Buffs’ XC runners celebrate success, look ahead to regionals; busy weekend ahead for GCHS sports

BUFFS ROUNDUP: Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019

CROSS COUNTRY

Ethan Fisher and Jocelyn Sosa have little in common with their physical stature.

Fisher, a senior, is tall and lanky while Sosa, a freshman, is short and slender.

But they share a common bond and that is they love to run cross country races.

During the 2019 fall high school season, the pair of Garden City High School Buffaloes runners have produced a measure of success for head coach Krista Linenberger.

Just a week ago, Fisher captured the Western Athletic Conference individual championship and in the process paced the Buffs to a team title as well, nudging favored Great Bend by two points with Dodge City just three points back. With his individual victory came being named the WAC Runner of the Year.

Sosa, meanwhile, has been the steady top runner for the Lady Buffs all season in this her rookie high school campaign, and in the WAC championship conducted at Sand Plum Nature Trail outside of Hays, she placed second individually, losing to a Great Bend senior. That earned her an all-WAC first team selection, finishing among the top 5 runners.

Now, the pair of runners have their sights set on a bigger goal, the Class 6A regional meet on Saturday, Oct. 26, at Cessna Activity Center in Wichita where they will compete for individual and team qualifying spots to the Nov. 2 state meet in Lawrence at Rim Rock Farm.

“I just wanted to go out there and set the pace where all of my teammates could have something to follow so we could perform our best,” Fisher said of his WAC race. “Everybody ran great, a lot of personal bests, and it was a fun way to finish out the regular season.”

Now, it’s the regionals in Wichita and Fisher wants to help his team earn one of the three team spots to qualify for state.

“Since we didn’t get the team qualified a year ago, this has been one of our goals all year,” said the senior standout. “I think if we run our race, we have a good chance to qualify, and ultimately then it’s about having a high finish at state the next week.”

For Sosa, her success in her first season at the high school level has been a mild surprise.

“I didn’t really know how well I’d do, but I put in a lot of hard work before the season started,” Sosa said. “It’s been a fun season to see how I compare to some of the other runners, especially those who have been running for two or three years. A bunch of the other good runners are seniors, so I think I’ll have a chance to do even better next year.”

In the meantime, she has her immediate objective of earning a spot into the state meet.

“I’ve run against most of the competitors I’ll see in Wichita, and if I run my race, I have a chance to qualify,” Sosa said.

VOLLEYBALL

The Lady Buffs’ volleyball team moved up in the Class 6A Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association weekly rankings, now being in the No. 2 spot behind Blue Valley.

The Lady Buffs, who own a 30-3 season record, will host one of the Class 6A sub-state tournaments on Saturday, Oct. 26, and will open play against the winner of the play-in match between Topeka High (4-31) and Haysville-Campus (3-29).

The play-in match begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at The Garden with the Lady Buffs then facing that winner at approximately 2 o’clock. The 3 p.m. match will pit the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds, Wichita Southeast (17-19) against Manhattan (17-20). The two semifinal survivors then will play for the sub-state championship and a berth into the Nov. 1-2 state tourney at Salina’s Tony’s Pizza Events Center.

The Lady Buffs were awarded the overall No. 1 seed in the 18-team western division of KSHSAA Class 6A schools. There are three other sub-states in the west, with Topeka-Washburn Rural (34-5), Derby (29-8) and Wichita East (28-10) drawing the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 seeds. Four winners from the west and four from the east will comprise the eight-team field at the state tournament.

FOOTBALL

The Buffaloes will conclude their eight-game regular season schedule at 7 p.m. Friday when they host Great Bend, which will also conclude their Western Athletic Conference schedule.

The Buffs, 2-5 overall, are 2-1 in the WAC and a victory over the Panthers would give them a runner-up finish to Dodge City in the league.

Following Friday’s match-up with Great Bend, the Buffs will await their final seeding into the Class 6A playoff bracket, which will be scheduled for Nov. 1 in the first round. Currently, the Buffs are in the No. 14 seeded position which would pit them against the No. 3 seed, currently Dodge City. Those positions could switch depending on Friday’s outcome.

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