A chance meeting in the summer plus fund raising in the fall and winter resulted in a long spring road trip for Free State High's baseball team.
The Firebirds are scheduled to leave at noon today for a tournament in Claremore, Okla., located 20 miles northeast of Tulsa. Free State will play Springfield (Mo.) Glendale at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in their only game at the four-day event.
"I met the Claremore high school coach last summer at the Ice baseball tournament (in Lawrence), he extended the invitation and once we got everything OK'd we accepted," Free State coach Mike Hill said.
The Firebird players generated most of the money for the trip. They raised approximately $2,000 through chili feeds and sponsorships. Several businesses have banners displayed on the outfield fence at Free State's baseball facility.
"We're trying to make this a special part of our season," Hill said. "We were able to charter a bus, we're going to spend Friday night there and it should be a good bonding experience. The kids are excited.
"I'm glad we chartered a bus, because I don't think I could stand taking a yellow school bus on a long trip."
The bus comes equipped with a videocassette recorder.
FSHS senior outfielder Jake Coffman won the rights to select the videos that will be viewed by picking the most winners after the men's NCAA Tournament reached the Sweet 16.
"I told him the videos all had to be PG-13 or under," Hill quipped.
LHS to begin interviews next week for girls post
Interviews for the vacant Lawrence High girls head basketball coaching position will begin next week, LHS athletics director Ron Commons said.
Commons said he hoped to have a coach named by the end of May.
LHS junior varsity girls basketball coach Chris English and Southwest Junior High girls basketball coach Kristin Mallory, a former LHS assistant, both said they had applied. They're the only known in-district applicants.
The Lions' job opened last month when LHS principal Dick Patterson decided not to renew the coaching contract of David Platt, who coached Lawrence for five seasons.
City represented on track honor roll
The two city schools figure heavily in the Sunflower League track and field honor roll.
LHS sophomore Dylan McClain was ranked first in the 1,600-meter run (4:32.1) and the 3,200 (9:48.4). City runners took the top five spots in the 1,600.
LHS senior Ronnie Bruce was listed first in the pole vault (12-6).
The FSHS boys 4x800 relay (8:15.5) was also ranked first.
City girls ranked first were Free State seniors Jackie Dubois in the 800 (2:27.3) and Caitlin Wisler in the javelin (118-4). LHS senior Emily Schwartz is No. 1 in the high jump (5-4). Free State's 4x400 (4:18.1) and 4x800 relays (10:11.7) also top the honor roll.