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Archive for Thursday, May 30, 2002

Wang, White won gold for Free State

May 30, 2002

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Five-year-old Free State High continues to experience growing pains.

The Firebirds, though, made a splash in the Sunflower League and state scene in 2001-02.

Free State captured league titles in girls tennis and volleyball. The Firebirds also produced two individual state champions ? Emily Wang in girls tennis and Justin White in boys track. Free State's 3,200-meter boys relay team of Nick Ens, Hiral Bhakta, Eric Southard, Adrian Ludwig also placed first at state track.

Free State's top team finishes at state were in girls tennis (second), boys cross country (third) and boys track (third).

Here's a look back at the 2001-2002 year in FSHS sports:

Football: The Firebirds finished 3-7 with all three victories coming in district, including a 16-0 shutout of Lawrence High. It marked Free State's first shutout in program history. Matt Berner passed for 1,002 yards and Walker Douglas rushed for 614 yards to lead FSHS.

Girls tennis: One of the most successful programs in the school's short history, FSHS captured its third straight league title and placed second at state. Junior Emily Wang went 32-1 and captured the state singles title. Susie Epp was league champ at No. 2 singles. Emily Loewen and Lacey Luina teamed for a league title at No. 1 doubles.

Girls golf: Firebird Ashley Johnson was the city's lone state qualifier.

Cross country: Free State's boys, led by White's 11th-place finish, took third at the state meet. Mallory Richardson, 24th at state, was the Firebirds' top girls runner.

Volleyball: A state qualifier for the third time in four years, Free State won a league title and finished with a 24-11 record.

Boys soccer: Led by Nick Ens, the school's all-time scoring leader, Free State finished 12-6-1 and reached the state quarterfinals for the first time in program history.

Girls gymnastics: Jamie Hornbaker was Free State's lone state qualifier.

Boys basketball: Led by all-league performer Keith Wooden, who averaged 16.6 points a game, Free State finished 10-11.

Girls basketball: Transfer Lauren Wright averaged 12.1 points a game to lead Free State to a 6-15 season. Craig Hershiser resigned following the season after coaching the Firebirds for four years.

Wrestling: Justin Stevens, Free State's 189-pounder, placed second at state. Kyle Frank (171) and Ian B(215) both placed third, and Matt Somers (119) was sixth. Frank was the program's first league champion in wrestling.

Boys swimming and diving: Alex Brunfeldt was league champion in the 500 freestyle. He placed sixth in that event at state.

Baseball: Ranked early in the season after a 5-2 start, Free State finished 8-13. Senior lefty Eric Peterson, a Kansas University signee, was the top performer for the Firebirds.

Softball: Free State won five of its final eight games to finish with a 7-15 record, the best in program history.

Girls soccer: All-state performer Katy Vormehr set the school's career scoring record. Free State finished 5-9-2.

Girls swimming and diving: Ashley Jackson was league champion in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. At state, Jackson finished fourth in the 200 free and fifth in the 500 free.

Boys tennis: Free State placed third at league for its highest finish in program history.

Track: Free State's boys won regional and placed third at state. League champs for the FSHS boys were the 3,200 relay team and Adrian Ludwig in the open 800. High jumper Samantha Frisbie was a league champ for the FSHS girls. Justin White (800) and the 3,200 relay team won state titles for the FSHS boys.

Boys golf: Aaron Webber was Free State's lone state qualifier.

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