by Paragon Communications Sports Broadcaster Aaron Kauk
2020 was a strange year to say the least in the world and the world of sports. The challenges that were overcome just to play the games were unlike any ever faced. It seems like years ago, but 2020 started the same way most years do. All the way back in early March, the annual pilgrimage to the Big House for the Small School State Tournament was the last normal thing in 2020.
Western Oklahoma was well represented once again on Championship Saturday….. The Canute Trojanettes, Arapaho-Butler Indians, and Leedey Bison all played for a gold ball. Unfortunately all brought silver ones back, but that doesn’t diminish the fantastic seasons on the high school hardwood. Just 4 days later, the world of sports stopped in Ok City….. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the corona virus and shut down sports completely. From that night inside Chesapeake Arena, the talk turned from playoffs to bubbles. From strategies winning games to strategies to just get the games played. Terms like quarantine and contact tracing entered and will stay in the sporting vernacular forever.
Locally things started to return to some sort of normal in early June. Youth sports were the first to return to the field, and the Sayre Eagles Coach Pitch team was ready. 3 or 4 months were stacked in to a month and a half, but the young fellas persevered to a 43-6 record and 3rdplace finish in the State Tournament.
The 22ndannual KECO golf tournament had its usual strong field at ECGCC, but it was in the ABC Flights that history was made. At 80 years old, Leon Stuart cashed a ticket with his team in B Flight. A few weeks later, Leon played in his 50thOil and Gas golf tournament, the only person to play in all 50.
As the calendar turned to fall, when or even if the high school football season would start leapt to the forefront of everyone’s mind. The anticipation was high for the start of the Dave Meadows era in Elk City, and it didn’t take long for things to turn around….. The Elks ended the season with 3 victories and appear poised for a shot at the playoffs next season.
Fall wasn’t only for the pigskin though. The Canute Trojans Fall Baseball team turned into a juggernaut. After starting the season 2-2, Coach Gillett’s team reeled off 27 straight and found themselves in the semifinals of the state tournament ….. After that 3-2 semifinal win over Byng, the only thing that stood between the Trojans and their first ever state championship in any boys sport was Ft. Cobb. It was a close, defensive battle all the way with Canute topping Ft. Cobb 1-0 to earn the Class A Fall Baseball State Title.