Archive for Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Where they are now

January 1, 2003

Some of them are breaking records while others are trying to find their role on their respective teams. Five Eudora High School graduates competed in cross-country, football, track and field, and women's basketball this season.

Jessa Stein, a 1999 graduate, wrote the record book for Eudora girls cross country from 1995-98. Now a senior at Fort Hays State University, Stein continues to set new records.

She set the 3,000-meter steeplechase record in track and field and hopes to put the mark out of reach this spring.

"I'm excited about track and setting the steeplechase record so no one can break it," Stein said. "There's a little change when I go from cross country to steeplechase."

Stein and fellow senior Lisa Sullivan of Paola were the veterans on a young Tigers cross country squad last fall. Stein posted a career-best ninth-place finish at the Tigers' home meet.

"We made improvements and peaked at the right time," she said. "It's always hard to realize you're finally done."

An elementary education major, Stein said she'd still run competitively after her NCAA eligibility is completed in May.

"I'll be competitive and do road races, and I'd like to do a marathon -- maybe the Chicago Marathon," Stein said. "A good friend from Hays ran the Chicago Marathon and really liked it."

Pittsburg State freshman Zac Tyler suffered some bad fortune prior to the 2002 football season. The May 2002 Eudora High graduate and three-year football letterman injured his knee during a Kansas City prep all-star football game in Olathe.

Although Tyler expected to red shirt for the Gorillas anyway, he began an eight-month recovery workout to build strength and agility. Tyler hopes to be competitive when practice starts again in the spring.

As a red-shirt freshman, Tyler was able to dress for home games and stand on the sidelines. He counted the Miner's Bowl -- the annual showdown between Pittsburg State and Missouri Southern -- as the highlight of the season.

He also learned the importance of the Gorillas rivalries with Central Missouri State, Emporia State, and Northwest Missouri State. Pittsburg lost to all three teams and missed the Division II playoffs by one game.

Because of NCAA regulations, red shirts aren't allowed to travel with the team to road games. Tyler attended the Gorillas game against Northwest Missouri State at Arrowhead Stadium and sat right behind the Pitt State bench.

"It's growing each year," Tyler said of the Emporia State rivalry. "Each year Emporia gets a little better. They played us real well."

Tyler, who played fullback and linebacker for the Cardinals has decided to change his goals on the football field.

"I'm starting to figure out I'm not going to be the biggest guy," said Tyler, who gained 10 pounds since graduation and is now up to about 180. "I'm thinking about playing safety in college."

One of Tyler's teammates, Jason Marmon, trekked further away than any Cardinal to compete in athletics. Marmon, an all-area offensive linemen, was a red-shirt player at Beloit College in Beloit, Wis. The NAIA Buccaneers finished 6-4 under 26th-year head coach Ed DeGeorge. Marmon, a 6-1, 240-pound offensive lineman for the Bucs, is a 2002 Eudora High School graduate.

Benedictine College sophomore tailback Brian Harris, a 2001 Eudora graduate, dazzled Laws Field crowds en route to Eudora's first Frontier League football championship in school history. The Cards reached the quarter finals against Hiawatha in 2000 and compiled a 15-5 record during Harris' junior and senior seasons.

Harris said he enjoyed life as a college football player at Benedictine, an NAIA program that's qualified for the playoffs the last two seasons, but playing time has been hard to come by.

Harris played on the Ravens' junior varsity and varsity squad but faced some difficult competition from fellow young players on the junior varsity as well as a pair of incumbent starters in the varsity backfield.

"It's been fun; I like the college atmosphere," said Harris, a business management major. "I played a lot on junior varsity but they have a lot of freshman tailbacks."

Harris hopes his junior and senior campaigns will bring more opportunities to play for the Ravens.

"It will be up for grabs because the starters are out of school this year," he said.

Harris returned to his alma mater for the Oct. 11 homecoming loss against Baldwin, and he also attended Eudora's thrilling 15-14 playoff victory at Paola.

Sophomore Jessica Bryant is continuing her basketball career at St. Mary College. The 5-foot-9 forward returns for her sophomore campaign after missing the 2001-02 season after nine games because of an injury.

Bryant, a psychology major at St. Mary, wears number 23 for the Leavenworth-based NAIA college, which was 7-6 through Dec. 29.

A 2001 graduate of Eudora High School, Bryant averaged 12 points and 4.8 rebounds as a senior for the Cardinals. She was awarded co-Most Valuable Player along with then-freshman Lauren Kracl.

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