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TMP enters 3A regional fresh off first-place finish

Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, which has hosted a Class 3A regional scholars bowl meet the past several years, will be on the road for this year's postseason competition.

The Monarchs will enter regional play at Russell fresh off a first-place finish Monday at the Norton Tournament to close out the regular season. They went 6-1 to boost their overall record to 46-13, with top-two finishes in their last five tourneys.

TMP beat Almena-Northern Valley in the championship match after Northern Valley got by Norton in the semifinals. Norton then finished third with a win over Colby in the consolation finals match.

Hays High School also competed at Norton and finished 4-2 in the opposite pool as TMP and just missed making the finals. The Indians will compete in one of two Class 5A regionals Thursday at Wichita West.

Hays High will have a tough road to state as three of the top four 5A teams from a year ago are in the Wichita regional -- Wichita's Bishop Carroll and Kapaun-Mount Carmel and Andover Central, which finished 2-3-4 at state.

TMP, which won back-to-back state titles in 2010 and 2011, will be looking to return to the season finale after barely missing out last year at regionals.

Host school Russell will try to get back to state for a third straight year, while Norton -- which qualified in 3A last year -- also will be at the Russell regional.

The top three regional teams in Class 4A through the two divisions of Class 1A qualify for their respective state tournaments. Because there are only two regionals in 5A, the top four teams from each of those two tourneys go on to state.

-- By Diane Gasper-O'Brien