A Newcastle swimmer has swam her way to state titles for the third year in a row.
Senior Jessi Hildebrand took first place in the 100-yard butterfly and the 500-yard freestyle events during the 2014 OSSAA Class 5A state swimming championship, held Feb. 22 at the Edmond Aquatic Center in Edmond.
Sophomore Racer swimmer Sarah Soliman placed seventh in the 500-yard freestyle, and 10th in the 100-yard backstroke.
Together the two combined to give Newcastle, which does not have a formal swim program and competes alongside Norman North, a 13th place overall finish out of 30 schools.
Brady Cox, the only male swimmer competing for Newcastle, failed to qualify for the final events.
This is Hildebrand’s third state championship in freestyle.
With impressive wins over Tecumseh on Feb. 22, the Newcastle Racer and Lady Racer basketball teams move on as district champions, headed for a tough Regional matchup on a neutral site.
Both teams will face Inola High School in the first round of the Class 4A, Area Two regional tournament Thursday at Henryetta High School. The boys tip off against the Longhorns at 8 p.m., while the girls face the Lady Longhorns at 6:30 p.m.
The Racers (14-9) cruised to a 58-49 victory over the Savages under Interim Head Coach Eddie Miller.
“The boys played hard, it was a physical game and they responded,” Miller said. “Tecumseh’s a pretty good team, they were physical, but our kids didn’t back down. They got after it and fought through adversity.”
Miller was named interim coach after head coach Wes Pulliam was suspended from coaching duties due to an incident during practice before the Racers’ game against Dale. Newcastle Public Schools officials declined comment.
The Racers relied on the efforts of Caleb Nichols throughout the game, as well as the shooting arm of Casey Freeman and the defensive acumen of Gavin Garner.
Senior Lauren Martin signed her letter of intent to play soccer for Southwestern Oklahoma State University Lady Bulldogs with (from left) mother Vicki Martin, sister Rileigh Martin, father John Martin, and sister Brittany Martin-Wells on Feb. 10.
SWOSU is a four-year public university located in Weatherford.
The Lady Bulldogs compete in the Great American Conference of the NCAA, Division two.
Senior Corbi Parasich signed her letter of intent to play softball for the Oklahoma Baptist University Lady Bison with (from right) mother Renee Pendergraft-Parasich, father John Parasich Jr., and OBU head coach Pam Fink on Monday, Feb. 10
OBU is a private four-year school located in Shawnee.
The Lady Bison play in the Sooner Athletic Conference of the NAIA.
After opening their season with a 39-64 road loss against Tuttle, Wes Pulliam’s Newcastle Racers had dreams of revenge when the Tigers paid a visit to Newcastle High School Feb. 7.
Revenge was precisely what they got when the Racers pulled off a spectacular upset against the former one-loss team, trouncing the Tigers 51-43.
The Racers (12-8) have been on a 4-1 run since taking third in the Newcastle Tournament, delivering the Tigers (17-2) their second loss of the season.
Casey Freeman led a Newcastle squad that saw three players record double digits in points, notching a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds. Caleb Nichols contributed 11 points, while Issac Johnson recorded 13 points and two assists.
Tuttle’s Dalton Secrist contributed seven points, 10 rebounds and a block for the Tigers, but it was not enough to stop the Racers from their second straight win.
The loss bumped Tuttle down two spots to #9, while the Racers remain unranked in Class 4A.
Newcastle girls' head basketball coach Brett Sanders is returning to the sideline.
The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) lifted Sanders’ month-long suspension Wednesday, Feb. 12 during their February board of directors meeting in Oklahoma City, effective immediately.
Sanders was suspended following two technical fouls being called against him during a 9th grade game Jan. 18 in Tuttle, where the Lady Racers were playing against Blanchard. Video of the game obtained by the Pacer shows that during a timeout, Sanders was quietly talking to his team on the sideline when an official at half court calls two technical fouls on him, resulting in an automatic suspension.
The official claimed that Sanders came on to the floor and was yelling at him, Sanders said. No yelling is heard on the video, and Sanders did not leave the sideline.
Despite the reinstatement, the technicals and suspension were not adjusted.
"They are always going to be there," Newcastle Athletic Director Dale Berglan said. "The procedure had to be followed. When a coach is suspended, the board of directors had to reinstate him."
Newcastle Schools did not seek to have the fouls struck from Sanders' record, Berglan said.
Sanders will return for his first game with the Lady Racers Feb. 14, when Newcastle's girls face Washington in match play at Bethany High School, followed by Senior Night Feb. 17 when the Racers welcome Dale.
When asked for comment, Sanders said that he was happy at the outcome and is glad to return to coaching.
The school district has no plans to pursue penalties against the official who issued the technicals, Berglan said.
Sanders had requested an emergency meeting for reinstatement before Feb. 12, which the OSSAA board of directors denied Jan. 27.
The Lady Racers (15-6) were 6-4 without Sanders on the bench. They are currently ranked 16 in Class 4A.
When the Newcastle Racer wrestlers travelled to Tuttle on Jan. 30, they went knowing their last shot at making the state dual tournament depended on them beating the undefeated Tigers.
What happened is something Racers coach Zach Hale would love to forget.
Newcastle (6-6) was dominated in every aspect of the game, failing to score a single point on the way to an 80-0 thrashing by their cross-town division rivals.
Things only got worse for Hale’s Racers, as they went in to the Midwestern Conference Tournament in Bethel, failing to rank a single wrestler on their way to a 12th place finish in the 16-team tournament.
“Coming off of the Tuttle loss, my kids confidence was just shot,” Hale said, calling the Tuttle loss the worst in his career.
Cody Matthews turned in the best record during the tournament for the Racers. At 132 pounds, Matthews went 3-2, defeating Kailyn Ramos of Prague and Ronnie Jones of Little Axe by fall, with Noble’s Trevor Pendarvis forefitting their matchup for Matthews’ third win.
By comparison, six other Racer wrestlers failed to record a single win during the tournament, two of which failed to score a single point.
With senior night against McLoud postponed due to weather, the Racers’ final dual of the season is Feb. 6 in Elgin. A makeup date for McLoud has not been announced.
On a night where Newcastle crowned a homecoming queen, there was nothing Little Axe could do to stop the high-flying Racer and Lady Racer basketball teams.
The girls throttled the Lady Indians 57-44, and the boys smashed the Indians 74-40 in front of a raucous Racer crowd Friday, Jan. 31.
Before the start of the games, Newcastle senior Sara Hamilton was crowned homecoming queen out of 11 senior candidates, which included every senior girls’ varsity basketball player and two senior team managers. Senior Ben Bobbitt was crowned king.
The Racers (10-8) were lead by Caleb Nichols, scoring 12 on four points from the field, two threes and two free throws. Casey Freeman and Cale Asperheim both had 11 points for Newcastle, and Ben Persall had 10. Asperheim led the Racers on the boards with three rebounds.
The #15 Lady Racers (13-5) played second on the night due to homecoming festivities. No stats for the Lady Racers’ win over Little Axe were available as of press time.
Both teams fell to Blanchard the following Saturday, The Racers lost 46-44, while the Lady Racers fell to the Lady Lions 54-48.
After a road game against Lindsay on Tuesday, both teams will be back at Newcastle Friday, Feb. 7 to take on the Tuttle Tigers. Friday is also Cancer Awareness Night, and donations will be accepted to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation in honor of Trey Freeman, a Newcastle ECC student who died of a genetic disorder last September.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., beginning with the Lady Racers vs. the Lady Tigers (9-8), followed by the Racers vs. the #7 Tigers (16-1).
Newcastle senior Stacia Bradford has signed her letter of intent to play softball for Northern Oklahoma College.
A transfer student from Garber, Bradford was a leader for the Lady Racers this season until injuries suffered in a car accident kept her from playing in regionals, Lady Racers head coach Mike Crossley said.
Despite the injury, Bradford was a 2013 All State selection.
Coached by 13-year veteran Karie Linsenmeyer, the Lady Mavericks compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Established in Tonkawa in 1901, NOC is a two-year community college with a total enrollment of about 2,700 students, with campuses in Tonkawa and Enid.
For the Newcastle Racer wrestlers, the terms are simple.
Win, and you’re in.
After sweeping Tecumseh and Santa Fe South in district duals Jan. 23 in Tuttle, the only thing standing between head coach Zach Hale’s Racers (5-5) and the first trip to the state dual tournament in school history are those very same Tigers.
For Hale, the Racer’s road dual against the 7-0 Tigers tonight in Tuttle is the ultimate test for his developing team hampered by injury.
“We’ll have to learn how to win big matches,” Hale said. “We’re gonna focus heavily not just starting strong, but finishing strong.”
If the Racers defeat Tuttle, then Newcastle will be undefeated in district play, earning an automatic berth in the state tournament in late Feburary.
Hale goes in to this critical dual dealing with injuries. 195-pounder Sheldon Dillman was listed with a foot injury earlier in the week.
Normally, Newcastle would have wrestled Tuttle during the district duals along with Tecumseh and Santa Fe South, however Tuttle needed an additional home dual for their schedule, so the match against Newcastle was moved to its own date.
The wrestlers have one more home doal left on the schedule, a Senior Night matchup Feb. 4 against McLoud.