Honors continue to roll in for LHS soccer players
The Lansing High boys soccer team was one of the strongest squads in Class 5A this year, and it was rewarded for its successful season by placing four players on the Kansas Soccer Coaches Association All-State teams.
Senior midfielder Mike Bayless was a first-team selection. Senior forwards Brad Mock and Ty Thackston and junior goalkeeper Alex Burton garnered second-team honors. All four also landed on the Central Region team.
Bayless, a team captain, was Lansing's most dangerous midfielder , scoring 14 goals and dishing out 15 assists this season.
"He's a guy that was able to control the midfield and allowed us to do the things that we wanted to do," LHS coach Randy Brown said. "He allowed us to really control the tempo of the game. It's nice to see other teams recognize him for doing that."
Mock and Thackston were the most lethal scoring duo this fall in the Kaw Valley League. They scored 23 goals apiece and had numerous multi-goal contests while guiding LHS to a 16-3 record.
"There were only four forwards on the Central Region, and two of them were Brad and Ty," Brown said. "Out of all of the 5A schools in the Central Region, half of the forwards were from Lansing. That's unbelievable."
As for Burton, Brown said the recognition was pretty remarkable considering the amount of risk the Lions took on defense this year. Most of the time they played with three defenders, rather than four, so they could be more aggressive offensively. Despite playing a man down in the back, Burton delivered nine shutouts and allowed just 17 goals in 19 games.
"With our offense, I thought some people might forget about our defense," Brown said. "But one of the reasons we were able to do so well on offense was that we were able to take some risks back there because our goalkeeper was so good."
In addition to Bayless, Burton, Mock and Thackston, senior defender Theo Daniels and junior forward Andy Dick also earned Central Region recognition as honorable mention selections. Daniels, a team captain, helped anchor the defense. Dick scored 14 goals and had seven assists this fall.
Brown said the program never before had placed six players on the All-Region team. He said the recognition for his players was especially nice considering many of the coaches who voted never actually saw Lansing play. Instead, they had to vote based on the reputation the program earned during the course of the season.
"We were competing against a bunch of 5A schools like Salina Central and Shawnee Heights," Brown said. "Most of the people don't know us and we don't know them because we don't play many of them."
As pleased as Brown was to see his players honored for their on-the-field accomplishments, he said he was most satisfied to have two players - Daniels and senior midfielder Shawn Jung - honored as academic All-Americans. Only seniors are eligible for the honor.
To be eligible for academic All-American status, players have to participate in at least 75 percent of the varsity games and have a grade-point-average of 3.25 or above for their high school career. Daniels was named a distinguished All-American for having a G.P.A. between 3.25 and 3.75. Jung was named to the first-team because he has a 4.0 cumulative G.P.A.
"As much as these players do on the field, it's still all about the academics," Brown said. "To be able to have some folks on our team doing really well on their academics and to be recognized for it, that's just great."