Chargers teams advance to state
Boys’ and girls’ cross country headed to state meet
By Jared Speckman
The Jefferson County boys’ and girls’ cross country teams are both headed to this year’s state meet Saturday in Wamego.
Both teams took home second place in their regional meets last Saturday at Troy.
The boys were led by Devon Wilson who finished in third with a time of 19:27.63. Bryson Weishaar took seventh, posting a time of 20:28.89. Ted Sharp finished in 21:27.83, finishing in 15th place.
Carissa McAfee was the top placing girl for the Chargers, taking sixth with a time of 17:16.70. Laramie Leakey was just behind McAfee, finishing in eighth place at 17:56.79.
The girls’ race will start at 11 a.m. Saturday with the boys following at 12:30 p.m.
JCN volleyball claims second straight sub-state title
By Jared Speckman
Jefferson County North is once again headed to the 2A state volleyball tournament.
The Chargers staged a comeback against Valley Falls in the sub-state finals to punch their ticket for the second straight year.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Chargers coach Paula Cobb said laughing. “There’s always nerves but I thought we stayed focused and got the job done.”
The first-seeded Chargers didn’t lose a set as they made their way to the championship matchup.
They dominated the play-in winner Troy in their first set, winning 25-6. Troy put up a better fight in the second set but the firepower of JCN was still too much and the Chargers won 25-14.
The Chargers moved on to the semifinals to face Immaculata, a team they had seen and defeated three times already this season.
Both teams battled closely in the first set but JCN narrowly edged Immaculata 25-23 to take a one-set lead. The second set was all JCN as they ran away with the game and into the championship round, defeating Immaculata 25-6.
Valley Falls squared off against an unfamiliar opponent in the first round of the sub-state playoff. They took on the seventh seed, Heritage Christian Academy, who entered sub-state with a 10-19 record.
The Dragons made quick work in the first round, defeating Heritage 25-10 in the first set and 25-9 in the second set.
Valley Falls moved on to face Maranatha Christian Academy in the semifinals. This was the first time that the Dragons had seen Maranatha this season. They were the third seed and came in with a 20-8 record.
Valley Falls squeaked by Maranatha in the first set, 25-23 to take the early advantage. They punched their ticket to the finals by winning the second set 25-19.
The championship matchup between Valley Falls and JCN was the third meeting between the two schools this year. The Chargers did not surrender a set to the Dragons in their two regular season matchups.
That changed in the first set of the championship. Valley Falls took the early advantage with a 25-20 first-set victory over the Chargers, putting JCN against the ropes.
“We had some matchup difficulties there,” Cobb said. “I got on the girls about their intensity and desire. We missed four serves but we finally turned our defense into offense and that was the key for us.”
The Chargers responded to the adversity to come storming back. They evened the match with a 25-17 second set victory. The Chargers wrapped up their championship with a dominating 25-11 performance, ruining the Dragons’ upset bid.
The Chargers will now shift their focus to the state tournament. Pool play starts Friday. Jefferson County North is seeded fifth of the eight teams that qualified. Their pool play will start with a game against fourth seeded Mission Valley at White Auditorium in Emporia scheduled for 4:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the Chargers will take on Meade. Their results on Saturday will determine if they move on to bracket play Saturday afternoon.
The Chargers do have the benefit of having played Mission Valley already. Jefferson County North dropped a 2-1 decision to Mission Valley in September. After winning the first set in that matchup, they dropped the next two.
The Chargers also have the benefit of state championship experience. Most of the girls on the team have been involved in an appearance at state.
“I think between volleyball and basketball this is the fifth state appearance for some of these girls. That’s invaluable experience,” Cobb said.
Despite being the fifth seed, Cobb sees no reason why JCN couldn’t bring a state title home.
“It’s a tough tournament,” she said. “One of any of us could win it.”
Jefferson County North took fourth place at last year’s tournament.
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