The Rocket boys swimming team is confident in their standings coming into the 2020 season. First year Rocket coach, Christopher Kurt, is new to high school swimming but swam competitively for 13 years. Kurt also taught swim lessons for 6 years and coached a team of elementary kids in 2010. Kurt is currently in his first year as the RHHS Choir Director, but he is in his 7th year of teaching. There are currently 10 guys out for the team including seniors Ethan Anderson, Rylan Barger, Bryce Bischer, Zachery Hoang, Timothy Hoopes, and Andrew Leck. Juniors include Landon Rutledge and Jacob Woodrome and Sophomores Jack Hensley and Dante Robinson. Returning lettering swimmers are Rutledge, Bischler, Hoang, Hoopes, and Leck. Senior Ethan Anderson is the only new swimmer this year but Kurt says he is impressed with his drive to understand the mechanics of each stroke before focusing on his speed. The team's main goal this year is to have swimmers make it to the State Meet. The Rockets and their new coach are looking forward to a successful season.
The Rose Hill Boys Basketball team heads into the 2020 season with confidence as the Rockets expect new player combinations. With three returning starters, the Rockets have confidence for the season. Senior Spencer Nolan, Sophomore Kellan Simoneau, and first year Rocket Junior Adriel Smith are among the starters who have big roles to fill this season. Last season, the Rockets advanced to the State Semifinals but a disappointing shutdown due to Covid canceled the remainder of the tournament. Coach Shirley believes the team has a great shot at a successful season but needs some work finding their team defensive identity. Despite losing 4 Seniors from last year, Shirley is excited to build the team’s skill and confidence this year with new strategies for success.
This season, the Rocket Girls basketball team welcomes 8 key returning players. With returning players such as Korryn Hackney, Lexie Rose, Haley Thrush, Aspen Goetz, Jenna McCullough, and Alexa Struble, the Rockets are primed and ready. Coach Jenny Page is hopeful for the outcome of the season after returning to the coaching spotlight for her second tenure since 2015. “I look for our team to be athletic and quick,” says Page. The team expects to build on their scoring this year, but are confident in their defense. Having a 9-11 record last season, the Rocket girls are thrilled to get out there and do what they do best. The Lady Rockets are looking forward to a successful season.
This year, the Rocket Boys Wrestling club has high hopes for the season. Leading the team is first year Rocket coach Chris Saferite and by his side are assistant coaches James Bilby and Darian Eshelman. When asked about preseason expectations, Saferite humbly stated his appreciation for the #7 ranking of the team and the potential of becoming top 5 in the future. With Covid precautions in place, the team is disappointed with the lack of in person fans at their events, but are grateful to have a season despite the stress of this year. 2020 State Tournament 4th place finisher Keegan Beavers and State qualifiers Tommy Rogers, Peyton Besco, and Charlie Black are among some of the key returning wrestlers from last season. With a large number of returning wrestlers, Saferite has confidence in the team’s ability for success. “Rocket Wrestling is on the rise and we will be a force come February.”
The Rocket Soccer team came into this season with great confidence as they had a majority of their players returning for their senior season, many of whom had started varsity since they were freshmen. Starting off the season with a win over Coffeyville, their talent was seen by all and expectations were set for the ambitious team. After only losing one game in the first tournament of the year consisting of several larger schools, the Rockets were unstoppable. Following their 2-1 tourney status, they remained undefeated for almost the rest of the year. The only other blemish on their record was a 0-0 tie with Berean Academy. With a 9-game win streak, the Rockets easily made their way to Regionals. The Rocket boys were relentless, taking the first round and the championship. After that, they made their way to State quarterfinals where they would be victorious over Coffeyville for the 2nd time in their season. However, senior Caden Dinkel was lost to injury early in the quarterfinal game and would be out for the state games as well. The Rockets faced off against Trinity in the State Semifinals but injuries continued to hamper the team and they lost 2-0. The next day, more injuries sidetracked the Rockets again and they lost to Louisburg in the State Consolation Finals 3-0. It was not the ending that the team hoped for but they held their heads high. Going undefeated in the League season, the Rockets had their best year since the back-to-back 2014 and 2015 State Championships finishing with an outstanding 16-3-1 record. With many exceptional players on the the team, Seniors Caden Dinkel, Ethan Anderson, Charlie Black, and Drew Leck were among some of the highest scoring members on the team. Coach Jerry Treat congratulates his players for an astounding season, and he looks forward to the future of the program with many young players ready to make their mark.
Starting off this year’s football season, Coach Lee Weber had high hopes for his Rocket athletes. With a starting varsity team consisting of mainly upperclassmen, the Rockets had high potential. Upon the beginning of the season, the team faced a few obstacles while learning to find their mojo. After three losses in their first three games, the seniors stepped up and decided not to have another losing season. Their homecoming game against Augusta was the spark that lit the Rocket’s fire. Following their narrow victory, the Rockets went on to win over and over and over. A 6-game winning streak, including a first round play-off win against Mulvane, would send them to the regional championship game to face the Buhler Crusaders. In the Regional Championship game, the Rose Hill boys gave everything they had to carry on with their winning momentum. Unfortunately, they were defeated by Buhler, ending their season earlier than they hoped. Despite their loss, the Rocket football team played a phenomal season, their best since the State Championship season of 2011. The Rockets showed an unbelievable level of improvement by turning their season around and competing in the playoffs for the first time in 7 years (beyond the play-in game). With satisfaction from both coaches and players, the Rocket football program looks to next year with hopes of reaching a higher level than they achieved this season. Lastly, they say goodbye to all the seniors who graduate this year that contributed greatly to their success.
The Rocket Cross Country team began their season with high hopes for success with many skilled runners returning for yet another season. For the girls, Senior Aubrie Thomison, Juniors Haley Murray and Jenna McCullough, Sophomores Elliott Herod and Krysten Lucent, and Freshmen Alexa Marshall and Mackynzie Pierce all had an amazing varsity season. For the Boys, Seniors Tommy Rogers and Drew Leck also performed excellently this season by being high placers in most races. Aubrie Thomison and Alexa Marshall had an exceptionally notable season by being the highest placed finishers in all races this season. Marshall, being just a freshman, took 19th in state and helped Rose Hill break a school record by placing 6th overall at Wamego. With a young, energetic team, the Rockets have a very positive outlook for the future and congratulate themselves for having a solid and successful year.
The Lady Rockets Volleyball team came into the 2020 season with confidence after the covid-19 delay to the beginning of the school year. Winning two of their first three games, things were looking up for the Rockets. Unfortunatley, they would fall into an 8-game losing streak before they would encounter victory yet again. The Lady Rocketes would then win 4 out of 5 of their next games before falling into another losing streak. The girls competed in Sub-State and would secure the victory over El Dorado in their first game. Despite their efforts, the Rocket season would be cut short after a loss to McPherson in the second round. The Ladies endured a tough season, including several girls being quarantined at different times, but Seniors Aspen Goetz, Haley Thrush, and Rylie Baker served as captains helping their younger teammates to improve for their following high school seasons. With a final record of 9-20, the Lady Rockets look forward to next year with five returning starters for the 2021 season.
Head Coach Jerry Treat has had an extremely successful tenure leading the Rocket’s soccer program with an overall record of 254-96-10, including State Championships in 2014 and 2015. The 2020 season looks to be more of the same as the Rockets return ten starters from last year’s team that finished 10-7-1 after losing a heartbreaker to Buhler in overtime in the Regional Championship game. The only player the Rockets lost to graduation from last year’s team was 4A 1st Team All-State Goal Keeper Trystan Spiess. However, Coach Treat is expecting big contributions from Goal Keeper Temo Luna-Berumen. Meanwhile the Rockets return their entire field of play in Defenders Ethan Anderson (2nd Team All State), Teagan Cobb, Charlie Black, and Ethan Tucker. Midfielders returning are Drew Leck (2nd Team All State), Andruw Weeks, and Daylin Jantzen. Returning forwards are Caden Dinkel (1st Team All State), Timmy Hoopes (2nd Team All State), and Zach Hoang. Coach Treat believes this should be a very strong team and he is expecting the team to be in the top three of Class 4A with the team setting a goal of winning another State Championship. They will open the season by hosting Coffeyville on Friday, August 28.
From 2016 to 2018, the Lady Rocket Volleyball program dominated with State Championships in 2016 and 2017, a state tournament appearance in 2018, and an overall record of 111-18 for a .860 winning percentage. However, the 2019 season saw the Lady Rockets struggle to a 13-24 finish while fielding a young varsity team. With four key players returning to the varsity squad this year, the Lady Rockets have some great returning experience in Rylie Baker, Haley Thrush, Aspen Goetz and Mandi Heinz. Both Thrush and Heinz were 2nd team All-League last year. Coach Mock said, “I feel like we have a great shot at finishing strong in our league. Tournaments this year are going to look a little different with limited teams at each site, but hopefully we will get to play some teams outside of our league and continue to grow throughout the season. We are all looking forward to court time and getting to play together.” The girls will open their season on Tuesday, September 1 at Buhler.
Coach Lee Weber arrived in Rose Hill in 2018 with the goal of rebuilding the Rocket Football program to the level where it was in 2011 when the program completed a very successful decade with a State Championship. After finishing 1-8 in 2018 and 3-6 in 2019, Coach Weber stated, “We grew up quite a bit over the course of 2019. We competed much better and really had several opportunities to win a couple more games than we did win last year, but we are still in the process of learning how to win. Our group has really taken some steps in the weightroom to work to be bigger, faster, stronger, and more athletic. They have bought in completely. A majority of our returners played 2 other sports in this off-season and worked extremely hard even with the COVID-19 quarantine. As an example, slot receiver Spencer Nolan has put on 30 lbs since our Spring Break and is faster than he was before. Our offensive and defensive line proved themselves to be formidable last year. Offensively, senior Bryson Evans would appear to be in line for the starting quarterback job but will be pushed by Lane Gardner, a junior. Both are intense workers and have put in a great amount of time honing their craft. Keegan Beavers returns as our lone returning running back, but Brennan Robledo, junior, Spencer Nolan, senior, Jonathan Morgan (sophomore transfer from Florida), and sophomore Boeden Whitted all will compete for carries. Seniors Bryce Bischler and Spencer Nolan are our top returning targeted receivers and will figure into a lot of our offensive plans. Noah Paredes will have the ability to play split receiver and tight end in our offense, which will make him very valuable. Senior Trevor Kiser became a reliable possession receiver and great blocker at outside receiver last year and returns there this fall. Seniors Brandon Kelly and Tyler Gowdy, Juniors Brennan Robledo, Kale Kochick, and Chase Green, and sophomores Luke McCaughlin and Ben Peck may also contribute offensively at the skill positions. Our defense only returns three starters from 2019. Kelly, Paredes, and Bischler are all great returning linebackers who will really have to step up this fall. We will be deep and physical on the defensive line, but inexperienced. Our defensive backfield will be very inexperienced, but given our workouts thus far we have a lot of faith in the fast and athletic group.” In regard to their goals for the 2020 season, Coach Weber said, “As it is every year, our number one goal is to go 1-0 each week. If we can perform and take care of business each week, then we have a great shot to more than surpass last year’s 3-6 record. Turnarounds do not happen overnight as we found out the last two years. This turnaround has been and will continue to be a multi-year process and being 1-0 daily is what we have to focus on. We love the 4A playoff format, which gives us a shot to be in the playoffs regardless of our record and makes every game on our schedule vitally important to our seeding. We were a mere 7-8 points in a tiebreaker from having a home playoff game at Rose Hill last year for the first time in a long time. Quite simply to be successful in that format, we have to treat every game like our Super Bowl. That strategy worked well for us in the last part of the season as we played one of our best games of the year against the #1 seed McPherson in the regular season. We will always have a tough schedule because of the strength of the AVCTL Division 3 and 4, but we believe ourselves to be equal to the task. We want to be a team that overachieves and is recognized for its speed, toughness, discipline, and will to win.” When asked bout the team’s key to success in 2020, Coach Weber replied, “Our key to success will be consistency and ball control. Offensively, we will need to be efficient, play at a deliberate pace, control the ball and pace of the game to be successful. We also are putting a priority on running the football this season and controlling the ball and clock. Defensively, we need to hold our opponents under two scores and be the best tackling team in the state. In addition, our special teams being special and an advantage is critical to our success this year. Overall, we will need to lean heavily on our deep offensive and defensive line and our young skill players will need to step up immensely. We have some fantastic young players but they need to step up to the plate under the lights on Friday. I really love our group of kids. These Rockets over the past three years have been the most coachable group of kids I have had in 20 years of coaching. There has never been one bit of push back when we coach them on anything! Success is coming for them. We just have to be patient.” The Rockets will open the season on September 4th as they host 4A State Power Andale.
As the Rocket Cross Country team starts the 2020 season, there are many questions that will need to be answered. Since most of the athletes started with track last spring and then had the season canceled after two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team is doing their part to make sure we have a fall season. Coach Barger is going into his 14th season as the head coach of the Rocket’s cross country program and Coach Page will be the assistant coach for her 4th year. The girls are coming into the 2020 season after they were short by just 6 points of going to state as a team. In 2019 the girl’s team had two freshmen, Kyrsten Lucent and Elliot Herod, qualify for the State Meet. Aubrie Thomison will be leading this young team that should be causing some noise in the rankings of 4A. We have 15 girls with most of them only being sophomores and juniors. For the boys, our numbers are really low with only six runners for the program. Tommy Rogers is the leader of this team and is the lone senior. The boys will have a learning curve as most of the team from last year were seniors. The six boys that we do have are working hard and will learn a lot this season. Some of the team from last year decided not to return, which hurts our numbers a little. However, our middle school program this year has really picked up the pace in numbers and really will be a contributor in the future. Our first meet will be at Clearwater on September 3rd.