By Bill Barrows
Periodically, I have the privilege to witness heartwarming and amazing things that happen in the course of my daily activities in youth sports at the Wabash County YMCA. This week, I watched as a young man took a huge step forward on a long road back to regaining his health.
Jace Randel’s parents, Jason and Amanda, registered him to play 4th & 5th grade tackle football in August. Jace expected to play with a number of his classmates on the Cowboys team this fall while learning some life lessons along the way. He had no idea the roller coaster ride he had in front of him.
”On Aug. 20 (ironically, the same day as the first football practice) Jace began not feeling well. I took him in to his pediatrician after a few days of stomach pain. He ordered blood work, just to be sure it wasn’t an appendicitis. The blood work came back abnormal,” explained Amanda.
After consulting with their pediatrician, the Randels prepared for a trip to Riley Hospital.
“The Pediatrician explained to us that Jace's blood work had come back abnormal, and after consulting with a few Riley Oncologists, they thought Jace had leukemia.” Amanda continued, “We were being sent to Riley to run more blood work and prepare him for a bone marrow biopsy.” Jason & Amanda told their son what this meant; Jace was crushed.
“I told him that we were NOT putting our faith and trust into one test. We would be putting our faith in God who, we KNEW, could do anything!!” She explained, “What a calming affect that can have on a person, to know WHO is in control and WHO is all powerful,”
The blood work at Riley came back inconclusive. Jace received a platelets transfusion in order to perform the biopsy to prevent excessive bleeding. He had an allergic reaction to the platelet transfusion. Instantly, he began to break out in hives and his throat started swelling. After giving him large doses of Benadryl, he was finally able to sleep. The biopsy came back negative. Several other tests were run, for conditions such as; mono, autoimmune markers, and vitamin deficiencies, and all came back normal. Normal was a relative term. Jace wasn’t getting any worse, but was also wasn’t getting any better either.
by Gary Andrews
The Southwood VolleyKnights had one last game scheduled for the year Saturday and it was the state championship. The Lady Knights had won nine straight games to win the sectional, then defeated Clinton Central 3-0 for the regional title. Last Saturday Southwood won the very tough Bremen semi state by topping Adams Central 3-1 and Hammond Bishop Noll 3-2 for the semi state title. Saturday at Ball State the VolleyKnights had the task of taking on defending state champion Providence for the state title.
Southwood, the 2A public school state champion hung tough, but the power hitting of Providence ended up being too much as the VolleyKnights fell 17-25, 14-25, 18-25.
Providence got off to a 10-3 start in game one before the Knights shook off the championship jitters and started to go to work. Emilie Harnish would get a kill and Bailey Lundmark a block during a 5-0 run to close the gap to 10-8. Providence would then score 10 of the next 14 points to open a 24-15 lead before two Sami White tips kept the game alive, but one last Pioneer kill ended game one 17-25.
Southwood jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start game two with Sami White serving. Kaitlyn Murphy had a kill with White scoring on an ace and a tip. Bailey Hobbs would get a kill as the Knights extended their lead to 8-3 before the Pioneer’s got hot. Providence would score 6 of the next 7 points to tie the game at 9 before a White tip and an Emilie Harnish ace made it 11-9. With Southwood up 12-10 the sleeping giant awoke as Providence went on a 10-1 run to grab a 20-13 lead on their way to the 25-14 final.
by Gary Andrews
The Southwood volleyball team traveled to Bremen Saturday for the 2A volleyball semi state with the task of taking on #7 Adams Central in the opening round. Hammond Bishop Noll, a state finalist last year waited on the winner after sweeping perennial power Muncie Burris in game one.
The Lady Knights would look good early as they grabbed a 9-7 lead when Adams Central scored three straight to grab a 9-10 lead. The Knights would hang tough though, getting kills from Sarah Peters and Bailey Hobbs and eventually took the lead back 17-16 off a Bailey Lundmark block. The Flying Jets would then grab control, scoring 7 of the next 8 points to lead the Knights 18-22 in route to a 20-25 win.
Southwood would regroup and came out swinging in game two, getting kills from Sarah Peters, Kaitlyn Murphy and Bailey Lundmark to grab a 5-3 lead. Tied at 5 Bailey Hobbs would get a kill and an ace as the Knights scored 5 of the next 7 to lead 14-9. Adams Central would claw their way back and after a 5 point run led 19-20 as an 0-2 score was starring the Knights in the face. With things looking bleak Southwood found one last breath. Down 21-23 Kaitlyn Murphy would get a kill during a 3 point run as the Knights grabbed a 24-23 lead with the Flying Jets answering to knot the score at 24. Murphy would then record another kill with Anna Rees serving an ace and just like that the Knights pulled off game two 26-24 and tied the match 1-1.
by Gary Andrews
Northfield senior cross country runner Jenna Halderman ran in Saturday’s state finals at Terra Haute, becoming a state medalist for the second straight year. Halderman placed 14th in what was the fastest girls state meet in history. Halderman ran the course in 18:24 which was faster than last year and a personal best.
Halderman was the 5th senior to cross the finish line which makes her an Indiana All Star.
Halderman will run for Team Indiana against six other states in two weeks in Ohio.
At the IHSAA Regional at Clinton Central, Southwood faced off with Clinton Central, bringing home the regional title beating Clinton 25-21, 25-20, and 25-23.
Delayne Gentry had 1 service point, 1 assist and 6 digs.
Sami White had 7 service points, 2 aces, 1 kill, 7 digs, 16 assists and 1 block.
Makenna Dawes had 4 digs.
Anna Rees had 6 service points, 1 assist and 5 digs.
Bailey Hobbs had 6 service points, 1 ace, 3 kills, 3 assists, 6 digs and 1 block.
Sarah Peters had 5 service points, 3 aces, 4 kills, and 2 blocks.
Bailey Lundmark had 6 kills and 2 blocks.
Kaitlyn Murphy had 3 kills, 2 blocks and 1 assist.
Emilie Harnish had 16 service points, 7 aces, 7 kills, 7 digs and 1 assist.
The varsity improve their record to 24-13, with a 6-1 TRC record.
Southwood Volleyball will be in action again on Saturday, Nov. 1 at Bremen against Adams Central for the IHSAA Semi-State title at 12:30 p.m.
Wabash Athletic Director Greg Martz is bringing a new recognition to the program when it comes to athletes excelling academically. Wabash High School would like to congratulate the boys’ cross-country team for winning the highest G.P.A. for the first nine weeks for fall sports with a 9.25 G.P.A.
by Gary Andrews
Two teams and four individuals from Wabash County ran in the cross-country semi state Saturday with Northfield’s Jenna Halderman advancing to next Saturday’s state finals in Terra Haute.
The Northfield girls team and Southwood’s Emily Lehner ran at New Haven, where the Lady Norse finished 10th as a team with Halderman placing 11th to advance to the state finals for the second straight year.
Also running for Northfield was Brittany Sloan in 67th, Karla Singer 82nd, Jacklyn Peas 112th, Olivia Thompson 115th, Natasha Leland 116th, Caitlin Eltzroth 142nd.
Emily Lehner finished in 95th.
The Northfield boys finished 13th as a team, led by Devin Tracy in 37th. Joe Burcroff was 74th, Austin Andrews 82nd, Austin Frye 95th, Noah Shear 132nd, Heath Miller 155th, Mason Zolman 166th.
The 10th place finish by the Northfield girls and the 13th place finish by the Northfield boys were the highest finishes by any 2A schools in all the semi state competitions.
Dominick Hubbard, Wabash, finished 78th with Sam Hall finishing 114th.
Thomas Rohr, Manchester, ran at New Prairie, finishing 101st.
by Gary Andrews
The Southwood volleyball team kept their tournament winning ways going Saturday, winning their 8th straight sectional title with a 25-21, 25-14, 26-24 win over Manchester. Earlier in the day the Knights topped Wabash 25-17, 25-21, 25-9 to make it to the finals. Manchester defeated Oak Hill 28-26, 25-14, 25-21.
The Lady Knights went to Katelyn Murphy early who had three kills as Southwood led 4-3 when Manchester got a block from Madison Isbell and scored two in a row to lead 5-4. The two team would trade blows until the Knights led 12-10 when Murphy would record two kills in a 5-0 run to grab a 16-10 lead. The Knights would build their lead to 22-12 when things got tight in a hurry. Manchester scored three straight with a Kendra Binkley kill then at 23-15 would score six straight to make it 23-21. During the run Merret Metzger would serve three straight aces. The Knights would score the next two for the 25-21 win.
Southwood dominated game two early, grabbing a 9-2 lead and building it to 19-7. During an early 6-0 run Murphy and Sarah Peters had a combo block with Peterson serving during the run. In a 5-2 spurt Murphy and Bailey Hobbs had kills. Up 19-7 the Knights would trade points with the Squires for the 25-14 final.