Contest W2: Sports Writing


You will be writing a story about a sports event at Sunflower High School. The story should be approximately 400 words. With the aid of computers this year, we are able to enforce this. Please do not write longer than the word limit.

Please use the information provided below. The writer should determine which information is relevant and important to the story. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and/or the Associated Press style manual. Only entries submitted online will be accepted. No exceptions will be made to this rule.

When you submit, you will simply be submitting plain text. Formatting such as italics, bold and underline will not transfer. Also, paragraph breaks will not transfer. To show the judge your intention to create a paragraph break, please use this double-backslash symbol: //  For instance, a passage with two paragraph breaks would look like this:

The school board reversed the policy with an 11-1 vote. // “I disagreed with the decision, but I lost this time,” said board president Yvonnes Nulton. // The policy will go into effect at the start of next school year.




This contest is meant to be completed individually. Please refrain from seeking help from others while completing this contest.

Failure to follow these directions may result in disqualification from the contest without refund. Please read and follow carefully. 

  1. Read over the prompt presented below. The writer should determine which information is relevant and important to the story.
  2. While writing, you may use resources like the AP Stylebook, an online style guide or a dictionary/thesaurus. 
  3. Use whatever technology works best for you while writing your draft. This could be pencil and paper, your cell phone, your computer, etc. Do whatever you’re most comfortable with.
  4. Do not include your name or your school’s name anywhere on your final draft.
  5. Type up the final version of your story and submit it here. 
  6. Please do not share your draft, notes or ideas about the prompt with others until after the competition deadline.

Here is a link to this contest’s judging rubric.


You are a member of Sunflower High School’s journalism staff. Your editor has asked you to edit the following story and coverage.


  • Name: Sunflower High School
  • Location: Clinton, Kansas
  • Mascot: Mighty Buffalo
  • Enrollment: 800 (grades 9-12)
  • School colors: yellow and brown
  • Yearbook: The Sunflower
  • Newspaper: Sunflower News

Contest Info

  • This is an on-site contest. 
  • Do not put your name on the entry. If you do, your entry will be disqualified.
  • Students must not request help or advice from any person other than the KSPA Executive Director Eric Thomas at [email protected], and that advice must be requested before the start of the contest.
  • All work must be solely that of the contestant.

Prompts will be visible at 3 p.m. Feb. 19.

Contest W2


Sacred Heart Catholic High School Indoor Court in Bernow, KS


Tuesday, February 5th, 2021 at 5:30 in the evening 


Sunflower High vs. Sacred Heart varsity men’s basketball game


Two teams from the Golden Plains Conference (GPC)

The only fans allowed in the arena: 2 family members from each player, the varsity cheer squad from each team, and the band from Sacred Heart. 


From Rob Hibbert, Sunflower High junior point guard 

  • “It’s really disappointing to have to stop a winning game. This is the best we’ve played all season. I really think we could have broken their perfect record.” 
  • On playing against SHCHS’s Ian Atteberry: “It’s tough going up against some guy who’s playing at Duke next year. It’s both physically and mentally challenging. You can’t let it get to your head or you won’t play your best. No doubt he’s a great player and playing with a guy at that level helps you learn a lot.” 
  • “Yeah, we took tests a few days ago because we were traveling to come here for the game. None of us felt sick. I’m still shocked and have no idea where we got it from. The guys on the team have been pretty responsible about it.” 
  • “We’re a younger team. There are only 4 juniors and the rest are sophomores and a few freshmen. It’s hard not having any seniors to look up to.”
  • Rob has only missed 2 of his collective 18 free throws this season. 
  • Rob is the first junior to serve as the team’s point guard since 2015 when RJ Albers came into the position as a junior. 

From Sophia Hybl, Sunflower High’s school nurse 

  • “I tried calling Coach Hamilton five times and none of my calls went through. I got sent to voicemail every time! I’m still not sure if he was ignoring my calls or if it was the bad cell service.” 
  • “When I was on my lunch break today, I heard some of the basketball boys laughing at how bad the meal tasted. I thought to myself, ‘phew, at least they can taste!’ but I must have been mistaken.” 
  • “I absolutely love being the school nurse. I would even say it’s my life calling. Although, when situations like this arise I begin to question it.” 
  • “Imagine being a nurse during COVID. Every kid who comes into your office is either trying to skip class or is the incubus of viral plague. There’s no in between.”

From Head coach Don Hamilton

  • “This was the best I’ve seen our team play. What we had been practicing since October just clicked in this game and they really went out there and competed. I think the best part for me was seeing the smiles on their faces when we were up by 7 at the half. “ 
  • “It was against protocol to go without having the test results back, but with the snow storm coming in we decided to leave early to ensure our students safety on the road. When I didn’t receive a call from Nurse Hybl before the game I assumed everything was good to go. I had no clue the cell service at the court was so bad.”
  • “None of the kids seemed sick to me. I think the team has a strong enough relationship to know when one of us is down.” 
  • “It’s hard to describe the feeling when Mrs. Hibbert, Rob’s mom, ran down to the court and the game stopped. It was a mixture of confusion and excitement quickly followed by disappointment and embarrassment.” 
  • “Rob will be a great team leader next year if he keeps up the good work.”

From Angela Hibbert, mother of Rob Hibbert 

  • “Well, I went to the bathroom right at the beginning at the second half– you know, to wait out those half time lines– and I looked at my phone and all these messages started popping up, one of them being a voicemail from Sophia Hybl, the school nurse. So I listened to the voicemail and she told me Robbie was positive for COVID and some of his teammates were too and that I needed to tell Coach Don. I was so shocked! My Robbie has been so good about being safe. He told me if he wants to be team captain next year he can’t miss a game this season.”
  • “I tried to get Coach Don’s attention from the stand but that didn’t work so I ran onto the court to stop the game.”  

From a source who chose to remain anonymous:

  • “Rumor has it that Rob Hibbert said he couldn’t taste or smell anything this morning, but that he wasn’t going to tell anyone because he wanted to get that guy sick who’s supposed to play at Duke.” 
  • “Someone told me that Rob’s girlfriend, who goes to a different school, was out with COVID last week. I think they were seeing each other when she was supposed to be quarantined.” 

Facts from your research 

  • The basketball game was cancelled in the midst of the game because the school nurse at Sunflower High notified 5 players that they were COVID positive based on tests they took two days before. 
  • The five Sunflower High players who tested positive for COVID were: Rob Hibbert, Dylan Gunter, Ethan Saysiri, Christopher Rhoads, and Carl Morris. They have all confirmed this with you as the writer and are comfortable with you publishing these facts.
  • Angela Hibbert, mom of Rob Hibbert, received a voicemail from the school nurse that she listened to just after half time. When she found out her son, among others, were COVID positive she ran onto the court to stop the game
  • Sunflower High was winning 45-40 with 2 minutes left in the second quarter
  • The Sacred Heart Cyclones are undefeated this season with a 13-0 record
  • Due to new COVID regulations, the GPC allows only 2 family members from each team into the game and has a strict no entrance policy after the game has begun. 
  • Ian Atteberry, the point guard from Sacred Heart, was the lead scorer with 18 points and is committed to play at Duke University next year. 
  • Ethan Saysiri, the Sunflower center who is 6’5, was voted “Most Valuable Player” by his teammates in their 2020 holiday tournament. He is the only player on his team who can dunk.
  • Head coach Don Hamilton from Sunflower High School has previously received a mask violation from the GPC for not wearing his mask in team huddles during timeouts 
  • A snow storm almost cancelled the game. 12 inches of show was forecasted and 7 inches fell between 3 p.m. and midnight.
  • The Sunflower High team had to travel an hour and a half to get to Sacred Heart in Bernow, KS