By Staff          

            MOUNDRIDIGE – As the Moundridge Wildcat boys prep for a trip to the Class 2A State Basketball Tournament in Manhattan it would seem past experiences could help this trip as three Wildcats have family connections to previous Moundridge athletes and head coach Vance Unrau has been there before.

            With the possibly being the final season as head coach of the Wildcats, it seems fitting that coach Unrau is getting his 10th opportunity to make a run for a state title, something he has accomplished five times previously. Moundridge only had three state tournament appearances before coach Unrau took the bench.

(Coach Mychael Tripp, Head Coach Vance Unrau, Coach Courtney Moddelmog)

            Finishing up his 36th season leading the Wildcats, Unrau won the state title four years running from 1990-1993 before returning to win again in 1997. In 1989 he coached the team to a second-place finish while taking third in 2013 after losing out in the first round of both 2004 and 2012.

            Unrau has won 563 games as the Moundridge coach while losing just 261, and the boys have given him an opportunity to win a few more.

            It is not only familiar territory for coach Unrau, it is also familiar territory for family members of Wildcat players Landon Kaufman, Logan Churchill, and Barrett Moddelmog.

            Kaufman’s dad, Steve Kaufman, played for and won a pair of state titles with coach Unrau as a player before graduating in 1991.

            Barrett Moddelmog’s dad, Courtney Moddelmog also played for and won a pair of state titles with coach Unrau before graduating in 1993. Courtney Moddelmog now serves as an assistant coach for the Wildcats.

            Logan Churchill has two uncles, Brian Holloway and Jacy Holloway who are infamous as Wildcat players. Uncle Brian won a state title with coach Unrau before graduating in 1990 and has served as the Wildcat track and field coach for several seasons. Uncle Jacy was a high school all-american while helping coach Unrau win three titles in the early 1990’s before going on to make all-Big Eight and All-American honors during a four-year career at Iowa State.

            Overall the 2022-23 Wildcats have made it to the state tournament with a 20-3 record after winning the Heart of American League championship with an 8-1 mark.

            In their sub-state, Moundridge advanced through a gauntlet of teams that included four of the top ten ranked teams in Class 2A at the time, while also having to beat Inman for the third time this season in the semi-finals followed by a win over sub-state host Sterling for the second time this season in the finals.

(Landon Kaufman)

            The Wildcats will be led by Landon Kaufman, their six-foot senior point guard who is averaging 12.7 points and 9.2 assists per game. He will be joined by six-foot-seven senior guard/forward Logan Churchill who is a force in the pain averaging 5.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game to go with 14.6 points.

            Two sophomores rose to the top of the list as well in 2022-23 as six-foot-three Barrett Moddelmog, the one they all call ‘Bear’, led the team in scoring from his guard/forward position with 15.8 points per game while grabbing 5.5 rebounds as well. He teams up with six-foot-two Henry Hecox, a guard who consistently gave the team 8.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per outing.

            Other players who have provided solid team and individual efforts that will be counted on at the state tournament are senior and fifth starter, Alec Huddle, and freshman Layton Schmidt.

            As the third seed in the tournament, the Wildcats will open the Class 2A State Tournament Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan against sixth seeded St. Marys (16-7).

(The Staff covering events for the MAC AREA SPORTS NEW can be reached by email at crossdovewriter@gmail.com)