Archive for the ‘Top Story’ Category

Time for Blue Dragons to go bowling

Friday, December 1st, 2017

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

After four months of football, Hutchinson Community College’s season will end on Saturday, and it’s been a wild one.

As Hutchinson is bowl eligible, the Blue Dragons will get to play one final game of the season. Before Thanksgiving, it was announced that the Blue Dragons will face Eastern Arizona in the Salt City Bowl. This will be coach Rion Rhoades’ seventh Salt City Bowl, and the opponent is a familiar one as they played Eastern Arizona back in 2010.

Rhoades believes it’s going to be a challenging matchup.

“Their offense is hard to get prepared for because it’s so unorthodox, you don’t see it much these days,” he said. “It’s hard to simulate in practice. And on defense, well, everything they’re good at, we struggle with.”

The Gila Monsters run a flexbone offense, a formation that is rare in college football.

Although the Blue Dragons are up against a good team, Rhoades still has a high amount of confidence in his squad

“After Thanksgiving, everyone showed up very engaged in practice. I think they know that we’re facing a good football team. Their hungry and we got something to prove here.”

The Blue Dragons will play the Gila Monsters on home turf. Game time is at 1 p.m. and will be hosted at Gowans Stadium.

In a season where records were broken, comebacks were made and 90 men came together, it’s safe to say this season has been one for the books.

The season started off with a rollercoaster of emotions, as the Blue Dragons came back from 25-point deficit to rallying off one of the most exciting games of the season, winning 50-42 against Coffeyville Community College. This comeback was also the largest in Hutchinson’s 86-year history.

The following week, Hutchinson travel to Iowa to face No. 12 Iowa Western. This matchup was highly anticipated and it proved to be an exciting one. However, the Blue Dragons couldn’t top the Reivers falling 27-21, their first loss of the season.

The Blue Dragons then went on to win their next five games, highlighted a by 91-0 thrashing of Rezolution Prep. During this game, as many as seven team records were broken including, most points in a single game, largest margin of victory and most touchdowns scored. Hutchinson reached its peak national ranking during this time at No. 9. The Blue Dragons also became bowl eligible after their sixth win of the season.

Hard times hit the Blue Dragons the following week. On a cold, wet, homecoming night, their winning streak ended by No. 16 Butler Community College, 38-10.

Next, Hutchinson couldn’t find its footing against Independence Community College as the Blue Dragons fell 24-19. The Blue Dragons made it three straight losses with an upset loss to Fort Scott Community College in the final home game of the regular season.

In the regular-season finale, the Blue Dragons came together to play a solid game against Dodge City Community College. After two special team touchdowns, Hutchinson won 27-6.

Basketball teams have been road warriors so far in conference play

Friday, December 1st, 2017

By Cassidy Crites
Staff writer

For the first month of basketball season, the Hutchinson Community College teams have had anything but a home-court advantage. Out of the Blue Dragons’ first eight conference games, six have been away.

In November, the Sports Arena hosted two different volleyball tournaments. First was the KCAC volleyball tournament. The arena also had the opportunity to host the NJCAA National Volleyball tournament. These events took place over two different weekends, resulting in road games for the basketball squads.

However, there are positives to having so many road games at the beginning of the season. The Blue Dragon teams play four straight home games in the middle of January.

Women’s coach John Ontjes wasn’t fond of playing so many road games but has found the positives in the situation.

“There has been a disadvantage with how many new kids we have on our team not playing at home, but picking up a few road wins now will help when we return the home games in January,” Ontjes said.

Despite all the traveling, both men and women’s Blue Dragon teams are off to a good start. The women post a 6-2 overall record and 4-2 in the conference after Wednesday’s win against Colby. Their two losses have come from Seward County Community College and Cloud County Community College, both on their opponent’s court.

The men are 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the conference. Their one loss came from Cloud County, also at the Thunderdome.

While some athletes feel the effect of not playing on their court, Ontjes does not feel as though it has altered the way the girls play.

“It would’ve been nice to start the conference with two home games, but I don’t think it’s made that big of an impact on the way we played. The kids we have didn’t know the difference,” Ontjes said.

Up next the Blue Dragons hit the road again to face Garden City on Saturday. Hutch rounds out the eight-game start Dec. 6 at Butler.

Alumnus of HutchCC now in Kansas House of Representatives

Friday, December 1st, 2017

By Amanda Carney
Online Editor

It all started in early June when Patsy Terrell died. Kansas District 102 in the House of Representatives no longer had a representative. Jason Probst then stepped up and took on a whole new role. Probst became the new representative of the Kansas District 102 in the House of Representatives in June.

Probst had a lot to learn before the legislative session began.

A Reno County native, Probst attended Nickerson High School and later attended Hutchinson Community College.

“HCC provided me with a better education than any other school I have attended,” Probst said. “I had professors who believed in me, invested time and energy in me and made me feel like I had something valuable to contribute to the world,”

At age 19 he was expecting his first kid, a daughter, Erica. He later had a son, Mitchell, who is a current HutchCC student. Probst knows all about hard work and providing for a family.
Probst was long-time journalist and opinion writer at The Hutchinson News before becoming a politician.

Amanda Carney: How do you get more you people interested in voting, especially in non-presidential elections?

Jason Probst: This has been a difficult challenge. Voters seem to get excited about presidential campaigns, when in truth those local elections – city council, school board, state representatives – have a much more direct affect on voters’ lives. My approach is to help people understand how important these elections are to them, and how much more weight their vote carries in local elections. There have been elections here in Hutchinson that have been decided by fewer than a dozen votes.

AC: What can improve the relationship between politicians and the media?

JP: I think there needs to be some effort on both ends to make the relationship less adversarial. The relationship between the media and politicians is like any relationship – it needs to be fair and mutually respectful, and it requires nurturing from both sides. In this position, I will make mistakes. I am certain I’ll do something, or support something, unpopular. I’d hope that’s not the only time I hear from the media, because I feel like I’m doing a lot of positive work as well – much of which will likely go unreported. On the other side of things, politicians need to fairly recognize that journalists have a duty to keep the public informed, and that they’re simply doing their job, which is also very important to a free society.

AC: How important is it to fund public education?

JP: It’s vitally important to fund education. If we don’t properly educate and invest in the next generation of producers, business owners, leaders, caregivers and workers, we are asking for trouble in the future. We need to have honest, and difficult, conversations about what that education looks like going forward and how to balance those costs with all the other demands on taxpayers, but there should never be any question that education is an investment in the sort of future we hope to see – and we’ll most likely get what we pay for.

AC: What challenges do you you face being a rookie politician?

JP: There is a steep learning curve, that reaches into a variety of areas. I’ve had to consume a great deal of information from a number of people who have expertise in different professions. I’ve had to learn how to manage a very intense schedule – one that includes attending public events, reaching out to constituents, meeting with people who work in state government, and other community leaders who can talk to me about what’s going on in our community. Also, since being a legislator is considered a part time gig, and the pay matches, I’ve had to put a lot of effort into finding various contract jobs to provide some income to pay my bills. But I never expected it would be easy, particularly if it’s to be done the way I think it ought to be done.

AC: What shaped your political views?

JP: My life. I grew up relatively poor. Neither of my parents graduated high school, so the idea of going to college was a foreign idea in our household. By 19, I was about to be a father. I worked in a restaurant and made very little money.

I didn’t have health insurance. I worked like crazy to make enough money for my young family, and we often didn’t have enough. I worked jobs I didn’t like. I sometimes worked two jobs I didn’t like.

In those early days, we relied on public assistance to get by, to provide food and health care for my child. But over time, things got better. I attended college in the evenings, and worked my way into a better career.
Over the years, I feel I’ve more than repaid the help I received early on – and that early investment in my family likely changed the course of my life, and the lives of my children in a positive way. All of those experiences shaped the way I see the world.

I know firsthand how difficult it can be to keep your head above water, and I know how hopeless it can feel when year after year all you’re doing is working to survive. I’d like to help people have better opportunities to thrive, and create ways for more people to find more wealth.

This, I think, is what creates a more robust economy in which we all can participate and prosper.

Women spend more on shoes? Times have changed

Friday, December 1st, 2017

By Brenna Eller

Opinion Page Editor

The myth that women buy more shoes than men is out the window now.

Since Michael Jordan’s sneakers, Air Jordans, it seems that guys are inclined to buy more athletic shoes than women are to buying high heels. In fact, the thought of women purchasing pumps is inaccurate in today’s society as well. Many women pay for comfort over fashion now.

A student at Hutchinson Community College is one of many guys that own several pairs of athletic shoes. His name is Taylor James, from Jetmore.

“I started buying shoes senior year of high school,” James said.

He is now up to about 20 pairs. Athletic shoes have also become very expensive lately.

“My favorite brand is Nike,” James said.

Stated on, in an article titled: The World’s Most Valuable Sports Brands, Nike shoes are one of the highest athletic brand names, and range from $80 and higher if they are brand new. James bought a pair of Gold Jordan 11’s/ retro shoes for $200. It may sound like a lot, but there is much higher than that, price wise.

Ever seen or heard a guy freak out about his new shoes getting dirty or wet? It is common with high school and college males to get upset when they have a spot of dirt on their brand new Jordans. With shoes being so expensive, it is no wonder men feel the need to take care of them like they are their pride and joy.

However, this isn’t directed to all males in this age range. There are also guys who couldn’t care less and have about two or three decent pair of shoes and for cheap prices.

Another HutchCC student, Dusty Page from Little River, shared his views on buying shoes. Unlike James, he prefers purchasing his shoes via thrift stores and second-hand stores.

“When I buy shoes, I think about the price and don’t normally spend over $50 because I like bargains from Goodwill or discount racks in any shoe store,” Page said.

Women still tend to purchase a large sum of shoes, but not as much as they used to according to

The web site states, “Women’s sales are shrinking as men’s continue to rise, in both revenue and number of pairs sold.”

When there are so many new athletic shoes being made, it is hard for some to resist the temptation of buying the newest, coolest thing. Catalogs, magazines, and commercials make new shoes harder to stay away from. There are several categories that shoes fall under, that being said, it is common to have shoes for any kind of sporting event or outdoors activity.

Whether you are the male who pays a good sum of money for a pair of brand new Nike’s and cleans their shoes often, or are the one that has only a few pairs of shoes, but pays less than half of what the other does, shoes are shoes, it just depends on the person wearing the shoes.

Busy bees: Resident Assistants on the go at HutchCC

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

By Brenna Eller

Opinion Page Editor

On visitations and check in days for Hutchinson Community College, the Resident Assistants usually help show future students around campus and help them get their rooms situated. But that’s not all the RA’s do.

They are also very involved in the activities on campus and often run certain clubs.

There are currently 22 RA’s at HutchCC and each is assigned a resident hall to watch over. You know when the popcorn burns and residents are supposed to evacuate the dorms? Well the RA’s get to report it and make sure everyone is out of the building.

Resident Assistants are sophomores who characterize a responsible, achieving student and are the “role models” on campus.

Both Elland Hall and Kent Hall have RA’s living in the buildings. The Resident Assistants are to make sure that the rules of the dorms are kept and are being followed.

Another task RA’s do is help residents get back into their rooms if they get locked out. The numbers for the Resident Assistants are shared in your dorms in case you need to call the RA on duty. Or they usually have an RA sticker on their dorm doors.

Lane Wiens is an RA for Kent Hall. He is also the president of the Student Government Association on campus.

“As an RA, we are responsible for all of the residents on our floor and we also encourage our residents to go to the different activities that the Campus Activities Board and the dorms promote, such as bowling at The Alley, Homecoming activities, and a variety of others.”

With such a busy schedule, one might think Resident Assistants are overloaded with tasks. Lane Wiens said,”No, it’s really not too bad. Sometimes it may seem like a lot to do, but it really isn’t.”

As mentioned earlier, the RA’s deal with fire alarms quite often. Some caused by burnt foods, candles, and other hazardous items. Wiens gave his input on what his job is during those fire alarm drills.

“When the fire alarms go off, it is our job to try and get everyone out of the building as quickly as possible and keep them out of the building until the fire department or the adult on duty says we can go back in,” Wiens said.

There is a lot of responsibility held on the RA’s shoulders, so they deserve some appreciation from time to time.

From across the globe, international student-athletes learn how to settle in Hutchinson

Friday, November 17th, 2017

By Cassidy Crites

Staff writer

Traveling halfway across the world for vacation is stressful enough. Now imagine traveling halfway across the world to an unknown country. The hope is to pursue a college degree while balancing athletics as well.

Approximately 20 international student athletes attend Hutchinson Community College. Included in that group is freshman Leonie Wienkaemper and sophomore Andrew Rios-Ceballos.

Both students chose to come to the United States as student-athletes. Wienkaemper plays on the Hutchinson Community College volleyball team and Rios-Ceballos golfs for HutchCC.

Wienkaemper enjoys the benefits of being able to play volleyball while getting an education.

“The volleyball program is so much better and you can really focus on everything more than when you study in Germany,” Wienkaemper said.

In Germany, getting an education is more important than sports.

“Here in college you can play volleyball and study at the same time, and in Germany you can’t do that,” Wienkaemper said.

Wienkaemper comes from a town in northern Germany called Westerkappeln. She is the first person in her family to travel to the United States.

Although there were nerves, Wienkaemper was confident about this adventure.

“I knew Coach (Patrick) Hall and I had all my teammates’ phone numbers so I wasn’t alone,” Wienkaemper said.

For the most part, Wienkaemper feels as though the adjustment to the United States has been smooth.

Rios-Ceballos traveled from Sydney, Australia to play golf.

“In Australia, it is very tough to become a golfer over there because it is not golf specific. They focus more on rugby,” Rios-Ceballos said.

Rios-Ceballos did not come alone, however. Joining him was his brother, Douglas.

“We’ve played golf since we were young,” Rios-Ceballos said. “We’ve always thought of coming to America to find a better path to go to golf and to get an education as well.”

Perhaps one of the biggest adjustments for Rios-Ceballos has been schoolwork and the weather.

“School is tougher here. It’s very relaxed at home. You just have to pass with a 50 percent. Here especially being an athlete you need a C grade,” Rios-Ceballos said.

Weather-wise, the coldest it gets in Australia is about 40 degrees.

“Here, winter gets really cold so we have to buy a lot of clothes to warm up,” Rios-Ceballos said.

Rios-Ceballos plans to stay in the United States after graduating from HutchCC. He would like to continue playing golf at another college.

Besides going out of Hutchinson for tournaments and volleyball games, Wienkaemper has not gotten the chance to explore much of Kansas or the United States.

Aside from visiting states like Texas and Iowa for golf tournaments, Rios-Ceballos has explored a bit more of the United States.

“I’ve been to Manhattan and Missouri. We have a teammate from Missouri and we went to his house. I’ve been around to see what it’s like and it’s more country here I feel like,” Rios-Ceballos said.

All in all, both student athletes feel as though they fit in well. Gracious for the opportunities that have come and the ones that await, they have captured experiences that will stick with them forever.

“I will always remember making it to Nationals. It means we were one of the best sixteen teams in JUCO colleges,” Wienkaemper said.

Campus bookstore offering donuts, coffee rest of semester

Friday, November 17th, 2017

By Jack Greenwood
Staff writer

To college students, time and food are perhaps the most valuable things in life.

Now, students have access to a quick, easy and delicious breakfast. In the campus bookstore, Daylight Donuts and coffee are now available for students until Dec. 6.

“We saw a need for students to grab something quick on their way to classes,” said bookstore staff member Jacqueline Eaton. “So far, we’ve sold 100 percent of the donuts we provide, and about 70 percent of the coffee. It’s been so popular, we are discussing bringing it back next semester.”

Currently, only students who are on a meal plan and live on campus have access to a breakfast provided by the college in the dining hall. A few years ago, there used to be a café inside the library that sold coffee, smoothies and baked goods, but it has since gone under.

However, students seem to be pleased with the donuts and coffee provided in the union.

“I think it’s a good thing for students that need a quick boost in the morning” said HutchCC student Dylan Kramer, McPherson. “I haven’t been down there yet, but I’m excited to try it.”

Should the donuts and coffee prove popular, more options could be on the horizon.

“The campus store staff had discussed offering frozen breakfast sandwiches, cereal, milk and a whole number of things but finally settled on coffee and donuts because of the cost to our students,” Eaton said. “As long as there is an interest in this by both students and staff, we would love to expand this. Into what yet, we are not quite sure.”

HutchCC volleyball battles but falls in first round at NJCAA Tournament

Thursday, November 16th, 2017
HutchCC's Katie Jorn tips the ball over the net during the NJCAA Tournament on Thursday at the Sports Arena. Hutchinson lost in three sets to Iowa Western.


By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

The opening round for the NJCAA Volleyball National Championship started Thursday morning, as No. 15 Hutchinson Community College opened play vs No. 2 Iowa Western.

Although the Reivers topped the Blue Dragons in three sets, the match was a lot closer than the score suggested. The Reivers started the first set red hot, as they jumped to an early 4-0 lead. Shortly after, the Blue Dragons came back with a run of their own, to lead 6-5.

However, it was all Iowa Western after that. They won the first set by winning 25-16, the widest margin of victory between the two opponents. The Reivers had lead the entire second set, until the Blue Dragons tied it up 20-20, after being down by four points. From there, both teams traded points, but Iowa Western managed to shake off Hutchinson, to win the second set, 25-23.

The most exciting set came in the final one of the morning. Although being down 2-0 in sets, the Blue Dragons weren’t going to back down. Hutchinson held only their second lead of the match in the early moments of the third set, leading 3-2. In a back-and-forth affair, there was four lead changes and eight ties in the last set alone. However, the Reivers pulled away late to shake off the determined Blue Dragons, 25-21, advancing to the quarterfinals later Thursday evening.

“We were a little more nervous than I thought we’d be starting out, just a little out of sync,” HutchCC coach Patrick Hall said. “We didn’t establish our middle as much as we need to, especially against a big team.”
Iowa Western played three 6-feet, 1-inch or taller.

Hall did praise the Blue Dragons for their overall clean game.

“The thing most telling about our performance was through three sets, we only had eight, nine, and five errors. Those are great numbers for us, especially against Iowa Western. I was really happy about that.”

Notable player for the Blue Dragons, sophomore Nina Pevic, said her team gave it their all Thursday morning.

“We tried our best out there and really believed in each other,” Pevic said. “We just tried to have fun. Being in the top 16 and playing in the National Championship is so exciting in itself, but the result is the result.”

Pevic lead the Blue Dragons in kills with 11, hitting an outstanding .688. Sophomore Paige Hiebert had eight kills and two assists. Sophomore Katie Jorn tallied 26 assists and three kills. Iowa Western’s Caitlyn Cooper lead the Reivers in kills with 21. Irina Alekseeva had 14 kills.

The Blue Dragons will continue tournament play, as they compete in the consolation bracket on Friday at 10 a.m. They will take on St. Petersburg, Florida.

Blue Dragon volleyball relishes underdog role at national tournament

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

By Lucas Barlow

Sports Editor

The road for the Hutchinson Community College volleyball team will end in its own arena, as the NJCAA National Championship is being hosted at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

The season has been a rollercoaster of emotions so far for the team, but they’re not done yet. As the No. 15 seed, the Blue Dragons opened the national tournament on Thursday against the No. 2 seed, Iowa Western.
The journey to the national championship hasn’t been an easy ride but it certainly has been a memorable one.

Hutchinson opened the Region 6 tournament against a good Dodge City Community College team, who the Blue Dragons took down 3-0. The semifinals was more of the same, as they breezed by Garden City Community College 3-0. This set up a marquee matchup against the No. 3 team in the country, Seward County Community College – a team Hutchinson lost to only a week previously.

As the underdogs, the Blue Dragons shocked the NJCAA, as they upset the one-loss Saints in three sets, thanks to the efforts of sophomores Paige Hiebert, Tatyana Ndekwe, and Patricia Joseph.

Hutchinson coach Patrick Hall had many positives to say about his team.

“Although Seward had one of their best teams in many years, we definitely played one of our best matches of the season,” Hall said. “Each set was won by two points, so it doesn’t get much closer than that, but we stayed focused, and did what we had to do. It was a great win.”

The Blue Dragons claimed the Region 6 title that night, but their journey is far from over. In just over a week, Hutchinson had to prepare for a talented Iowa Western team, an opponent that was all too familiar. In late September, the two teams met for the first time, a match that ended in a nail-bitter, with Iowa Western winning 3-2.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the team is looking forward to playing Iowa Western,” Hall said. “Although they have some talented athletes, we’re confident that we can play with teams of that caliber.”

Although the Blue Dragons will be underdogs on their home court, Hall still believes in his team and has many keys to success.

“We need to be a strong inside-out team, meaning we need to establish our middle, so it opens up our outside for scoring opportunities,” Hall said. “Defense is also another big key. We’ve been playing really good defensively lately, and if we can continue that in the tournament, we’ll be able to play with anybody.”

Blue Dragons end regular season with a win

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor
The Hutchinson Community College football team’s regular season came to a close as the Blue Dragons cruised to a 27-6 win over Dodge City Community College on Saturday.
The Blue Dragons snapped their three-game losing streak, finishing 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the Jayhawk Conference. The Conquistadors finish 4-7 and 1-6.
After leading by seven late in the first half, the Blue Dragons pulled off one impressive play to head into halftime. Dodge City lined up for a 24-yard field goal when Hutchinson blocked the kick. The play wasn’t over however, because Hutchinson’s Jerry Jacobs picked up the loose ball, and took it back for a 86-yard touchdown. The Blue Dragons led 13-0 at halftime, and they didn’t slow down in the second half.
Hutchinson used an interception, a goal line stop, and a punt return for a touchdown to secure the victory over the Conquistadors.
The Blue Dragon defense held Dodge City to 237 total yards and 51 rushing, but Hutchinson compiled only 206 total yards for themselves. Three running backs, B.J. Emmons, Dezmon Jackson, and Andrew Lee split Hutchinson’s 125 rushing yards. Quarterback Eric Forrest went 12 of 16 on passing attempts, for a total of 69 yards.
Sunday’s win marked Rion Rhoades’ 80th victory as head coach for the Blue Dragons. He also reached this mark faster than any other coach in Hutchinson Community College history.
Next up for the Blue Dragons will be the Salt City Bowl on Dec. 2. They will face the Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters at Gowans Stadium. This will be the second meeting between the two teams, playing each other last in the 2010 Salt City Bowl.