Jeff Tummons will go straight for his team's tummy today, the first day high school winter sports teams -- wrestling, boys basketball, girls basketball and boys swimming -- can officially begin practice.
Tummons the new Lawrence High wrestling coach has scheduled a potluck dinner for 7 tonight in the LHS cafeteria. Wrestlers and their parents are invited to the meal to kick off the season.
Tummons, head coach at Tonganoxie High before assisting at LHS last year, was promoted to the head coaching job in the summer. He replaces Jim Beltch, who resigned after 29 years at LHS.
The lone state qualifier back for LHS is senior Ryan Fender, who wrestled at 160 pounds last year.
LHS will open on Dec. 5 at Shawnee Mission East.
The fifth annual "Pack the House," event to kick off the winter sports programs at LHS is scheduled for Dec. 1. The festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Several new faces will greet Mark Vancuren, beginning second season coaching the LHS boys basketball team. The Lions graduated a whopping 12 seniors from last year's 16-6 squad.
"We'll have to have contribution from every class," Vancuren said.
Vancuren believes transfer Ikechi "Ike" Ezefili, a senior move-in from Dallas, will contribute. Ezefili is a 6-foot-4 forward.
The tryout schedule for today, Tuesday and Wednesday is 3:30 - 5:30 for junior varsity and varsity; and 5:30-7:45 p.m. for sophomores.
Former Jayhawk basketball player C.B. McGrath has joined Vancuren's staff. McGrath will assist Joel Branstrom, also a KU product, with the sophomores.
LHS will open its season on Dec. 4 at home against Leavenworth.
David Platt is set to begin his third year as LHS head coach. Senior Somer Easterwood and junior Dani May are the Lions' returning starters back from last year's 9-12 team.
The tryout schedule today is 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. for juniors and seniors; 5:45 p.m.-7:45 p.m. for sophomores. Platt plans to keep 15 or 16 girls on varsity. Team selections will be made Wednesday evening.
The LHS opener is Dec. 7 at Kansas City Washington.
Pat Grzenda will again double as the LHS-Free State head swimming coach.
She figures both schools will supply 15 swimmers for today's first practice, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. at Knox Natatorium.
Senior Jonathan Hemphill, a state champion in the 500 freestyle, is Lawrence High's top returner.
Senior Joseph Charles, who missed last season while undergoing chemotherapy for Burkitt's lymphoma, is expected to be able to dive for Free State.
The swimming opener is Dec. 3 at Knox Natatorium against Shawnee Mission South.
-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org