Buffs’ boys smash WAC swim records; bowlers topple Dodge; boys basketball tames Tigers

BUFFS ROUNDUP: Friday, Feb. 14, 2020


In the 2019 Western Athletic Conference championship meet, the Garden City Buffaloes boys swim team captured the team title by 23 points over Great Bend in just their second year of a reinstated program.

Thursday, the Buffaloes repeated as team champion but this time overwhelmed the other four WAC schools, scoring 399 points to Great Bend’s runner-up total of 332 in front of a raucous home crowd at the YMCA Pool.

In the process of capturing not only the team title, freshman Kobe Otero garnered the WAC Swimmer of the Year by winning two individual golds (200-yard individual medley and 100-yard backstroke), setting conference records in each (2:10.89 in the medley and 58.47 in the backstroke). He also swam a leg on two winning relays, the 200-yard freestyle and the record-setting 400-yard freestyle in a time of 3:31.20, a new WAC record by nine seconds.

Junior Connor Cupp touches the finish line to win the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 56.55 seconds at Thursday’s WAC Championship at the Garden City YMCA Pool. (Photo by Brett Marshall)

But it was by no means just a one swimmer heydey for the Buffs. Connor Cupp won the 100-yard butterfly (56.55) and auto qualified for the Class 6A state meet. He finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.86) and also earned a state qualifying time, just beating the state qualifying time by .06 of a second. Otero (58.47) was joined as a state auto qualifier in the 100-yard backstroke by teammate Esai Morales (59.45). Another freshman, Devin Chappel, took second in the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.62) and had a state auto qualifying time by .15 of a second.

The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Bunce, Chappel, Otero and Morales smashed the WAC record with a time of 3:31.20, beating the previous mark by nine seconds and the state auto qualifying time by nearly 10 secconds.

The 200-yard medley relay team had another state qualifying time at 1:47.26, beating the state berth time by more than five seconds. That group was Otero, Lane Durst, Cupp and Morales.

State consideration times were swam by Bunce in the 100-yard freestyle (53.05), Chappel in the 500-yard freestyle (5:23.99). Otero’s winning time in the individual medley was 2.1 seconds off the auto qualifying time, but did get a state consideration time.

“Our boys crushed it today,” head coach Brian Watkins said afterward. “We had so many good swims it is hard to list the highlights. This has been the culmination of a great season for our young swimmers who won’t be attending state.”

“There were a lot of time cuts, most notable Devin Chappel in the 200 free (cut almost 3 seconds) and the 500 free (cut 4 seconds),” Watkins said. “Connor was involved in probably the two most exciting races of the meet when he won the 100 fly only to lose in the 100 breaststroke (both events against Isaac Smith of Hays).

The Buffs’ three relay teams all won, too, displaying the depth that Watkins has been developing over the past three seasons.

The Buffs have a full week to practice and prepare for the seven swimmers who will go to the Class 6A state meet next Friday-Saturday in Topeka.


Western Athletic Conference

at Garden City YMCA Pool

Team Scores: 1. Garden City, 399; 2. Great Bend, 332; 3. Hays, 203; 4. Dodge City, 200; 5. Liberal, 111.
Individuals: 200y medley relay-1. (Otero, Durst, Cupp, Morales), 1:47.24 (WAC Record); 200y freestyle-2. Chappel, 1:54.62; 4. Contrarez, 2:04.43; 200y IM-1. Otero, 2:10.89 (WAC Record); 50y freestyle-1. Bunce, 23.54; 3. Morales, 23.92; 100y butterfly-1. Cupp, 56.55 (WAC Record); 4. Contrarez, 1:04.06; 100y freestyle-2. Bunce, 53.05; 200y freestyle relay-1. (Bunce, Chappel, Cupp, Contrarez), 1:37.55; 500y freestyle-2. Chappel, 5:23.99; 100y backstroke-1. Otero, 58.47 (WAC Record); 2. Morales, 59.45; 100y breaststroke-2. Cupp, 1:05.86; 400y freestyle relay-1. (Bunce, Chappel, Otero, Morales), 3:31.20 (WAC Record).
Swimmer of the Year: Kobe Otero.


The Garden City Buffaloes boys bowling team rolled a shutout against their rival Dodge City Red Demons on Thursday at Hard Rock Lanes, capturing all 11 points to keep their hopes alive of a Western Athletic Conference title as they chase Great Bend.

Meanwhile, the Lady Buffs, who have been atop the WAC standings this season, also won, but didn’t match the boys’ effort, capturing 8 of the 11 possible points against the Lady Demons.

Sophomore Kaden Whitehurst posted the top series of the day during the American 10-Pin 3-game set by rolling scores of 213-200-225 for a 638 series to claim the individual top spot for the day. Teammates Ty Weilert and Caleb Carr followed in second and third place to make a clean sweep of the medals by rolling series of 602 (158-203-241) and 582 (206-188-188).

High scores were hard to come by on the girls side, yet the Lady Buffs did finish 1-3-4 in the individual portion of the competition. On Senior Night, it was four-year veteran Karly Larson taking the top spot with a 526 series on games of 205-176-145. Sophomore Holly Bridges garnered the third spot with a 516 series (164-183-169) while freshman LilyAnn Leeper was fourth with a 496 (165-151-180).

Three Lady Buffs bowlers were honored on Senior Night at Hard Rock Lanes on Thursday. From left, they are Emilee Giger, Karly Larson and Angelina Leeper. (Photo by Brett Marshall)

Joining Larson in being honored on Senior Night were Emilee Giger and Angelina Leeper while Zane Roth, the lone senior on the boys team, was honored at Garden Bowl during the junior varsity matches.

The Buffs will travel to Liberal on Tuesday, Feb. 18, for the WAC Championship, which has enough points remaining for the boys to have a shot at Great Bend. The Lady Buffs have the most points earned thus far during the double-round-robin format.


DODGE CITY (Senior Night)

at Hard Rock Lanes
American 10-Pin Series:
 Garden City, 767-777-842=2386; Dodge City, 624-751-689=2064.
Baker 3-Game Series: Garden City, 201-189-212=602; Dodge City, 157-127-197=481. Total Pins: Garden City, 2988; Dodge City, 2545.
Final Points: Garden City 11, Dodge City 0.
 1. Kaden Whitehurst, 638 (213-200-225); 2. Ty Weilert, 602 (158-203-241); 3. Caleb Carr, 582 (206-188-188); Dionicio Resendiz, 167-186-185=538; Justin Erwin, 163-170-181=514; Jayce Farr, 181-135-188=504.

American 10-Pin Series:
 Garden City, 675-690-680=2045; Dodge City, 590-634-722=1946.
Baker 3-Game Series: Garden City, 234-166-208=608; Dodge City, 132-198-173=503. Total Pins: Garden City, 2653; Dodge City, 2449.
Final Points: Garden City 8, Dodge City 3.
1. Karly Larson, 526 (205-176-145); 3. Holly Bridges, 516 (164-183-169); 4. LilyAnn Leeper, 496 (165-151-180); Angelina Leeper, 434 (141-159-134); Emilee Giger, 476 (121-172-183); Britney Cruz, 421 (121-152-148).


It took a couple of extra weeks and two days, but the Garden City Buffaloes boys basketball team finally got its postponed game against Ulysses put into the books on Thursday night at The Garden.

In the process, the 63-51 triumph allowed the Buffs to square their season record at 8 wins against 8 losses. It’s been a busy week for the Buffs as they traveled to Hugoton on Tuesday, falling in a thrilling overtime game against the Eagles, and will now complete a 3-game, 4-day schedule Friday night with a road trip to Great Bend to begin their final four-game Western Athletic Conference slate to conclude the regular season.

Several times during the game, it appeared the Buffs were going to run away from the Tigers, but each time the visitors battle back, the last time getting the score knotted at 49-all with just a little more than four minutes left in the game.

The Buffs, however, went on a 14-2 run to finish off the Tigers, getting a much-needed win to help their postseason seeding for the Class 6A sub-state.

The Buffs led 18-11 after one quarter and were in front 36-29 at halftime. The end of the third quarter saw the Buffs ahead by a 47-41 count. The Tigers stayed close by making five of their own 3-point baskets.

Isaac Flores (far right) makes a pass into the middle to Caleb Wiese as Luke Tolbert (10) looks on near the end of Thursday’s first half against Ulysses. The Buffs won 63-51. (Photo by Brett Marshall)

Coach Jacy Holloway got a balanced scoring effort from his squad, with four players finishing in double figures. They were led by Luke Tolbert’s 14, which included four 3-pointers. Senior Azavier Williams and freshman Caleb Wiese each had 13 points, with both nailing 7-of-8 free throws as the Buffs hit 24-of-30 charities. Isaac Flores added 11 to the cause.

Following Friday’s road trip to Great Bend, the Buffs will have remaining games on Feb. 18 at home against Dodge City; Feb. 21 at Hays; and Feb. 25 at home against Liberal to round out the regular season.


Ulysses (5-11)  11  18  12  10  —  51

Garden City (8-8)  18  18  11  16  —  63

Garden City (63) — Rosales 1 0-0 3, Williams 3 7-8 13, Flores 2 5-7 11, Tolbert 5 0-0 14, C. Reyes 0 2-2 2, Wiese 3 7-8 13, Tanner 1 2-2 4, Nuzum 1 0-1 2, Underwood 0 1-2 1. Totals 16 24-30 63.

3-point goals: Garden City 7 (Rosales 1, Flores 2, Tolbert 4).


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