Conway High athletics gives city a year to remember

by Donna Lampkin Stephens

Conway has been among the elite high school athletic programs in the state for some time, but spring 2011 proved it to be the best of the best.

The Wampus Cats and Lady Cats combined for three state championships — wrestling in February and baseball and girls soccer within 24 hours in May. Conway won the Class 7A-Central all-sports title for the 2010-11 school year.

“I’ve been here 20 years, and I can’t remember winning three state championships,” said Steve Daniels, the first-year CHS athletic director. “We had good years in everything. Football had a great year; volleyball won the conference championship again; our basketball teams — the boys ended up the No. 1 seed from our conference, and the girls had a good year with the new coach (Ashley Nance).

“Our swimming and diving team didn’t get a lot of recognition, but boys and girls finished state runner-up. So we had a great year.”

In the conference all-sports competition, Conway finished with 40 points to runner-up Bryant’s 57. And the Wampus Cats didn’t get to claim wrestling or swimming and diving because all schools in the conference don’t field those sports.

Fall sports included:

Golf (Lady Cats won the 7A-Central conference and finished runner-up in state; Wampus Cats third in conference and fourth in state);

Tennis (7-1 overall record);

Volleyball (14-0 conference, 19-6 overall, conference champs, state quarterfinals);

Cross country (boys and girls fourth in state);

Football (9-2, conference champs, state quarterfinals).

Spring sports included:

Wrestling (30-4 overall, 21-0 in conference, conference and state champs);

Bowling (girls state runner-up; boys fourth in state);

Swimming (girls 8-1 overall, regional champs, state runner-up; boys 7-2 overall, regional champs, state runner-up);

Basketball (girls 21-7, state quarterfinals; boys 19-8, conference runner-up, state quarterfinals);

Baseball (25-7 overall, conference runner-up, state champs);

Softball (the Lady Cats, normally conference and state contenders, had an off year of 7-18);

Soccer (boys 8-12; girls 22-0, conference and state champs);

Track (girls fourth in conference; boys conference champs, third in state).

Obviously, Daniels’ debut year as athletic director was one to remember.

“Pretty good way to come in,” he said, chuckling. “It’s been wonderful. Our fans and our community have obviously been great. Conway’s always been a sports town anyway and has really backed its programs. The coaches have done a fantastic job. Our administration has been wonderful, too, the teachers, (superintendent) Dr. (Greg) Murry.

“It takes everybody doing it, but everybody’s on board and does a fantastic job. It’s been a good year, a fun year.”