Archive for Thursday, October 6, 2005

Tittrington: Time flying this fall

October 6, 2005

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Longtime Lawrence High girls tennis coach Dick Wedel said it best earlier this week when I asked for his thoughts about his squad on the eve of the Sunflower League tournament.

"The first reaction is, 'Where did the season go?'" Wedel asked rhetorically. "It's gone so fast. It's just been the blink of an eye."

No kidding. It seems like just yesterday I was the new guy being bombarded with phone calls and e-mails wondering when we were going to start running our fall sports previews.

Now, here we are a short six weeks later, and, for some sports, the focus already has shifted to the postseason. That's meant a lot of learning on the fly, especially for local tennis players, golfers, and 30-something sports writers.

Here's some of what I've picked up to this point in the 2005 fall sports campaign:

¢ The first story I wrote upon my arrival in town was about how big a role special teams has played in the storied history of Lawrence High football. Now, here we are five weeks into the regular season, and the only chink in the Lions' armor has been the ability to consistently boot the ball through the uprights.

If I'm LHS coach Dirk Wedd, I don't allow that problem to come back and bite me in the postseason. With district play set to open next week, I'd like to see Wedd abandon the kicking game and use his smashmouth offense to go for two after every touchdown. That way, if the Lions do come up short at some stage in the playoff race, they can at least rest assured they went down doing what they do best.

¢ The only thing that could possibly keep LHS senior Sydney Wilson from finally breaking through and winning the Class 6A-5A state girls golf title two weeks from now in Salina is the continued short-sighted thinking by the Kansas High School Activities Assn. to limit the championship to 18 holes.

Golf is the most fickle game of them all, and even a great player such as Wilson won't be able to overcome too many hiccups with just 18 holes to make things happen. However, she's already proven how unstoppable she is in a more truth-revealing 36-hole format, winning the Sunflower League title by an astounding 18 shots.

¢ Both the aforementioned Wedel and Free State girls tennis coach Jon Renberger deserve kudos for their ability to get the most out of their kids on the big stage.

After a disappointing regular season, Wedel coaxed a fourth-place finish out of his No. 2 doubles team at the Sunflower League meet, saw each of his remaining entrants win at least one match, and planted some much-needed seeds of confidence heading into next week's regional tourney on the Lions' home court.

Meanwhile, Renberger added a high-profile accomplishment to an already solid season, guiding both his doubles teams to top-three finishes while watching both his singles players make some headway in the winners bracket. The Firebirds opened plenty of eyes with their tie for fourth place on the Sunflower League leaderboard.

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