By Adam Kolb / Co-Sports Editor
The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team showed resiliency in their winner-take-all battle for the Jayhawk West title with Seward County on Saturday at the Sports Arena. Abby Ogle scored 15 points and added nine rebounds and seven assists, as the Blue Dragons routed Seward County 78-62. Brooklyn Betham hit 7 of 9 shots and finished with 14 points and six rebounds. Makayla Vannet and Sasha Francis had nine points each, while sophomore Gelecia Cooper chipped in seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
The 27-3 Blue Dragons won their first Jayhawk West crown since 2017 and 10th conference title overall, the sixth under head coach John Ontjes.
Hutchinson went 19-2 in conference play.
The Blue Dragons earned an opening-round bye for the Region 6 tournament, which begins Wednesday. The Blue Dragons will begin play in the tournament quarterfinals Saturday in Dodge City against either Dodge City or Cowley, both of which beat Hutchinson this season.
Women’s track – Sophomore Sheila Too earned national indoor qualification for the Blue Dragons on opening day of the 2020 Region 6 Indoor Track and Field Championships at Pittsburg State University’s Plaster Center.
Too placed third in the 5,000 meters, with a personal record of 19 minutes, 00.92 seconds. Too is the first Blue Dragon individual to qualify for the indoor national championships next month in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Too remains at No. 2 on the Blue Dragon all-time 3,000- meter performance list.
Also, Hutchinson Community College sophomore middle distance runner Gabby Collins set a personal record and qualified for nationals in the 1,000 meters on Saturday. That performance paced the Blue Dragons to a fifth-place finish in Region 6, and a third-place team effort the Jayhawk West standings.
Men’s track – For the fifth consecutive indoor meet, sophomore Andrew Kibet broke a school record.
Kibet led a strong showing by the Blue Dragon middle-distance runners to a fourth-place team finish on Saturday at the Region 6. He finished second in the region and captured a Jayhawk West title in the 600 meters with a time of 1:20.0, the second-fastest time he has posted in the event this season.
The Blue Dragons amassed 82 points in the regional standings. Hutchinson finished third in the Jayhawk West final standings, scoring 120.5 points. The Blue Dragons have 14 qualifiers for the NJCAA Indoor Championship, which will be March 6-7 in Lynchburg, Va.
Softball – The softball team exploded for 26 runs and 25 hits, including four home runs, as the Blue Dragons swept Northern Oklahoma-Enid on Saturday at the Enid Softball Complex.
Taylor Allery, Maryssa Rollin, and Kylee Dunn all homered in Hutchinson’s 13-2 rule-run victory in five innings in the first game. Ashley Wilson, Ullery and Rollin combined for 10 runs as Hutchinson pulled away late for a 13-5 victory in the second game.
The Blue Dragons improve to 9-3 overall and are waiting for their home opener, which is slated for 2 p.m. Friday against Hesston College at Fun Valley.
Baseball – The baseball team extended its winning streak to six games in a row and completed a 4-0 weekend swing through Texas on Saturday.
Sophomore Zach Firmature struck out a career-high 10 batters in six strong innings to lead the Blue Dragons to a 6-1 victory over Northeast Texas in the first game of a doubleheader at Fort Worth Christian High School. Freshman Jenner Steele and Luke Sartori completed a big weekend with a combined five hits and seven RBIs as Hutchinson held on for a 9-8 win over the Eagles in the second game.
The Blue Dragons improve to 9-2 overall. Hutchinson plays at Coffeyville on Thursday and then plays its home opener at 1 p.m Saturday against the Red Ravens at Hobart-Detter-Field.