Every athletic team has certain dates on which it places extra importance. The Sunflower League meet, as you'd expect, is one of the highlights on the Lawrence High boys swim schedule.
``Those folks, you live with,'' LHS coach Dick Reamon said. ``We're defending league champions.''
The league meet is two weeks away, but the Lions have to feel pretty good about it. They've defeated all five Shawnee Mission schools this season.
The Lions remained undefeated by beating Shawnee Mission West, Topeka West and Emporia on Thursday at the LHS pool. But they also discovered that SM West isn't a team to be taken lightly.
``We were told West was much, much improved and would be a contender in the Sunflower League,'' Reamon said.
FOR A CHANGE, Lawrence didn't run away with Thursday's meet. The Lions totaled 431 points, but SM West stayed reasonably close at 370. Topeka West was third with 290 followed by Emporia with 228.
Chris Kennedy, David Jacobs and Jason Oehlert placed 1-2-5 in diving with Jacobs scoring a career-best 224.90.
The Lions also received a boost from sophomore Andrew Poggio and senior Aaron Lessig. Poggio won the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle.
``He's been one of the more pleasant surprises,'' Reamon said. ``He's getting confidence. He has a lot of ability. He's starting to realize he can swim well wherever I use him.''
Lessig finished first in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
``LESSIG'S A good leader,'' the coach said. ``I put quite a bit of pressure on the captains. He and (David) Eagan are coming around.''
Lessig, Josh Stein, Ryan Malone and Brian Dolezal also gave the Lions a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay.
Malone placed third in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:14.35. But more important, he qualified for state in that event.
Malone barely missed qualifying for state in the 100 butterfly. And Mark Hoover just missed qualifying in both the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke.
The quadrangular was the Lions' final home meet of the season. They'll be at Blue Valley next Thursday for a meet that also includes Manhattan and Olathe.
The Sunflower League meet is set for Feb. 7-8 at Shawnee Mission West, and the state meet is Feb. 21-22 at KU's Robinson Natatorium.