Sports

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Players earn postseason accolades

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While their seasons were cut short due to COVID-19, several area baseball and softball players recently picked up postseason honors for the 2019 spring campaigns.

The Oklahoma Baseball Coaches Association released the All-Star by Class teams last week with El Reno senior Gabe Ruoff making the Class 5A West Team as an outfielder, and classmate Brice Hill as a pitcher. Players must be on the All-Star by Class team to be eligible for All-State consideration.

Oklahoma Coaches Association cancels July’s All-State Week

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Since 1935, the Oklahoma Coaches Association has held its annual Coaches Clinic and All-State Games for coaches and athletes across the state.

This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OCA board of directors have made the difficult decision to cancel all activities during the Coaches Clinic and All-State Week.

With an attendee rate of around 4,500 during the annual convention, health concerns and the ramifications that could be presented to attendees were a major factor in this decision.

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Back to the future

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Rodney Haydon was digging in the dirt and planting the flowers he had bought his wife for Mother’s Day when he got a call from El Reno Superintendent Craig McVay.

“I was in the backyard working and had my phone connected to the stereo and waiting on Craig’s call to hear what the board had decided on the direction of the basketball program,” said Haydon.

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Plumley says sting of lost title shot still hurts

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While he’s excited about the possibility of a re-start to pro basketball, El Reno High School alum Dyson Plumley knows that any National Basketball Association game he watches will bring up some sore memories.

“I’m glad the NBA season could be coming back but it still hurts the way our season ended and not getting to go to the national tourney,” said Plumley.

On March 11, the NBA suspended the Oklahoma City Thunder game with Utah just minutes before tipoff when the news of Jazz player Rudy Gobert’s positive test for the coronavirus surfaced.

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Lights on parade

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In an effort to honor the Class of 2020 athletes who had their seasons cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, El Reno High School organized a nighttime parade through its sports venues. Each site turned on its lights for two hours and well-wishers drove around the sites with banners and car signs.
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Shooting the breeze

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Long before he became an All-State player at El Reno High School, Callen Haydon would spend his youth shooting countless jump shots through the Oklahoma wind in his driveway.

As fate would have it, and a never before seen COVID-19 pandemic, Haydon is once again back in his driveway shooting hoops in the state’s gusting winds.

“Just like a kid, putting up shots in the driveway. I’m trying to get some cardio going in the driveway and some shots but that’s pretty hard to do in the Oklahoma wind,” said Haydon.

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Area basketball players earn OCA laurels

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For the first time in its history, the Oklahoma Coaches Association heads into May not knowing for sure if the annual All-State Games will be played come July due to the coronavirus.

However, until a final decision has been made, coaches across the state have been meeting to choose members of the elite teams.

Basketball released its four lineups last week as well as the All-Star by Class list, the pool in which alternates will be chosen from.

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Area cagers earn OGBCA honors

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While the status of the game is yet to be determined as the state emerges from its COVID-19 hibernation, the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association recently released its 2020 All-State teams.

The association names three All-State teams each season - small, middle and large school squads for both the East and the West. Each team has 10 members and the teams face each other during a weekend of action in June.

“The games are on hold for now,” said El Reno High School girls head coach Jennifer Douglas, who sits on the OGBCA Board.

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El Reno lands players on elite Suburban Conference squads

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A quick glance at the final Class 5A girls state basketball rankings and it’s easy to see why games in the Suburban Conference were knock-down, drag-out battles on most nights.

Six of the league’s eight teams, including El Reno High School, were ranked in the top 17 of that poll. Two of those teams went on to qualify for the state tourney before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“When you talk about our conference, there were four of us that really should have been at state so this is a big-time conference,” said El Reno head coach Jennifer Douglas.

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In midst of a concussion crisis, why does Oklahoma artificially limit the number of athletic trainers?

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Oklahoma news outlets recently highlighted the problem of concussions in high school football. Stories have examined inadequate data tracking by the state, a proposal requiring schools to keep ambulances onsite at games, and even differences in rules between high school and college football that encourage high school quarterbacks to take hits rather than throw the ball away.