Back in the days of the Southwest Conference, Arkansas used to pride itself on how well it finished in the All Sports award. As it suggests the award was given to the school that, collectively, had the best year.
One award was given in men’s and another in women’s sports. Perhaps if you were going to use the word "all" to be more accurate there probably should have been just one award, but that’s debatable I guess.
Several years ago, in a particularly good athletic year for Booneville High School, I decided to compute an all-sports award for the conference in which Booneville plays. Of course I did so expecting Booneville to win and, surprise, it did.
Given the now completed athletic season, save spring football, I considered doing it again. Then I decided it was too much work. I’m just going to assume Booneville wins.
If you predicted both team and individual state titles, three teams would make the quarterfinals of their respective state tournaments, and a couple of conference titles, then you probably should have bought lottery tickets over the weekend.
Although the 4A-4 continued to see the power struggle between Waldron and Mena, the volleyball Lady Cats reached the state tournament.
The football Bearcats were given up for dead by some after a loss to Mena. Projections were as bad as the five-seed, which until less than a decade ago wouldn’t even have earned week 11.
A win over Pottsville changed all that. Another over Maumelle won the school’s 31st conference title. Okay, it was shared, but with Pottsville so tiebreaker Booneville.
With the title came a first round bye. A win in second round over Newport, got the Bearcats to a post-Thanksgiving playing date — quarterfinals — for the first time under Scott Hyatt.
Basketball has often been that thing that fills the gap between outdoor sports, especially in boys. Well, no more.
Tim Goers took his 2012-2013 team to the regional tournament. Okay, he did that the first time he was here, twice. He then led an upset of Farmington to get to the state tournament for the first time ever.
That would be enough, but they weren’t done. Taking down Malvern, the Bearcats reached the round of eight — quarterfinals — of the state tournament.
The spring is always a busy, busy time. It was also a highly successful time.
On April 5, the baseball Bearcats knocked off Pottsville — with a basketball state title among their accomplishments suffice to say those in Apache land had plenty of reason to cheer this school year too — and the next day there was a little thing called the state weightlifting meet.
I posted with a hastag of #makeroomonthecup when I heard the results. Of course I included the information that the 4A state champion weightlifting team had a zipcode of 72927.
The cup remark was an idea that someone needs to have a fundraiser with a new list of champions. That’s seven titles if you’re scoring along at home.
Speaking of scoring. Michael Drawbaugh was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the 11th inning to score Michael Springs and beat Dover 2-1. Viola, baseball conference title.
The Bearcats, unfortunately, fell short of the state tournament, as did the entire conference. Something needs to be done about that.
Meanwhile the softball Lady Cats kept running into Mena. A loss in the regular season relegated Doc Crowley’s team to runner-up. Another 4-2 final in the district tournament did the same thing.
But then there was the regional tournament. One win meant the state tournament. Another meant the 4A-1 champion went down. A regional title wasn’t in the cards — pun intended, Farmington was the victim again — but a regional final meant a first round bye and an appearance in the state quarterfinals last Friday.
Hamburg was, unfortunatly, better Friday night, but again, that made three teams to reach the round of eight in the same season.
With Maumelle and Dardanelle in the way the Bearcats did not win the conference track title, but they qualified several for the state 4A meet in Heber Springs.
Cody Harrel, who was on the weightlifting team, earned his second state title by winning the long jump and qualifying for the Meet of Champs, which was held Saturday. Harrel finished seventh, in what was just his third meet of the year.
That’s a pretty good run.