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Tigers' Cole earns MIAA soccer honor -9/30/2014, 3:10 PM

Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

Monarchs, Cardinals seek first win -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals drop game at Cleveland -9/25/2014, 10:26 AM

UTEP football coach Sean Kugler hopes to build a program that can emulate Kansas State -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Indians hit the road -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants, Redskins trying to avoid steeper climb in East -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

KVA prep volleybal rankings, Sept. 24 -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS soccer falls at Great Bend -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS takes third at Salina South Invitational -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

No. 8 Washburn too much for Tigers -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Tiger defense continues to get stronger -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Two wins for TMP volleyball -9/24/2014, 10:27 AM

TMP soccer rolls to win -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Ventura dominates Indians as Royals push for postseason -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
St. Francis' Blanka battles back for state appearance

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St. Francis' Blanka battles back for state appearance

Published on -3/2/2014, 9:17 PM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

St. Francis High School junior 285-pounder Shakotah Blanka fractured his left hip in a 4-wheeling accident last summer. During football season, Blanka was playing fullback in practice and three teammates hit him at once at different angles, including one who had ahold of his feet. Blanka's right hip broke, and he missed the rest of football and the first part of wrestling. At first, Blanka couldn't even walk on it and required crutches.

"It was kind of tough to come back," Blanka said.

Blanka focused on the end of the year and his first trip to the Class 3-2-1A state tournament. Last week at the WaKeeney-Trego regional, he had a close match before he was pinned late by Montezuma-South Gray's Zach Crick, one of the classification's top wrestlers. Blanka pushed Crick earlier in the year, too.

Then, Blanka won his next match to earn a state berth. Blanka still feels pain every now and then if he uses the hip too much.

"I knew I could make it to state this year," Blanka said. "I just did all the rehab I could."

Blanka finished his season 20-11 when he went 0-2 on Friday and Saturday at state at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

"It was good to see him finally qualify," St. Francis coach Dylan Loyd said. "...He missed a lot of the season before Christmas break. I think for him to get here, I think it's something that he can build on confidence-wise."

Blanka lost his first match 4-0 to Sabetha junior Jacob Leuthold and then fell in 2 minutes, 29 seconds by fall to Eureka senior Quade McCoy.

"It makes you feel pretty good," Blanka said of participating. "Try to show how good I can do if I put my mind to it."

The other Indian qualifier, St. Francis sophomore Clay Cassaw, finished 1-2 and completed the season 24-9 at 132 pounds. Cassaw won his first match by fall in 3 minutes, 43 seconds, lost 9-7 in overtime and then fell, 3-2, in the final seconds to Phillipsburg senior Mason Bannister. Bannister was in the bottom position and used a rarely seen hop to earn an escape point. Cassaw had defeated Bannister twice this season.

"It was desperation," Loyd said. "We just weren't ready for it. That one was tough."

This marks the third straight season the Indians haven't won a state medal for one of Kansas' top programs. The Indians also didn't have Lane Hoffman, who qualified for state earlier in his career, but missed last season because of concussion problems and didn't qualify last week in a tough weight class.

"You miss a year at this level, that hurts an awful lot," Loyd said. "That's 30, 40 matches he could have had. It's hard to make up the difference."

St. Francis had at least one state placer every year from 1937-2011, including Loyd, who finished in the top three four times from 2003-06. Loyd and assistant coach Kyle Buffington wore "Creating a Legacy" shirts as they look to bring the St. Francis program back. Blanka and Cassaw will return next season.

"It's exciting to think about what could be, but it just comes down to, kids have got to put in the work," Loyd said. "Do you really want to get to that next level? Do you really want to get to where I feel we should be, like we have been in the past? It takes a group of kids to put in the time. Not just one or two, but you need a consensus."

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