Effort, consensus forged BLHS advance
Looking for proof of the renaissance of Basehor-Linwood athletics? The 2006-2007 Kaw Valley League Athletics Department of the Year award saw BLHS jump to fourth in the conference after a ninth-place finish last season. The competition combines schools' final standing in each sport into a final ranking.
"I am just ecstatic," said Basehor-Linwood Athletic Director Joe Keeler. "Everyone has bought into what we are trying to do and that's from the athletes to the coaches. I would say it was a collective effort. The coaches worked very hard, the athletes really bought into the programs, and the strength and conditioning definitely was a big factor for us."
Keeler said it took more than the people within the school's walls to improve BLHS athletics.
"The players and coaches have worked exceedingly hard," Keeler said. "All groups have bought into the system. That includes the parents. The parents have been really supportive of what we are trying to do with our programs. They have made sure our student-athletes could be here and attend. That is a big effort on their part because we have a lot of young kids in here and they make arrangements to get them here."
Softball coach Susan Mayberry can see reasons for the improvement in the student body.
"We've had an explosion of talented kids who are coachable," Mayberry said.You can tell by walking around the halls and watching the kids interact and by having the kids in class.hey care about whatever the task is that they are doing.hat carries over to the playing field."
The Chieftain and its sister newspapers established the league competition during the 2003-2004 season.
Mill Valley won the crown again this year, finishing with 114 points. The Jaguars have won it every year since the competitions inception.
Tonganoxie grabbed second place, finishing with 102 points. Lansing took third with 90 points. The Lions have finished in second place every other year of the competition.
BLHS logged 89 points, a point out of third place. The Bobcats finished sixth the year before last.
"I think the kids know about it and they are proud of it, but they want to set the bar higher and shoot for an even higher finish," Keeler said. "It is a very positive thing for our school."
The Bobcats jump can be largely attributed to the four league championships the school won this year, taking the title in boys basketball, cross country, softball and golf. The school had never won four league titles in a single season before.
"I think the big reason for this success is the kids," golf coach Chad Harvey said."We have provided some opportunities in the weight room that kids are really taking advantage of.ur coaching staff in the entire athletic department has been amazing.We work together so well, supporting not just our kids in our sports, but all kids in all sports.When kids see all the coaches supporting them, it motivates them to succeed.hey know the work they are doing is not going unnoticed."
Rounding out the standings were Piper and Santa Fe Trail tied for fifth place with a score of 75, Bonner Springs in seventh with 66 points, Bishop Ward claiming eighth with 62 points, Perry-Lecompton at No. 9 with 60 points, and Immaculata last in the Kaw Valley league with 29 points. This was the Raiders' third consecutive No. 10 finish.
Could the Bobcats ever contend for first place in the competition?
"Absolutely," Keeler said. "I think that's what we aspire to be, and that is our goal. With the work ethic, one of the things we are trying to focus on is an athletic department where we all work together and all the coaches work together. No program within that department is more important than the other and we all work together. The kids take a lot of pride in that and that is definitely a goal that we have. That is something that with hard work is within reach. We should be able to put out a competitive product for quite some time. I think the future looks bright. Our goal is to keep it going."