www.mozilla.com Weather Central

All-Area 2014: Delton tabbed top offensive player -12/21/2014, 5:35 PM

All-Area 2014: Green a load on defense for Norton -12/21/2014, 9:57 PM

All-Area 2014: Oberle tabbed top coach -12/21/2014, 6:00 PM

Top stories 2014: Hays High, TMP volleyball have breakthrough -12/21/2014, 5:56 PM

Monarch boys pick up second win -- girls roll -12/21/2014, 5:34 PM

2014 HDN All-Area Super 11 capsules -12/21/2014, 9:57 PM

MCL Round Robin wraps up at WaKeeney -12/21/2014, 9:57 PM

Jayhawks pull away from Lafayette, win 96-69 -12/21/2014, 9:57 PM

HHS wrestling competes at Ellsworth -12/21/2014, 9:57 PM

Tiger women top Bearcats; men fall in overtime -12/21/2014, 9:57 PM

Eagles' playoff hopes hurt after loss to Redskins -12/21/2014, 9:56 PM

Wildcats back on track, beat Texas A&M -12/21/2014, 9:50 PM

Hays High's Dale continues winning ways -12/19/2014, 10:57 AM

Page continues hot streak for Tiger wrestling -12/19/2014, 10:16 AM

KSU revs interest in Ojeleye -12/19/2014, 10:15 AM

Top stories 2014: Tebo gets his gold -12/19/2014, 10:26 AM

KU's Beaty draws from Texas roots -12/18/2014, 11:32 AM

KSU expects more than 10,000 fans -12/18/2014, 11:32 AM

Indians swimmers compete at Manhattan -12/18/2014, 11:32 AM

Steelers bring a new identity into crucial game against Chiefs -12/18/2014, 11:30 AM

Indians earn sweep before holiday break -12/17/2014, 10:20 AM

Top stories 2014: FHSU football continues steady climb -12/17/2014, 10:20 AM

Lehman's triple-double leads FHSU to eighth straight win -12/17/2014, 10:20 AM

Dome hits game-winner for Victoria boys; TMP girls roll -12/17/2014, 10:19 AM

Shockers rally from 11 down to beat Alabama -12/17/2014, 10:19 AM

Royals land Rios -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

KU, Mizzou express interest in Ojeleye -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

Kansas State DT Clinkscales faces additional charge -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

No WR touchdowns? No problem -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Dec. 14 -12/15/2014, 10:42 AM

Heisman winner Mariota can't wait to get back on field -12/15/2014, 10:15 AM

Kansas State picks up win -12/15/2014, 10:15 AM

FHSU wrestling fifth at Newman -12/15/2014, 10:15 AM

Pair of double-doubles lead Tiger women -12/15/2014, 11:01 AM

Chiefs go long, handle Raiders -12/15/2014, 10:14 AM

Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan on NBA scoring list -12/15/2014, 10:14 AM

Patriots, Broncos clinch -12/15/2014, 10:14 AM

Sports Scores


Prep basketball


Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48


Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All

myTown Calendar

Softball to return to TMP in 2013

[var top_story_head]

Softball to return to TMP in 2013

Published on -8/18/2013, 6:26 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story



From the age of 11 until she graduated from Hays High in 2001, Melissa Schoepf spent her summers playing softball for legendary Thomas More Prep-Marian coach Alan Billinger as part of the Hays Strikers.

"The one thing I did take from Alan, when I was very young, probably 12 or 13, he told me, 'You will take so much away from this game, at some point you need to give it back,' " Schoepf said. "And I never understood what that meant until I got out here and I saw these kids that wanted to learn to play. Then it really dawned on me what he meant by that."

This experience has guided Schoepf to the helm of TMP softball, where she will try and revive a once powerful program that hasn't fielded a team since the 2010 season because of a lack of available players.

Schoepf was a pitcher at Fort Hays State University from 2001 to 2005, helping lead the Tigers to a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title her sophomore year. She is in her second year as a math teacher at TMP after moving back to her hometown of Hays from Sylvan Grove.

The idea of getting involved with TMP softball was a big draw for Schoepf.

"When I started teaching at TMP, it was always in the back of my mind and I think the school's mind that maybe we can get it back at some point," Schoepf said. "What I did last year was started to see what the interest was, seeing who was out there, if we did have the numbers."

The reason for the three-year absence of softball at TMP certainly wasn't about a lack of success. In nine seasons under Billinger, the Monarchs were 165-54, winning the 4A state title in 2007 and the 3A state title in 2008, with numerous second, third and fourth-place finishes.

"Our girls softball program has been successful for a lot of years. Coach Billinger did a tremendous job," TMP athletic director Gene Flax said. "We went through some years that we didn't have the percentage of girls involved in all athletics that we needed for a school our size ... now we have a good contingency of girls coming through again."

While it's far too early to know exactly what the roster will look like when the season begins in March, Schoepf expects around 16 girls -- only one of which will be a senior -- with a wide range of playing experience.

"I have a few that have not played before but are anxious and willing to learn, then I have some that have played since they were little," Schoepf said. "We are going to try our best to keep a tradition going with them and build something we can take some pride in."

Schoepf won't be alone in reviving the program, as she has brought in TMP graduate Alicia Hammeke to be an assistant. Hammeke played multiple sports while at TMP from 2005-09, and was part of both state championship teams in softball.

"I talked to Melissa and she asked me if I was interested and I was really excited. I didn't have to think a whole lot about it," Hammeke said. "I'm particularly excited that it's TMP. I'm excited to watch the girls grow in their abilities and watch our program develop first hand."

Hammeke is attending FHSU and is working on finishing a degree in elementary education. Her father, Curtis Hammeke, is the FHSU athletic director.

"She was part of some tremendous basketball teams, tremendous softball teams," Flax said of Hammeke. "To be part of the tradition, I think it's very positive. She is young and energetic, so I think it's a big asset to the school."

Both coaches understand they face an uphill climb with the limited experience they expect to have on the field come spring. While winning is the ultimate goal, Schoepf is just glad to be able to field a team, and is excited about the enthusiasm that is quickly returning to TMP softball.

"It was just overwhelming the support that was out there. You could tell people were excited about getting softball back," Schoepf said. "We have the families on board; we have the kids on board. And we are just going from there."

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News