HALL ABOUT IT
By CRAIG HALL
I don’t typically like to do the top stories of this or that, because the writer usually leaves something off and hacks off somebody.
But last night I decided to do a top-10 sports stories for the 2012-13 school year for LeFlore County.
And yes, I am sure to leave something off.
No. 1—Poteau boys’ soccer team wins state. The first team championship for Poteau boys in a long time. The Pirates took over the No. 1 ranking with a win over Fort Gibson and then downed Sante Fe South, 4-3, in a dramatic win at the University of Tulsa. It was the Pirates’ first trip to the state finals and, of course, first state championship in soccer.
No. 2—Hannah Ward of Poteau wins second state championship in golf. After winning fairly easily as a sophomore, she was tied after the first round of the 2013 championship. Terrible weather moved into the Oklahoma City area on the second day and OSSAA officials decided to have a playoff to determine the state championship. Ward hit her drive on a Par-4 hole to the fringe, chipped up to within a foot and birdied the hole to win the championship.
No. 3—Talihina boys. The Golden Tigers reached the state tournament in basketball (with an extremely young team), made it to the third round of the football playoffs and reached the regional finals in baseball.
No. 4—Spiro baseball team makes it back to the state tournament for the second straight year. The Bulldogs won their opener over Salina before falling to eventual champion Verdigris in the second round. With seven starters back for next year, Spiro could even be better.
No. 5—Tyler Tustin of Poteau finished second in the state wrestling tournament after winning as a sophomore and junior. He signed to wrestle with UCO. Also, he is a 4.0 student.
No. 6—Poteau girls dominate the county. The Lady Pirates swept all three county tournaments in the 2012-13 school year, winning the fast-pitch tournament in the fall, the LCT in basketball and the slow-pitch softball tournament in the spring.
No. 7—Spiro boys, Poteau girls win LCT in basketball. This was the second straight championship for the Bulldogs with an easy win over Poteau in the boys’ finals. The Lady Pirates fought off Talihina to win the girls’ championship.
No. 8—Panama makes playoffs in football. After winning only one game in the two previous seasons, the Razorbacks reached the 2A playoffs and clinched the spot with a win over rival Pocola.
No. 9—Poteau baseball team sets records. The Pirates set a school record with 29 wins and won the LCT in Andy Perdue’s first year at the helm. Poteau also won the Coal Miner’s Classic and reached the regional finals before falling to Byng.
No. 10—Heavener football team goes .500 in first year back in 3A. With record-setting running back Blake Smittle leading the state in rushing and under the leadership of first-year coach Carl Lee, the Wolves finished .500 with a 5-5 record and in fifth place in the district, despite moving up a class for the 2012 season.
And there are some other top stories which fell just outside of the top 10.
*Wister baseball team makes the state playoffs again in the fall before the Wildcats’ streak is snapped in the spring. Tyler Gibson and Colby Turnipseed wrap up a great career for Wister.
*Poteau’s girls finish second in the state golf tournament. The second day of the tournament was washed out, leaving the Lady Pirates one stroke behind Hilldale after Poteau won state the previous year.
*Jeff Chronister comes back to Heavener, his alma mater, and guides the Wolves to the regional tournament behind the outstanding play of senior Trevor Smith, along with Luke Culpepper and Tyler Hamm. Chronister is a 1984 graduate of Heavener.
*Poteau boys’ golf team finished sixth at the state tournament and sophomore Cody Shore was fourth, despite shooting under par all three rounds. The Pirates have all their golfers back for next season.
*Kody Whitehead of Cameron made the state golf tournament for the second straight year, despite the school not having a golf team.
*And finally, Poteau football team had a successful first season under Greg Werner. The Pirates started off 3-0 and were fifth in the toughest 4A district in the state. With quite a few starters returning, 2013 could be the year Poteau returns to the playoffs.
For other top moments, please leave them under comments at the bottom of the story or send an email to [email protected]. On Wednesday, we will list the top individual performers in the county. To nominate a player, please send an email to the address listed previously.