Wednesday, 20 August 2014 18:43

Newcastle Volleyball team gaining experience

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By Cody Johnson

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The Lady Racers Volleyball team played their third match of the 2014 season at Crossing Christian on Monday losing in the fifth game. 

"We play the best three out of five and went to the fifth game and lost," Head Coach Melissa Johnson said.

The Lady Racers lost the first two games by several points but came back to win the third game 25-6 and 25-17 fourth game. This took the match into the fifth and final game. 

The score was 14-15 with the Lady Racers serving the final point. Newcastle's server was called stepping over the line during her serve. This penalty gave Crossing Christian the final point they needed to win 14-16.

"In the third and fourth game we played fantastic. In the fifth game we played pretty good to win,  but you know," Johnson said, "It was bitter."

After a School Board decision last year, this is the first year Newcastle offers volleyball as a sport. This is part of Superintendent Tony O'Brien's vision to grow the school district academically and athletically according to Johnson. "He has really been a big supporter of having volleyball here."

"We are playing against teams that have played for ten years," Johnson said. "Our team 7-12 grade, we have been spending hours and hours in the summer time getting ready for volleyball because it’s the first time ever. If you went into the gym, they are doing fantastic. We have tremendous girl athletes here at Newcastle."

Each volleyball match consists of either best two out of three games or best three out of five games. Each game consists of the first team to obtain 25 points and to be ahead of their opponents by at least two points. If the match goes into the final game, the game is the first to obtain 15 points and win by two or more points ahead of their opponents. 

The Lady Racers hit the road on Thursday returning to action at Community Christian with ninth grade, junior varsity, and varsity starting at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. respectively. They will also return to Community Christian on Saturday for a tournament. 

 

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By Cody Johnson

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The Newcastle Varsity Lady Racer's Fast-pitch team lost their first head-to-head game of the 2014 season 0-8 on Monday at home against the Tuttle Tigers. 

With E. Cerny on the mound pitching the entire game, the Lady Racers looked strong on the field, but a couple two-run innings and one four-run inning left the Lady Racers behind in the fifth inning 8-0 with a run-rule finish. 

In the top of the first inning, Tuttle's first batter struck out by Cerny's pitches. The second Tiger up to bat scored a triple, which was followed up by an in the park homerun. 

Unshaken by the two scored runs, Cerny struck another batter out to put an end to the Tigers early lead. 

With the Racers up to bat in the bottom of the first, they didn't waste anytime getting on base. Crossley bunted her way on first but was forced out at second base when Vandiver bunted her way onto first. With two balls hit from Cerny and Workman to the outfield that were caught by Tigers, the Lady Racers ended the first inning 0-2. 

In the second inning, Newcastle held off Tuttle but was unable to hit any runner home. 

The third inning was when the Tigers pulled away. A single by the third Tiger batter hit two runners home and was followed by a stolen second base. A double and a single hit two more runners home before the Lady Racers were able to mount a defense, which obtained the final two outs via strikeout. 

Bottom of the third, the Lady Racers' first three batters hit a good piece of the ball but were either caught or forced out at first base. 

In the fourth inning the Tigers hit two more runners home. Trying to stage a comeback, Newcastle spent the next two innings smacking the ball, but the Tigers managed to hold off the assault, which left the Lady Racers run-ruled 0-8 at the end of the fifth inning. 

With a storm blowing in, the junior varsity Fast Pitch game, set for immediately following the varsity game, was cancelled. The Lady Racers return to action Thursday against the Purcell Lady Dragons at 5:30 p.m. in Newcastle. 

 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 17:38

2014 Pigskin Press Pass coming soon

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By Cody Johnson

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The annual Pigskin Press Pass will be available on Aug. 28 with in-depth details about the 2014 Newcastle Racers and Bridge Creek Bobcats football season. 

This year’s magazine includes insider looks at the Racer’s summer training program and camps, as well as each specific area of play. Looking to take district by storm and moving up to class 4A, the Racers will take on new opponents this year. Look at the Racers’ competition with the Pigskin Press Pass’s overview of each new school’s football history. 

The 2014 issue also includes an in-depth view of the Bridge Creek Bobcats and their well-seasoned roster. Spreading their opponents out in a shotgun offense and changing their passing to running ratios to around 60-40 the Bobcats hold a tough lineup for the 2014 season. 

With a new look and design the Pigskin Press Pass has more information about the community’s football players than ever before. Next year the magazine will expand even more to look at Blanchard’s pigskin players. 

Copies of the Pigskin Press Pass can be found at newsstands with The Newcastle Pacer or extra copies can be picked up at The Pacer office 120 NE. 2nd St. # 102.

 

 

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By Max Terrell

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Boys Basketball at Newcastle will see a shift in leadership with the hiring of new head coach Kevin Johnson, who looks to not only bring success to the athletes but also develop a new attitude for Racer Basketball.

Johnson started his coaching career at Haskell in Lawrence, Kan. as a graduate assistant after playing his college basketball there. Johnson also coached in Colorado as an assistant and spent some time in Ketchikan, Alaska as a head coach where he developed the future NBA player Damen Bell-Holter and took his team to two state championship games. 

After several other coaching jobs, Johnson landed a job at a major 5A school in Lebanon, Oregon where he helped improve the program.

Now after 20 years of coaching experience, Johnson feels at home back in Oklahoma coaching with attitude and creating a physical mindset for Racers basketball.

"I'm pretty straight forward," said Johnson. "I tell everyone; at 5'10 and a 180 pounds, there are a whole bunch of guys out there like that; so to win, you better have some sort of edge about you as a competitor that can separate you [from other players]. That's how I’ve always coached. I love my job and I love teaching kids."

Bringing a new attitude and developing the young Racers is exactly what Johnson is looking to do in his time here. He wants to develop, mature and see the athletes excel beyond what they are expected to do, he said. 

One of the biggest changes that may come from the coaching change is the way the program will work to develop the youngest players in Newcastle up to the high school athletes.

Everywhere he has coached, the program has been cultivated to teach the same basketball system from second grade, up to the high school. The new coach has already begun to talk to the Newcastle All Sports Association to bring them on board with his program to help develop the younger athletes.

Johnson is a systematic coach and believes that the younger they can get the students adjusted to the new system the more it will benefit the entire Newcastle basketball program, he said. There will also be a new focus on the transition game with the players running up and down the court and dictating the pace of the games while still putting players in the best spots to succeed. 

Johnson feels that the players have adapted well to the transition of a new coach and a whole new system during the summer, but there have been some challenges along the way.

"I think the transition has been fairly smooth," Johnson said. "I wish it would have happened a little sooner, so we could have gotten some more coaches established and got some more things for our younger kids.  

Our Freshman up have played quite a few games this summer and got some practice times in. But coming in later and not having a staff in place hurt me a little bit because I couldn’t get my seventh or sixth graders coming in."

The emphasis will be on defense with coach Johnson and will change from more zone on the court to a more man to man defense, he said. This will keep them accountable and all eleven players are expected to be responsible for their roles on the rotation. 

Johnson has an aggressive defensive mind; planning to play full court basketball and trapping constantly.

"We’re going to play full court as much as we can with the teams we can," Johnson said. "We’re going to do a lot of trapping and do a lot of jumping. We are not going to let other teams dictate the tempo on offense, and the minute that we do, someone else will be coming into the game." 

He looks for the team to not rely on one or two people but to play team basketball and get everyone involved to one day reach their goal and have the mindset of a playoff team,

"The goal is to get to the state championship, and if that’s not the goal, then we are in the wrong place," said Johnson.

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By Max Terrell 

After training hard  and competing in a regional camp in Dallas to make the cut, the Racers headed down to Indianapolis for the NFL's High School Player Development  7-on-7 Tournament.

The tournament pitted 32 teams from across the country against one another to see who was the best of the best. The teams selected represented the 32 NFL teams, with the Racers being selected to represent the Dallas Cowboys.

Newcastle took 11 players with them which include: Zach Bergt, Parker Bolles, Brady Davis, Casey Freeman, Gavin Garner, C.J. Hill, Isaac Johnson, Shane Martin, Ben Persall, Kyle Rice and Britt West. 

The Racers ended the tournament with a 4-5 record for the event. This finish comes after playing teams like Booker T. Washington who were the national high school champions last year and won this years 7-on-7 tournament. Newcastle was also one of the few teams that were all from the same school. Most of the 32 teams were hand picked from a variety of different schools and placed onto their respective NFL teams. 

The Racers won their first round in the playoffs during the tournament and made it all the way to their divisional championship where they lost to the Washington Redskins affiliated team, which had hand picked from 640 different players from the Washington area.

Newcastle Racer head football coach Keith Bolles feels that playing this level of competition has improved the players. 

"I thought, seeing the competition our kids got to see is only going to make us better for the upcoming season," Bolles said. "We saw some really good athletes. I know that obviously there are some things we need to work on and get better. I saw improvement each day we were there, and each game we played, we learned a little more. As a coach that is all you can ask for."

Of the 11 athletes brought to the tournament to compete, all eleven players improved and played well, Bolles said. 

The quarterback, Casey Freeman, and his receivers made great throws and catches all camp and it was hard to single single anyone player out during the tournament, Bolles said. In a 7-on-7 game they have to work as a group and a team.

The tournament had fierce competition and worked towards improving the athletes on the field but also to work with the athletes off the field. 

The competition has a structured focus having strict schedules and making sure the athletes were busy, he said. One of the requirements that the tournament set was that the players had to attend character development meetings. 

These meetings were conducted by former NFL players and talked about issues that many young athletes have to deal with such as maintaining high standards of character. There were also sessions about social media, which is an immediate issue students deal with daily. 

"I thought one of the most unique things [about the character development during] the second night we were there right after dinner, and they had what they called a breakout session," Bolles said. "There were 16 different rooms with two teams to each room. Each team had an NFL player and the one that stuck out to me was the session about social media and how when you post something there are repercussions later on. I think that really struck a chord with our kids."

Other ex-NFL players talked to the athletes about their mistakes such as gun problems, drugs, and the dangers of not managing one's money.

Some of the Racers themselves had positive comments to make in front of the other 500 people attending the tournament and asked questions to the ex players and were very involved, Bolles said.

 

Thursday, 17 July 2014 15:21

Racers head to NFL tournament

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By Max Terrell

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The Newcastle Racer football team has played its way into the NFL  High School Player Development (HSPD) 7-on-7 tournament.

The national tournament has been held for the last seven years and has evolved since the first tournament in 2007. 

The tournament places 32 teams from different regions of the country in competition against one another with each team representing one of the 32 NFL teams. This year Newcastle will be representing the Dallas Cowboys. 

To qualify for the tournament, the team had to make its way down to Dallas and compete against a variety of other teams for the chance to represent the Cowboys. Each team in the 7-on-7 tournament can consist of 12 players and two coaches with seven players on the field. 

Representing the Racers are: Zach Bergt, Parker Bolles, Brady Davis, Casey Freeman, Gavin Garner, C.J. Hill, Isaac Johnson, Shane Martin, Ben Persall, Kyle Rice, Britt West.

The tournament looks to help improve the skill set of the football players involved, and while it is a tournament format it is also a camp instead of just a tournament, Racer Head Coach Keith Bolles said.

This particular camp is not just about football. According to the NFL's official website, while the Racers will have the chance to compete against some of the best athletes in the country, the students will also be required to attend character development training. These training sessions will involve speakers, breakout sessions, and group activities in hopes of teaching the athletes from around the country about character and structure. 

"I love the character development,"  Bolles said. "They will get to hear a lot of stories from different guys. If all 12 guys going to the camp take those lessons in then it will spread through the entire program."

Before heading to the 7-on-7 camp, the Racers spent a weekend at the football camp at Oklahoma Baptist University to focus on improving for the upcoming football season, Bolles said. 

While the Racers and the coaches are keeping focused on the upcoming season that sees the Racers moving up to 4A competition, the athletes and the coaches are excited for the chance to play in the NFL and National Guard sponsored tournament. 

"That's a great opportunity for them," Bolles said. "They competed hard to get in and are looking forward to the trip."

Be sure to pick up next week's Pacer for a follow-up.

 

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Written by Max Terrell and posted to the website by Ryan Croft.

 

Q: How did you first get into buying Anytime Fitness gyms?

Well, I started buying under-performing clubs and started to turn the gyms around. There are two awards that the Anytime franchises give out each year. One is the Turn Around Club of The Year for the most improved club, which we have one.

Q: When did you purchase your first Anytime Fitness?

A: I purchased my first Anytime Fitness a little over four years ago. Now we have 14 different locations.

Q: Why did you decide to buy the Anytime Fitness in Newcastle?

A: Newcastle has a great demographic and it’s a great town. I wanted to bring a first-class facility with new equipment for people. Our treadmills, for example, all have flat screen TVs. So, you can plug your headphones in and watch some Sports Center or anything else while you are getting a workout in.

Q: How important is health and fitness to you?

A: It’s very important. The thing that’s great about Anytime Fitness is that it is a gym for anyone. Everyone can come in and work out and feel comfortable. Someone can come in and workout for thirty minutes and leave feeling good about themselves. To be able to do something like this that I totally believe in is rewarding.

Q: What sports did you participate in when you were younger?

Well, I was a collegiate athlete. I played tennis in college, and I played professional tennis for a little while. I also coached tennis at one point.

 

Thursday, 26 June 2014 22:03

Batter up

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 Former Racer makes it to the big leagues.

Story written by Max Terrell and posted to the website by Ryan Croft.

The Houston Astros drafted former Newcastle Racer Dean Deetz Saturday, June 7, in round 11 of the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft.

Various major league draft websites and analysts ranked Deetz as a top 200 player in the country coming into draft day.

He suffered an ulnar collateral ligament injury (UCL) that made him miss the 2013 season after requiring Tommy John's surgery. Tommy John's surgery is a procedure that replaces the UCL with a tendon from another part of the body.

"It was hard coming off surgery," Deetz said. "I pushed myself everyday so that I could eventually make my dream come true and play professionally."

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Wednesday, 07 May 2014 16:10

Racers soccer season ends

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The Newcastle Racers soccer team played its final game of the season Tuesday night against the Woodward Boomers.

The Racers lost to Woodward, 0-2, in the first round of the  class 4-A state championship playoffs.

“The boys played extremely hard the entire match, leaving everything on the field,” head coach Dale Berglan said in a written statement to the Pacer. “We could just never get it going in the right direction. It was one of those nights when nothing went right for us as a whole.”

The Racers finished the season with an overall 9-4 record.

“It was a great season,” Berglan said.

The Racers start back to practice in January 2015 and regular season play begins March 1.

The team will lose a few starting seniors to graduation but Berglan is looking forward to seeing the young kids step up and carry on the sense of teamwork and selflessness the Racers established this season, he said.

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The Newcastle Racers baseball team beat the 10th-ranked Harrah Panthers Saturday to be third in the overall season rankings with a 19-8 record.

The boys will play Classen School of Advanced Studies in the district competition.

“I expect us to win,” Racers baseball coach Mike Crosley said. “Classen is not the strongest of teams and we shouldn’t have any problem with them.”

The team’s play has improved but its defense will need to be more consistent to make it to regionals, Crosley said.

At times we can really swing it well, he said. We’re showing signs of being a really good ball club but, at times, we’re our own worst enemies.

The girl’s softball team lost its final district game Thursday to Little Axe, finishing 14-20 for the season.

“The loss in the 5th game of districts was very disappointing,” softball coach Byron Mooney said in a written statement to the Pacer. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t hit the ball very well or score many runs.”

The Lady Racers were 4-2 early in the season, before sliding into a 12-game losing streak.

The team regained some of its momentum later in the season, going on to win the White bracket championship in the Harrah Tournament.

Playing consistently well was the main problem and it is what the team will work to improve in the future, Mooney said.

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