The year in area sports in 2018 saw the crowning of not one, but two state team championships.

These are among the top stories of the year for the area.

Newton girls’ track wins third straight title:

The Railers topped St. James Academy 87-76 to claim the three-peat, while Pittsburg was close behind with 70 points. The sole events won by the Railers was the 4x100-meter relay team of Myriah Nicholson, Kalli Anderson, Taylor Antonowich and Savannah Simmons in 47.81 seconds; and Maggie Remsberg in the 100-meter high hurdles, but Newton claimed 10 other medals.

Halstead boys win state basketball title:

The Halstead Dragons are one of the winningest programs in Class 3A and added another title in 2018.

The Dragons finished 23-2 last season. After winning the sub-state title, Halstead topped Caney Valley 65-63 in the quarterfinals, top-ranked Maur Hill-Mount Academy 63-51 in the semifinals and second-ranked Phillipsburg 44-43 in the championship game at the Hutchinson Sports Arena on a Braden Gerber layup at the buzzer. Senior Kason O’Neal was named first-team All-State by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association.

Complete turnover of Newton basketball coaches:

At the end of the 2017-18 season, longtime NHS girls’ basketball coach Randy Jordan retired after leading the team to a state title and numerous other league and sub-state titles, while boys’ coach Andy Hill left to take the head coaching position at Wichita Northwest.

Former Newton coach Andy Preston returned for his second tenure with the boys’ team, while former Newton and Halstead assistant Justin Schneider was named the girls’ coach for his first head-coaching assignment. Going into the break, the Railer girls are 4-2, while the Railer boys are 2-4.

Harrison takes over as Bethel football coach:

After three seasons, Bethel College football coach Morris Lolar resigned after a 7-23 record, which matches the wins of the previous three coaches combined. Lolar currently serves as the head coach of the Wichita Force indoor pro football team.

Wichita Heights coach Terry Harrison was tabbed to take over the Threshers in his first head coaching position. Bethel finished the season 3-7, dropping three games by less than a touchdown.

Rebels return to NBC World Series:

The Newton Rebels summer college team finished a middling 8-23 in Kansas Collegiate League play, but rallied to take third at the National Baseball Congress qualifying tournament to claim a berth in the NBC World Series.

Newton finished 2-1 in the series. Only an 8-2 loss to the former league rival Kansas Cannons kept the Rebels out of a first-week playoff spot. Pitcher Zach Bravo was named an NBC All-American.

Bethel women’s basketball team gets off to best start in team history:

The husband and wife team of Drew and Nicole Johnson took control of the BC women’s program just two seasons ago. In the first season of play, Bethel finished 12-18, an improvement of eight wins from the previous season. Then freshman Abby Schmidt broke the team’s single-season rebounding record.

In the current season, Bethel got off to an 8-0 start, breaking a school record. The Threshers had an 11-game winning streak overall. Bethel enters the break 10-4 with three of those losses coming to team either ranked or receiving votes in NAIA Division II.

Hesston girls take second at 3-2-1A state tennis:

The Hesston Swather girls’ tennis team is no stranger to post-season podium finishes and 2018 was no exception.

Kansas City Christian edged Hesston 40-34 for the team title. Kylie Martin, a senior, and Michaela Martin, a sophomore, won the doubles title in straight sets over Juliet Bartels and Emily Arnold of Kansas City Christian. Junior Halle Krehbiel took fourth in singles play.

Berean Academy girls take second at 1A state cross country:

Another team with its fair share of podium finishes is the Berean Academy girls’ cross country team. Dropping down to Class 1A this year, the Warriors fell to Lincoln 16-41 in the state meet. Medals went to Erin Topham (fifth), Brooke Wiebe (sixth) and Mallory Wiebe (11th).

Moundridge volleyball team takes third at 1A state:

The Moundridge Wildcats have had numerous state trophies, but none in recent years.

Dropping down to Class 1A, the Wildcats finished the season 33-12, beating 38-1 Argonia in three sets in the sub-state finals.

Moundridge went 2-1 in state pool play. After a three-set loss to top-ranked and eventual stats champs Centralia in the semifinals, Moundridge topped Olpe in three sets to take third place.

Senior Knights tie for third at Legion State:

The Newton Senior Knights American Legion Baseball team finished the regular season 18-14. Newton then finished 2-1 in zone play to take second and qualify for the Class AAA State Tournament in Emporia.

Newton lost its opening game to eventual state champion Salina 14-0 in the first round of pool play, but topped Pittsburg 4-3 and got a forfeit win against Leavenworth, which didn’t have enough players to field a team. In the semfinals, Newton was edged by Nickerson 5-4 in the semifinals to tie for third place.

Baseball field upgrades:

For a number of years, Klein-Scott Field in Newton was known for one of the best natural-grass playing surfaces in the area, but the amenities for fans were not always the best.

At the end of the summer of 2017, the press box/storage room was knocked down and replaced with a new, expanded facility that included rest rooms and an area for a concession stand.

At the end of last summer, the remaining stands were knocked down and are in the process of being replaced.

The facility is the current home of the Newton High School baseball team, along with the Newton Rebels college summer team and Newton Post 2 Junior and Senior Knights American Legion teams.

Sand Creek Station gets pro tournament:

The Sand Creek Station golf course has hosted numerous amateur tournaments, including the state men’s stroke play championships, college national and conference tournaments and high school tournaments.

The course previously hosted one-round qualifiers for the Wichita Open of the PGA’s Tour.

Now the course will host a full pro tournament when it hosts the Sand Creek Station Championships May 6 to 11 as part of the All Pro Tour, a third-tier regional tour that ranks just behind the PGA and tours. The tournament will have a field of 144 players vying for a $125,000 purse.

Newton Kansan

2018 Athletes of the Year

(As selected by Kansan sports editor Mark Schnabel)

College men — Logan Treaster, wrestling, U.S. Naval Academy (Newton High grad)

College women — Taylor Stahly, basketball, Louisiana Tech (Newton High grad)

Prep girls — Maggie Remsberg, track, volleyball, Newton

Prep boys — Wyatt Hendrickson, wrestling, Newton

Coaches of the year

Prep girls — Tad Remsberg, track, Newton

Prep boys — Lonnie Lolar, basketball, Halstead

College women — Drew Johnson, basketball, Bethel College

College men — Terry Harrison, football, Bethel College