Looking Back with Guest Sports Reporter Tim Komer


Looking Back and Ahead:
100th Fast Approaching

The Clinton Invitational Tournament (CIT):
Then and Now

Boys CIT: We are fast approaching the 100th year of the boys CIT tournament. Talk about tradition. It all started in 1926. This year (the 98th annual) the Cardinal boys won two out of their three games and took second. They beat P. Hill (71-55) and Skyline (83-65), losing to Lincoln (36-49), the eventual tournament Champs. A former player was wondering about the last time the Cardinal boys had scored over 70 points. I looked it up. The boys only scored over 70 points once in their last 52 games. These CIT games scoring 71 and 83 clearly shows the Cards are improving. The Lincoln Cardinals are 20-0 at this writing. Wow.
Girls CIT: The girls started in 1979. This year was the 45th annual girls tournament. The Lady Cards won the title by beating Adrian (48-28), P. Hill (64-34), and Smith-Cotton (56-36). That would be a total of 168-95. That makes the Lady Cards CIT Champions three years in a row. How about that? For the local team to get a first, and a second in the CIT made it a pretty good week to be a Clinton Cardinal.
Boys CIT History: If you like history try this. The Cardinal boys have won the tournament 20 times over the first 98 years. The Cardinal boys won the first tournament in 1926 then in ‘28. They also captured the title in ‘31, ‘32, ’33 and in ‘36. Things slowed down for them after that. The Cardinal won in 43, but their 1950 win was big as they also got third in State. In the 1950 CIT the Cards beat Warrensburg, North KC, and Maryville to win the title. The next highest winning school in CIT history is Nevada with 15 titles. The Cardinal boys latest win was in 2012 when they beat El Do 57-55.
Small School History: Interestingly there have been several small schools win this long running tournament. Calhoun won in 1934, ‘40 and ‘41. Windsor won in 1930 and in ‘44, ‘45 and ‘64. In 1945 the directors of the tournament establish a Big and Small Division. It lasted until 1963. During this time span, Calhoun won the small division in 1945 and 1962. With a certain level of sadness it has been announced the Calhoun S.D., with declining enrollment, will be an K-8 District next year. No high school. There will still be Eagles mind you, but they will be younger. Jim Raysik and others would be mad at me if I did not mention the Deepwater Demons. Get this, when there was a Small Division from 1945-63 the Demons won this division seven times. The Demons won in ‘46, ‘52, ‘56-’60. Very impressive. The Demons also no longer exist. When Lakeland was formed the Demons became Vikings. (Not a bad fit.) My friends at Montrose would want it to be known they won the CIT Small Division in 1947.
Girls CIT history: It did not start until 1979, thus they have a shorter history. Remember, the girls were thought to be ‘fragile’ until 1979 when they became, well, not ‘fragile’. Go to a girl’s wrestling match if you want proof of that. The Butler girls were the first CIT Champions, in 1979 and ‘80. Butler has not won it since. It took the Lady Cardinals a while to win a title. The Lady Cards were not Champions until 2013 adding 2015, ‘20, ‘21, and ‘22. Looking at the returning players one might think they will be able to win four in-a-row. The most successful team on the girl’s side is Nevada with seven championships. El Do, Warrensburg, and Holden are right behind with six titles each. The smallest school to win the girl’s side has been Sherwood. To be fair it should be pointed out that you have to be ‘in it to win it’. In other words, many schools come and go. Schools are often looking for closer or ‘better’ tournaments. A.D. Alex Johnson is trying hard to build this historic tournament back up. This year there were only four boys and four girls teams in the tourney. So, a round-robin format was used, no bracket.
Some CIT stars: Some of the region’s best players and teams have traveled to play in the CIT over the years. Kim Yancey (Holden), Bud Lathrop (Raytown coach), Lori Nichols (Nevada), Travis Salmon (Sherwood), Ann Schwander (Butler), Uel Snyder (Lowry City), Coaches Parker and Vanatta (Calhoun/Osceola). Don’t forget the many local stars: Don Synder, Adrian Dehn, Mia Mills, Trey Miller, and Shannon Shockley. (Just to name a few.) It will be exciting to be a part of the 99th and 100th year of this wonderful tournament. It has a full and rich history. Boy, it will be exciting to watch the Cardinals win more CIT Titles. Go Cards! Go Chiefs!