Wristen: Braves ready to deliver breakout year
Last fall launched the year of the Bobcat as Basehor-Linwood High School’s sports teams delivered one of the best all-around sports years in school history.
It began with the BLHS football team winning the Kaw Valley League championship and a district title while tallying the best record in program history, and it ended with the softball team winning the Class 4A state championship.
In between, the boys basketball team won another league championship and crafted a 20-3 record, the girls’ squad advanced to state and wrestler Symon Seaton won a state title.
BLHS should maintain a high level again this year in all of the sports that were strong in 2009-2010, and the other programs are expected to continue to elevate their performance.
Still, when it comes to improvement, 2010-2011 should be the year of the Braves.
BSHS has every reason to expect its sports teams to reach another level this fall. The girls tennis team returns a state qualifier in Breanna Tendick, as well as a handful of other players with varsity experience. The cross country program returns a state qualifier in Mandy Ballou on the girls’ side and a seasoned veteran in Matt Coffman, who is ready to take the lead, on the boys’ side. The boys soccer team also brings back numerous starters from last year’s club.
Meanwhile, the greatest gains likely will take place on the volleyball court and the football field.
The Bonner Springs volleyball team lost just one player — Emily Herre — to graduation from last year’s 9-27 campaign. It was a season of growth for the program under first-year coach Heather Campbell. The squad learned a new system of offense, learned its coach’s expectations and gradually gained confidence as its performance improved late in the season.
Since the substate tournament ended last fall, BSHS players committed to improving their volleyball skills. They won both the spring and summer league championships at Okun Fieldhouse in Shawnee and entered fall practice far ahead of where they were a year ago.
The Bonner Springs football squad also should enter the 2010 campaign with increased expectations. They return numerous athletically-gifted players at the skill positions.
In addition, BSHS moves into a new Class 5A district. The powerhouse programs from Topeka have been replaced by inconsistent squads from Schlagle and Washington, as well as Kaw Valley League rival Lansing.
A football playoff berth could be in the cards for BSHS, and if that happens it could easily springboard what should be a resurgent year for the Braves’ athletics department.