The Mill Valley High School journalism department earned numerous honors at Saturday’s Kansas Scholastic Press Association State Journalism Contest, including the school’s second 5A state journalism title in the last four years.
Lead by seniors Kristina Milewski, Austin Gillespie and Jillian Mullin, the team of 14 students outpaced Wichita’s Bishop Carroll to win the state title, 39-35. Mill Valley also won state journalism titles in 2004, 2009 and 2010. Click here to read more about the contest.
The following students placed in the state contest:
Senior Kristina Milewski: first places in feature writing and in photo illustration and honorable mention in caption writing
Senior Austin Gillespie: third place in newspaper design and in headline writing and honorable mention in photo illustration
Senior Jillian Mullin: honorable mentions in sports photography, in yearbook design and in yearbook copy writing
Senior Ellen Bodine: first place in yearbook sports writing
Senior Kelsey Floyd: second place in academic photography
Seniors Miranda Snyder, Jenna Middaugh and Haley Woods: second place in video news story
Senior Miranda Snyder: honorable mention in academic photography
Senior Hanna Torline: honorable mention in sports writing
Senior Kelsey Winscott: honorable mention in editorial cartoon
Junior Sydney Wilson: honorable mention in editing
Junior Ryan Fullerton: honorable mention in news writing
Also competing in the contest were seniors Lisa Galvan and Mackenzie Eckman and juniors Alana Flinn and Riley McDonald.
The journalism department also brought home four All-Kansas awards Saturday, the top rating given in the KSPA critique service, for the first time in school history. Mill Valley was the only school in Kansas to earn All-Kansas ratings in the four categories. The 2012 JAG yearbook (editors Rachel Mills and Katherine Beck), the 2013 JagWire newspaper (editors Gillespie, Milewski and Torline), Mill Valley News Online (editors seniors Miranda Snyder and Alec Santaularia and junior Shelby Rayburn) and MVTV (executive producer senior Brenna Iskra and assistant producer Jacob Patterson) earned the ratings. Cindy Swartz is the adviser of MVTV and Kathy Habiger is the adviser of the JAG, JagWire and Mill Valley News Online. Click here to read more about the awards.
The Science Olympiad placed fifth overall against 29 other teams in the state tournament at Wichita State University on Saturday, April 6. In the separate “large schools” competition, they placed fourth.
Individual medal winners in the “large schools” competition include:
Anatomy and Physiology: seniors Cole Clay and CJ Hopkins, first place
Robot Arm: senior Aaron Akin and junior Tyler Hinnen, first place
Chemistry Lab: Clay and Hopkins, first place
Designer Genes: Hopkins and junior Alyssa Hobson, third place
Forensics: seniors Amanda Platt and Ashley Hague, third place
Fermi Questions: seniors Chris Gillespie and Daniel Franken, third place
Clay was especially proud of his team, which made the competition enjoyable.
“My favorite part was walking out of the testing room knowing we had done really well and then getting it confirmed later at the awards ceremony,” Clay said. “We worked well together.”
Though it was Clay’s last season, he said the competition was a positive end to his senior year.
“The best way to put it is vindication of all the hard work we put in,” Clay said. “[I loved] seeing we were one of the best in Kansas.”
Winning many awards, Mill Valley High School had several students and student athletes compete at state tournaments.
Mill Valley Girls vs. Salina South at 6:30pm on 3-6-13, videographer: Jon Darby.
After standing for almost four hours, the crowd was getting bored. The girls basketball team had a solid lead at 27-20 at the beginning of the fourth quarter during the state semifinals on Friday, March 8. Some students were sitting, others making comments about how ‘slow’ girls basketball was.
But when Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School hit a shot with 47.9 seconds remaining in the game to put the Crusaders up 32-31, the atmosphere changed. Every person in the largest student section of the year was bouncing up and down.
“The crowd was awesome,” senior guard Tanner Tripp said. “They made it a lot better and easier for us to push through. When we weren’t playing our best, they were really loud and kept us up.”
With 16.3 seconds on the clock, junior forward Carly Eaton made a shot from underneath the basket, her only field goal of the game, to put the Jaguars up by one. The crowd erupted.
“That [basket] was awesome,” Eaton said. “I didn’t even think it was going in. I was just praying that it would go in, just hoping when it hit the rim.”
Preparing to defend the Crusaders’ last shot, the Jaguars were standing on the other side of the court when the Kapaun player inbounding the ball stepped onto the court and back out of bounds, turning the ball over.
“I was a little nervous,” senior forward Stephanie Lichtenauer, who finished with a game-high 17 points, said. “But I knew my team would know how to pull it off and I figured we’d find a way.”
Needless to say, the student section was as loud as it had been all night.
“The crowd was awesome,” senior guard McKenzie Koch said. “There were definitely tons of people here and you could just hear them. It was nuts to look up and see all those people.”
When the Jaguars passed the ball back in bounds, Koch was fouled and made the second of two free throws, putting the Jaguars up by two at 34-32 with 10.6 seconds remaining.
“It was definitely a little nerve-wracking,” Koch said. “But I never thought we were going to lose.”
After calling a quick timeout, head coach John McFall knew what he wanted the players to do.
“My girls know the situation,” McFall said. “If we’re up two, they could drive it or they could shoot a [three] so we’ve got to guard everything. My concern was that they understood the situation, and these girls are so wonderful about that. They knew that they could launch a three and beat us or drive it to the hole and make a bucket and go into overtime.”
With a few seconds left on the game clock, a Kapaun player tossed up an air ball and Eaton came down with the game-ending rebound.
“That’s my favorite part of the game, to rebound,” Eaton said. “I loved it. The ending of the game was the most fun we have ever had playing basketball together. There was so much adrenaline in the room. Going down by one and then overcoming the adversity, we did awesome.”
The Jaguars ran off the court with a 34-32 win over the Crusaders.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Lichtenauer said. “I was jumping up and down. I just wanted to grab all of my teammates. I was so proud of everyone and that we finally pulled it off. We’ve been dreaming about this since we were 11 years old. We all work so well together. We all know exactly how each other play. We just have fun together and we pulled it off.”
Tripp said that experiencing this team’s success has been even more exciting as a senior.
“It’s the best thing that could happen,” Tripp said. “I started crying in the locker room because I was so happy and it’s the best senior season I could ask for. I can’t even explain it. I was seriously so happy and excited. I was speechless from just yelling.”
Although the Jaguars were ranked higher than Kapaun, the defending state champions, they knew it would be a tough game.
“We knew it was going to be a really close game since they’re defending state champs,” Tripp said. “So we didn’t know we were going to win but we had confidence and we knew we wanted it more than them.”
McFall agreed with Tripp.
“Like I told the girls, my job as the coach is to try to take them as far as they possibly can go,” McFall said. “Each step along the process is more exciting, I told them after sub-state to enjoy this, it’s exciting. But if you think that’s exciting, the next step is even more exciting. If we would happen to win a state championship, it would be unbelievable.”
A state championship is only one game away, as the Jaguars will face St. Thomas Aquinas, the number one seed, on Saturday, March 9 at 4 p.m.
“I’m definitely really excited,” Koch said. “Aquinas is who knocked us out last year so it’s kind of a get-back, revenge thing.”
McFall knows the game won’t be easy.
“Aquinas is outstanding,” McFall said. “[But] we’ve got some toughness. We guard and we show some grit. The one thing I can guarantee anybody is that we’ll show up and we’ll play hard tomorrow. We’ll play smart and hopefully it’ll be a good ball game.”
After beating the Washington High School Wildcats 65-50 on Saturday, March 2, the boys basketball team qualified for the state tournament for the first time in nine years.
The high scorer of the night was senior forward Nathan Stacy, who finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
“I was excited because four years of hard work for me and my senior teammates finally paid off by getting to go to state,” Stacy said. “We put in so much hard work and effort in the off season. During the season we work on so many fundamentals that teams can’t score against us. And if they can score against us, we will beat them.”
Head coach Justin Bogart said that senior guard Kyle Kain’s three-pointer in the fourth quarter was the moment he realized the Jaguars would be headed to state.
“[Kain’s] three in the corner was probably the biggest play of the game,” Bogart said. “That sent a message to everybody that we’re going to get this thing finished.”
Kain, who contributed six points to the team’s win, felt confident after his three, but attributes Stacy’s break-away dunk as his moment of realization that the team would win.
“I felt pretty confident that we were going to win because that shot really extended the lead,” Kain said. “But [Stacy’s] dunk was the sure moment for me. I think everyone thought that was the final blow.”
Stacy agrees that his dunk with 1:09 remaining in the game to put the Jaguars up by 13 was an exciting moment.
“When I got the dunk, I knew we were going to state,” Stacy said. “I thought it was going to be a very close battle and the game was going to go down to the wire but we ended up winning comfortably.”
The Jaguars held the Wildcats at a safe distance for most of the game after getting off to a quick start. They led by 12 at halftime and the Wildcats never really threatened during the second half.
“We started so well,” Bogart said. “The guys were confident in our game plan and we made shots early. Once we started stopping shots at the other end, we got very confident and played at a high level all night. [But] you’re always concerned [until it’s over]. With four minutes to go, we were only up by 12 and it just seemed that four minutes were going to take forever.”
After putting in four years of work for the basketball program, sophomore forward Pat Muldoon is excited that the seniors get to experience this season’s success.
“[Making it to state] was our goal as a team,” Muldoon said. “We put so much hard work into it. I’m happy for all of the seniors. They deserve it more than anyone else on the team.”
Bogart also expressed his excitement for the seniors.
“It was just elation,” Bogart said. “I was really excited for our players. I think of all the effort they put in and it pays off. I couldn’t ask for anything better for those kids.”
After the buzzer sounded at the end of the game, the packed student section rushed the court.
“I thought they were going to rush the court,” Stacy said. “I thought our fan support was incredible. I had never seen so many people at a game before. When they rushed the court, it was exhilarating for the players to be surrounded by our fans.”
Junior Gabby Fangman, who was in the stands, agrees with Stacy.
“It was awesome,” Fangman said. “I wanted to storm the court right away.”
Looking forward, Muldoon feels that there will be pressure to win in the tournament.
“I’m looking forward to the exposure to the other teams,” Muldoon said. “I’m nervous about putting our whole season on the line for one game. It’s win or go home.”
If the Jaguars win their first game, they will most likely face the undefeated Shawnee Mission South, who they lost to 58-39 on Friday, Dec. 14.
“I think Shawnee Mission South will be a close game,” Kain said. “I think it will be a lot closer than last time.”
Bogart is also confident that the team is prepared for the state tournament.
“We’ve been preparing for the championship game since the first day,” Bogart said. “Having been there once and winning that first game, I would be disappointed if we lost. I would still be proud, [but in the end], we are going there to win it. We prepare to win the first game because if you don’t win that one there’s nothing else to play for.”
Kain feels that much of the team’s success is coming because of the players’ close relationships.
“I think we have a lot of chemistry together,” Kain said. “We’ve played a lot together. Last year we had no seniors, so we’ve had two years to build that relationship on the court.”
At the state bowling competition the boys bowling group placed eighth. While, in girls individual competition junior Cassie Widmer placed 21st on Thursday, Feb. 28 at Bishop Carroll High School.
Bowling coach Adam Wessel thought that the boys did a good job at state.
“Just getting to state was a great accomplishment for our boys, but I know they were disappointed in their performance,” Wessel said. “We bowled really well in the first game and were in contention, but lacked some consistency.”
Widmer is disappointed that she wasn’t able to medal.
“I am really upset with myself on [state] bowling,” Widmer said. “I wanted to get in the top 20, so I could medal and I got 21st and didn’t medal by 5 pins.”
Wessel agrees with Widmer’s reaction.
“Cassie bowled well,” Wessel said. “I think she was probably disappointed that she didn’t medal because it was one of her goals, but she had a pretty solid day.”
The boys team individually placed and the rankings are as follows:
Senior Nicholas Ridgeway placed 13th
Sophomore Cole Gray placed 33rd
Junior Jonathan Darby placed 63rd
Senior Avery Laluk placed 66th
Senior L.J. Hatch placed 67th
Sophomore Cody Deas placed 70th
Though they lost round one, the Quiz Bowl team of seniors Cole Clay, Alex Reeves and CJ Hopkins, juniors Andrew Hecht and Joe Gunter and sophomore Jack Earlenbaugh took first in the 5A regionals on Thursday, Jan. 30, qualifying them for state.
“We were doing awful in regular play at the start,” Earlenbaugh said. “Then we got into finals and destroyed.”
The win came as a shock to some of the team members.
“[The best part] was winning it out of nowhere,” Earlenbaugh said.
According to Earlenbaugh, the competition was not only competitive, but also very enjoyable.
“I love the competition, it’s so fun,” Earlenbaugh said. “I have to say it was awesome.”
State is Saturday, Feb. 9 in Newtown.