The Manhattan High football team scored early and often against Highland Park on Friday night at Bishop Stadium, running out to a quick lead in the first quarter and going on to rout the Scots, 54-0.
Two seniors at Manhattan High earned the rare opportunity to play in the 11th-annual First Tee Open in Pebble Beach, Calif., this weekend, televised internationally on the Golf Channel.
The event pairs each of the 81 junior participants with a professional golfer on the PGA’s Champions Tour. Pierson McAtee and Drew Casper, both three-year starters on the Manhattan boys’ golf team as well as eight-year veterans of The First Tee of Manhattan, began play at the event this morning, with a second round to be played Saturday at Pebble Beach.
After a round of cuts, the top 23 teams will advance to Sunday’s final round.
Casper was paired with Bob Gilder, while McAtee matched up with Davis Love III.
Both seniors expressed excitement over the opportunity, which came only after a long application process that judged not only golfing ability, but leadership and life skills learned through The First Tee.
“What made me interested was the opportunity to play at Pebble Beach and Poppy Hills, two of the best courses in the country,” Casper said.
“So that got me really excited. And the chance to play with pros in an actual tournament is a big deal, so every bit of it sounded great from the start.”
“The opportunity to play at Pebble Beach wasn’t one I could turn down,” he said. “And playing on the Golf Channel this weekend, it might be a little nerve-racking, but we’re prepared and I think we’ll do our best and have fun.”
McAtee said the application process is similar to applying for colleges, something he’s doing more of these days. The pair from Manhattan were selected from more than 150 applicants.
“You have to have a certain handicap, but that’s just a snippet of the process,” he said. “We had an interview, we made a resume, we listed all our extra-curricular activities, though that’s all stuff we’re doing when applying for colleges, so that was another plus.”
Both Casper and McAtee have had the chance to play pristine, professional courses through The First Tee, but have never had an opportunity like this.
“I’ve been to a couple of nice courses through the First Tee, in North Carolina and South Carolina, but I’ve never gotten to play with a pro, and I’ve never had an opportunity quite like this,” Casper said. “So I’m very lucky — it’s a great opportunity.”
Both seniors left for Pebble Beach early this week and met their professional teammates at a pairings dinner Wednesday night.
“I’m playing with Bob Gilder, he’s from Oregon and he played on the PGA Tour for quite a few years,” Casper said. “He’s on the Champions Tour now. He’s had 24 PGA Tour wins and he’s a really nice guy.
“He told me a lot about playing out there. He’s played there every year of this tournament. He was great to talk to and has a ton of knowledge about golf.”
McAtee said his teammate was just as friendly.
“He’s a great guy,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing with him.”
This is the first time the Manhattan chapter of The First Tee has ever sent someone to the event. Casper and McAtee represent two of the three Eagle-certified members to ever come through the program, in addition to Hannah Devane, who graduated from Manhattan last spring.
“Our chapter could not be any more proud of Drew and Pierson,” said Bernie Haney, executive director of The First Tee of Manhattan. “This is the final event of each of these young men’s eight years as part of our organization, and so what a remarkable way to cap off outstanding careers within The First Tee.”
Haney, along with program director Susan Lowman, also made the trip to California for the event, serving as chaperones.
Lowman said the program is fortunate to have such great leaders in Casper and McAtee.
“From the beginning, they’ve had to be involved by mentoring other younger students and learning how to be a leader or a coach,” she said.
“All through the summer, they were coaches with our First Tee program. It was a lot of commitment to come out to the golf course and not just play, but learn life skills and leadership through the program and all the things the First Tee is all about.”
McAtee and Casper both took time to thank both the sponsors of the event, and the people who helped get them there.
“We’d like to thank Nature Valley and the First Tee for this incredible opportunity,” McAtee said. “Also Bernie Haney and Susan Lowman, our chaperones, they’ve been incredible in this whole process and in our last eight years in the program.”
Playing at the Washburn Rural Invitational at the Wamego Country Club, the Manhattan High girls’ golf team finished second place behind the host team Thursday afternoon.
In 2014’s season opener against Shawnee Heights, Manhattan High football’s Luke Stegeman made the play of the game, helping the team snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the final minutes.
Cornerkicks, throw-ins and free kicks are all things Rural does extremely well, and that was ultimately the difference in Manhattan’s 3-1 loss.
The Manhattan High girls’ tennis team traveled to Lawrence Thursday for a dual with Lawrence High, losing 6-3.
After narrowly defeating Hayden last week, 23-20, to stay undefeated on the year and claim a leg up in the race for a Centennial League title, the Indians are looking to shore up the little things as they prepare to host Highland Park.
Win, lose or draw, Manhattan High boys’ soccer coach Frank Alonso was going to stick with his aggressive formation Tuesday night against Seaman.
The Manhattan High girls’ golf team won the 12-team Salina South Invitational on Tuesday at Salina Municipal golf course, shooting a 344 to take the tournament by five strokes.
The Manhattan High volleyball team swept through its home quad Tuesday night, posting dominating wins over Concordia, Topeka West and Topeka High.
In many cases, high school sports offer its participants the chance to learn life lessons through competition.
The win over Dodge City sends Manhattan on the road for Tuesday’s 6 p.m. quarterfinal against Maize (17-1).
Despite a slow start, Manhattan defeated Junction City by mercy-rule in only 56 minutes, winning 10-0 to set up Thursday’s regional final against Dodge City at Bishop Stadium, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
The Indians wasted no time and throttled Shawnee Heights 8-0 Thursday night at Bishop Stadium.
Manhattan (10-10, 9-9 Centennial) stayed close in both games, but lost 6-3 and 3-0.
Tuesday at Norvell Field, the Indians swept their first doubleheader since April 22, defeating the Emporia Spartans 7-1 in the opener and 11-2 in the nightcap on senior day.
The Indians lost the first game of their doubleheader, 7-2, and the nightcap, 10-5.
The Indians had not previously lost a game to the Blue Jays since 2008, spanning 14 games.
The Indians were swept, with the Thunderbirds winning the first game, 7-3, and run-ruling MHS in six innings in Game 2, 16-8.
Thursday’s semifinal was more of a formality than anything, as the Indians pounded the Golden Buffaloes in their sub-state opener.
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