Academic excellence pays off for LHS girls soccer squad
In addition to building a winning tradition on the field, the Lansing High girls soccer team has an even more proud tradition of excellence off of it.
Specifically, that off-the-field dominance has come in the classroom.
Christine Cordes, Lauren Elkins, Rachel Pride and Liane Swisher, all juniors on the 2007 squad, were selected to the 2007 National Soccer Coaches Association Of America and adidas Scholar All-Region Team for the Central Region. The region includes high schools in Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
To be eligible for nomination for the award, players must have exhibited excellence in high school soccer, have at least a 3.75 cumulative grade-point average, be nominated by their high school head coach, be a varsity player and be a graduating senior during the 2007-2008 academic year.
All four players have been solid students during their careers at LHS, and all were contributors to the Lansing team that posted a 14-4 record, won the inaugural Kaw Valley League championship and advanced to the Class 5A state quarterfinals for the first time in program history.
"As a coach of a high school team, I need to be cognizant that the player's academic education comes first before they step onto the pitch," LHS coach Rob Elkins said. "Though participation in high school sports and activities are part of the education process, they are secondary to the classroom. I have been blessed that my players excel academically, which makes my job much easier."
In addition to the four players recognized, the entire team received 2007 National Soccer Coaches Association of America and adidas Team Academic Award. LHS was one of 412 soccer teams - 154 boys and 258 girls - nationally to receive the honor. Six of those teams were from Kansas: The Blue Valley boys and girls, the Lawrence Free State boys and girls, the Blue Valley North boys and the Lansing girls.
This is the third straight year the LHS girls have received the honor, and each year their team grade-point average has increased. The 2005 squad had a 3.48 GPA. In 2006 it rose to 3.58, and the 2007 squad had an all-time best 3.68.
To qualify for this award, the team must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined using the cumulative GPA of all the players on the varsity roster.
Players whose grades contributed to the academic recognition were: Lauren Algarra, Amy Briggs, Cordes, Elizabeth Cristiano, Allison Dillon, Ariana Domke, Elkins, Erin Griffen, Katelyn Griffen, Briana Hall, Abby Hauver, Kristen Huffman, Tigan Huffman, Abbey Lozenski, Bianca Manago, Katie Nietzke, Kayla Pina, Pride, Sarah Sargent, Kathryn Sebes, Brittany Swisher and Liane Swisher.