Remember that TV show, “Unsolved Mysteries”? The one that was hosted by the legendary Robert Stack?
(By the way, did anyone else think Stack was blatantly robbed of an Oscar for his performance in “Beavis and Butt-head Do America”? I did.)
I’ve always been fascinated with the unexplainable. For instance, why is Kansas City cursed when it comes to the Royals and Chiefs? The Royals currently have the longest postseason drought of any major North American sports team. How do the Florida/Miami Marlins win two World Series titles since their birth in 1993, and the Royals haven’t sniffed the postseason since?
What about the Kansas City Chiefs? Can you believe that Joe Montana is still the last playoff-winning QB in Kansas City? That came during the … wait a minute … the 1993 season or the 1994 playoffs. Against the Houston Oilers. Really? Well, it’s no longer a mystery.
I could also never figure out why schools like McPherson, Manhattan, Hays and Garden City could produce girls soccer teams that won regional championships, but Reno County always came up empty.
Hutchinson, after years of near-misses, finally broke the trend last Thursday in Wichita when the Salthawks beat Wichita East in a penalty-kick shootout for their first regional title.
Luckily, none of the penalty kicks turned out like this.
Hays and McPherson also won regional championships last week, McPherson coming at Buhler’s expense.
It baffled me for years, though, how these other schools in similarly-sized or smaller cities could produce high-caliber girls soccer. Hays, McPherson and Garden City have even reached the state semifinals.
Of course, in postseason play, it’s more than just being good or bad. It takes a certain amount of luck to advance deep in a single-elimination tournament. One year in a 5-4-3-2-1A regional final, Hutchinson fell 1-0 to Bishop Carroll, which beat Buhler in the semifinal round with a controversial overtime goal. Had Buhler won that game, this blog post would have been about something else.
Is this the start of a rise in Reno County’s two girls soccer programs? It’s possible. Hutchinson has no seniors on this year’s team and one of the state’s best players in sophomore Jordan Downing. Buhler loses only a few seniors and will have some very good players returning next year, including forward Hannah Balding.
The smart bet is Hutchinson and Buhler both win regional championships next spring.
Whatever the reasons were as to why Hutchinson could not win a regional girls soccer championship all those years don’t matter now. It’s just an unsolved mystery.