April 19, 2024

Buffs retain WAC Champions Cup

GCHS Athletics (GCBUFFS.COM) – One never fully realizes how comprehensive a high school’s athletic program is, especially one as large as Garden City High School.

The Class 6A School provides its student-athletes with 22 varsity sports, along with junior varsity and freshman opportunities from the fall, winter and spring seasons.

By virtue of a strong spring sports performance, the Buffaloes have retained the Western Athletic Conference’s prestigious Champions Cup, sponsored by the Lewis Automotive Group. The 2021-2022 school year was the first of a five-year sponsorship agreement with the five WAC schools (Garden City, Dodge City, Hays, Liberal and Great Bend).

“A decade of winning the WAC Champions Cup is a testament to the quality of coaches and quality of student-athletes at Garden City High School,” said Drew Thon, GCHS Athletics/Activities Director. “Our community has always had strong support for our student-athletes and programs and this is another reflection of that commitment from the people of Garden City. We are blessed to have this support.”

The 2021-22 school year proved a successful one as Lewis Automotive Group started its sponsorship of a program that began back in the 2008-2009 school year. The Cup was won by Great Bend in the first year, Dodge City the following two years (2009-2010 and 2010-2011), and has been won by Garden City every year since the 2011-2012 campaign. No award was given in the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cancelled the spring sports season for all schools.

“We have our automotive businesses in Garden City, Dodge City, Liberal and Hays and this opportunity allows us to demonstrate support of the youth in our communities and the surrounding area,” said Audrey Ackerman, Advertising/Public Relations Manager of Lewis Automotive Group. “It’s a win for us because each of our stores can show its support for each community.”

At all WAC athletic competitions, Lewis Automotive Group receives special signage recognition as well as mentions in printed programs, public address announcements and on the WAC website (wacathletics.com).

“We hope to find additional ways to reach out to the schools and for them to reach out to us to do more and better for next year, too,” Ackerman said.

The Lewis Automotive Group has Chevrolet and Buick Dealerships in Liberal; Chevrolet, Toyota and Nissan in Garden City; Chevrolet, Toyota and Ford in Dodge City; and Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram in Hays.

“This (sponsorship) has been a big help to us in the last year, particularly with used car sales,” Ackerman said. “We’ve sold a lot of used cars with it now being more difficult to get new cars on our lots. It just makes a lot of (business) sense for us.”

The Buffaloes totaled 175.66 points to outdistance runner-up Dodge City’s 157.66, an 18-point margin. Points are awarded equally in every varsity sport with a school awarded 12 points for an outright title, 8 points for second, 6 for third and 4 for fourth. The fifth place team receives no points.

The Cup was awarded to Garden City on May 12 at the WAC Track and Field Championship in Dodge City. Hays was third with 142.66 points, Great Bend fourth with 113.00 and Liberal fifth with 71.00.

Dividing the three seasons of sports, the Buffaloes totaled 54.66 points in the seven fall sports, 55 points in the seven winter sports and 67 points in the eight spring programs.

The breakdown of points is as follows: (Fall) – Boys Cross Country (12), Girls Cross Country (4), Football (8.66/3-way tie for 1st), Girls Golf (6), Boys Soccer (8), Girls Tennis (12), and Volleyball (4).

In the winter sports, points came from Boys Basketball (5), Boys Bowling (12), Girls Bowling (12), Boys Swimming (6), Boys Wrestling (12), and Girls Wrestling (8). The spring surge came from Baseball (4), Boys Golf (12), Girls Soccer (10/2-way Tie for 1st), Softball (12), Girls Swimming (8), Boys Tennis (12), and Boys Track (8).

Mike Shook, who is the General Manager of Lewis Chevy in Garden City, said the sponsorship of the Cup was an easy decision to make when GCHS Athletics/Activities Director Drew Thon approached him in 2021.

“For me, it was a no-brainer,” Shook said. “It’s our way of supporting student-athletes and since we have dealerships in four of the five WAC communities, it just made a lot of sense. It allows us to give back to the communities, to the schools, to the student-athletes.”

Shook said that even communities that surround the four cities with dealerships are included in some ways of support during the school year.

“We find as many ways behind the scenes to do things for our schools and communities,” Shook said. “You can look at band, choir, cheer, teacher events, and we try to involve ourselves as much as possible.”

In summary, the Buffs’ programs had eight outright championships, two ties for first, four runner-ups, three in third place and three in fourth place. Two sports did not score.

For a summary of points, go to www.wacathletics.com and click on Champions Cup.