When Lawrence High's boys golf team opens on Monday at the Shawnee Mission South Invitational at Meadowbrook, a handful of Lions plan to be rooting on Kansas University's men's basketball team in Atlanta.
That's OK with longtime coach Ron Commons.
"We're not sure who's going to be available on Monday," Commons said. "At that age, shoot, if I had that opportunity to go to the Final Four, I believe I'd do that as well."
Senior Spencer Wilson and junior Zach Blevins are returning state qualifiers for LHS. Both Lions shot 80s to advance to state, then both finished with 86s at state at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson.
Wilson will be at a Texas tournament over the weekend and will not be available for the opener, Commons said.
LHS, which won the Lawrence Invitational and Sunflower League titles last spring, should be deep.
"We could have as many as eight or nine people clustered right there at the top," said Commons, entering his 27th year coaching his alma mater. "That'll be to our advantage. There will be good intrasquad competition for spots in any given tournament."
Blevins, Wilson, Camron Flanders and Nate Spencer all played on Lawrence's league championship team last year. Spencer, now a sophomore, was league runner-up last spring.
LHS has been assigned to the Class 6A regional tournament on May 13 at Eagle Bend. The Lions placed fourth at last year's regional at Eagle Bend.
"We practice there twice a week, so it should work to our advantage," Commons said. "It wasn't real kind to us last year. That wasn't the golf course's fault."
Firebirds try to fill void
For the first time in the school's brief history, Charlie Santaularia isn't on Free State High's golf roster. Santaularia, a three-time Sunflower League champion and three-time state runner-up, is a freshman at the University of Texas.
How does FSHS coach Jack Schreiner replace the standout?
"We told the kids now we have to be a true team," Schreiner said. "Not that we weren't a true team last year, but we could always count on Charlie to shoot a 75 or lower. Our goal is still to score 320 to 325. If you can do that, you can compete in most tournaments. Instead of one guy carrying the load, the four need to step up."
The Firebirds have no seniors on their 12-player roster.
Juniors Aaron Webber and Tyler Yeakel return with varsity experience.
"Both those guys are battling for No. 1," Schreiner said. "After that it's kind of a toss-up. The rest will be thrown into the fire."
The Firebirds open on April 3 against Rockhurst at Eagle Bend.