By Laci Sutton / Staff writer

The Hutchinson Community College softball team started the year strong with two wins over Ottawa University on Friday, giving the Blue Dragons a 2-0 start for the third-straight season.

Sophomore Aspen Goetz brought Hutchinson back from a 2-0 deficit with two home runs alongside freshman third baseman Olivia Sandoval who went 4 for 4 with five RBI’s, earning the Blue Dragon a 14-5 victory in game one.

HutchCC catcher, sophomore Allie Stipsits, went 3 for 5 with two doubles and an RBI.  Sophomores Ella Dougherty and Madison Grimes each had two hits. Freshman Annie Kealey drove a triple with bases loaded, bringing the Dragons to a 7-2 lead.

HutchCC pitcher, sophomore Emily Munson, worked the first three innings striking out four, giving up three hits, and earning two runs. Sophomore Kierstan Weitze followed up by pitching three innings with four strikeouts, three hits, and allowed one unearned run.

Game two brought a run-rule 13-4 victory with eight different Blue Dragons driving in at least one run each. Ottawa’s pitching gave Hutchinson nine walks, six of which resulted in scores.

The Blue Dragons will play a doubleheader against McPherson College at Bulldog Park at 1 p.m. Friday.

Women’s Indoor Track – The women’s indoor track team continued to show success while at the Herms Wilson Invitational at Wichita State University on Saturday, finishing with three national qualifiers and several program career top-10 performances.

Freshman Kaylee James qualified for nationals with a time of 9.03 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, posting the fourth-best time for the event in Blue Dragons women’s history.

Freshman Taylor Hoskinson and Gracie Lambert both earned national qualifications in the 1,000 meters, placing fifth and seventh and taking the third- and fifth-best times in program history.

Goddard freshman Madelyn Hernandez made a statement with two top-10 finishes. With a time of 9.46 seconds, she earned sixth place in the 60-meter hurdles at the invitational and the seventh-best time in team history. Hernandez also took fourth in the high jump, clearing 5 feet 5 inches, tying for the fifth-best height in team history.

The Blue Dragond had three other top-10 finishers including freshman Serenity Larson, Ellie Van Zelfden, and the 4×400-meter relay team consisting of James, Hoskinson, Lambert, and Keneah Romney.

Larson finished in seventh place in the 3,000 meters. Van Zelfden placed 10th in the 1,000 meters. The 4×400 relay team finished in fourth.

The Blue Dragons will compete in Topeka for the Washburn Open on Friday and Saturday.

Men’s Indoor Track – The men team prevailed with two more national qualifiers at the Herm Wilson Invitational.

Hutchinson sophomore Ezekiel Seamster took home the gold and a national qualification in the 60 meters with a time of 6.82 seconds, leaving a 0.001-second difference between first and second place.

Super sophomore Sharim Hamilton also won an event Saturday, winning the 400 meters with a time of 49.88.

Hillsboro freshman Nathanial Hein became the fifth Blue Dragon to earn a national qualification, clearing 14 feet 7.5 inches in the high jump.

Other top-ten finishers included freshman Christian Darrah, sophomores Christopher Brown and Alex Holt, and super sophomores Darrien Holloway and Brayden Peterson.

Darrah placed seventh in the 3,000 meters with a time of 9:13.11.

Brown threw his season-best throw with 51 feet 0.75 inches earning a second-place finish.

Holt tied for 10th in the high jump and finished fifth in the 60 hurdles.

Peterson finished tenth in the pole vault.

Women’s Basketball – The Blue Dragons women’s basketball team fell to 4-5 on the road this season after coming up just short against Barton, losing 78-74 on Saturday at the Kirkman Activities Center.

The Cougars came out tough in the first half, leading the Blue Dragons 50-34 at halftime and shooting 70 percent. Hutchinson appeared to be making a comeback after an 11-2 run in the third quarter, cutting Barton’s lead to 65-53.

Freshman forward Monae Duffy came out with a three-point play with 3:37 left, pulling the score to 71-68 and closing that to 76-74 with a shot at 33 seconds left.

Barton was quick to respond, closing out the win with two free throws in the final 9 seconds of the game.

Sophomore guard Mya Williams jumped to the top five on the Hutchinson scoring list with 13 points this game. Sophomores Morgan Browning also had 13 points and Kali Howard had nine points.

Freshman Journey Armstead and Bree Horyna both came up with nine points.

The Blue Dragons shot 47.6 percent and were held to a season-low of 23 rebounds.  Hutchinson is now 17-5 overall and 11-5 in the Jayhawk Conference.

Men’s Basketball – Despite strong efforts, the men’s basketball team just couldn’t keep up with Barton, falling 97-89 on Saturday at the Kirkman Activities Center.

The Cougars opened the game with a 16-5 run in the first three minutes of regulation. The Blue Dragons were quick to respond with a 15-4 run, taking a 20-19 lead with 11 minutes left in the first half. The power struggle continued, but a score from freshman Dadrevius Weathers gave the Blue Dragons a 45-44 lead.

Barton came out hot in the second half, stealing the lead from Hutchinson in the first few minutes of play, moving the score to 54-52. Freshman Aaron Potter was swift in the second half hitting a 3-pointer and two free throws on back-to-back possessions, giving the Blue Dragons a 57-54. The lead jumped to 63-58 after a jumper from freshman Steele Gaston-Chapman.

Barton took the reins late with six unanswered points and never looked back.

The Blue Dragons shot 43.7 percent, hitting 8 of 29 from 3-point range and 19 of 28 from the free-throw line. Hutchinson is 4-5 on the road this season, making them 14-8 overall and 8-8 in the Jayhawk Conference.

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