Man, what a year for those Cashion Wildcats.
You would be hardpressed to match what the Cashion High School boys sports programs did during the 2020-21 school year.
We entered the year not even knowing if we’d fully realize sports seasons. Well, we did and Cashion capitalized:
Football - State championship
Powerlifting - State championship
Basketball - State qualifier
Golf - State runner-up Baseball - State qualifier
The team that beat Cashion in the 2A quarterfinals in basketball (Howe) eventually reached the state title game.
The one that knocked off Cashion in the baseball quarterfinals (Silo) won the spring championship for the fourth consecutive year.
There were also a number of state qualifiers in track and field.
Success in multiple sports by one school in a certain school year obviously is very common. It happens all across the state each and every year.
But, the level of success in such a wide-ranging array of athletics is much less common.
That’s what makes Cashion’s year so incredible. One to remember.
If CoachesAid were still a thing, it would no doubt be tabulating its “School of the Year” point totals to award athletics excellence.
I have no doubt the Cashion boys would have their school in the hunt.
• • • I hated Brock Maroney. I didn’t know him, personally, but I hated him.
When I played junior high basketball at Dover, I was a 5-foot-nothing guard who could shoot a little bit, but not much of anything else.
I happened to be surrounded by other really good players and/or athletes and we made for a formidable team.
Cashion was the only team foolish (athletic) enough to play us man-to-man.
Enter Brock Maroney. He was a year older than me. He was bigger than me (everyone was). He was faster than me. He was stronger than me.
And he inevitably was the Cashion Wildcat guarding me.
Simply put, he intimidated me and made my basketball life hell for that hour or so that we played.
Brock Maroney never got the best of me in high school, I’m proud to say.
That’s because I moved to Alabama.
Fast forward a couple of decades and I’m back in Kingfisher County covering high school sports.
A few years into it, there’s this young Cashion kid named Peyton Maroney who you could tell was going to be something.
And he was. Peyton went on to excel in a number of sports for the Wildcats and was one of the main reasons the program has a silver football in the trophy case.
At some point during his career, Peyton’s dad introduced himself to me.
It was Brock Maroney.
We struck up a good sporting relationship whether talking at a Cashion game or at one of several local restaurants he supplies.
I eventually told him of my previous disdain for him.
He laughed at the notion of having me trembling in my Converse (that’s what you wore in the late 80s because that’s what OU rocked).
During one of our conversations early in the fall of 2020, Brock told me something about his youngest son, Camden, who was about to start his sophomore season of football.
Camden had told his dad entering the previous summer that he wanted to find a way to contribute to Cashion’s upcoming football team.
Problem was, Camden wasn’t really in the mold of a lineman, but he wasn’t quite athletic enough to crack the lineup on a roster filled with all-stars returning from 2019’s state runner-up team.
So Camden hit the weight room. Hard.
He bulked up and, though still undersized, earned a starting spot at left guard and nose guard for a team that went 16-0 and won a state championship.
He went toe-to-toe with guys like Thomas’ Aden Kelly and Camden Billy, both of whom will play Division I football.
He battled it out on every snap against the beasts from Pawhuska in the epic semifinal win.
The guy without a true role on the team during the summer saw a need and molded himself into the person to fit that need for Lynn Shackelford’s team.
But that wasn’t all. Camden Maroney during the winter was a part of Cashion’s state
But that wasn’t all. championship powerlifting team.
Business really picked up in the spring as Camden was a part of both the golf and baseball teams.
Last week, he played a combined 54 holes on Monday and Tuesday as Cashion finished as the Class 2A state runner-up. Camden had the second-lowest total for his team.
On Thursday, he was the starting second baseman as Cashion played in the 2A state baseball tournament.
If a person was a microcosm of Cashion’s success in 2020-21, Camden Maroney is a good candidate.
Oh, and I don’t hate Brock Maroney anymore. • • •
One of those schools with successes across the board in 2020-21 was Kingfisher.
The three-day stretch of Thursday, May 6, through Saturday, May 8, was just a small sample size and solidified my belief that I have the best newspaper gig in the entire state.
1. Girls Golf
On that Thursday, I traveled to Cushing to watch the Kingfisher girls golf team vie for a state championship.
While Maddi Kamas erased three years of bad memories to win an individual title, the team itself heartbreakingly lost a twohole playoff to Hilldale and was the state runner-up.
While I drove home from Cushing, I was obviously disappointed for the four seniors, one freshman and a coach as they felt they’d had the state championship taken away from them.
However, I was also quite proud of them for a variety of reasons:
• I watched Katey Brickman stand up for herself and for her team when she strongly believed an improper score was being recorded. She calmly but directly discussed her reasonings with the opposing coach and player, which isn’t something that comes easy for a high school student-athlete.
• I also watched Maddi Kamas stand up for her team and alert the opposing coach that one of his practices was a violation of the rules. Again, she did it respectfully, though you could tell she was upset.
• After more than an hour of tense drama - whether it be the golf itself or the controversy surrounding it - I watched coach Audra Smalley gather her team up just off the green after the second playoff hole, which they lost. Whatever her message, and I have a good idea of what it was, the ladies went over to congratulate Hilldale on its win.
• Then, after the long walk (ahem, a lot of it uphill…and that wore me out) the team had to make an appearance for the trophy presentations. Between Smalley’s talk and the presentation at the clubhouse, there were tears shed. However, before they walked into the clubhouse, the tears were gone. Smiles were on the young ladies’ faces.
• After the presentation, there was no show of sour grapes. The team posed with the state runner-up trophy and their silver medals (and Kamas’ individual gold medal) at different locations throughout the course. They could have collected their trophy, loaded up on the bus and headed west to Kingfisher and I could have hardly blamed them. But they didn’t.
They handled themselves with class.
It was a good day for KHS.
After sending off our weekend edition, I loaded up one of our local photographers extraordinaire - Russell Stitt - and we headed to Blanchard to see if the Jackets could pull of yet another “upset” of the Lions and qualify for state.
The Jackets held on for a win the night before, putting them in the driver’s seat to win the regional.
It appeared that driver’s seat was going to be necessary when the Lions belted two homers and got out to a 5-0 lead.
But then the Jackets clawed back. Then they took the lead. Then they extended the lead. Then they were one strike away from winning. Then the game was tied. Then they won on an eighth-inning squeeze play.
The game had it all, including the happy ending for the local team.
Russell got some fantastic pics. I got some great quotes and great notes for a mediocre story.
It was a good day for KHS.
I did not make the trek up to Catoosa the following day.
Thanks to approximately 38 school board meetings in the previous weeks on top of a busy spring sports schedule, I hadn’t seen my own family just a ton and didn’t feel right about making my wife tackle our daughter’s four games in two different sports by herself.
So I was the family guy, not the sports guy.
However, track coach Kerri Lafferty is always gracious enough to send me updates about special things happening.
Ally Stephenson was special. She took second in the
She took second in the long jump - an event she’d never competed in prior to this year - and shattered her own school record in the process. By the time the season was done, she’d added about 20 inches to the school record. She was also runner-up
She was also runner-up in the 400. If you haven’t seen Ally, she’s about 5-foot-3, which isn’t the prototypical size for someone to excel in the quarter-mile.
But the 400 is almost about fortitude and will as it is about speed. Ally proved she had it and nearly dove across the finish line to claim her silver medal.
Then there was the high jump. I’d resigned her to second place in the event since she hadn’t cleared more than 5-4 all year (again, she’s only 5-3). Ally jumped 5-6 multiple times as a freshman AND Tuttle’s Landry Allen (all 6-foot-3 of her) had already beaten Ally at the conference meet this year.
It made sense that Allen, a sophomore, was ready to take the crown in this event.
But then there’s that fortitude and will.
Ally not only cleared 5-6 in fewer attempts (1) than Allen (3), but she also jumped 5-8, which set a new school record (that she already owned) and tied a 4A state meet record that was nearly as old as her parents.
On top of all that, the Kingfisher boys team managed to pull out a third-place finish in the team standings.
It was a good day for KHS.
It was a great three-day stretch for KHS. All that and so much
All that and so much more made for some full sports pages in the following Wednesday edition.