WASHINGTON — In the bag Washington girls coach Rocky Clarke carries around with him is a laminated copy of the Class 3A girls state tournament forecast put forth by the state’s largest newspaper.
In it, The Oklahoman’s three high school writers — Scott Wright, Jacob Unruh and Trent Shadid — all pick Adair (26-1) to claim the gold ball.
“(Adair’s) only loss was to Norman North, a 6A state tournament team,” wrote Wright. “It’s hard to envision any 3A team taking them down.”
Maybe Clark wouldn’t have it any other way. Motivation and all that. Still, it doesn’t mean he has to like it.
“They don’t even think we have a shot,” he said. “So, more power to them.”
In the men’s college game, unbeaten Wichita State continues to be ranked second to twice-beaten Florida, with the Gators receiving 50 of 65 first-place votes.
Yet, among Class 3A girls coaches, the unbeaten Warriors (29-0) remain stuck in third, also back of No. 2 Alva (25-2), which has suffered losses to Heritage Hall and Fairview.
“We started the year out ninth and we’ve moved up every once in a while,” said Clarke, who previously took Washington to 11 straight state tourneys through the 2010 season. “When we were 13-0 we moved up to seven or something. Then we were four for quite a few weeks. And in the last ranking, we went to three.”
Forgive the Warriors for playing their Rodney Dangerfield card, for they feel like they’ve been here before.
Last fall, while most of Clarke’s players were playing Warrior softball, Washington entered the state fast-pitch tournament ranked No. 3, only to walk away a champion.
“That’s been a huge motivation all season. We’ve kind of been overlooked by them,” junior starter Dagan Lampkin said of the coaches’ poll. “Everbody says we’re undefeated because of our schedule, but nobody who’s said that has come and watched us.”