Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013

East senior goes out strong at state swimming

The Kansas City Star

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Olathe East senior Chuck Balkenbusch had never climbed quite so high on the podium at Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka, but finishing second in the 100-yard breast stroke was a fantastic finish to his high school/competitive swimming career.

Balkenbusch finished second in 59.95 seconds behind only Wichita East junior Nate Pirner. He also helped the Hawks to a sixth-place team finish at the Kansas Class 6A state boys swimming and diving championships.

“I’m really happy,” Balkenbusch said. “That’s the highest I’ve placed at state in my four years. I can’t be mad. Nate had a great race and made it hard to keep up with him, so congrats to him. But I think I was able to go out on top. I went my best time, so I can’t really complain.”

Balkenbusch teamed with juniors Tyler Gartenberg, Tanner Emerson and Connor Davey to finished second in the 200 medley relay (1:37.59), which Wichita East won by 1.68 seconds.

That same quartet teamed up for a fourth-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay.

“The kid’s a stud,” Hawks coach Dave Youker said of Balkenbusch. “His family and him personally, as a senior, are just a class act. There’s not too many kids I’d want to see have success more than him. He’s a very deserving kid.”

Additionally, Emerson wound up third in the 50 freestyle (21.74) and finished fourth in the 100 butterfly (52.16).

Meanwhile, Gartenberg was fifth in the 100 freestyle (48.59) and eighth in the 50 freestyle.

Finally, Olathe East junior Zach Neuman was third in the one-meter springboard (403.25), while Olathe Northwest sophomore Josh Read finished fourth (385.00).

With a boost from Read, the Ravens wound up 11th overall.

Olathe Northwest senior Zach Willis was fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.38) and wound up seventh in the 50 freestyle.

Eagles girls bowl over competition

Led by runner-up Madison Kent and Abbey Higgins, who finished in third place, Olathe North’s girls won the Sunflower League bowling title Feb. 14 at Royal Crest Lanes.

The Eagles totaled 2,257 pins and crushed runner-up SM North by 153 pins.

Kent shot a 595, which put her second behind league champion Mackenzie Mitchell of Olathe South.

Mitchell strung together games of 206, 229 and 246 en route to a 681 series – and an 86-pin margin of victory.

Higgins rolled a 584 series, while three other Olathe North bowlers finished in the top 20, including Cheye Reiste. She missed a medal by two places, finishing 12th overall with a 516 series.

Meanwhile, Lauren Huber wound up 16th (506) and Amanda McIlvaine was 19th (498) in aiding Olathe North’s title bid.

Olathe Northwest finished third as a team led by fifth-place Mackenzie Saulnier (576) and sixth-place Becca Wood (565).

Finally, Olathe East’s Megan Thomas 10th 538

North boys finish second at league bowling

Olathe North’s boys finished 26 pins behind Lawrence and settled for second place overall at the Sunflower League Bowling Championships, which took place Feb. 14 at Royal Crest Lanes in Lawrence.

Tristan Musick, who bowled a 687 series and placed sixth, led the Eagles along with Horace Paul, whose 676 series was good for eighth place.

Olathe North shot a combined 2,622 total, which edged Olathe Northwest for the runner-up spot by eight pins.

Jakob O’Kane led the Ravens, finishing third individually with a 716 series, while Dalton Kincaid added a seventh-place finish with a 686 series.

Reigning Kansas 6A state champion Aaron Yuratovich of Olathe East wound up second behind only Lawrence’s Austin Bennett (781) after putting together a 730 series.

Yuratovich rolled games of 251, 221 and 258.

Hawks teammates Drew Copeland, who was 11th (640), and Reece Sanders, who finished 15th (615), also cracked the top 20 along as did Olathe North’s Drake Rapue (17th, 610) and Kenny Kent (18th, 605).

Olathe grads earn All-KCAC honors

Ottawa forward Amber Ramsey, a 5-foot-11 junior, was a unanimous second-team All-KCAC selection in women’s basketball.

Ramsey, an Olathe Northwest graduate, leads the Braves in scoring (13.9), rebounds (7.5), assists (2.3) and blocks (1.7).

Meanwhile, Ottawa sophomore Kameron Lindsay, a 6-3 swingman who graduated from Olathe South, was chosen to the men’s All-KCAC defensive team.

Eagles’ Cheer 4 The Cure succeeds

During the Olathe North’s first Cheer 4 The Cure, the Eagles cheerleaders raised more than $950 for the Susan G. Komen Kansas City Chapter.

The event — in conjunction with North’s basketball games against Lawrence Free State — included a bake sale, T-shirt sale and raffle.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to Follow him at

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