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Rocket Athletics

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!