Bonner Springs junior cracks all-KVL soccer squad
First season of girls soccer at BSHS wraps up with all-Kaw Valley League honor for team leader
During her first two years of high school the arrival of the spring sports season meant one thing for BSHS junior Alyssa Kelly -- time to break out the hurdles.
This year, however, all of that changed.
In addition to juggling track practice with her two jobs, homework and social life, Kelly was forced to find a way to squeeze soccer practice into her busy schedule. No problem.
Soccer is Kelly's first love. She spent the last two seasons playing on the boys' team in the fall and was one of the team leaders in the school's first attempt at fielding a squad for the girls.
Instead of abandoning the progress she made on the track, Kelly -- like many other girls -- attempted to play for both teams this spring.
"It was a dilemma but my first priority has always been soccer," Kelly said. "It's pretty hard multi-tasking, but I love them both so much and I want to do them both."
So much for sleeping.
Although the first season of girls soccer in school history yielded just one victory -- 1-0 win over Ottawa in early April -- it also brought with it special recognition for Kelly.
When the Kaw Valley League released its postseason honors earlier this month, Kelly found her name on the list. Midway down, just after the six players from the league's top three teams filled up the first team, Kelly's name led off the second-team honors.
"In my opinion, this honor was well-deserved," BSHS coach Jimmy Vogel said. "After every game, no matter who we played, people came up to me and talked about what a great player Alyssa was."
In addition to the recognition being a good thing for Kelly, Vogel said it was nice for the young program.
"I think it's huge having a player on the all-league team in our first year," he said. "Players don't just get on there. They have to earn it."
The arrival of girls soccer made quite an impact on the rest of BSHS's spring sports programs.
Swimming, softball and track, the three programs that field girls teams in the spring, all lost athletes to the newest sport in the school's lineup. But the other coaches found it in their hearts to deal with the new addition.
BSHS track coach Jim Mitchell said he lost two or three girls from his track team and that a few others were willing to try both. In the fall, several members of the boys soccer team also ran cross country for Bill Downing's squad, but Mitchell was quick to point out that the dual role in the spring wasn't the same.
"In cross country they're not throwing the javelin or jumping hurdles, they're just running," Mitchell said. "So ours is a little different. But they're great kids and I hate to tell kids they have to choose. I just couldn't do that."
BSHS swimming coach Wanda Simchuk also had a swimmer or two who attempted to stay true to the pool while donning shin guards at the same time. But, for Simchuk, the concern wasn't about the impact on her roster as much as it was about the well-being of the girls. Like Mitchell, Simchuk was willing to give it a try as long as the girls kept up.
All three girls sports that were in place before soccer arrived continued to field competitive teams and enjoyed solid turnouts. In fact, the Bravettes' softball program, under the leadership of first-year head coach Angie Mullins, had 15 players on its varsity squad and another 18 on its JV team -- both higher numbers than in recent years.
While the emergence of the new soccer program made waves throughout the high school, its impact was positive, and that's exactly what the school was counting on when it decided to give the new soccer program the OK.
"As far as the numbers game, it turned out to be a pretty good situation," said BSHS athletic director Garold Baker. The majority of girls who were out for soccer probably wouldn't have been out for another sport so it didn't really hurt the other programs the way we were afraid it might. I think it was a very positive thing for our school."