for Greinke as well as Justin Verlander. Those two should be able to win enough games in the playoffs to get to the World Series. 

The National League I see as a toss up. The Dodgers are good, they have two great starters. However, the NL Central has been the toughest division in baseball this year. I could see a team coming out of that division and excelling against teams that are not constantly playing top teams. 

Earlier this year I predicted Astros vs Dodgers in the World Series, and I am sticking with that. However, I predicted the Dodgers in six games. But after the Astros trades, I am expecting the Astros to win the World Series in five games.

 

Summer sports wrap-up

By J.D. McKay

That was fast. 

As an athlete, it went even faster. Strength and conditioning coach Donnie Gumble trained athletes hard this summer. The cross country teams went to a week-long camp to run, with some athletes putting in more than 40 miles. Plus, the basketball teams played in summer leagues against other top teams. With the work Gumble put in with our athletes and the rest of the work they put in this off season, it should be a very good year in FC sports. 

There was plenty of action outside of Floyd County, though. Most of it was a surprise, too. I expected the Warriors win in five games, then sign another big name free agent like Kyrie Irving or Kawhi Leonard. Serena Williams and Roger Federer would win women’s and men’s at Wimbledon. The Yankees would be the best team in the MLB at the all-star break, and a veteran would win the homerun derby. Romeo Langford would be a first round pick but not a Lottery Pick. Finally, our local summer sports team, the Louisville Bats, would be the worst team in Triple A baseball. 

If you follow sports very closely you know that only none of those statements are totally true. The Warriors lost in six games. Then, balance in the NBA was restored for the first time since 2014. Anthony Davis joined Lebron in LA. Then, a few weeks later, the Clippers formed the second super team in LA with Leonard and Paul George. The East Coast was not just watching this happen. The Brooklyn Nets signed Kevin Durant and Irving to form their own super team. Houston traded for Russell Westbrook to go with James Harden and get a pair of their own. Plus, Golden State still has Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The other NBA statement I made was only partly true. Langford was a first round pick; however, he was a Lottery Pick and will be playing basketball for the Boston Celtics and ex-Butler coach Brad Stevens. 

Neither Federer or Williams took home titles at Wimbledon. They were won by Novak Djokovic in the mens’ and Simona Halep in the ladies’. There was some other craziness around the tournament. Fifteen-year-old Cori Gauff qualified for the tournament and upset Venus Williams in the first round. She stuck around until the fourth round before losing and all of her matches were the most watch of the day in America. 

My baseball predictions were the most accurate. The Yankees were the best team in the American League and second best in baseball. The Bats are not quite the worst team in Triple A baseball, but they are the second worst. The only completely false statement was the veteran winning the Homerun Derby. That was dominated by two rookies, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Pete Alonso. Guerrero had the greatest Homerun Derby of all time. He hit 91 homers in 13.5 minutes. That was spaced out over two hours, but that many dingers is impressive regardless. Even with that many homers, he still lost in the finals to Alonso, who hit 23 to beat Guerrero’s 22. 

Finally, I did not have much of a prediction for the Stanley Cup Finals, but the St. Louis Blues finally took home the Cup for the first time after 50 years. They played seven and the final game was won by goalie Jordan Binnington. Who had perhaps the greatest most clutch performance I will ever see in hockey. He gave up one goal on 33 shots and as a hockey fan, I was amazed, because most of the shots he blocked were shots that are almost always goals. 

This summer was crazy in sports. That feels weird to say but it really was. Hopefully the rest of the school year is as crazy as the summer was. Or maybe not, I do not know if we can handle that for 10 more months. 

 

FC wraps up successful sports year

By J.D. McKay

It is my last column of this school year, so it is time for an end of the year wrap up. All in all, we have had a great year. Unfortunately, we have come up short in a few sectionals, but we have also had success against New Albany.

Girls’ cross country was very good. They won their regional and got second at semi-state by two points. Junior Sydney Liddle followed in her dad’s footsteps and became FC’s first second generation all-state athlete. Next year, the girls have a very real chance of winning team state and Liddle could win individual state. The boys’ cross country also won regionals. They were led by junior Luke Heinemann, who finished sixth there and could win regionals next year if he stays healthy. They only graduated two guys, so they could win semi-state next year.

Football had a pretty good year, too. They beat New Albany, Jeff, and Providence. It was their first year with new head coach James Bragg. The conference was very tough this year and their 5-5 record was pretty good for the level of competition. Next year, the sectional is winnable for all the teams in it, the first time FC has been in a winnable sectional in three years.

Girls’ volleyball had a good year. They beat New Albany and Jeff. They have a tough sectional and came up short against Providence in the sectional championship. The boys’ had a terrific fifth season. They were ranked in the top four for most of the season. They also beat Trinity. They lost in the state semifinals to eventual champion Roncalli.

Girls’ soccer had another good season. They won sectionals against Seymour 2-1. Junior Katie Yankey was all-state. They could be very good next year. They lost a few seniors, but they have a lot of talented returning juniors. Boys’ soccer also won sectionals 1-0 over Jeff. They had a big senior class, so they might have a tough year next year. However, junior Xander Ochsner is very good and could lead them to a successful year and sectional championship.

If you asked one of the players on our boys’ basketball team, they would probably call the season a disappointment. However, they had a very good year. They beat New Albany in the regular season and tied Jeff for first in the conference. Unfortunately, they lost to New Albany, who overcame some adversity and injuries to play a great game. Their head coach, Jim Shannon, also ran a tough triangle and two defense that made senior Cobie Barnes and sophomore Jake Heidbreder less of a threat. Barnes was all-state.

The girls’ season was pretty good. They went in with mixed expectations. They were hit with the injury bug again but still managed to beat New Albany and Providence. They have a lot of underclassmen so if they stay healthy they could be good next year.

Boys’ and girls’ swimming both had a pretty typical year by their standards. Both went undefeated during the regular season. Both won conference and sectionals. Both teams have pretty good senior classes, but they also have lots of underclassmen talent, so they should continue their success.

Wrestling had a decent season. They beat New Albany in sectionals. Unfortunately, they did not win sectionals. However, they had two all-state wrestlers, junior Jonathan Kervin and sophomore Gavinn Alstott. Freshman J Conway also went to state. Those three alone make the future of FC wrestling bright.

Boys’ golf dominated like it always does. They will easily win sectionals next week. They may even have two finishers in the top three. The girls’ also dominated like they usually do. Freshman Sophie Cook won, sophomore Zoe Hoehn got second, and junior Francesca Hartlage got third.

Baseball had a better year than many were expecting. They beat New Albany as well as Castle who was ranked very highly at the time. Ultimately, they lost in their sectional which is very tough, boasting New Albany and Jeff.

Softball had kind of a weird season. They started the year playing below their talent level. But as the season progressed, they improved. That led to beating Seymour in sectionals after losing to them in the regular season. Unfortunately, they lost to Jennings County 2-4 after being up 2-0 going into the last inning. Next year, they will be led by junior Taryn Weddle, who will be going to Louisville after she graduates.

Girls’ track had a successful season. They won sectionals and conference. They have two freshmen, Annalise Zeinemann and Reece Davis, who are going to state as pole vaulters. The 4 by 800 meter relay advanced to state as well as the 4 by 400 meter relay. Junior Sydney Liddle and Chloe Loftus is going to state for the 2 mile. The boys’ season was disappointing. They lost sectionals for the first time in 17 years after going into the season with a chance at winning regionals. However, senior Cam Sturgeon is going to state for discus, senior Devon Montgomery for pole vault, and senior Jon Gunn for the 100-yard dash. The 4 by 800 meter relay also is going to state.

Girls’ tennis has had a successful year. They won sectionals over Eastern Pekin in straight sets. Boys’ tennis had probably the best season of any team. They advanced all the way to state before losing to eventual state champion Carmel. They are only losing one senior, all-state Lucas Sakamaki. They should be very good next year.

The last sports are the unified sports, track and football. This was the first year for unified football. It was not a great season competitively, but that is not the main goal of unified sports like it is for some other sports. It is a fun chance for impaired students to compete with their classmates. Some schools should probably put more focus into this aspect than the competitive aspect. Unified track also did not have an outstanding competitive season, but once again, that is not the main goal. The main goal is to try new things and give all types of kids a chance to be on an FC team.

This has been a pretty good year for FC, but the future looks even brighter. This talented senior class will be hard to replace but there is a lot of talent below it. Be sure to stay connected with FC sports by reading my column next school year. My first column will be on July 31.

Consider visiting a Louisville City FC game

By J.D. McKay

I have never really been that interested in soccer. I played it when I was little like just most other kids and have watched a little bit of the World Cup but only when the USA is playing. I still cannot say that I really enjoy watching a soccer game. However, Louisville City FC (LouCity) games are very cool and if you have not been to a game, you should.

I cannot say that if you already do not enjoy soccer you will suddenly become a fan, but it would make for an enjoyable group outing. If the game is close, it is fun to watch the fans as Louisville City gets close to scoring. Even I got into watching the game and was just as disappointed as the fans when the game winning goals carried just right of the goal, resulting in a draw.
It is also reasonably priced to watch a game. An evening movie costs about $13, which is about the average price of a LouCity game. Plus, at a Louisville City game, fans can enjoys the beautiful Ohio Valley weather if they pick the right time of year. On June, 8, they are playing a home game, and tickets only cost $10.

This is also the last year that they will be playing at Louisville Slugger Field. Their home stadium makes watching the games an interesting experience. The pitcher’s mound is lower and covered in turf, and turf is laid on the infield. The players sometimes seemed to avoid these patches, but did not seem to have too much of an effect on the game, in my opinion. Since it is their last year at Louisville Slugger, it is neat to see the how the fans make the stadium as seem more like Louisville City’s stadium than the Louisville Bats’ stadium. Soon, they will have a new stadium in  Butchertown, designed by the beloved and since deceased partial owner, Wayne Estopinal.

That brings me to my last point, the fans. LouCity fans are crazy. Most typical fans are pretty into the game for people who are not super fans. However, the super fans are wild. They are out tailgating beside the stadium at 1 p.m., six hours before game time. Fast forward about five and a half hours, and they are preparing for their march into the stadium. Led by a procession of drummers, they march in screaming their chants that are basically impossible to understand unless you have been to way more games than me. During the game, they are just as rowdy.

I have suggested before to go to a LouCity game in my “FIVE THINGS TO WATCH” columns. However, I have not really taken that advice and wish I would have sooner. These games are a very cool part of the exploding life in downtown Louisville and will be for years to come.