Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wristen: These days, it’s easier being green at Basehor-Linwood

August 18, 2011

Kermit the Frog endeared himself to children thanks to his catchy tune, “It’s not easy being green.”

While there are aspects of being a green frog puppet that might be a bit difficult, the green life is awfully good these days if you’re a fan of the Basehor-Linwood Bobcats.

Fans of the green and yellow have had plenty to celebrate in recent years as the Bobcats have compiled one of the most successful periods in school history.

Among the memorable feats are a 2009 state championship in boys basketball; a 2010 state title in softball and return trip to state in 2011; four straight Class 4A state playoff berths and back-to-back Kaw Valley League championships in football; three state appearances in the past four years in girls basketball — including a third-place state trophy in March; an individual wrestling state championship by Symon Seaton in 2010; a 400-meter relay state championship by Trey Kinchloe, Lane Young, Miles Brown and Daniel Prioleau in May; and a 200-meter dash state championship by Dakkota Edmonds in May.

On top of all of that, there’s the BLHS powerlifting program’s statewide domination with the girls winning a remarkable four straight state championships and the boys claiming back-to-back titles.

Yes, the green life has been awfully good lately for Bobcat fans.

Still, Kermit was right in one sense. There was nothing easy about how Basehor-Linwood turned into a sports powerhouse. The Bobcats did it with old-fashioned hard work.

Basehor-Linwood has had its share of talented athletes come along, but those individuals haven’t been content to get by on talent alone. In addition, less gifted athletes have turned themselves into solid contributors.

Regardless of the sport, the Bobcats have participated in offseason leagues and club teams, but most of the grunt work has been put in during the hot summer months.

Basehor-Linwood’s rise in the sports world is the direct result of its rise in attendance at offseason workouts. The Bobcats haven’t cut corners. They’ve woken up early, pounded out reps in the weight room, powered through sprints and logged lots of miles.

The popularity of BLHS strength and conditioning coach Ross Schwisow’s summer program has attained cult status. It began as a program designed to prepare student-athletes to be prepared for the upcoming school year, as well as to be healthier all-around individuals. The mission hasn’t changed, but the results have been so positive that it’s now the cool thing to do at BLHS in the summer. Hard work is “in” at Basehor-Linwood. Slacking is “out.”

Summer after summer, record numbers of Bobcat student-athletes have shown up to lift weights and run in the summer heat. This summer, an average of 230 attended per day. Of that average, 182 attended 90 percent of the workouts and 131 didn’t miss a single day.

The Bobcats’ hard work in the summer during the past few years has made BLHS fans’ job in the fall, winter and spring a whole lot easier.

Fall sports practices began Monday, and all indications are that it should be another great year to be a fan of the green and yellow. Basehor-Linwood’s fall sports teams will set the tone for the 2011-2012 school year, and expectations for all of them are high.

In volleyball, a handful of seasoned veterans return and look to lead the squad to a breakthrough season. In cross country, three individual state qualifiers return alongside a team that put in extensive summer training. In girls golf, two state qualifiers return. In addition, the boys soccer team will try to build on a double-digit 2010 campaign as former BLHS standout Austin Knipp begins his second season as head coach.

Finally, the Basehor-Linwood football team will enjoy the brightest spotlight of all. After four straight playoff appearances and back-to-back Kaw Valley League championships, expectations are high for a season of double-digit wins and a deep run in the playoffs.

It’s going to be a fun fall for Basehor-Linwood fans. It should be easy to wear green to the games and cheer loud and in a positive manner — and all of that will be thanks to the hard work the Bobcats put in during the past few months.

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