Stillwater News Press

Sports Columns

July 3, 2014

Orange Prattle: Banner year for Stillwater area prep sports

STILLWATER, Okla. — High school sports have been done for just over a month – and crazy to think, we are almost a month away from the new season beginning – which perhaps makes for a good time to look back and admire the greatness that the Stillwater area witnessed from its prep sports teams in the 2013-14 school year.

The sports scene definitely started with a whimper surrounding the less than stellar football season. Only four teams managed to reach the playoffs, while two teams – Carney and Agra – failed to even finish their season due to injuries and a lack of turnout.

Of those four football teams to qualify for the postseason, Morrison was the only team to win a game – advancing to the quarterfinals, where the Wildcats lost 48-8 to eventual state runner-up Ringling. Perkins-Tryon lost in its opener to state runner-up Blanchard 76-13, Cushing suffered a 33-14 defeat to Jones in the first round and Coyle came up just short against Davenport, 22-12.

The highlight of the fall season came from the Stillwater High volleyball team. The Lady Pioneers advanced to their second straight Class 6A state tournament – though they ran into buzzsaw in the opener with an Edmond Santa Fe squad that never lost a set in its run to the title.

Frontier’s softball team also reached the state tournament, but shared as similar fate as the SHS volleyball squad – lost in the opener 8-1 to eventual state champion Red Oak, which won its three state tournament games by a combined 24-5 margin.

It was all just a precursor of the greatness that awaited the Stillwater area.

Stillwater High boys swim team won the Class 5A state title, finishing just high enough in the 400 freestyle relay to nudge Altus – which won the final event – by five points. Their female counterparts also had a respectable showing at state, firmly finishing as state runner-up.

Stillwater High wrestling won first state title since 1970, and the program’s eighth state championship dating back to 1922. Newcomer Chandler Rogers – a four-time state champion dating back to his time in Washington – was the lone senior on the title team that had five individual champions that paced the Pioneers.

Perry wrestling won its 40th state championship – a number that is absolutely mind-boggling to comprehend. Cushing’s Gage Stallworth capped his prep career with a 22-0 senior campaign for a third-straight state title.

In basketball, the Glencoe boys accomplished one of the greatest achievements – not just to repeat as a state champions, but finishing as the only title winners in the state of Oklahoma to cap a perfect season.

Basketball was bolstered by a state quarterfinal appearance by the Pawnee boys squad and state semifinal run by the Frontier girls.

The spring proved to be just as special as the victorious winter.

The Lady Pioneer soccer team made history by rallying late in the season to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003. They were joined in the playoffs by the SHS boys squad – though both teams fell at the hands of Broken Arrow in the first round.

The Ripley Warrior baseball team returned to the state tournament for the first time in six years, while the Cushing Tigers also broke through for an appearance in the Class 3A state tournament for the first time since 2009.

The entire year was capped by one of the most historic moments – at least in Stillwater High history. Under first-year coach Jimmy Harris, with a large group of seniors – led by leaders Carson Teel and Jon Littell – the Pioneers brought home a state championship for the first time in 57 years.

At the individual level, girls track had several medalists – Stillwater’s Bryanna Robinson won the Class 6A state long jump competition, Glencoe’s Jenny Baker won her second straight state discus title in Class A and the Coyle 400-meter relay group of Anika Smalley, Taren Aska, Moshe Boyles and Tyra Aska – who also won the 100-meter dash – claimed gold in Class A.

The boys track competitors also had plenty of hardware, highlighted by Kolby Mendenhall of Perry, who capped a freshmen campaign with a pair of Class 3A state championships in the 100- and 200-meter dash, Stillwater’s Ty Smith, who claimed the 200-meter crown in 6A, and Cushing’s Hunter Boykin was the 4A champ in the 100-meter.

It will be incredibly difficult to repeat the success seen in the sports scene last school year – with many of the state-qualifying or state-championship teams being loaded with seniors – but a trail has been blazed for those young athletes.

It may not take 43 years for a wrestling championship or 57 years for another baseball crown. Either way, 2013-14 will be one of the most memorable school years for athletics for Stillwater and neighboring schools.

Which bodes the question, what does 2014-15 hold in store for us?

Jason Elmquist is sports editor of The Stillwater News Press. He can be contacted at jelmquist@stwnewspress.com.

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