As the No. 1 seed and the lone squad with a winning record in their four-team Class 6A volleyball sub-state today at Free State, the host Firebirds are favored to advance to state next weekend at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka.
The Firebirds (21-9) will meet Lawrence (4-30) at 2 p.m. in the sub-state semfinals. Olathe North (14-17) and Olathe East (15-22) will meet at 3 p.m. in the other semifinal. The sub-state final is scheduled for 4 p.m.
"I think it's set for us to have a real good shot at going back to the state tournament," said FSHS coach Nancy Hopkins, whose squad qualified for state in 1998 and '99.
Free State, the Sunflower League champion, beat LHS, O-North and O-East during the regular season. The Firebirds hold a 4-2 series advantage over Lawrence.
"The girls are hitting really hard and playing really scrappy defense," Hopkins said. "Hopefully, they can keep it up for two more weeks."
LHS, the winningest program in state history and among the top five nationally, had never experienced a losing season until this year. Before 2001, the Lions had won at least 20 matches for 26 consecutive years. LHS has shattered the school record for losses in a season. The previous worst for LHS volleyball was 16 losses in 1998, '99 and '00.
City runners at Manhattan
Lawrence High and Free State High will run today at the Class 6A state cross country regional at Manhattan's Warner Park. The girls race is 11 a.m. and the boys race is 11:30 a.m.
Emporia, Junction City, Leavenworth, Manhattan, Topeka, Topeka Washburn Rural, Wichita East, Wichita Heights and Wichita Southeast complete the 11-team regional. The top four teams advance to state next week at Rim Rock Farm. The top 15 runners, plus the top five individuals of non-qualifying teams, also advance.
The LHS boys, coming off a Sunflower League championship, are ranked No. 1 in Class 6A. The FSHS boys are ranked No. 3.
Baldwin begins quest
Baldwin High, three-time Class 4A state boys cross country champion, will begin its quest for another title today at the Ottawa regional. The girls race will start at 11 a.m. and the boys race at 11:30 a.m.
Burlington, Santa Fe Trail, Chanute, DeSoto, Eudora, Fort Scott, Anderson County, Girard, Iola, KC Ward, Louisburg, Osawatomie, Ottawa, Mill Valley and Spring Hill complete the regional.
The BHS boys are led by senior Matt Noonan, who has won back-to-back state titles.
The top three teams qualify for state next week in Wamego. The top 10 runners and top five individuals of nonqualifying teams, if not in the top 10, also advance.