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Rocket Athletics

2023 Track Finishes Well

The 2023 Rose Hill Track Season officially ended with a good performance at the 4A State Meet held at Wichita State University. Head Coach Brandon Barger stated, “Our season was a season of expectations. We got our first state champion for our program in my head coaching tenure last season in Carter Wagner. With the group that we had this year, I knew that we could be better and still have reasonable expectations. This season we ended on a very high note with two State Champions with Teagan Cobb in the 110-Meter High Hurdles and Kate Dare in the 100-Meter Dash. With Dare’s State Championship, that is the first girl individual state champion since 1997 when Lisa Brockmeir won a State Championship, ironically in the 100-Meter Dash as well. We also broke three school records with Cobb breaking the 110-Meter High Hurdles record with a time of 14.41 and the Long Jump record with a distance of 23’7.25”. Our girls’ throwers relay broke that record as well. They were Mady Barger, Kaelyn Kirchhoff-Jones, Addison Rockley, and Zoe Woodrome. We do have plenty coming back next year and with a bunch of young ones coming in from the middle school, we shouldn’t really lose a beat. I am very proud of all of them and can’t believe it is over.” It's crazy that it has been 26 years since a Rose Hill girl had won a State Championship. Brockmeir was a State Champion in the 100-Meter Dash in 1997 with a time of 12.58 while Dare won this year’s State Championship with a time of 12.44, a difference of .14 seconds. Rocket Senior State Champion and Kansas State Football signee Teagan Cobb stated the following about the 2023 season, “This year was different for everyone; we had a lot of young talent but at the same time, we had a lot of older leaders. This year felt like a team compared to other years; it felt like we were doing it together. For me this year was special and the senior guys had unfinished business. We knew what we had to do, and we did it. I'm proud of everyone this year for the work they put in, whether that meant at practice or the extra work after they did it. I couldn't have asked for a better team to not only lead but to run with.” The 2024 season should provide for another exciting spring as the Rockets will return a number of experienced athletes.

Rocket Softball Continues To Climb

The Lady Rockets have slowly improved over the course of the past couple of seasons and this season was no exception to that. In 2021 the Lady Rockets held an 11-11 record; that record would quickly improve in 2022 as the Rockets would hold a 13 - 9 record to go over .500 on the season. This season would see that record improve to 17-5 for a great season all around. The team as a whole did great but one name in particular stands out being the AVCTL Division IV MVP and First Team All-League Pitcher in Camrynn Yardley, who had an amazing season on both sides of the field. She batted .500 with 6 home runs, 31 RBI’s (runs batted in), an OBP (on base percentage) of .568, and a .919 Slugging Percentage. From the pitching rubber, Yardley was 10-3 with 74 innings pitched with 83 strikeouts and a 2.17 ERA (earned run average). First Team All-League Outfielder Karley Grinstead would be another offensive leader batting .452 with a .510 OBP and 24 RBI’s of her own. First Team All-League 1st baseman Reese Goetz would be third in batting average, hitting .416, as well as a .471 OBP, a .494 slugging percentage, and was tied for second in RBI’s with 27. The number two pitcher for the Rockets would be First Team All-League Pitcher Paige Green, who held a record of 7-2 in 62 innings pitched with 62 strikeouts and a 4.06 ERA. When asked about the winning season as a whole, AVCTL Division IV Coach of the Year Brooke Heumann stated, “When the season began, I knew we had all the pieces to do great things both on and off the field. On the field one of our goals was to win league. These girls went 8-0 in league, giving Rose Hill its first undefeated league title since the 1990’s. We also had all nine starters earn post season awards, and two seniors will be continuing their softball careers in college. Their leadership continued off the field. We hosted a three-day youth softball camp that had more than 40 young girls in attendance. The girls spent three days with these young girls, getting to know them, helping them learn the game of softball, and even went to watch several of them play in their local Rec league games. I’ve coached and watched so many of these girls play softball, some since they were six years old; it’s a lot of fun getting to see them be successful in all aspects of their high school careers.” Just like in baseball, the ladies ended their season on a sour note. When you have a great season like they did, it stings just a bit more when you don’t make it as far as you expect the team to go. With the end of the season the Lady Rockets lose their ace in MVP Camrynn Yardley, as well as First Team Outfielder Karly Grinstead, and Second Team All-League Shortstop Carly Lee. These girls will have a lot of experience next year; however, with there being four expected returning seniors as well as four possible upperclassmen returning, next year’s team won’t be short on experience.

Record Setting Regular Season

When the Rockets started this season, they had high hopes, and even higher expectations. Going into this season, the team wasn’t expected to do the things that they ended up accomplishing, going from 6-15 in 2021 to 7-14 in 2022 and then 16-5 in 2023; to call this season a surprise for most would be a drastic understatement. The overlooking of this team had been their number one drive this season. The Rockets recorded the best regular season record in recent Rocket baseball history. Pitching this year is what carried the Rockets, as well as adding experience and some growth all made it seem to come together. Pair that with one of, if not the best, pitching staffs in Kansas 4A and you have a squad that can hang with the best. First Team All-League Pitcher and KABC 4A All-State Second Team Pitcher Colton Roberts led the Rocket bullpen with a 6-3 record in 50 innings pitched and 76 strikeouts with a 2.66 ERA (earned run average). Second Team All-League Pitcher Jayden Jones would be second up with a 7-1 record in 43 innings pitched and 49 strikeouts with a 2.93 ERA. The only weak part of this Rocket team was the offense as they struggled throughout the season, but it did slowly improve towards the end of the season. The team had about three guys who really held our offense down and that was First Team All-League Outfielder and KABC 4A All-State Second Team Outfielder Scotty Carr, who batted .431 with a .500 OBP (on base percentage) and nine stolen bases. Second Team All-League 3rd Baseman Connor McPhilomy would be a close second while batting .338 with a .405 OBP and the owner of the only Rocket homerun of the year. Honorable Mention All-League Catcher and Utility Player Rhett Briggs would be another major factor in the Rocket offense batting .324 with a .407 OBP as well as being tied for the most doubles with four and knocking 13 RBI’s (runs batted in) to put him second in that category. When asked about their opinions on how the season went, AVCTL Division IV Coach of the Year Scott Carr stated, “Coming off a season of 7-14 and at the bottom of the division in 2022, the staff’s expectation for a successful campaign in 2023 was high. The reasoning for optimism was that we returned our entire pitching staff and a year’s worth of experience on the field and at the plate. We also had several returning starters in Jayden Jones, Cameron Jewell, Cooper Nace, Cameron Mock, Scotty Carr, Blake Struble, Jarrett Jones and Colton Roberts. We also added two move-ins with Connor McPhilomy and Rhett Briggs. The two move-ins brought with them steady defense, solid bats, and were hard-working guys that fit in well with our returners. Pitching and defense were extremely impressive this season, which contributed to the success of the 2023 team. The senior leadership was excellent and all players performed at a high standard and played for each other. We will very much miss our outgoing seniors Jayden Jones, Cameron Jewell, and Gage Silberski but should have the confidence and ability to perform at a high level next season.” Assistant Coach Bill Wright stated, “This was an incredibly fun team to coach. Our pitching and defense saw such a tremendous improvement from last year that we were in every game and proved that we had the ability to beat anyone. Obviously, our hitting is what cost us and was a big factor in the season ending earlier than we wanted. Even with the heartbreaking loss in Regionals, it was an outstanding season and with a majority of the team coming back in 2024, we have a chance to be really good.” Overall, the season as a whole was good, the only negative I personally can take from this season is how it ended earlier than me and the boys would’ve liked, and still over 2 weeks since it happened, I am still a little torn about that loss. A loss like that to end a great season is just not how you want it to end ever, and those are the kind of losses that keep you up at night. ¬†However, you have to get over those kinds of losses, and I feel like these boys will. We had a great squad this year and losing Honorable Mention All-League Shortstop Jayden Jones and Second Team All-League 2nd Baseman Cameron Jewell will definitely leave a hole to be filled in our middle infield next year. Other than those two, the majority of the Rockets will be returning, and with another year of experience, next year’s team has a high chance of being dangerous. As of right now, next year's team will have seven seniors, so there will be a lot of experience coming back, and a very good chance to possibly go deeper than this team did this year.

Lady Rockets Show Improvement

The 2023 Lady Rockets Soccer Team had an amazing improvement from 2022 when they had a record of five wins, eleven losses, and two ties. In 2023, the Rockets had a season record of 11-7 and made it all the way to the Regional Finals. They took on Topeka Hayden at home on May 18th for the Regional championship game. Unfortunately, the Rockets lost 2-0 while playing a good game. The Lady Rockets grew to be a very strong and put-together team and they practiced hard daily. This was the second year in a row that the Lady Rockets have made it to the Regional Championship game. In regard to the season as a whole, Head Coach Matt Henderson stated, “I cannot have asked for a better season to be my last one other than potentially reaching the state tournament. But getting beat out by the eventual 3rd place team is nothing to scoff at. Statistically, it was one the best seasons we've had since 2012. We had the least number of goals scored on us since the 2012 season with 18 and actually scored 51 of our own, giving us the 4th best goal deferential of all time. We had 10 clean sheets, the 2nd most in program history behind the class of 2007, who had 11. The Class of 2007 also has a major tie to the team as Coach Torie was the Goalkeeper in 2007 and leads in clean sheets. We have also received the most league honors with nine in my time here. But more importantly it was a great season because it signified the work and dedication that so many people have put in over the last seven years to bring this program back to where it was and are pushing to get back to where it should be. There is still more to do, but the program is poised and ready to take off over the next few years, and it should be an amazing time ride!”

Long Rocky Journey

The Rose Hill Golf team has made it through yet another season. Although they did not have many golfers, especially on varsity, they made well with what they had. Starting with the first invitational at Wellington, the team played well, but a repeating theme that came through for most of the meets was that they only had three varsity golfers with the meets requiring a minimum of four to get a team placement. Head coach Matthew Browning stated that, “This was an inexperienced group that got better as the year went on. We had two kids shoot under 100 on multiple occasions and medaled at the Clearwater Invitational. Add that, plus being in contention for a state tournament bid, and I consider this season a success. Hunter Roy and Avery Tagtow provide us with a great nucleus for next year, when I anticipate us being better. We have some middle school kids coming that I think will help. The trajectory of our program is certainly pointed up.” Looking at the tournaments played and scores throughout the season shows their level of progress and the momentum to be carried into the next season with the returning and incoming golfers. It should be fun watching the improvement and upward trajectory of the team in 2024.

Swim Season Ends At AVCTL

The Lady Rockets Swim season ended on Friday, May 12 at the AVCTL Meet in Buhler. They were not able to qualify anyone for the State Meet this season. They also only had five Rose Hill swimmers on the team this year, which was the reason for the combined Circle and Rose Hill team. Coach Roach stated, “We had goals at the beginning of the season that were to improve each meet and to qualify for State. Unfortunately, we did not do enough to reach those goals. Hopefully next year we’ll have more success in reaching our full potential.” Josie Belden’s best meet was at the Buhler Invitational, placing 5th in the 100-Yard Breaststroke with a time of 1:32. Grace Koehn’s best meet was at the Newton Invitational, placing 18th in the 200-Yard Freestyle, with a time of 3:09. Katelyn Vanmeerbeck’s best meet was at the Marion Invitational, placing 12th in the 100-Yard Breaststroke, with a time of 1:39.95. Whitney Roach’s best meet was also at the Marion Invitational, placing 9th in the 100-Yard Butterfly, with a time of 1:42.92. Rita Hoopes best meet was at the Buhler Invitational, placing 10th in the 100-Yard Backstroke, with a time of 1:40.06. Belden stated, “The season went well: it could have been better but I got my first medal in the breaststroke and I made good improvement in technique.” Even though the Lady Rockets swim team didn’t make it to State this year, they will work to make improvements for next year with the goal of qualifying swimmers for the State Meet. The girls hope to add to their roster in 2024 to go along with the returning experience from this season. They will also be breaking in a new head coach in 2024 as Coach Roach is stepping back to just being the coach of the boys team.

Coaches Excited For New Season

The boys’ and girls’ track teams have tons of hope for the new track season. Their 2022 season was great, and the expectations for this year are to do even better. Last year the boys placed 9th overall at the State Meet. When asked about the expectations for this year, Coach Barger said, “We are going to miss Carter Wagner’s points from last year, but we have a lot of athletes that can make up for it with our senior class.  They have been pretty strong throughout their three years so far.” The returning seniors expected to lead the Rocket boys include Luke McLaughlin, Teagan Cobb, Dylan Henry, and Ben Peck. Our girls, on the other hand, placed 23rd overall last year at the State Meet. Coach Madison said, “Kate Dare will be leading us this year. We return several state placers so I am looking forward to seeing what we can do.” Overall, both the girls’ and boys’ teams have been working hard, and have some young athletes that will hopefully step up and score points for the team. All the coaches are excited for the season and are looking forward to Thursday, March 23 when the Rockets will host the Early Bird Meet.

Lady Rockets Getting Excited

With a new coaching staff and lots of returning players, the Lady Rockets are getting excited to be out on a field. This year’s team won’t see many new faces as all but two of the girls that came out are returning from last year’s team. This year will see a trio of seniors in Karley Grinstead, Camrynn Yardley, and Carly Lee; returning juniors include Payton Jackson, Reese Goetz, Dakota Bryer, and Paige Green; Returning sophomores include Addie Rea, Kadance Heumann, Leila Kehle, and Grace Baes. Senior Carly Lee stated, “I’m sad it’s my last season because I’m going to miss playing with my girls but I’m excited to see how we can build off of last season and make this one of the best years of softball yet!” The only two new faces are freshmen Kenzie Minks and Kolbie McEwen, but they won’t be the only new faces around the softball program. Last year’s assistant coach, Brooke Heuman, has stepped up and taken the head coaching position this year along with assistants Morgan Jones, Jenny Page, and Casie Neagle. When asked about her thoughts on the upcoming year Coach Heumann stated, “I am excited for our upcoming season as we have all nine starters returning from last season. The experience and talent on this team is unmatched. I am confidant these girls will rise to the challenge, push each other to their best, and have a lot of fun while doing it. With a strong focus on teamwork and preparation, I am confident this will be a successful season for the Rockets!” Last year’s team went 13-9 and this year’s team has not lowered their expectations. With the same starters from last year, this team plans on improving their record from last year and are excited for the first doubleheader on Thursday, March 23 at Wellington. 

Rockets Ready To Take The Diamond

As the weather hopefully starts to warm up, the Rockets are getting ready to take the field. The Rockets have high hopes for this season. With only two players being lost to graduation from last year’s team, the Rockets are looking for a big rebound. Last year’s 7-14 team was underclassmen heavy with lots of inexperience, but this year should see a shift as a majority of the underclassmen from last year are now upperclassmen. This team has two returning upperclassmen in seniors Cameron Jewell and Jayden Jones; returning juniors include Cameron Mock, Cooper Nace, Blake Struble, Jarret Jones, and Scotty Carr; Also returning is Colton Roberts, the only returning underclassman from last year’s team. New additions to the team include juniors Connor McPhilomy and Rhett Briggs. When asked about the upcoming season, Assistant Coach Bill Wright stated, “It’s exciting that we finally have some experience returning. This group played hard as underclassmen playing older teams with more experience so it will be interesting to see if we can take that next step now that they are upperclassmen.” Overall, the season is looking pretty exciting for the Rockets as a majority of the players are returning. The expectations are high for this season’s team. With plans to go over .500 on the season, the Rockets are ready for the first pitch on March 23 at Wellington. 

Working For Regional Championship

The Girls' Soccer team had a bumpy season last year and is anticipating having a much better season in 2023 after their 5-11-2 record a year ago. The Lady Rockets only lost two seniors to graduation. In the 2021 season, their record was 7-9, so they had similar records in both the 2022 season and the 2021 season. Emily Swearingen stated, “I think as a team we can improve from last year by building up the field more together. This season we are focusing on movement on the field and having a better, more directional, first touch. I have been playing soccer since I was three, and I have played for this team all four years of high school. My personal goal for this season is to have more scoring opportunities, and help to build more from the back.” Most players who play in high school started very early on in their lives, improving every year to get to play in high school. Carys Moore stated, “I think we’ll do well this year. We have more players this year than we did last year. There might be some struggles, because we all play at different skill levels. If we work together though, I'm sure we’ll be fine. I can improve from last year by increasing the speed at which I move the ball and learning to effectively communicate with my teammates. I’m working on receiving and settling the ball from a high height. I’ve been playing soccer since I was six. My goals for the season are to not give up on myself or my teammates when things get hard valuing the team over how I feel.” Sometimes emotions can get in the way of helping other team members. Always remember communication is a big part of sports. Coach Henderson stated, “This is my seventh season at Rose Hill coaching the girls’ team and my 20th year coaching soccer as a whole. My goals for the season are always to improve and progress on what we accomplished last year. With that being said, we were just one game away from being Regional Champions last year and I would love to see us get back to that here in Rose Hill. In order to do that we are working hard at playing faster, creating better touches, and opportunities to score. We are still a relatively young team with only five returning upperclassmen out of 22 players, but the sophomores learned a lot last year from all of the minutes they played and the freshmen class has been working hard to prove that they can play just as well. Coupling that with our culture and the leadership from the upperclassmen, I am excited to see what the season holds for us and I think this could be a very memorable year for us.” There is lots of improvement every year and there's always more to work on. Every day these players go out and work hard to get to where they need to be. The Girls' Soccer team will open their season on Friday, March 24th when they host the Salina Central Mustangs; their game starts at 6:30 pm.

A New Beginning

There is a new start for the Girls’ Swimming team this season as they look to their new head coach, Robert Roach. With a new coach comes new methods and practices for the team. Although there are few swimmers this year, things are not all looking down as most of the swimmers are experienced from last season. Unfortunately, one of the swimmers is unable to participate due to injury but is still staying involved as a manager. With the amount of returning swimmers within the team, Coach Roach has high hopes for the season having stated, “I'm hoping they'll be able to build on the progress they made last year and to be competitive within our league.” With a bright beginning ahead of the girls, they look forward to making progress with some of the girls aiming high with goals of qualifying for the state meet. With improvement being the main goal for the team this season, an important part for them is setting goals to challenge themselves and each other to reach new heights. The girls will get their season underway when they travel to Marion for the first meet of the season on Thursday, March 23.

Golf Back In Action

The Golf Team is back and ready to take on the competition this season. After a successful season last year, the team is looking to build on that success and take things to the next level. The team has some talent but not a lot of experience; however, they are ready to take on any challenge that comes their way. The team is looking forward to a great season and they are confident that they can achieve their goals. When asked how he thinks the season will go Head Coach Matt Browning stated, “We are going to be extremely inexperienced. We only have one part-time varsity golfer returning. The hope is to get better each and every day.” In response to asking about the season, sophomore Avery Tagtow said, “I think the season will go well and we will progress over the season.” Junior Hunter Roy stated, “I think the season is going to be fun and I think that the team will grow and get better as the season goes on.” The golf team will get their season underway when they travel to Wellington on April 6th.

Wrestlers 4A State Runner-Up

The boys’ wrestling team participated in the Class 4A State Tournament in Salina on February 24-25. The team took 9 wrestlers to state and came home with two state champions and the second-place team trophy. The first state champion is Freshman Julio Aguirre at 120 lbs. and the second state champion is Senior Bronx Wood at 215 lbs. During the season, the team earned a total of three first-place tournament wins, two second place tournament finishes, and one fifth place finish. They also won the AVCTL Division IV Championship by going undefeated in duals; this is the first time this has happened in the history of the wrestling program. Head Coach Chris Saferite stated, “This year was a good year for us. We set high goals and high expectations; we fell a little short of the goal of being state champions but came in as the state runner-up. There were some ups and downs throughout the season, but we finished well and on a positive note. We scored the 5th most points in 4A history and will return a lot of those points next year. We ended the season with two state champions in Julio Aguirre and Bronx Wood, two second-place finishes with Johnny Leck and Damon Ingram, two third-place finishes with Adam Bilby and Milan Colvin, and one fifth-place finish with Rhett Briggs. Our kids and coaches are proud of what we did, and they worked their tails off for that finish. Now, we have to come back and be more hungry next year.” Sophomore Johnny Leck also stated, “We ended the season okay. We fell short of our season-long goal, but we will be back”. Also, Senior State Champion Bronx Wood said, “We had a great team. We didn’t finish how we wanted to finish as the state runner-up this year, but the team will be back next year! I can’t wait to come in and help the guys achieve that goal next year.”

Rockets Season Comes To A Close

Between a first-year head coach and only one returning starter, the Rockets played very well for a season that was very unclear on how they would rebound with that many factors. On the season, the Rockets were 11-10 going over .500 for the 5th year in a row, but this would be the first year Josh Shirley wouldn’t be the Rocket head coach in seven years. Instead, we would see Greg Welch step up and take the head coaching job. When asked about his opinion on his first season as the Rocket boys head coach Welch stated, “Overall I am pleased with our season. We were fortunate going over .500 on the season with only one starting player returning. As a team we never really got whooped, we had one game against Hesston to start the season, and the first game against Wellington but in the end, we got Wellington back the second time around. We knew what we were getting into at the start of the season with only one returning starter and we had a lot of roles to fill which I felt we did a good job with this year.” Welch had nothing but good things to say about his group of seniors this year, “Our one returning starter in Simoneau was our guy. He was our best player and someone I could be comfortable drawing a play around; he was a good leader and we will miss having that guy in Kellan. Garrett Funke’s shooting ability and rebounding ability will definitely be missed; he made some clutch shots over the season and was a good teammate to have. Colton Morgan’s great attitude will be missed. He was good for our scout teams, and was always on top of his grades; he is a 4.0 student and a good kid. Mathias had a bit of a rough year due to his foot injury, and never quite recovered from that injury. Between sickness and injury, he never really got started on the court. Otherwise, he is a good kid and someone that I knew would work hard both on and off the court.” Next, I asked the only returning player from last year, Kellan Simoneau, for his thoughts on the season and he said, “We had a good season and a lot of great things to look back on. Postseason did not end up the way we hoped, but we can't let that spoil the year.” Overall, on the season, Simoneau led the team with 414 points; the next closest was Jace Evans with 214 points, and the third highest scorer was Cooper Nace with 107. Senior Garrett Funke said, “The season was pretty good. We had a great group of guys that all cared about the game and were motivated to play hard every day.” Funke also shard the following quote: "You can't be afraid to fail; it's the only way you succeed in life." The Rocket underclassmen plan on working hard throughout the summer to come back next season and improve on this season’s winning record.

Girls Learn Life Lessons

The Lady Rockets basketball season has come to an end. The Lady Rockets Record for the 2022-2023 season was 2-18. The Lady Rockets may not have won a lot of games, but they all put in a hard effort to win each game. The two games they won were both against El Dorado. Jessa Lee stated, “I definitely did not perform where I wanted to this season. I was kind of in a shooting slump for a while which is always tough, but I tried to make up for it in other areas and contribute wherever I could. I think I improved this year on my persistence in shooting even when my shots weren't falling, which is something that I've struggled with before. I hope the girls playing next year keep building up the team chemistry because I think that can help them out a lot in the future. Some things I learned over my high school years are to keep working hard because it will pay off eventually, and to enjoy your time here and not take it for granted, because it seriously goes by so fast.” Many people playing sports don't realize you should enjoy your time in high school, because in the end, you don't really know what you're going to be doing in your life; even just tomorrow, you don't know what will happen. So, enjoy your time in high school and learn from the seniors leaving. Coach Page stated, “This season we struggled to get going offensively.  We never found consistent scoring throughout the season.  I think we did improve over the season with our ability to take care of the ball and our overall ability to be competitive every game. Our seniors this year did a great job of coming to practice every day with a positive attitude and working hard every day.  Hopefully next year our younger kids can continue to improve and hopefully we can see more success on the court.  I hope the girls realize that in order to keep getting better, we have to put some work into the game of basketball in the off season. Hopefully we can work hard this summer and see that improvement next season.” The Lady Rockets will graduate three seniors this year. The underclassmen are determined to work hard so that success can be found on the court next season.

Soaring Through The Season

The Rocket boys’ swimming season has come to a close and it was a good season for the team; the boys made a lot of improvement ranging from new swimmers to ones that have been competitively swimming for years. The boys were coached by Robert Roach, who was in his first year of coaching swimming for the Rockets. With the many new swimmers going a long way from when they first begun, you can only imagine the satisfaction for the group as they won against lots of great contenders in their meets even when lacking experience. With the majority of the team being sophomores and freshmen, Roach stated that “the possibilities for the upcoming few years are limitless.” Of all the obstacles the boys faced and overcame this year, the most important for them is being competitive, but with only a total of nine swimmers on the team there was less competition between the boys to encourage each other to improve; yet, the team was able to show competitive growth which is why the future of the boys’ swimming program is looking up under the direction of Coach Roach.

Wrestling Has High Expectations

After finishing the 2021-2022 season with a record of 7-1 in duals, placing in the top four of seven different regular season tournaments, placing third at Regionals, and placing fourth at the 4A State Tournament, Head Coach Chris Saferite stated, “I thought last year we competed well all year and we got better from the start of the season to the end of the season, which is what we are always hoping for. The last two years we have come in a little under the radar and performed well at the end of the year. Hopefully that trend continues and we can improve through the year this year. Every year we have the same expectation, we come in and set some goals and then it is our job to work towards those goals on a daily basis. If we compete with one another every day in the practice room we will be ready to compete against anyone. The expectations are high right now on our wrestling team. We are going into the season ranked #3 as of now. I think we are capable of placing in the top three at the state tournament and I think we have a shot at bringing home a championship. However, the season is long and we have to stay healthy and get the kids to buy into what the team needs.'' The boys currently have 30 wrestlers on the roster while the girls have nine wrestlers on their roster. The boys’ and girls’ teams both have returning state qualifiers and returning state medalists. Coach Saferite said, “On the girls’ side we have Payton Sholander returning after placing 4th last year at the state tournament. On the boy’s side, Johnny Leck is a returning state champion, Adam Bilby is a returning 3rd place medalist, Tyren Emberson is a returning state qualifier, Rhett Briggs is a returning 6th place finisher, Bronx Wood is a returning state qualifier from 5A, and Milan Colvin is a returning state runner-up at 285. Johnny, Milan and Adam set the bar high for themselves last year all placing in the top three at the state tournament. This year is no exception, we have the same expectation and would like to see all three in the finals and have a chance to win a state championship.” In addition to the returning wrestlers, there are a few new wrestlers that will be counted on this season to which Coach Saferite stated that, “We do have a few new faces on the team this year and we have high expectations with them. We feel that Damon Ingram, Rhett Briggs and Bronx Wood will make an immediate impact for our line-up as well as a couple of freshmen in Sebastian Bentley and Leven Jones”. The wrestlers are excited to get the season going. Returning State Champion Sophomore Johnny Leck said, “We have a good group of guys ready to put the work in. Our expectations are to win state and nothing less.” Sophomore Tyren Emberson said, “We have a lot of state level guys and I'm looking forward to not only winning state for me but also as a team.” Returning 3rd place medalist Sophomore Adam Bilby stated, “I think we will win state, and I think our team is the underdog this year but we showed everyone up last year so we are going to do it again this year.” The wrestling team will get their season underway on December 3rd at the Valley Center Tournament.

New Brand Of Rocket Basketball

Winter sports are starting up, and with that comes Rocket basketball. There are a lot of new things happening in the Boys Rocket basketball program. With former head coach Josh Shirley moving to Illinois and Adrian Maloney stepping down from their head and C team coaching positions, we have many coaching changes. Former Girls Head Coach Greg Welch is stepping up from his Boys JV coaching position the past two years to take over the head coaching job. New hires Tregg Rodriquez and Ross Nolan will take over the JV and C-team positions, respectively. Secondly, the Rockets lost seven seniors last year, so this year’s starting lineup will look drastically different with only a few familiar faces returning with seniors Kellan Simoneau, Garrett Funke, and Colton Morgan. Returning Juniors include Cooper Nace, Conner Mosqueda, Jace Evans, Trent Chickadonz, Scotty Carr, Conner Wallis, and Dawson McNaul. When asked about the upcoming season Coach Welch stated, “We only return one starter from last season in Kellan Simoneau, who was 1st team All-league and 2nd team All-State. We expect him to continue to play at a high level and be a leader for our new group. Around him, we will need some players to adapt quickly to their new roles as varsity players. We have confidence in our new guys but they have to grow up quickly. We will have more length and size than we have had the last few years so hopefully, that pays off when it comes to defending and rebounding. While we do expect Kellan to be able to score points for us, we should be pretty balanced beyond that. We should be able to put multiple guys on the court that can knock down shots and shoot the ball. We don't have to be dependent on one player to go off and should be able to get by if someone has an off night. Overall, I'm excited for the season and looking forward to what this team can become. Our league is very difficult and there should be many close games throughout the season.” New Coach Ross Nolan is ready for the season stating, “I am very excited to get the season rolling. The first week went well! The C-team will have a bigger group with lots of opportunities to earn playing time. We are trying to focus on becoming better through the process. JV will be one of the older JV teams that I've seen with a lot of juniors and a few sophomores mixed in. It should be a fun group. Finally, varsity will be somewhat of a new team with one returning starter from last year, so there are wide open opportunities for some new guys, whether they’re juniors or seniors, to step in and lead. I am very excited to see what this team is capable of and ready for games to get going!” The Rockets where 15-7 last year, and under new coaching they are hoping to continue their winning ways for the fifth year in a row. The boys will kick off their season on December 6th when they host Hesston.

On The Road To Victory

The Lady Rockets had a rough year last year and are hoping to have a very good season this year after their 2-19 record a year ago. The Lady Rockets had lots of Seniors leave the previous year and some of the younger girls on the team had never even played in a varsity game. They got a lot of experience last season so they are now ready and determined this season. Cheyenne Martin stated, “I think this season will go much smoother than last season as we’re more experienced and have better chemistry this year. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone improve and just spending time with the team. Personally, I’m hoping to up my shooting performance in games but overall, it’s going to be a good season think.” This season will be very experimental for all of the girls. The returning players are excited to see how the younger girls improve their skills. Coach Page stated, “I’m excited about this season and the girls we have out this year.  Everyone is working hard and practices have been competitive. I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ve matured and improved from last season. Last season was rough, but I think we all are invested in working hard and getting better.” The Lady Rockets will open their season on December 6th when they host the Hesston Swathers in the first round of the Early Season Tournament.

Swimmers Glide Into New Season

Another season has begun for the Rocket Boys Swimming Team. The Rockets will have some experience from the returning swimmers. The new swim coach, Robert Roach, is undertaking the responsibility with his experience as an assistant coach and seven years as a stroke and turn judge. With his experience, Coach Roach said, “I fully expect at least 50% of our squad to qualify for state in either individual events or relays. We have the returning talent to build upon and it will take an entire team effort to improve the new swimmers we have.” This statement is well supported by the suitable amount of returning swimmers to help showcase what a good foundation is for the newer guys and to continue building up their skills and continuation as Coach Roach continues to intensify the improvement throughout the whole team. With the goal of qualifying for state in mind, one step to improving the new swimmers that came through this year will be to begin trusting the learning processes and progress individually as well as a team. Overall, the team is looking for improvement for the start of this season. The team will have their first meet when they participate in the Maize Invitational on December 3rd.

XC Program On The Way Up

The boys and girls Cross Country seasons have ended with lots of successes. The girls had their best season in school history as they placed in the top five as a team in six of their meets. At the Circle Invitational they placed 2nd, at the Goddard Invitational they placed 1st, at the Winfield Invitational they placed 2nd, at the AVCTL Division IV Meet they placed 1st, at the 4A Regional Meet they placed 2nd, and at the 4A State Meet they placed 5th. We pulled through with a lot of good outcomes this year. In the first couple of races, we didn’t do as well. Senior Jessa Lee stated, “I think this season was really good. It was my first and last year doing cross country, and I think both the boys and girls’ teams did great and we all had fun together. It was really cool getting to go to state with the girls and getting fifth as a team there. Personally, I think I did alright for my first year and it was rewarding to see my times drop throughout the season.” Kimber Lovell, Elliot Herod, Alexa Marshall, and Kyrsten Lucent all had a very excellent season. The boys’ team had a tough time this year but they made lots of progress that didn’t always show up in the results. One of the top runners for the boys’ team, Sam Lovell, broke his finger late in the season, which put him out for the rest of the season. Coach Barger stated, "The season was a great one to remember!  Our girls came in with expectations and exceeded those.  The boys are young and will get better next year.  All of our runners came in with goals and they worked so hard to achieve those goals.  We will be missing Kyrsten, Elliot, Jessa, Dylan, and Julius but we will be in a better place next year because of them. I want to extend my thanks and gratitude to everyone that was involved in the process of our season and can't wait to get next year going!!” The cross country team will have to say goodbye to five of the seniors but their contributions will not be forgotten as each of them worked their hardest and helped to elevate the program. There are several underclassmen returning in 2023 and there will be new teammates moving up from a very successful middle school team. The future is looking very bright for Rose Hill Cross Country.

Awaiting Next Take-Off

The Rockets ended the season with a record of 12-5-1. Head Coach Jerry Treat said, “The team had a couple major losses throughout the season with collarbone injuries from Sophomores Trey Bias and Cooper Bates. Even with these setbacks happening, the team played hard and played for each other.” Assistant Coach Brent Nussbaum said “The season didn’t end the way we wanted but the soccer boys gave everything they had in them to never give up. That mentality runs deep in the soccer team and I know the players will be working hard in the off season and are already counting down the days until next season”. Assistant Coach Matt Henderson said, “I'm really proud of all the boys this season. It was a long, tough one and we lost some key players early. However, we had a lot of young guys step up and really contribute to the team and we ended up second in the league. Unfortunately, we were stopped short of our goal of making it back to the state tournament this year and we will miss some great seniors who have led us over the last couple of years, but the future is bright for Rose Hill Soccer. We have a ton of talented young guys coming back with experience next year and I can't wait to watch them step into those leadership roles.” Seniors Andruw Weeks and Jack Hensley also had some things to say about the season. Weeks said, “We did very well overall but had a few injuries that slowed us down, but we still played hard and had a good season”. Hensley said, “It's great to look back on the season and see that the guys went out with a boom. Seniors like Temo Luna-Berumen tackled the end of the season like they should have.” The returning players will look forward to next season and work hard with the goal of advancing to the state tournament.

Tapping Into Regionals

After a successful summer program that included much work and dedicated mindsets to the sport, the Rocket Football team looked forward to a good start to the season. However, the schedule was difficult starting off with Collegiate and Andale. Then on the opening drive of the third game against Clearwater, a devasting injury struck the team as starting quarterback Conner Wallis suffered a broken collarbone. Although problematic, sophomore quarterback Colton Roberts stepped in and performed admirably leading the Rockets to four wins, including a playoff victory. After three consecutive losses against very formidable opponents, the team’s chemistry and absolute determination showed on the field to bring three consecutive wins against Mulvane 20-6, Abilene 16-12, and a 31-18 Homecoming victory against El Dorado as the Rockets evened their record at 3-3. The Rockets ended the regular season with losses at Buhler and at home against Wellington to finish the regular season with a 3-5 record. The Rockets drew a rematch with Abilene in the first round of the playoffs and showed lots of improvement coming away with a 23-6 playoff victory. Advancing to the Regional Championship Game, the Rockets were matched up with the number one seeded and undefeated Wamego Red Raiders. This game also saw Wallis return to the starting lineup after recovering from the early season injury. After taking an early lead in the game, the Rockets succumbed to the powerful Red Raiders and fell 35-8 ending their season with an overall record of 4-6. Defensive coordinator David Penner stated “The record at the end of the season was probably not what anyone had hoped for going into the year but our team was able to do some impressive things. The team was able to recover from losing our QB1 on the first play versus Clearwater to go on a winning streak, where we played some impressive football, and then went on to win a playoff game for only the second time in the last ten years.” In regard to his favorite moment of the season, Head Coach Lee Weber pointed to “our players being road warriors and traveling to beat a much-improved Abilene team twice this year on the road.” Coach Weber also stated that, “Football needs to be a priority during football season and getting bigger, stronger, faster, and more knowledgeable in the game needs to be our focus this off-season.” The returning players will look forward to the 2023 season knowing that much work will be required in order for the program to continue improving.

Rockets Season Comes To A End

Overall, the Rockets season was alright; they were a rocky team that would come out of the gates on fire but then would lose it in the second sets and then by the third set it really just depended on what team showed up. The Lady Rockets were 13-22 on the season, going under .500 for the first time since 2020. On the season, Dayleigh Barger led the team with 240 kills. Heinz led in digs with 259 on the season finishing her high school career off with 1,247 total digs, making her the new career digs leader. Payton Jackson led the team in serve aces on the season with 42. Kadance Huemann led the team in assists with 519. Madalyne Barger led the team in both solo blocks with five, and assisted blocks with 20. When asked about the season, team Co-Captain and Defensive player of the year winner Mandi Heinz stated, “I think we had a lot more talent than we showed at times throughout the season and we weren’t as successful as we wanted, but I love this team so much and I am glad I got to spend my last season with them. I wish nothing but the best for them in their next season!” Other Co-Captain and MVP of the season Dayleigh Barger said, “I had a great time with my teammates this season. They made my senior season so fun. Even though we didn’t do as well as we would have liked, I am walking away from this season proud of myself and my teammates.” Offensive player of the year Nolie Munn had this to say about her final season, “I enjoyed getting to spend my last season on the volleyball court with these girls. We came out and played, but I feel like if we kept pushing ourselves, we could’ve made it to the finish line in the end. I still can’t believe it’s officially over!” Senior Makayla Kiser was unhappy to see the season end stating, “Overall it was a good season with some great girls; I’m definitely going to miss them.” Fifth year Head Coach, Cherith Mock, was looking back on the season with some regrets saying, “It was a tough season. It definitely didn’t go as we planned. I do believe we kept fighting until the end. There are moments we wish we could do over and moments we wish we could relive. But as you know every season must come to an end.” Out of the 35 games played, the Rockets went into the third set 13 times. They also lost five games where they won the first set and they only won two games where they lost the first set. Another stat to chew on is that they had 11 games where they won both the first set and the game but they also had 17 where they lost both the first set and the game.

Running Right In

The Rose Hill Rockets Cross Country team is coming off a great season last year. The Girls’ Cross Country team took 9th as a team at the State Meet with 217 team points and had an average time of 22:56. Kyrsten Lucent finished the State Meet in 21st place with a time of 21:17.40 and it is believed that she will have a very outstanding season in 2022. Overall, the girls had a phenomenal 2021 season that included several 1st place finishes as well as a Regional Championship. This year’s team includes 12 new runners joining the 15 returning runners. There are five Seniors this year including Dylan Henry, Kyrsten Lucent, Elliot Herod, Jessa Lee, and Kate Dare. Coach Barger stated, “We are continuing from a pretty successful season from last year.  We have a lot of experienced and inexperienced runners, but we are having a great time getting to work.  It has been a very enjoyable beginning of the season.” The Cross Country team will have their first meet on September 1st at Clearwater.

Soccer Kicks Off

The Rockets ended last year's season with a 9-8 record. The team lost two seniors from last year’s team in Zander Arheart and Joshua Fisher. Head Coach Jerry Treat stated, “I expect us to be in the final four. We are going to have a good season this year and we have a pretty good team but one thing the team needs to work on is our coordination and chemistry together and once the team gets that down we will be unstoppable.” Team captain Andruw Weeks stated, “It’s going to be a good season for sure”. The team’s first game will be against Coffeyville at home this Friday, August 26 and the Rockets are expecting a good outcome to the game. Coach Treat also stated that, “If we can work well together as a team, I think we will pull off the win”. Last season in the Coffeyville game the Rockets came out with the win with the score 2-1 in overtime.

Making A Comeback

As the weather is starting to cool off and with school coming back into session, fall sports are getting ready to kick off. The Rocket volleyball team is getting amped for this year's season after last year ended with a winning 19-16 record. The rebound season in 2021 was a good start for what will hopefully be a deeper run this season. Returning varsity players include Seniors Nolie Munn, Mandi Heinz, and Dayleigh Barger. Returning Junior players include Reece Goetz, Payton Jackson, Paige Loeck and Sophomore Kadance Heumann. New varsity players include Senior MaKayla Kiser, Junior Ryelle Woods, Sophomores Emily Howerton and Mady Barger as well as Freshman Addison Rockley. When asked about the upcoming season Coach Mock stated, “As always I am looking forward to our new season. We have six returning players that have some varsity experience that will hopefully step up and be leaders this season. Dayleigh Barger and Magnolia Munn will be a big presence at the net. Our senior libero, Mandi Heinz is out with an injury, so trying to find someone to step into that role is a huge challenge right now. We also have two sophomore setters in Kadance Heumann and Mady Barger. Your setters have to be your court leaders and as underclassmen that can be a hard role to have. I am excited to watch this team continue to grow together and play some good volleyball this season.” When asked about what they were looking forward to this upcoming season, Team Co-Captain Mandi Heinz stated, “I’m super excited to play my last year with the girls I’ve grown up with. I have a lot of hope with the girls we have and am hoping for a fun and successful season this year!” Other Co-Captain Dayleigh Barger is also looking forward towards her final season as she stated, “I’m really excited to play my last season with these girls! I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish and I have very high hopes for this season!” I think I can personally speak for the volleyball management crew and state that we are all excited for what this season has in store, and that we are all ready for the season to start.

Football Takes Off

Coming off of a 3-6 record in 2021, the Rockets are confident that a summer of hard work will certainly pay off for the team this upcoming season. Summer training and work has put a fine edge on the team to be as sharp as they can with high hopes coming from head coach Lee Weber who said, “I think we are an extremely talented team; we have some guys who have worked very hard and hope to reap the rewards of that hard work coming up this fall.” The team is excited about their returning talent and another year of experience added to returning players to make them even stronger. A good season is predicted ahead by Coach Weber who foresees this season as being one of victory and excitement. The schedule is difficult as it includes state power teams Collegiate, Andale, and Buhler. The best of effort will be exerted by the Rockets this season, making them a very formidable opposition to anyone. The coaches and players are excited for the season to begin!