Contest W8: Yearbook Sports Writing
You will be writing a yearbook sports story. 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.
- 3 p.m. April 16: contest materials available
- 11 p.m. April 19: contest submission due
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.
- Read over the prompt presented below. The writer should determine which information is relevant and important to the story.
- While writing, you may use resources like the AP Stylebook, an online style guide or a dictionary/thesaurus.
- 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.
- Do not include your name or your school’s name anywhere on your final draft.
- Type up the final version of your story and submit it.
- 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
- 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. April 16
Facts from your research
- This is head coach Austin Honas’s third year coaching the Boys Varsity Baseball Team at SHS. At Clinton County College, he played for his school’s team as a catcher and had the highest batting average on the team (.685).
- Austin Honas took over coaching when the previous head coach quit for health reasons mid-season in 2019. His son, senior Nate Honas, is on the team.
- Junior Cade Allen moved from Denver, Colorado to Clinton, KS in June 2020, transferring to Sunflower High. His family moved because his father accepted a position to manage the local minor league baseball team, the Clinton Cougars.
- Cade’s father, Murphy Allen, was a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves from 1991-1994. The team made back-to-back World Series appearances in 1991 and 1992, losing to the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays. In 1993, the team made it to the playoffs, but lost to the Philadelphia Phillies. Murphy served as a relief pitcher, making many appearances throughout his years there. After a shoulder injury, he moved on to scout for the Houston Astros for 13 years, the Boston Red Sox for two years, and the Colorado Rockies for 11 years.
- Cade has played baseball since he was five years old and was named one of the top 25 high school players in Colorado before he moved. As a pitcher, he had the highest strikeout percentage in the state of Colorado.
- Cade’s average pitching speed is 85mph. He also averages .75 home runs per game. He has the highest RBI on the team of 24 for the season.
- Team captain Ben Collins befriended Cade during their US History class in the fall semester. He encouraged him to try out for the team when he learned Cade played in Colorado.
- Senior captains Oliver and Lucas Lang are twin brothers. They’ve played on the same baseball team their entire lives. They both hope to receive scholarships to play baseball at Sunflower State University.
- The team’s record for the 2021 season was 16-2. They lost their first game on March 9th to the Sacred Heart Cyclones 13-11. They lost their second game on March 11th to the East Clinton Eagles 9-8. These were the only two games that Cade Allen did not play in due to a shoulder injury.
- In the 2021 season, the team placed second in the state competition. This is an improvement from the 2020 and 2019 season where the team placed tenth and twelfth in their conference out of 12 teams. Their record for the 2020 season was 3-15 and 1-17 for the 2019 season.
- In the state championship on April 12th, Sunflower High lost to the Sacred Heart Cyclones 12-11.
- Following the championship, Cade was voted MVP of the season by his fellow teammates. They voted him MVP for his outstanding pitching performance, home run average, and unfailing positivity.
Interview with Austin Honas, Sunflower High baseball head coach
- “I am blown away by the team’s performance this season. They’ve worked harder than any team I’ve seen. I think Cade joining the team helped make that happen. He’s a fantastic player and is the most positive guy I’ve met. His energy was contagious.”
- “Ben told me he knew a new student who liked the game and asked me to give him [Cade] a chance. When Cade showed up and started throwing 85 mph pitches on his first day at tryouts, he made the team without second thought.”
- “Watching my son, Nate, play reminds me a lot of my days playing ball. We’re both catchers and can hit pretty well. It makes me proud, but I try not to give him any special treatment. I expect him to work just as hard, if not harder, to keep his spot on the varsity team.”
- “Making it to the state championship was unreal. Those guys played so hard and gave it their all. The Cyclones are a great team and I feel really proud that our team was able to play at that level.”
- “The last few seasons were tough on the team. It’s hard to keep your motivation after that many losses. The guys just felt beaten down. This season feels like a completely different team. The guys are focused in every practice and excited for each game, even if they know it’s going to be a tough match up. I’m really proud of their progress in just one year.”
Interview with junior Cade Allen, pitcher
- “Baseball is my happy place. It doesn’t matter if we’re winning or losing, just being on the field gives me an energy that I can’t explain. I try to use this to keep everyone feeling positive and playing their best.”
- “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try out for the team when I transferred to Sunflower. When I moved from Colorado, I felt like I left my baseball family behind. I’ve played with the same guys since we were little. Playing somewhere else just didn’t feel right. When I met Ben we realized we were both huge baseball fans and became instant friends. He reminded me of home but helped me realize I could create a new experience here.”
- “My dad got me interested in baseball. He was a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves for a while and went on to scout for a few teams after he stopped playing. He taught me a lot about what makes a good player and what makes an even better team.”
- “I’d love to work hard and play baseball in college then maybe someday play in the MLB. I know it would take a lot of effort and dedication, but I’d love to give it my best shot.”
- “The state championship game was one of the highlights of the season. It was a great game, but the best part was seeing how much fun everyone had. We might have lost, but we grew so much through that experience.”
Interview with junior Ben Collins, third baseman
- “Being named captain this year was a huge honor since I’m only a junior. Getting to play on the varsity team since freshman year has been an experience. It’s awesome to see how much we’ve grown so much as a team since then. I can’t wait to see what we do next year.”
- “I had no clue Cade was this good at baseball. He just said he liked the game and had played a bit in Colorado. He never mentioned he was a top-25 player. He’s a good guy and I think that really shows his humility.”
- “Making it to state was crazy. Based on the last two years, I never thought we’d make it to state. Cade joining the team really boosted everyone’s motivation. We all worked a little harder when he was around.”
Interview with senior Oliver Lang, first baseman
- “It’s hard to believe I’m done with my high school baseball career. These were the best four years of my life. I’d love the opportunity to keep playing if I can, especially if my brother can too.”
- “Being a captain this year with Lucas and Ben was so fun. We’ve got a good group of guys on the team. Being a senior and captain, people really look up to you. I felt like I was always trying my hardest to be a good role model on and off the field.”
- “Cade is crazy good at baseball but he has the most casual attitude about it. He always focuses on everyone else’s success and making sure they’re feeling good about the game.”
- “I think about the team last year compared to where we are now and am honestly shocked. Last year we were unmotivated and unable to get out of our heads. We lost almost every game and if we did win, it didn’t even feel like a victory. This year I feel like the team remembered what it was like to just have fun while playing baseball. People were excited for practices and loved playing regardless of if we won or lost. We finally felt like a team again.”
- “The state game was wild. We were up right until the bottom of the 8th when a guy from Sacred Heart hit a grandslam and they took the lead. Our team really showed up and put up a good fight. The Cyclones are just a great team. I’ll be excited to see how Sunflower does against them next year.”
Interview with senior Lucas Lang, shortstop
- “Making it to state senior year was rockin’. The guys worked super hard for this, ya know? Being a captain was chill too.”
- “My twin bro Oliver and I are trying to keep playing in college. I don’t know if I’ll really be there for the whole school thing, but playing ball for another four years would be cool.”
- “Cade is an absolute unit. We had no clue he was so good. That dude’s going places.”
Interview with senior Nate Honas, catcher
- “Having my dad as the coach has been a fun experience. He always coached my little league teams, but I never thought he’d coach my high school team too. He’s done a good job making me feel like just another team member, though. I think the other guys notice that and appreciate it too.”
- “Being Cade’s catcher was great. He loves the game so much and makes it way more fun to play, but, I’m not gonna lie, catching his 90mph pitch for the first time was terrifying. You have all the protective gear on, but you start to question its effectiveness when something comes at you that fast.”
- “Having the highest batting average on the team is a pretty cool stat. I attribute it to being a catcher. I’m better able to read the pitches before they cross the plate.”
Information from the season provided by coach Austin Honas
Oliver Lang (senior)
Lucas Lang (senior)
Ben Collins (junior)
Highest batting average:
Nate Honas (senior) (.455)
Highest Runs Batted In (RBI):
Cade Allen (junior) (24)
Cade Allen (junior)