Near record performances power KCKCC men to 87-76 win

Career high performances by, from left, C.J. Vallejo (37 points), Ray Ridley (15 assists) and Joe Lendway (31 points) led KCKCC to one its best performances of the season Tuesday, an 87-76 win over Wentworth Military Academy. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)
Career high performances by, from left, C.J. Vallejo (37 points), Ray Ridley (15 assists) and Joe Lendway (31 points) led KCKCC to one its best performances of the season Tuesday, an 87-76 win over Wentworth Military Academy. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins

The Blue Devils of Kansas City Kansas Community College gave coach Kelley Newton an early Christmas present Friday night.

Led by near record performances by guard Ray Ridley and forwards C.J. Vallejo and Joe Lendway, the Blue Devils turned in one of their best efforts of the season in an 87-76 victory over Wentworth Military Academy and College.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak and sends the Blue Devils into the holiday break with a 9-4 record. They return Jan. 3 for a Jayhawk Conference twin bill with Brown Mackie, the defending Division II champ.

Ridley had a career high 15 assists, just one short of the Blue Devil record of 16 held by Stan Bradley and is only the second KCKCC player to ever record 15 assists.

The big assist night was made possible by spectacular shooting nights by Vallejo and Lendway, who combined for 68 points and became the first KCKCC duo to score more than 30 points in one game.

A sophomore from Bishop Ward, Vallejo had 37 and was sensational from long range, drilling 9 of 12 three-point attempts and finishing 14-of-18 from the field while Lendway, a freshman from Lansing, was 13-of-18 in a 31-point effort. Both performances were career highs.

The Blue Devils also got a big performance from freshman guard Jeremy Holmes.

Making his first collegiate start, Holmes led in rebounds with nine and scored nine points as the Blue Devils put on a sizzling shooting display, hitting 11-of-21 from three-point (52.4 percent) and 35-of-65 from the field (.538).

Equally important was the KCKCC defense, which gave up eight three-pointers in a 42-42 first half but allowed only two more the second half.

“I was real happy, especially since we played with the four E’s – Effort, Energy, Emotion and Enthusiasm. That’s our identity,” Newton said. “Ray Ridley had an outstanding floor game, got everyone involved and is the engine that makes us go.

“I felt our shot selection was very good. C.J. Vallejo is capable of shooting the ball like that. He works on it every day. And Joe Lendway was outstanding. We’ve been after him to be more aggressive and the last seven games he’s been a concrete pillar as a freshman and got more confidence.”

Alan Hoskins is the sports information director at KCKCC.

Sutton to retire from KCKCC

Linda Sutton (KCKCC photo)
Linda Sutton (KCKCC photo)

by Kelly Rogge

A long-time Kanas City Kansas Community College employee will be saying goodbye to the Blue Devils next week as she embarks on her path to retirement.

Linda Sutton, director of student activities, has been at KCKCC since 1984. Starting in the business office, she was instrumental in helping the college to begin accepting credit cards and worked in most facets of the business office including cash disbursements, accounts payable and payroll.

In 1991, she became the coordinator of community education, a position she served in until 1999. While in this department, she helped to create the nursing continuing education program as well as the development of the Senior Citizens Computer Lab. She also started the driver education program.

“I remember one of our first students (in driver’s education) was a 50-year woman who was just learning how to drive,” she said. “She was very grateful for that class.”

In 1999, she began her role as director of student activities, including overseeing the Student Senate program as well as the 20 student clubs and organizations on campus.

As adviser for the Student Senate, the senate continues to be the most diverse Student Senate in the history of the college.

She also coaches the Academic Excellence Challenge Team, and in 2000, she proposed remodeling the game room on the KCKCC campus, which added four large windows along the hallway across from the bookstore as well as a large window along the wall of the Student Senate’s workroom.

“Even after I retire, I will still be an ambassador in the community for this college,” said Sutton, who lives in the Kansas City, Kan., community. “I am grateful to have worked at KCKCC for the last 30 years.”

Sutton has an associate in business from Northwest Mississippi Community College and a bachelor of science from Friends University. She also has a master’s of business administration from Baker University.

A native of Mississippi, she has lived in the Wyandotte County area for more than 30 years. She is a member of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church and the Kansas City, Kan., Women’s Chamber of Commerce. She is a marathon runner, participating in a number of marathons over the years include the New York Marathon.

After she retires, Sutton plans on volunteering as a coach for Girls on the Run of Greater Kansas City. Girls on the Run inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident by using a fun, experience-based curriculum, which creatively integrates running.

She said she is “very excited” to facilitate training elementary and middle school girls to run a 5k race because she has wanted to be a volunteer coach for several years now but could not because it’s an after school program and with work it has not been possible.

In addition, Sutton plans on volunteering for another after school program – Young Women on the Move.

Other retirement plans include spending more time taking ballroom dance classes as well as playing the saxophone again.

“Working in Student Activities was demanding and required a lot of time,” she said. “I plan to take time for myself and enjoy life.”
Sutton said she will miss coming to work every day and spending time with the students. She said some of her proudest moments were when former students come to visit, write or call to tell her “thank you” and recognize her impact on their lives.

“I may have had disagreements with these students, but they contact me anyway,” she said. “That is how I knew that I was making a positive impact at KCKCC.”

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

KCK student has role in K-State commencement

Stephen Kucera, senior in applied music and accounting, Kansas City, Kan., will perform the processional and the recessional at the College of Agriculture, College of Human Ecology, College of Business Administration and College of Education commencement ceremonies at Kansas State University, Manhattan.

Kucera will play the organ during the ceremonies.

The commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 13, will all take place in Bramlage coliseum on the Manhattan campus. Commencement for graduate students was held on Friday, Dec. 12.

A webcast of the commencement ceremonies will be streamed live at