Since this is the last edition of 2016, it’s time to take a look back at what we think were the biggest sports news stories of South Logan County. By we, of course I mean me.
I was tempted to include the recent basketball back-to-back wins by the Bearcat basketball team over Charleston and Subiaco, and while it is impressive we probably need to see how the season transpires in the second semester.
Also considered, but couldn’t quite be squeezed into a top 5 were Caden Yarborough’s 3-point record, Jordan Weaver’s kill record and a 13-game winning streak by the Magazine Rattlers last year.
So what did make the list? Glad you asked.
5. A 20-game winner. The Booneville Junior High Bearcat basketball team reached a plateau no Booneville team had every reached when it won 20 games last season.
The Bearcats went into the junior high district tournament with 19 wins before picking up the school record 20th in the opening round, only to drop a semifinal round game.
4. Outdoor disease concerns. Logan County was one of 10 placed in a CWD Zone, enacting a number of regulations concerning deer hunting which took effect July 16 and cover baiting and both the importing and exporting of deer or elk inside or outside the CWD zone.
The county also had a sampling station in New Blaine the first weekend of modern gun season.
3. So much for being the weaker sex. There were only 17 runners for the full 26.2 mile Arkansas Marathon, which was run on a new route in 2016. Eleven of those were women, including the first three to cross the finish line at Second and Bennett.
Ember Ryles won the race in 3:21:59.58. For the four race card women by far outnumbered men, but Bryan Richardson won the half marathon, edging Bethany Knight by almost 28 seconds.
2. Back to Baum. The Booneville Bearcat baseball team hadn’t been in a state tournament in a decade. After winning the Conference 3A-4 regular season outright, they were assured of a regional berth. After a first round win in that tournament they were assured of making the field.
That wouldn’t be enough as the Bearcats went on to win the Class 3A Region 1 tournament outright.
Even that wasn’t enough as the Bearcats proceeded to string together three straight wins in southwest Arkansas to punch a ticket for Baum Stadium for only the second time. After a 4-2 win over Mountain View in the opener the Bearcats scored 11 times in the first inning of the second round win over Mayflower, 15-5, before taking down Harmony Grove, 4-2, to reach the finals and set a school record for wins in a season with 24.
Unfortunately the storybook ending wasn’t to be as Hector added to its stack of titles.
1. Hall of Fame. With a contingent of 25 family members and friends looking on, including former players and assistant coaches former Bearcat head football coach Kenneth Rippy was inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Hot Springs in July at a 21st AHSCA-AOA-AHSAAA banquet along with five other coaches, six officials, including and three athletic directors.
Rippy was 165-43 in 17 seasons at Booneville and retired as the all time leader in wins, conference titles with eight and also led the Bearcats to the 2000 state title and a title game appearance in 2001.
Rippy coached the program to 26 playoff wins and was five times selected to coach in the AHSCA all star game, twice elected as the head coach.