This is the seventh article in a continuing series in which Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame sportswriters Wayne Bishop and Doug Quinn look back on their time covering Broken Arrow Tiger athletics. This week, Wayne shares memories of girls softball, city sports complexes and a baseball championship.
My first year at the Scout newspaper I covered a national softball tournament for 12-and-under girls at the old Central Park complex...and I was hooked! Kelli Braitsch was unreal, and her team won it. Years later, Kelli was a star for the Lady Tigers and Coach Jim Hillman.
Kid programs were...and are...so important to Broken Arrow High School. And facilities. Years later, the high school has its own modern field and the city has a state-of-the-art 8-field complex. And they're still dominating.
That same year—1989—the Lady Tigers won state, beating Bartlesville, 4-1, also at Central Park. Starring on that team were Cathy Mozingo, Michelle Graham, Julie Finley, Stacey Pinkerton to name a few, recalls Hillman, who was their coach. And so I started to learn about BAHS girls sports.
We had recently won a basketball state title under Jerry Waymire, and had long been the kingpin in state soccer when they began in OSSAA. That was an early love of mine after Jane Dunlap took me under her wing at a regional tourney for 12-and-under, I think. Hers was one of the top teams, too.
When Nicole Wagner led her young team to a title in softball, they had to play in Tulsa. Enter Russell Peterson and Tom Lott and others like them. Peterson was the guy city leaders always went to when they needed to raise money and pass bonds. Lott...he was special. I first met him when the youth football (BAYFA) was a warehouse full of equipment such as pads and uniforms and his office. We desperately needed facilities for football, but city leaders decided we needed a softball complex first.
Some heads of youth sports groups might have been jealous, but Tom knew we all had to work together. He agreed to support softball so they could support football in the future. Then he went to work for a youth sports office, inviting other groups to join him. Basketball was the only one who took him up on it. Tom got the money for the building, which is still at 1005 S. Main, and includes a space for a sports gear company. The next bond issue included money for the football complex at Neinhuis Park.
Most don't know how much Tom Lott did for the city...now you do. The city prioritized needs; so did Lott. When I first came here in 1966, we played baseball west of what was then the high school—and then North Intermediate. Now look at Indian Springs Sports Complex, where my grandsons played ball – some on the Wayne Bennett field for t-ball. Wayne and I worked together at the Ledger. There are two community centers with basketball courts.
City leaders, along with those from the schools, would meet at a retreat every year, most of the time at Shrangi-La resort, and set goals on what people wanted. That's how we kept ahead of the pace on sports facilities. Later, school leaders and citizens—myself included—met to plan a new football stadium. So, what you sit in today is the result of many hours in the school library...including my demands for an elevator to the press box! Then Ken Ellett took over.
Ken had done a remarkable job as athletic director after being lured here from Wisconsin. He and I sat down for lunch one day and designed the plan for the BA Athletic Hall of Fame and a committee, including Max Smith and Doug Quinn of the Ledger, to select members each year...with citizen input. Ken was finally inducted this year. He is responsible for hiring most of the great coaches we have had through the last several years.
One of favorite memories is the first state title in baseball. We all remember when Archie Bradley pitched us to the state crown in Tulsa, but how many recall the one in 1991? What a trip! We were the best team in the state, and proved with a run through the state tourney in OKC area...but not without a bump in the road. Let Craig Wagoner, one of the stars of that team, explain.
“It was ‘91. As for the pitcher that recorded, I believe to be one too many outs, can’t remember. Want to say Rick Dawes but I’m in no way sure on that....”
Jeremy Fairchild, another star athlete of that era, corrected, “Colby Cook”
“Jeremy is right and I don’t think it was total number of pitches and maybe not even innings or out overall, it may have been appearances without rest.”
“Correct, appearances without rest...”
“Worst part was being on the mound with Dunn and remembering the question of his eligibility to the umps to confirmed it....overnight an overzealous TULSA writer caught the issue (that made no difference as we destroyed the team we played… “
“Agree, tried to steal it and still got ran,” added Fairchild.
The two are referring to a time when the Tigers won a game with Putnam City West, only to find out they were forced to forfeit the win for violation of pitching. So PCW was the only unbeaten. Ellett, my son Kevin and I went down the next day for what we thought would be the title game and found we had lost. But BA won the next game as Jake Remmington and Justin Dill—both freshmen-- joined Dawes, Wagner McCoy and other standouts like Andy Bruner in winning state for Coach Steve Dunn.
Broken Arrow Public Schools Athletic Department is hosting ATS HeartCheck, a comprehensive heart assessment for Broken Arrow student-athletes in middle school and high school Saturday, Aug. 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Broken Arrow High School Auxiliary gym, located on the west side of campus just north of Tiger Field House.
Cost for the screening is just $129, a discount of more than $1,300. To schedule an appointment go to ATSHeartCheck.com. If cost is an issue, further discounted pricing is available.
“ATS is providing a tremendous service by providing our student-athletes affordable and convenient testing for undetectable heart conditions,” said Lane Green, Athletic Director of Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kan. “Through the heart imaging and other tests, parents can obtain information on their child’s physical condition that can’t be achieved thru the typical pre-participation physical exams.”
Studies have shown that one in 100 youth have some form of heart defect. According to ATS HeartCheck, a student athlete suffers cardiac arrest every three days.
The ATS HeartCheck uses the most effective analytic tools to understand a heart’s condition that includes Blood Pressure, electrocardiogram (EKG), and echocardiogram (heart ultrasound), all delivered by specially trained medical professionals certified in congenital and genetic heart conditions.
Select the following link to read more ATS HeartCheck Testimonials.
Registration for ATSHeartCheck is required.
COVID -19 precautions will be taken during this event.
The sixth article in a continuing series in which Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame sportswriters Wayne Bishop and Doug Quinn look back on their time covering Broken Arrow Tiger athletics is part two of Wayne's look back at the beginning of a wrestling dynasty.
...Tom Frohnapfel’s JV teams ruled Oklahoma, winning against all odds. They even competed against varsity teams. And they provided a pipeline for new champions to replace old. The Tigers were not finishing 2nd or 3rd. They won dual state. They won regionals. And they hooked up with Choctaw for the top spot in state.
The Yellow Jackets had replaced Midwest City as king of the mountain. But now it was time for them to step aside. The last two weights were won by Tigers Scotty Douglas and Jake Harriger. That was 1998. The next year the two teams tied; then the Tigers took over. BA did it by winning in the consolations. I'll always remember the Torres twins, Steve and Rene, winning bronze and surprising everyone by reaching the medal stand. My son Kevin captured a special moment as one brother pulled for the other on the side of the mat as he won. And it was capped by Douglas, a junior, winning in overtime.
“We had several sets of twins,” said head coach Steve Dunlap. “ Rene and Steve Torres, Ryan and Randy Pattison, Chris and Marc Cline and Ricky and Bobby Reese”
Branson Phillips was on both teams, winning state twice. “Winning dual state and traditional state in 1998, and beating perennial west-side powers Choctaw, Midwest City and Del City, was definitely a highlight of my career. We had come close my freshman and sophomore years, but we just couldn’t quite beat the reigning state champions, Choctaw. They were the Goliath and we felt like David those years.
“However, Coach Dunlap and Coach (Mike) Jones had continued to push us and instill the confidence we needed to take over the reigns as the new Goliath for the state of Oklahoma. We were ready to shift the tide to the east side. But at the time, we could never have imagined the future impact we would have on the landscape of wrestling in the state. Being a part of the first east side team to win a 5A (6A now) state title in a very long time brings with it great pride. It’s a feeling and accomplishment I will never forget, and one that I still bring with me every wrestling season as a wrestling coach at BAHS.”
The tigers also dominated dual state as the trophy case grew fuller. The gold medals grew in number, as well. In the next 22 years, the tigers brought home 59 golds. They just kept refilling the rosters with championship caliber wrestlers. Brandon Tucker won four. The Phillips brothers, Branson and Neil, won 3. Branson is now a fire department official and Neil an assistant coach in football and wrestling.
Dunlap summed up that domination. “’97: 2nd Dual State and 2nd Traditional State ‘98: 1st and 1st ‘99: 1st and Co-1st with Choctaw ‘00: 1st and 1st; ‘O1: 2nd and 1st In 99 USA Today we finished 2nd in the nation, Choctaw was 3rd and MWC was 7th Also in 99 we finished as Intermat Co-National Champions with Bald Eagle Area. PA.”
he continued, “In 98 finished ranked 3rd in the nation by USA Today and Number one public school in the nation by Matside. 2000 finished ranked 7th in the nation by USA Today and 9th by Amateur Wrestling News, 2001c6th By USA Today 8th By Amateur Wrestling News, Nationally Ranked Top Ten 98, 99, 00, and 01, 2002 BA also won 1st and 1st with Steve Allen as head coach.”