Category Archives: Tennis

Fall Sports wrap-up

Photo by Brock Kennedy

Story by J.D. McKay

Well, it snowed yesterday and I still have not written my fall sports wrap-up yet. So, even though football is still playing, it is time. 

Girls’ golf had a successful season as they always do. They won sectionals and got sixth at regionals. Junior Halleigh Cullins won, and senior Sydney Juliot got first and second. Sophomore Sophia Cook also tied for third. Cook led the team at regionals with an 80. This year, they won their eleventh sectional in the past 12 years, and their seventh straight. 

Boys’ and girls’ cross country also continued their success. They both won conference before moving on to the IHSAA post season. There, both teams won sectionals and regionals, before both finishing third at semi-state and 19th at state. The girls’ top runner was Sydney Liddle, who finished 51st. The boys’ top runner was senior Luke Heinemann, who finished 82nd. Throughout the season, they won other big meets like the Tiger Run at St. X. Including the post season, the boys won six races and the girls won six races. 

Boys’ soccer struggled at times this year, but that often is shown when you play strong competition, which the boys did. They play five strong Louisville schools and ended up losing four and tying one. However, at the end of their season they upset Columbus North in sectionals before losing to Columbus East, who lost in semi-state, in the sectional championship. 

The girls’ soccer team went a little further than the boys did. The girls won sectionals this year, as well as winning conference. They won the Hoosier Cup Tournament in early September. Last season, senior Katie Yankey was all-state as a junior. This year, she was injured for most of the year, but senior Audrey Brumfield has a good shot to be all-state. 

Boys’ tennis is another of the three teams to make semi-state. They won conference again, sectionals again, and regionals again. They also had a big win early in the season against North Central. They eventually lost to Columbus North in semi-state.

Volleyball had a slow start to their season but got it rolling as they went along. Several of those games were against good teams like Sacred Heart and Providence. Providence finished the year ranked 24th in the country, and Sacred Heart was ranked fourth in Kentucky. However, as they got some momentum, they won conference, and 13 of their last 15 going into sectionals. They got a tough sectional draw and had to play Providence again. However, they gave the Pioneers a scare by taking the first set, but the Pioneers won the last three. 

The last sport I am coming to is football. Football is still playing after winning sectionals for the first time in 10 years Friday night against Jeff. We are the sixth team to win nine games in a season and have a chance to be the first to get past regionals and third to win 10 in a season. But we also have two losses, one to Columbus East, and one to Louisville Male, who is ranked second in Kentucky and will probably win state in 6A. Friday, the Highlanders are playing at Bloomington South, who is very talented, on the road. If they win, they will be playing semi-state at home.

 

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.

 

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.

FC nearing the end of another dominant year over rivals

By J.D. McKay

On March 1, New Albany beat us for the first time this school year in any sport. Losing to them in the second round of sectionals certainly was not what we were hoping for. But like college basketball analysts sometimes say, sometimes a loss is what a team needs. That loss seemed to point out how good we have it athletically at FC.

We have also dominated our rivals in most if not every sport this year. On Monday our girls’ tennis team won their matches against New Albany. That win meant that we had defeated the Dogs in every sport at least once this season. Unfortunately, I could not find the exact record between schools because several sports like golf, track, cross country, and wrestling are not head-to-head and sometimes neither team wins the meet. It is also incredibly hard to find these stats.

New Albany was not the only rival we dominated this year, although we have had the best record against them. We have also beat Jeffersonville and Providence pretty consistently.

Just this year we have already had won eight sectional championships in 13 sports. This spring, we  will add to that total. There are six spring sports, and winning five of those sectionals is definitely possible, but we could potentially win all six with a little luck and outstanding play.

I expect the boys’ and girls’ track teams to both win sectionals. The main competition in those sports sectionals is New Albany, and both teams have already beaten New Albany once this year. Two boys’ track athletes I expect to excel the rest of this season are senior Cam Sturgeon and senior Jon Gunn. Sturgeon has a real chance to win state and will be all-state. Gunn can fly. He should carry the title of 100 and 200 meter dash champion out of this sectional after winning both last year. I expect freshman Annalise Zeinemann to win pole vault sectionals and could make a real splash in regionals–maybe even state. Plus, junior Sydney Liddle, who was all-state in cross country, has a chance to be all-state in a second sport this year in a long distance event.  

Baseball is the only team I am not expecting to win their sectional. Our team is talented, but we also have a very competitive sectional. New Albany and Jeff are both very good. We have defeated New Albany and lost to Jeff. However, if senior Adam Spalding, who tossed a no-hitter last night, can have another dominant pitching performance over either Jeff or New Albany, and senior Blake Barrett can light it up from the plate like he did against New Albany earlier this year, I could see them winning sectionals.

Softball should win sectionals and potentially go deep into state. Our team has a plethora of future college softball players including seniors Cassie Thomerson (Indiana State) and Dallas Henderson (Indiana University Southeast). As long as our players play up to their potential, the team could advance far past sectionals.

We typically have the best boys’ golf team in the area, and I do not see that changing. Last year, we won sectionals and had three golfers come in the top five. Senior Harrison Eades finished third, graduate Dylan Zink got fourth, and junior Reece Compton got fifth. One of the opponents that finished above Eades and Compton has since graduated, and the winner from Corydon is within reach of Eades or Compton.

Our girls’ tennis team should also win sectionals. They won sectionals last year in straight sets and I do not expect that to change. While we did lose two seniors, Kate Sparrow–a doubles player was the biggest loss–junior Katie Weimer should step up and fill that role.

It is almost the end of the 2018-19 school year and time is running out of time to get to an event if you have not yet. It is a good time to be a Highlander. Do not miss out.