Cardinals are making history
The past week was a special one in Eudora High School sports history. All types of Cardinals exhibited skills and desire on soccer fields in Kansas City, on hilly road courses in the Flint Hills, and all the way back to the football fields and volleyball courts of Eudora.
It all started Thursday afternoon in Kansas City, Kan. The Cardinals played their first soccer game in school history. Eudora fans showed up in droves to watch their sons, daughters, and neighbors come from behind and defeat the Turner junior varsity squad 3-1.
The kids, a group of athletes who were running cross-country, playing football, or getting ready for high school soccer a year ago, were ecstatic about their season opening victory at Turner. Moments after the win, however, they began listening to their coaches and focusing on the big picture, a state playoff berth.
It was a special moment in Eudora High School sports lore, captured on camera by the proud parents, coaches and fans who took team pictures in front of the goal.
The Eudora volleyball team is also off to a great 9-3 start under second-year coach Jill Stutler. The Cards played nine games in six days, including a second-place finish in the McLouth tournament and triangular sweeps over Perry-Lecompton, Pomona, Lyndon and archrival Wellsville. It was their best week in recent memory.
Eudora has a superstar in junior Lauren Kracl, a Division I prospect in volleyball and basketball who won the McLouth tournament MVP award. The Cards have an extremely solid core of seniors, including Jenny Durkin, who joined Kracl as an all-tournament selection at McLouth, Mallorie Cleveland, Tina Lauber and Nicole Born. Stutler also has a bunch of young talent on the team such as sophomore Brooke Bell and freshman Kelsey Epperson. I expect this group to be in the upper echelon of the Frontier League.
In cross country, the numbers are down, but two members of the Cardinals squad, senior Andy Besser and freshman Megan Ballock, medaled at Wamego, the state championship course and one of the toughest courses in the state. Eudora coach Paul Boone should be credited with keeping morale high even when other sports have taken the teams numbers down.
It goes without saying that Eudora football is already a given for Friday night plans. Whether you're a Eudora High sophomore or a retired person, Laws Field is just the place to be Friday nights. Eudora coach Gregg Webb has the team playing a new and exciting type of offense, and fans are just waiting to see which team will test the Cards. Will it be Osawatomie? Too young and inexperienced. The mighty Paola team that walked out of Eudora with a victory last season? Nope looks like they're rebuilding. How about Wellsville? It's always a big rivalry game for both squads, and the Eagles will definitely be up for it.
The last four games of the season should be the true test for Eudora. A homecoming game with Baldwin should be a nice warmup for district play. De Soto, a team that once lost by more than 70 points Eudora, cannot be taken lightly anymore. De Soto senior running back Michael Allen is one of the few backs in class 4A to rival Andrew Pyle's production. A road game with Bishop Ward and a Halloween date with Mill Valley will also test the Cards on their state championship route to Pittsburg.
Whatever happens for the rest of this successful season, it would be difficult for the Cards to repeat the early success on all fronts, but I believe it will happen.