Ashland residents find joy after a rough week

Ashland Pride was strong in Dodge City Thursday night

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – A bit of fun for Ashland after a rough week.

“With everything that’s going on right now, it would really mean a lot for us to bring home a state championship,” said Ashland resident Gage Gardiner.

Ashland High School competed in the 1A Division II state quarter finals today.

Cheerleader Charlie Gibson lost her home in the fire and was grateful for the chance to unwind.

“It’s just a way to kind of get away from it for just a little bit and go support someone else and have a little bit of a change of scenery and then we can come back and kind of regroup,” she said.

She’s not the only one. The team’s coach is a Clark County rancher who lost most of his land and a third of his cattle.

“This community is going to bond together and help each other out through this adversity,” said coach Garth Gardiner.

It’s a feeling shared by area residents who went to Dodge City for the game.

“Traumatic, it’s been, but healing, too,” said Protection resident and Ashland fan Kim Hazen. “Tonight is the healing time.”

“They’re representing our community,” said Jamie Wetig, Ashland Public Schools Superintendent. “It’s an opportunity for them to play for more than just the state championship.”

Win or lose, Gardiner is proud of his team.

“I love every one of them like they’re my own kid and I wouldn’t trade them for anybody in the world.”

He says it will take years for them to heal, but for today, at least, they were able to relax.

Unfortunately for Ashland, their team did not win. They lost to Wallace County. Despite the loss, the community is happy for the chance to rally together and support their players.

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