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Archive for Thursday, December 30, 2004

Woodling: ‘04 was eventful at KU

December 30, 2004

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Such historical events as the retirement of longtime women's basketball coach Marian Washington punctuated 2004 in Kansas University athletics.

The calendar year also produced such trifles as the renaming of the ancient rivalry between Kansas and Missouri. Officially, it became The Border Showdown, but most people still call it what it is -- The Border War.

All in all, '04 produced many memorable moments. Here are my Top 20. They're listed in chronological order. I could have ranked them, but rankings always seem to produce more ire than illumination, and perspective beats pontificating every time.

Jan. 29 -- Women's basketball coach Marian Washington announces she is taking an indefinite leave of absence for health reasons. Two days later, under interim coach Lynette Woodard, the Jayhawks topple Oklahoma State, 74-61, but then lose their last 10 games under Woodard. On Feb. 27, the 57-year-old Washington announces her retirement after 31 years on the job.

Feb. 21 -- Freshman J.R. Giddens scores 24 points and Wayne Simien contributes 20 points and 14 rebounds as Kansas edges Iowa State, 90-89, in overtime in Allen Fieldhouse. Freshman Curtis Stinson scores 26 points, and senior Jackson Vroman has a career day with 17 points and 19 rebounds for the upstart Cyclones.

March 6 -- Freshman Kassie Humphreys fires a one-hitter, and Serena Settlemier and Sandy Smith hit solo homers as KU's softball team makes its debut in new Arrocha Ballpark with a 3-0 win over Nebraska. Seven weeks later, Humphreys throws a five-hitter and the Jayhawks stun the eventual Big 12 champion Cornhuskers by the same score in Lincoln, Neb.

March 7 -- Freshman David Padgett's line-drive baseline jumper with two seconds left gives Kansas an 84-82 win over Missouri in the last basketball game in MU's Hearnes Center. KU survives a 37-point performance by the Tigers' Arthur Johnson.

March 12 -- KU sprinter Leo Bookman defends his 200-meter championship at the NCAA Indoor in Fayetteville, Ark., with a personal-best clocking of 20.42. Four months later, Bookman runs 20.66 in his specialty and finishes a disappointing 11th in the semifinals of the U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif.

March 26 -- Wayne Simien makes 18 of 20 free-throw attempts and scores 30 points as Kansas advances to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight with a 100-74 romp over Kentucky-killer Alabama-Birmingham in St. Louis. Two days later, Georgia Tech denies KU a third straight Final Four appearance with a 79-71 overtime triumph.

March 29 -- Bonnie Henrickson, a native Minnesotan who had spent the last seven years as head coach at Virginia Tech, is hired as women's basketball coach.

May 22 -- Kansas ties a school baseball record with a 16-run sixth inning in a 19-6 romp at Kansas State. The big frame features three-run homers by A.J. Van Slyke and Ryan Baty.

May 25 -- Travis Metcalf, a fourth-year junior third baseman from Wamego, establishes school single-season and career home run records with 18 and 29. A few weeks later, Metcalf is selected by the Texas Rangers in the baseball free agent draft, is sent to Spokane, Wash., and makes the Northwest League all-star team.

May 27 -- Matt Baty, a sophomore center fielder from Maize, becomes the first KU baseball player ever named first-team All-Big 12. Baty hits .344 and ranks among the league leaders in hits, runs and stolen bases.

July 18 -- Former KU distance runner Charlie Gruber finishes second in the 1,500-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Trials in a time of 3:48:45, but does not qualify for the Athens Olympics until he eclipses the A qualifying time with a clocking of 3:34.71 two weeks later in a race in Belgium. In Athens, Greece, Gruber fails to advance out of the quarterfinals, finishing ninth in his heat in a time of 3:41.73.

Sept. 21 -- Kevin Ward, a senior from Leawood, fires a 69 in the final round to earn medalist honors at the Kansas Invitational at Alvamar. During the summer, Ward had won three non-collegiate titles -- the Kansas Amateur, the Missouri Amateur and the KGA Fourball (with KU teammate Gary Woodland).

Oct. 9 -- Kansas State's 11-year football dominance of Kansas ends when the Jayhawks hang on for a 31-28 victory at Memorial Stadium. Adam Barmann throws two TD passes and backup quarterback Jason Swanson one, but the decisive score is John Randle's pinballing 43-yard TD gallop with 3:16 remaining.

Oct. 22 -- Rachel Gilfillan scores off a pass from Jessica Smith in the 59th minute, and Kansas holds on to edge Texas A&M, 1-0, in soccer behind goalkeeper Meghan Miller's school-record 11th shutout. Less than a week later, KU blanks Iowa State, 4-0, to earn a share of the league regular-season title with A&M. It's only the second Big 12 women's championship for a KU team -- the first since basketball won the first Big 12 title in 1996-97.

Oct. 30 -- Benson Chesang, a sophomore from Kenya, becomes the first KU runner in 39 years to win a league cross country championship when he captures the Big 12 individual title at Stateland CC course in Topeka. Chesang's brother Matthew, a senior at Kansas State, finishes third.

Nov. 10 -- KU's volleyball team, desperately needing a victory over a ranked team to assure a postseason NCAA berth, blanks No. 13 Texas A&M, 3-0, at the Horejsi Center as libero Jill Dorsey, playing despite a painful elbow injury, contributes 16 digs. Later, KU earns an NCAA bid and defeats Santa Clara in the first-round before bowing to powerhouse Washington in Seattle.

Nov. 13 -- Once-beaten Texas overcomes a 23-13 deficit in the last 4:12 and keeps its BCS hopes alive with a 27-23 triumph over Kansas. After the game, KU coach Mark Mangino claims a controversial offensive-pass-interference call against Charles Gordon that wiped out a first down was BCS-motivated. Hours later, Mangino apologizes, but later is fined $5,000 by the Big 12 Conference office.

Nov. 20 -- Brian Luke, KU's fourth starting quarterback in four weeks, completes 24 of 36 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns in a shocking 31-14 triumph over Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Senior wide receiver Brandon Rideau catches eight passes for 100 yards, and senior defensive end David McMillan has three sacks.

Nov. 25 -- Amy Gruber, a senior from Bigelow, Ark., becomes the first Jayhawk ever named national collegiate swimmer of the week after her yeoman performance at the Nike Cup in Chapel Hill, N.C. In that meet, Gruber posted an A time of 49.70 in the 100 freestyle, finished second in three other events and swam on a pair of relays.

Dec. 2 -- Junior linebacker Nick Reid and sophomore cornerback Charles Gordon become only the second and third KU football players to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors from the Associated Press. The only other Jayhawk so honored was defensive end Ron Warner in 1997.

Will 2005 be just as memorable? There's only one way to find out: Bring it on.

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