Winfield Vikings

Clippings, Winfield Sports History

Winfield Daily Courier,

Feb. 16, 1929

Grade Pupils
See Vike's Play

Winfield high school, playing before the eyes and plaudits of nearly a thousand grade school youngsters, romped to an easy victory over Kingman, 68 to 8, in a Ark Valley League game here Friday night.

The graders of city and country were special guests of the evening and turned out in large numbers. Their lusty cheering for the home team was a feature of the game. No matter how high the score mounted their enthusiasm did not fail. Every goal brought a shriek of approval from the youngsters, always the most rabid of partisans.

As to the game, it was all Winfield. Coach Martin's squad was somewhat weakened by ineligibility but the team carried on. There was some bad passing. Allen Fink had a bad night under the goals, but on the whole Winfield played good enough ball. The score was 9-0 at the end of the first quarter, 25-3 at the half, 48-5 at the end of the third period.

Capt. Earnest Schmidt had a busy night, making a total of 31 points. He got 14 field goals and 3 free points. Bruce was also in form and got 19 points. Fink, who had plenty of shots close under the goals, made three of them good.

A pair of young forwards, Kindt and Chet Hamm, got into the game and each caged a field goal. Gerald Whitson, the only player who failed to score from the field, had hard luck, the ball hopping out for him on two or three occasions.



Gilliland's Publishing Arkansas City, Kansas 1975


To say that sports are important in the building of pride and spirit in a community has become almost commonplace. However, the words "pride" and "spirit" are more than mere clichés to anyone in the Winfield area who, on an historic March day in 1940, walked or peddled or drove out to the north bridge to welcome home a triumphant tri of returning Winfield basketball teams, each of whom had just won a major tournament. St. John's College had won the Lutheran National Tournament; Southwestern College had copped the National association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament; and Winfield High School had just taken first in the Kansas State High School Tournament. It was on that cold March day that many citizens felt the real meaning and warmth of pride that come so often with victory. Hundreds of cheering fans warmed themselves further by following the three police-escorted flat-bed trucks that carried the conquering heroes back to Memorial Park for a ceremony -- a ceremony that will always rekindle the glow of pride for all who were there.

The warm glow of pride is reflected, too, in community records that tell of the fine achievements of baseball and football teams as early as the 1890's. And basketball became a proud fixture in Winfield High School shortly after the turn of the century when Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game, introduced it to the Winfield community via the Chautauqua assembly.

In football, 1913 marked the year Southwester enjoyed a championship season. Later, in 1919, Winfield High School won the Ark Valley League basketball championship and its first state championship.

During the twenties, "the golden age of athletics" according to the Courier, the city was proud of its many unbeaten football teams, championship basketball teams, and the undefeated track squads. It was in 1920 that the high school went undefeated through the Valley and state meet, losing only to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 21-20 in the national tournament. It was also during the "roaring twenties" that the Winfield High School tennis teams started their winning tradition. In 1927, 1928, and 1929 the Vikings won state championships in basketball. During the decade, too, the high school won four stat championships in track and field. During the same years St. John's College started its great tradition of winning baseball teams.

From the standpoint of producing fine teams and fine athletes, then, the teens and the twenties were truly rich for Winfielder's. But who were the coaches of those championship teams? Anyone who lived through those glory days in Winfield will never forget these fine builders of men: Bonny Reber, football coach in the high school; Principal Will French, renowned educator and basketball coach; Bill Martin, basketball coach of the three championship teams in the high school; the legendary T. H. "Curley" Vaughan, whose 1922 team won the state tennis championship; Ed "Lefty Schmidt, coach of all sports at St. John's; and Bill Clapp, coach of Southwestern football in 1913.

If the decade of the twenties made up the "golden age of athletics" in the Walnut Valley area, the thirties and forties were at least as lustrous. Mention has already been made of the triumphant trio of schools in 1940, a very bright year. In addition, Winfield High School won the state basketball championship the preceding year of 1939. Also, the high school produced two state champion runners-up during these years, in 1935 and in 1942. And, as usual, T. H. Vaughan's tennis teams won ten state championships during these years.

St. John's in 1931, fielded one of its best of many fine baseball clubs, winning over many large four-year colleges; and in 1945 the Johnnies won twelve of thirteen games played. The St. John's basketball team, in addition to the great triumph in 1940, won the All Lutheran Concordia Tournament in 1937.

Southwestern basketball teams won or tied five Central Intercollegiate Conference championships during these decades. In addition, of course, they won the nationals in 1940. In football, the Southwestern Mound builders won the conference in 1946, fielding a team that many contend was the best of all time. (which included Joe Vann, Viking Coach in 1957).

Note: Ogrosky back far left, Bill Powers, back far right.
The one dark blot on this era of sports was the tragic death of Ed Ogrosky,
previously a star football player for Winfield High School. Ed died from the results of an injury received while playing for Southwestern. His death nearly spelled the termination of football in the Winfield area, and it was many years after the thirties that the football program finally regained its lost momentum.

The thirties and forties, though, in spite of tragedy and the Depression, produced a lot of pride and spirit in the community, and Winfielder's generally give much credit to several great coaches who worked in that era: O. C. Thomas, successful and famous basketball coach at Winfield High School; Ralph Titus, teacher and coach of some track record holders in high school; Frank Lankenau and Obert Druger, wining baseball coaches at St. John's; Dan Kahler, football coach at Southwestern; and Bill Monypeny, outstanding basketball coach and longtime dean at Southwestern.

Pride and proficiency in athletics did not diminish through the decades of the fifties and sixties, nor have they faded during the seventies, Southwestern, for example, fielded football teams that had championship seasons in 1964, 1967, and 1968. Its basket ball record boasts of championship seasons in 1963, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, and 1974. The golf team from Southwestern added a conference championship in 1973.

In high school competition, Winfield's Vikings captured the incredible number of nineteen championships in tennis from 1950 through 1973. In 1974 the girls got into the act by winning the state doubles championship. In 1972 the high school baseball team won the state championship. The basketball branch of the Viking clan won the state championship in 1974 and was welcomed home with as much zeal as the 1940 champions. To add to all the ear's championships, the Viking cross-country team won consecutive state championships in 1973 and 1974. And in 1958 the Viking football team recovered the lost gridiron fortunes by tying for the Valley championship.

At St. John's the winning tradition was held up by the soccer team, winning its sixth regional championship and the PJCC title in 1974.

The coaches involved in and responsible for so many area victories since 1959 are: genial Joe Vann, former football coach and present athletic director at Winfield High School; Jim Reed, taking up the tennis reins from Curley Vaughan; Dave Warren and Curtis Miller, baseball coaches of the 1972 team, Trudy Lewis, girls tennis coach; Jim Helmer, successful young coach of cross-country; and heroic Ray Nichols. coach of the 1974 basketball champions.

Not until we can look back through the history of athletics in the Walnut Valley, a sketch history that has necessarily been written to include only team highlights, can we indeed discover whit "pride" and "spirit" are more that mere words. But we really don't feel the true meaning of the words until we remember and think about our own favorite individual athletes that have come and gone through the years, some of whose names appear in college and professional halls of fame.

Neither do we really understand pride and spirit until we understand that the real lessons of good sportsmanship, citizenship, and Christian principles are not learned primarily by winning. Rather, let us remember that most of the significant lessons from athletics have been learned in the agony of defeat. For it is from many of our so-called "defeated" teams that have come the winners of the "long run." While it is thrilling and beneficial to win, it is also thrilling and beneficial to remember that many of the last shall be among the first.

At Southwestern the notable mentors of recent decades have been: the late Bob Hower, athletic director and coach of basketball; Bill Stephens, present athletic director and coach of basketball; hard working Bob Karr, whose track teams won several conference titles, and Harold "Bud" Elliot, who is now coaching in university circles. And at St. John's Tom Nahnsen coached a championship soccer team.

(update from Scott Davis)
Harold "Bud" Elliot, 73, Protales, New Mexico, passed away November 1, 2005 at the Lubbock Heart Hospital, Lubbock, Texas. A memorial service was held Monday, November 7, 2005 at the Eastern New Mexico University Campus Ballroom.

Football Champions 1923, McQuerrey, Coach.

Varsity Track 1930-31, Ralph Titus, Coach.

State Basketball Champions -- 1940, Ollie Thomas, Coach.

Junior High Basketball, Ralph Titus Coach.

Curley Vaughn teaching a young Winfieldite (Karl Hassard) how to hold a tennis racket.

Curley Vaughn getting congratulations at his retirement dinner. (from Denny Splane

Lucien Barbour instructs Roger Coad, Chris Williams and Olin Tucker.

Ollie Thomas is known as "Mr. Basketball" of Winfield. He is a long time coach and teacher at Winfield High School, having been there from 1929 to 1952.

Four of his basketball were state champions. Ollie is one of the best known coaches in Kansas.


Coaches Hiebert, Vann and Everhart.

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