Archive for Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Must-see events as close as BLHS

September 3, 2008

If you're looking for drama this fall, turn off the television and go to a game.

High school sports kicked off fall practices on Aug. 18, and with that a new year full of mystery and suspense is under way.

Intriguing storylines abound this fall. You don't have to look far to find them, especially since just about every team at Basehor-Linwood High School lost key players from the Class of 2008. To start you on your way, though, here are a few to keep an eye on as we begin another school year:

It has become a yearly occurrence for BLHS soccer coach Kevin Vincent to enter a season facing questions about how his team will replace a high-scoring player who graduated, and each year the answer has turned out to be "just fine." The defending Kaw Valley League champions will see that same storyline this fall as senior All-Leaguers Tanner Bowers, Justin Gripka and Mitch Mallon assume leadership roles.

Can Basehor-Linwood - or anyone for that matter - dethrone Lansing in volleyball? The Lions rolled through the league with a perfect record in 2007 and placed fourth at the Class 5A state tournament. They return all of their top players, including senior All-Staters Brittney Lang and Julia Bates. In a league loaded with volleyball depth, the league may be primed for some upsets at the top. That vulnerability could benefit a team like Basehor that is trying to replace a talented senior class that included All-KVL performers Cassie Lombardino and Chelsea Patton.

Four years of struggle ended in joyful emotion for the BLHS football team in 2007 when it earned a berth in the Class 4A state playoffs and shocked heavily favored and unbeaten Eudora in the bi-district round. Seniors like do-it-all player Scott Ogilvie, Butler County Community College signee Swede Johnson, future Kansas State Wildcat Ethan Douglas and a handful of other college signees are gone now. It will be up to the underclassmen to prove that the cupboard isn't bare now. If the attendance at strength coach Ross Schwisow's summer conditioning program is any indication, the success will continue.

Opportunity is the word of the moment for the BLHS girls golf team. Opportunities abound for up-and-coming players with the loss of four key seniors to graduation including state qualifier Megan O'Bryan and Ottawa (Kan.) University signee Lindsey Fenton.

Unlike most sports at BLHS, the cross country program had a youth movement last year that could pay some serious dividends this year. Junior Tyler Henley finished sixth at the league championships. Classmate Ryan Lawless was 21st. Meanwhile, the Lady Bobcats will look to junior Kayla Peterson to lead the way this fall. She placed 14th at the league meet last year and led the girls to a fourth-place finish. Two other league medalists, Emily Lackner (18th) and Caren Chellgren (20th), graduated, however, opening up varsity spots for underclassmen like junior Megan Rehm to shine.

Do you think I've missed some other major storylines for the fall? You're absolutely right. There are many more topics to address. Share your ideas with me at It's going to be an exciting fall.


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