Fall sports preview: BSHS teams waste no time with opening wins

BSHS senior Hannah Hunt is one of the top returning student-athletes on the Braves’ girls tennis squad, which opened its season on Tuesday with a dual against Bishop Miege. Enlarge photo

September 4, 2013

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The night before Friday’s Black and Orange Scrimmage event, the Bonner Springs High football team took the opportunity to be spectators of another scrimmage as the BSHS volleyball team hosted a preseason kickoff of its own.

A packed fall sports slate figures to feature state tournament contenders in cross-country, a second-year volleyball coach in Jan Madlock who possesses high expectations in 2013 and a boys soccer team that has wasted no time notching its first win of the year.

Here’s a look at what’s ahead for BSHS fall sports this season.


Mandy Ballou’s graduation will be a tough hurdle to clear, but BSHS girls coach Rob Marriott expects his group of about 10 Braves to step it up this year as they seek to fill the void left by her and Tessa Newberry.

“I’m not sure if we will have anyone as fast as Mandy but I do know that each girl has stepped up their pace from last year at this time,” Marriott said.

Bailey Hightower will be a new addition to the team, as will transfer Maddie Hammons, who comes in with a personal-best time of 16:30. Meanwhile, freshman Aubrie Fredrickson is picking up the sport for the first time after spending the summer with the school’s conditioning group.

The Braves’ No. 2 runner, Taylor Vanden Hull, is back, as is No. 4 Kennedy Bacon. Faith Seaton and Citlally Alvarado-Fernandez also return, with Alvarado-Fernandez making the jump from No. 8 to No. 1 before the 2013 season. Rachel Barber, Alex Eickhoff and Lilly Eickhoff will also compete for a varsity position.

Marriott said the goal is to improve on BSHS’ fifth-place regional finish and qualify for state this year.

On the boys side, BSHS returns nine of 10 runners from last year’s state-qualifying team. Austin Schuler and Joe Casteel will lead the team at No. 1 and No. 2, but coach Bill Downing said spots 4 and 5 tend to be key in notching strong overall finishes. Thomas Hook, Zach Quigley, Tre Scott and Rodrigo Fernandez-Alvarado all return. Downing said spots four through seven will be up for grabs all year.

The Braves must replace T.J. Kimbrough-French, a captain and three-time state qualifier.

The Braves will host their annual home meet at Wyandotte County Park on Sept. 21 with an expected turnout of 30 high school teams and 20 middle school teams.

Boys soccer

The Braves didn’t win a game until the opening round of regional play in 2012, finally notching a 1-0 victory against Maranatha Christian Academy. BSHS finished 1-14-3 in 2012, and must replace the striker responsible for the game-winner against Marantha a year ago: Spencer Frank. Frank earned first-team All-Region honors by the Northeast Kansas Soccer Coaches Association.

That said, BSHS opened this season with the same momentum it established late last fall. Robert Glenn scored two goals, the second an overtime game-winner, in Tuesday’s 4-3 win at Tonganoxie. Cody Pierce and Travis Dooley rounded out the Braves’ scoring.

The win avenged an overtime loss to THS in 2012 and arrived 16 games sooner than the team’s first 2012 victory.

BSHS returns to play Thursday at home against Leavenworth in the first of two back-to-back games against Sunflower League teams — BSHS also hosts Shawnee Mission North on Monday.

Girls tennis

Upperclassmen dominate the Braves’ top eight with BSHS counting Hannah Hunt, Alexus Tendick and Kayla McPherson among its top returners. Coach Bill Scott said spots 5-8 on varsity were more up for grabs than ever before and added that he expected many newcomers this season based on the numbers at his summer tennis program.

Hunt earned the Braves’ top spot, followed by Tendick, Sasha Bingaman, Liz Barger, Alex Carter, Kynnedy Shepherd, McPherson and Kaitlyn Rose. The Braves opened against Bishop Miege at home on Tuesday in what had to have been much-improved conditions —Scott said the recent heat wave had moved multiple practices indoors.


In her second year as coach, Jan Madlock hopes the Braves can begin the season on the same torrid pace with which they closed 2012, when BSHS won 10 of their last 12 matches.

Senior outside hitter Mariah Seifert, sophomore middle hitter Julianne Jackson, junior middle hitter Mikayla Bennett and sophomore setter Alazia Stanley return.

“Our league is tough each year and I would imagine this season will not be much different,” Madlock said, adding that the Braves’ goal is a top-three finish in the KVL.

That won’t be without difficulty, however, as the Braves lost Haley Hoffine, Jene’ Williams and Cassady Holloway recently graduated.

“I anticipate that it will take a couple of matches to figure how we will replace the loss of seniors from last year,” Madlock said. “But once we establish our primary passers, we will be in good shape.”

BSHS went 1-2 in its season-opening quadrangular meet in Eudora on Tuesday. The Braves opened with a win in straight sets against Eudora (25-16, 27-25) and dropped a pair of games to Baldwin (12-25, 14-25) and Basehor-Linwood (17-25, 7-25). Jackson led the Braves with six kills against BLHS, five against Eudora and two against Baldwin.

BSHS will next host Bishop Ward, Christ Prep Academy and Louisburg on Thursday.

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