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Beloit midseason Fall Sports Round-up

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Beloit midseason Fall Sports Round-up

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This is the first of a new localized feature focused on cross country, football and volleyball in Beloit

  • Clockwise from top left: BHS volleyball (Photo: Jeff Travis); SJBT's Caleb Eilert (Photo: The Beloit Call); SJBT's Bren Peters (Photo: Jeri Dubbert); SJBT's Brayden Perez (Photo: The Beloit Call); BHS football (Photo: Carrie Towns Photography)
    Clockwise from top left: BHS volleyball (Photo: Jeff Travis); SJBT's Caleb Eilert (Photo: The Beloit Call); SJBT's Bren Peters (Photo: Jeri Dubbert); SJBT's Brayden Perez (Photo: The Beloit Call); BHS football (Photo: Carrie Towns Photography)

Kansas Pregame will begin to offer some localized coverage at the city, county and regional level on our website. This is the first installment of our new Beloit Sports Round-up which will cover cross country, football and volleyball at Beloit and St. John's Beloit/Tipton high schools.

This feature is brought to you by the NCK Health Collaborative and the Mitchell County Communities That Care Resource Council which reminds you that tobacco product use in any form, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for youth. Visit www.nckhealthub.com for more information to share with your child today!

The town of Beloit, a population of a little less than 4,000 residents, has produced two of the best volleyball teams in the state within their classification this season. Additionally, Beloit's two football teams are enjoying solid seasons and there are a few solid cross country runners as well. 

Beloit volleyball currently ranked second

The Beloit High School volleyball team finished last season with a 25-15, 25-20 win over Hesston High School for third place finish at 3A State.

Any team that brings back key pieces from a third-place team will have state-championship aspirations the next season, but you won’t catch the Beloit volleyball team looking ahead any further than its next opponent.

The Trojans sit at No. 2 in 3A in the latest Kansas Volleyball Association Rankings. Beloit is currently 27-2 and sitting behind top-ranked Royal Valley (25-1).

In spite of the ranking, Beloit head coach Brandy Paul has made it clear that her team will take it one match at a time.

“We are focused and wanting to prepare each week honing our skills and becoming a stronger unit,” Paul said. “We have discussed never overlooking an opponent and being present at each match. Our overall goal is to get better each week so we are prepared.”

Paul picked up her 200th career win as a head coach on Oct. 1 against Southeast of Saline. On Thursday night Beloit got wins over Wamego (25-16, 25-17) and Rock Creek (25-17, 24-26, 25-22) at a home triangular.

Saturday Beloit played to a third place finish at the Concordia Tournament. The Lady Trojans picked up wins over Marion, Minneapolis, Southeast of Saline and Clay Center in pool play and suffered a two-set loss to Concordia (21-25, 14-25) in the championship semi-finals. The Trojans beat Clay Center in two sets (25-19, 25-21) in the consolation final to bring home third place.

Beloit’s other loss this season came to sixth-ranked Smith Center of 2A on Sept. 21 at Republic County. Although the Trojans were swept by Smith Center in pool play, Beloit rebounded by beating Smith Center 25-15, 18-25, 25-23 in the championship.

“No one ever likes to lose, but it is okay and gives a reason to reflect on game-play and decision-making,” Paul said. “We need tough games to reflect what our weaknesses are and improve on them in order to make us better as the season progresses.”

Beloit may have weaknesses, but the Trojans are a solid team all around. Prior to Saturday’s action, Beloit senior Shea Larson led the team with 226 kills. According to MaxPreps, Larson ranks in the top-25 in hitting percentage nationally.

Seniors Trista Boeve and Paige Goddard have team-highs with 42 and 38 blocks respectively. Senior Jaimie Drum leads the team with 171 digs.

“This group is solid in every position, that is what makes us tough to compete against,” Paul said. “We play as one unit. Each and every position is as important as the other. This is what has contributed to our overall success.”

Beloit will travel to Hoisington on Oct. 26 for sub-state. Thomas More-Prep, currently ranked ninth in 3A, appears to be Beloit’s biggest obstacle to reaching the state tournament.

Blujays rise from ninth to seventh in rankings

St. John’s/Tipton is attempting to make the state tournament for the third straight season. The Blujays finished fourth in 1A Division II back in 2017.

The Blujays are on the right track, boasting a 22-5 record and a No. 7 ranking in 1A. In the 14-team Northern Plains League, St. John’s/Tipton has an 10-2 league record and is second in the standings behind a Thunder Ridge squad that was 21-2 overall (9-0 in league) entering the weekend and ranked third in 1A.

Saturday SJBT finished runner-up at a tough Rock Hills Invitational Tournament. The Blujays opened the day with a dominant victory over a three-win Rock Hills team (25-3, 25-6) followed by a three-set loss to a tough Clifton-Clyde team (16-25, 25-20, 20-25). While CC has nearly 10 losses on the season three of those are to 1A power Centralia, one is to Smith Center, one is to Valley Heights and two others are to a 21-4 Thayer Central team from Hebron, Neb.

The Blujays got another dominant win over Rock Hills (25-12, 25-7) after the loss to CC and then delivered a thrilling three-set victory over Thunder Ridge (23-25, 28-26, 25-19) to earn a rematch with Clifton-Clyde in the tourney championship.

The Blujays battled the Eagles but fell in two sets by scores of 20-25, 25-27.

St. John’s/Tipton and Thunder Ridge have played three times this season, with the Blujays up 2-1 in the series.

“We always strive for excellence,” head coach Marcy Kee said. “This team has great attitudes and a lot of determination and I am pleased at this point where we are in the season.”

Prior to Saturday’s action, junior Lauryn Dubbert led the team with 104 kills and 132 digs followed by senior Bren Peters with 67 kills. Senior Caitlyn Strong has a team-high 55 aces and a team-high 22 blocks with seniors Tara Ellenz and Peters adding 19 and 17 blocks respectively.

Beloit football looking to finish season strong

Through the first four weeks of the season, the Beloit High School football team has dealt with a season’s worth of heartbreak. 

At 3-2 right now, the Trojans are oh so close to 5-0. 

Beloit’s two losses have come to teams who are a combined 9-1, while the Trojans have wins over Fairbury (Neb.), Minneapolis, and most recently a 46-12 win over Goodland Friday night. 

The Trojans fell to Southeast of Saline by eight points in Week 2, with two late interceptions delivering the league victory for Beloit’s rival from Gypsum.

Friday, September 27th, Beloit drove nearly three hours west for its district opener against Colby. Colby took a 14-0 lead into halftime, but Beloit answered with two touchdowns in the third quarter thanks to the blocking of their stout offensive line and the hard running of senior Carson Cox, tying the game at 14 heading into the fourth.

The difference in the game was the final PAT attempt. Colby kicker Carson Van Eaton was 3/3 on extra points and gave the Panthers a 21-14 lead with 10 minutes left in the fourth. The Trojans scored a touchdown with three minutes left to get to within 21-20, but missed on the two-point try that would have given them the lead.

Now at 1-1 in District 8, the Trojans travel to perennial power Scott City (5-0) this week.

“We have steadily improved each week, which is all we can ask for as coaches,” Beloit head coach Brad Gober said. “We play a tough schedule and both of our losses were to current undefeated teams and could have gone either way.”

A positive for Beloit is that they are returning key players back from injury and sickness. Last Friday against Goodland, Beloit fans saw the healthiest team they had seen all season.

“We dealt with a few preseason injuries and sickness that has caused some of our starters to miss some games,” Gober said. “This week will be the first week with our entire roster healthy. We are excited to see what happens the rest of this season. Our kids are hungry and ready to get after it this last half of the season.”

 

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St. John’s/Tipton off to fast start in district

The leader of 8-Man Division II, District 4, resides in Beloit, as St. John’s/Tipton finds itself 4-0 in the district and on a four-game win streak.

After a 58-12 loss to second-ranked Axtell (4-0) in Week 1, St. John’s/Tipton has rattled off wins over Linn, Tescott, Southern Cloud, and Pike Valley. 

First-year head coach Dean Gengler asked his team to learn a new offense and new defense heading into the season, and the Blujays seem to be responding well.

“We went into the season with a good talent base, but have asked our players to do a lot of different things than they have done in the past,” Gengler said. “The players have embraced the challenge well, however, and we're pleased with what we've seen from them to this part of the season.”

Senior Alex Ketter, junior Anthony Henke, and sophomore Jaret Eitzmann have all thrown a touchdown pass this season, but the St. John’s offense is led by a dynamic duo at running back. 

Twins Blake and Brayden Perez, both juniors, have 24 of St. John’s/Tipton’s 27 rushing touchdowns and a combined 895 rushing yards.

“Our strengths are in the running game where we have good speed, and we've played good defense for the most part,” Gengler said. “We just have to shut off big plays more consistently the rest of the year.”

Friday’s 40-14 win against Pike Valley puts the Blujays alone atop the 8-Man Division II, District 4, standings, although Rock Hills is undefeated at 3-0 and the two will likely play for the district championship in Week 8.

Friday’s non-district game against undefeated Frankfort should also be a tough one. The Blujays and the Wildcats played twice last season with Frankfort winning both times, 60-14 in the first contest and 30-8 in the Week 9 playoff game.

“We're headed into the second half of the season and will have to compete well in each of those games,” Gengler said. “There will be no opportunities to have an off night from here forward. Players are working hard and enjoying the season, we'll look to keep up the enthusiasm through the second half of the schedule and see how far we can go at the end.”

Burks sisters leading Beloit XC

The Beloit girls cross country program is in a good spot right now with a blend of experience and youth.

At the top, senior twins Hannah and Hayley Burks set the tone for the team. Hannah finished third at 3A State last year while Hayley was 12th. 

Hannah is recovering from an injury that kept her out of part of the summer, but Hayley has led the team in her absence. 

Hannah established a new personal record this season with a time of 19:46 while Hayley’s career personal best stands at 20:06.

“Hannah Burks, who was sidelined during track and most of June, is doing a great job getting back into competition,” Beloit head coach Brad Mason said. “Hayley Burks has been leading the way for the majority of the season.”

Rounding out the varsity lineup are three freshmen: Jenna Balluch, Ariana Armstrong and Abby Porter. The freshmen have been solid for the Trojans this season, but there is still room for improvement from the younger runners, according to Mason.

“They need to continue developing physically and mentally as we head into the postseason,” Mason said. “We have some great experience at the top and some youth on the bottom now we just need to bring it together and continue to close that gap each week.”

The Beloit boys are led by senior Bryce Mason. Coach Mason says the senior has performed well in recent races and is closing out the regular season strong. 

Junior Jacob Porter, who is recovering from an injury, will be someone to keep an eye out for once he is fully healthy.

“We're looking forward to our league meet and a very competitive regionals hosted by Norton,” Mason said.

Blujay boys looking to get healthy for postseason

The St. John’s/Tipton boys cross country team returned everyone from last year’s third-place finish at 1A State, led by second-place finisher Caleb Eilert. 

Eilert, a junior, is off to a strong start this season. Eilert has won four of his five meets this season, with a third place finish at the other. He has a personal record of 16:17. 

He won the Blue Varsity Race at the prestigious Rim Rock Cross Country Classic in Lawrence Sept. 28th and earned the NCKSSports.com Cunningham Communications Athlete of the Week last week for his efforts.

He was second at state last season as a sophomore.

The Blujays are far from a one-man show, but injuries have been a problem throughout the season. Senior Brandon Bates, who finished 10th at state last season, has been battling an ankle injury all season.

For St. John’s/Tipton to take another shot at state, the Blujays will need both Eilert and Bates at or near 100 percent.

The Blujay girls are led by freshman Jane Letourneau, who has medaled at every meet in her career and boasts a personal record of 21:21.

The Blujays are back in action Saturday at Riley County.

Also newsworthy, SJBT announced their hiring of their new basketball coach, which Dusty Deines covered last week. Check out complete details here:

This feature is brought to you by the NCK Health Collaborative and the Mitchell County Communities That Care Resource Council which reminds you that tobacco product use in any form, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for youth. Visit www.nckhealthub.com for more information to share with your child today!