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Recapping some of 2022’s top sports stories

December 28, 2022 - 00:00
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  • Recapping some of 2022’s top sports stories
    REPORTERS and community members filled the conference room at Kingfisher’s Board of Education building back in March. The board, which eventually reconvened at the KHS cafeteria, was getting set to vote on a settlement offer by an individual suing the d
  • Recapping some of 2022’s top sports stories
    KINGFISHER GRADUATE Maddi Kamas enjoyed a tremendous freshman season at OCU. [Photo provided]
  • Recapping some of 2022’s top sports stories
    Brexten Green
  • Recapping some of 2022’s top sports stories
    KINA FROST had a big game in helping lead KHS to an area consolation title. [Photo by Russell Stitt/www.stitt.]

Championship games won.

Championship games lost.

Success on the field. Headlines off of it. Triumph. Tragedy. Each year presents its own set of newsmakers in the world of sports.

And, each year, Kingfisher County has more than its share.

I’ve combed through the last year of sports headlines in the Kingfisher Times & Free Press….whether on the sports pages or even on the front page.

As always, that practice brings back a rush of memories from the previous 360plus days.

Some were fantastic. Some were disappointing.

Some were downright heartbreaking.

Once again, I’ve compiled a list of 10 of the top news stories from Kingfisher County (and Crescent) from the previous year.

There were a few stories that just missed making the cut. Some that maybe still should have made it.

Your list probably looks different than mine, but some of these stories were irrefutably the top ones of the year.

So - in no particular order - here are 10 of the top sports stories of 2022:

1. John Doe vs. Kingfi sher Public Schools Though quiet for the time being, this was a story that gripped the state at different times during the year.

“John Doe,” who is a 2021 KHS graduate, filed a lawsuit against the school district as well as current football coaches Jeff Myers and Derek Patterson and former coaches Micah Nall and Blake Eaton in July 2021. It alleges a number of hazing, bullying and abuse incidents within the football program by unnamed teammates and the named coaches over a four-year period.

The lawsuit was amended in January after a judge granted permission for the plaintiff to proceed under the “John Doe” designation.

Later in the year, it was moved from Kingfisher County District Court, where the lawsuit was originally filed, to federal court in Oklahoma City at the request of the defendants.

The OSBI and Oklahoma State Department of Education both opened investigations into the football program. Findings from those investigations have yet to be released.

In March, the plaintiff’s attorney offered a settlement of $1.5 million to the school district, but not the coaches.

During a special meeting that month, Kingfisher’s board of education unan- imously voted to reject the offer after an executive session that included the district’s attorneys.

The trial was originally set to begin in February 2023, but has since been pushed back to June.

2. Maddi Kamas’ freshman season at OCU Not surprisingly, Maddi Kamas was quite the success in her inaugural collegiate season of women’s golf.

As a freshman at Oklahoma City University, the 2021 KHS graduate finished tied for third individually at the NAIA women’s national golf championships in May. Her team was the national runner-up.

That led to her being named a Women’s Golf Coaches Association NAIA All-American.

Kamas, who led the entire national field in birdies during the three rounds, earlier that month won the individual Sooner Athletic Conference championship.

During the season, Kamas won three individual titles, was twice named the NAIA women’s golfer of the week (a national honor), and averaged 72.7 over 30 rounds of competitive golf.

The honors weren’t done for Kamas. The 2021 Class 4A individual state champ landed a coveted invitation to this week’s 2022 Patriot All-America tournament at The Wigwam Golf resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz.

Another KHS grad, Mason Overstreet, won the men’s version of the prestigious tournament in 2018.

3. Tragedy claims a Cashion legend The town of Cashion was sent into mourning in early July.

Brexten Green, 20, was killed in a cliff diving accident at Grand Lake on July 2.

A 2021 Cashion High School graduate, Green was about to begin his second year in the Emporia State University football program.

He was a pivotal member in Cashion’s run to the 2020 Class A state championship.

In his final two years as a Wildcat, Cashion was 30-1 and played for two state titles.

A talented athlete, Green also became known for his work ethic.

“He kind of changed our culture single-handedly,” said Cashion coach Lynn Shackelford.

Green was also a member of Cashion’s 2021 baseball team that advanced to state.

He was accomplished on the fields of play, but adored and respected off of it.

Shackelford said he tried to read through the dozens and dozens of Facebook posts paying tribute to Green in the days after his passing.

“They all start with something about him being a really good football player or baseball player,” Shackelford said. “But then so many of them go into a story of what he did for other people. Whether it was taking time to take a picture with their kids after a game, or taking some freshman home from weightlifting everyday or something he did for another younger kid at a dodgeball game.

“As good as he was on the field, he was way better off of it.”

4. Facilities upgrades Dover softball players got to show off their brand new facility during a festival in the fall. Though the new ballpark was officially used the previous spring, the festival was a chance for the district to boast of its upgrades to a much larger crowd of teams and fans.

Quite the upgrade - and change - it was.

Originally, home plate was in the northwest corner of the plot of land used for the field, which sits just west of the high school gymnasium.

The new field changed home plate to the southwest corner.

It included new dugouts, seating, awning and more.

In September, Okarche made a move to create brand-new facilities for its softball and baseball programs.

That school’s board of education awarded a contract to ATG-Ram Industries LLC to construct new facilities for both sports.

The adjoining fields are currently being built north of the high school gym.

Both fields will be 100 percent artificial turf. The $3.88 million project also includes dugouts, bleachers, bleacher coverings and a restroom/concession facility.

Even better, the district didn’t ask voters to pass a bond issue to pay for it.

“This is being paid for by money saved by the school district over the last several years,” Superintendent Josh Sumrall said.

The project is expected to be ready for competition next spring.

Kingfisher has also moved forward with some upgrades at the football field.

The district’s board has approved plans to build a new locker room on the south end. It will be used for the junior high teams, soccer teams and visiting teams.

The concession stand and restrooms on the south end will also see a major overhaul.

5. Lady Jackets make improbable run to state Making the Class 4A girls state basketball tournament is tough enough most years.

To get there by winning five games in six days?

Legendary…and that was the 2021-22 Kingfisher Lady Yellowjackets.

Weather wreaked havoc for much of the state in late February, which pushed back the start of the regional tournament in Kingfisher.

Instead of finishing on a Saturday, the regional didn’t begin until that day….and the Lady Jackets promptly got sent to the consolation bracket with a 39-38 home loss to Woodward.

That began their amazing trek.

They returned to the court the following Monday and Tuesday to defeat John Marshall and Mannford, respectively. The second of those wins gave them the regional consolation championship and advanced them to area.

Normally teams coming out of the consolation bracket have four full days of rest and preparation before beginning area.

KHS had one. The Lady Jackets were back at it Thursday night when they defeated Cleveland.

Then it was Bethany the next night as KHS completed a late comeback thanks to a game-winning drive and shot by sophomore Peyton Walker.

On Saturday, senior Kina Frost had a massive night as the Lady Jackets avenged their loss to Woodward, 40-30, to win the area consolation title.

Five wins. Six days.

Again, going to state isn’t easy. KHS is one of the most storied programs in the state, but hadn’t been since 2009.

To return to state (1) in coach Taylor Young’s first season and (2) to do it in such improbable fashion makes it undoubtedly one of the best stories of the entire year.

( Ed. note: Part II of the top sports stories of 2022 coming up in future editions.)