Baseball dominated the 1999-2000 Lawrence High sports scene and figured heavily for my LHS athletics award considerations. So here they are, your annual LHS award winners, otherwise known as the Rottsies:
Team of the year: Baseball. Led by catcher Curtis Ledbetter and senior pitchers Matt Wiedeman and Jon Murray, the Lions compiled the best record (22-2) and won the school's second state title in the program's 15-year history.
Coach of the year: David Petry. Unknown by most of his players when he was named the LHS baseball coach last summer after spending the previous two years at Free State, Petry quickly gained the players' confidence and guided the Lions to their best season.
Top male performer: Chris Williams. Williams became just the third runner in Kansas prep history to win three consecutive big-class state cross country titles. Williams, headed to Duke in the fall, just missed becoming a three-time champion in the 3,200-meter run at state track in Wichita with his second-place finish.
Top female performer: Dani May. A point guard in basketball and a catcher in softball, May was a leader for the Lions. The Kansas University softball signee was a second-team all-Sunflower League pick in basketball and a first-team pick in softball. She caught every game all 88 of them for the Lions the past four seasons.
Junior male of the year: Dustin Goodin. A linebacker early in the year, Goodin started at fullback the final four weeks of the football season and produced three consecutive 100-yard rushing games and led the Lions with eight touchdowns.
Junior female of the year: Emily Schwartz. Developed into an effective post player for the basketball team and came on late in track season to place second at state in the high jump with a 5-2 mark.
Sophomore male of the year: Stephen Vinson. As a point guard, Vinson had one of the most productive sophomore seasons in school history with his 8.1 scoring average. He was named tri-sophomore of the year by Sunflower League coaches.
Sophomore female of the year: Andrea Hemphill. The Lions' No. 1 runner in cross country, Hemphill placed second in the 200 individual medley and fourth in the 100 butterfly at the state swimming meet.
Scholar-athlete of the year: Chris Williams. While adhering to a grueling running schedule, Williams maintained a 4.0-grade point average.
Most dominating performer: Curtis Ledbetter. The Sunflower League player of the year set school records for batting average (.629), home runs (13) and RBIs (47). He was so intimidating that opposing coaches occasionally would intentionally walk him or hit him with two outs and a runner on first base.
Hit of the year: With a full count and two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Ledbetter belted a solo home run to right field, lifting LHS to a 3-2 state semifinal victory over Wichita North.
Newcomer of the year: Scott Elwell. The freshman tennis player from South Junior High won the No. 2 singles title at the Sunflower League meet and teamed with Mike Connolly to take fifth in doubles at the Class 6A state tournament.
Game of the year: Lawrence 2, Maize 0. The Lions capped their 22-2 baseball season with the Class 6A state title before a near-capacity crowd at Hoglund Ballpark. The championship had added significance since it marked the city's first state championship since LHS split into two high schools in the fall of 1997.
Most improved team: Girls soccer. After going 0-15 in 1999, LHS went 3-13-1 under interim coach Kelly Jernigan in 2000 and had a big win over Olathe South and hung with state power Manhattan before falling.
Saving his best for last award: Ryan Morgan. Morgan carded a 2-under-par 70 at Alvamar CC to defend his Class 6A state championship. Always in contention throughout the season, Morgan hadn't won a high school tournament since the 1999 state tournament.
For the love of the games award: In this age of sports specialization, Blake Allen lettered in three sports football, basketball and baseball. He made several acrobatic catches in football, had several floor burns in basketball and also had a key grab in the state baseball final.
Call of they year: Offensive pass interference in LHS-FSHS district football championship. With less than 10 seconds left in regulation, Blake Allen snared a long Bryce McMichael pass inside the five-yard line and lunged into the end zone after battling Firebird defensive back Bo Blevins for the ball. However, a sideline official negated the apparent TD, ruling that Allen bumped Blevins. Some Lion faithful are still talking about this.
Surprise(s) of the year: Mark Vancuren resigned as boys basketball coach after three seasons and Pat Grzenda resigned as girls swimming coach after 13 seasons.