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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • AVCTL hosts fall sports preview

  • A long summer drought of high school sports is coming to an end, and the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League member schools came together Thursday to jump start the push towards the start of the fall season.
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  • A long summer drought of high school sports is coming to an end, and the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League member schools came together Thursday to jump start the push towards the start of the fall season.
    Coaches and student athletes from every sport at each of the AVCTL member schools converged on the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame at the Wichita Boathouse. It was the first ever AVCTL Media Day, which also served as a kick-off of sorts for what will be the 10th year of competition for the league.
    “It’s been an outstanding league for many years,” Maize South principal Dave Hickerson, who also serves as the 2014-2015 AVCTL President, said. “With a lot of successes both athletically and academically in debate and forensics and all those things. The league’s in great shape with 26 schools. Very successful in all areas.”
    The league was originally formed in March of 2002 out of the old Ark Valley and Chisholm Trail Leagues. Competition began in sports in the 2004-05 school year. Though the league has seen a lot of growth over the years, the AVCTL isn’t content to rest on its laurels.
    “We’re always looking for ways to improve,” Hickerson said. “One of those things that we’re trying to do is [media day]. Really to recognize our student-athletes and our coaches, and our communities, as well. This is the culmination of a lot of different people being involved in this.”
    McPherson High School was among the schools represented in the first of two sessions Thursday. The first two hours of the event focused on the 12 schools that comprise Divisions III and IV of the league, while Divisions I and II were the focus of the second half.
    The Bullpups brought a full contingent, with the head coaches of the football, volleyball, boys soccer, girls tennis, cheerleading and cross country programs in attendance. Each sport also brought a couple of athletes to be available to speak with the media.
    “When you go to an event like this, it’s all about the kids,” MHS Activities Director Shane Backhus said. “The more media guys that get to talk to our kids, the better. What we don’t want to do is have them come down and sit around for two hours and not talk. But I think, for the most part, the media has been really good about grabbing kids, bringing them down. I think every one of our programs has been talked to by somebody. I think it’s been a pretty good experience for them.”
    The fall sports season begins Monday, with the start of fall sports practices. The first competition of the 2014-2015 school year for the Bullpups will be Aug. 28, as the MHS girls tennis team begins defense of their Class 4A State Tennis championship with a meet at Hesston High School.
    Page 2 of 2 - The McPherson Sentinel will publish a SKORE football preview the week of Aug. 26, with in-depth previews of each area high school sport to come in the Sentinel that week, as well.
    The AVCTL, meanwhile, will review the response to the inaugural media day and look into holding future ones for the winter and spring sports, as well.
    “We’re always looking to improve,” Hickerson said. “Educators are always like that, whether it’s in the classroom, with their facilities or academics. What we’ll do from this is get feedback. We’d like feedback from the media, feedback from the students, athletes, coaches and administrators. As a league, we’ll review what tonight was like. But, from everything that I’ve heard, we’re off to a good start.”
    Contact Chris Swick by email at cswick@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.

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