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Archive for Friday, January 27, 2006

Keegan: The Real Dream Team

January 27, 2006

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Every time I watched the individuals Larry Brown coached to a bronze medal, the best I could figure was they were called the Dream Team because anyone who thought any of them was going to take a charge in the Olympic Games must have been dreaming.

That so-called team only was dreamy in the eyes of marketing men. The names who sold the most jerseys were selected, and poor Brown had to try to magically mesh them into a team.

I wanted to find out more about a genuine Dream Team, one I first heard about from Jackie Dubois, who made Lawrence proud this week by winning the Wooden Citizenship Cup, a prestigious national leadership award, at a dinner in Atlanta.

Dubois, who never let cystic fibrosis slow her down as an athlete or student, ran cross country and track at Oklahoma University. She also played basketball on Craig Hershiser's Dream Team five years ago at Free State High.

No fewer than 10 members of that squad went on to compete in college athletics after leaving Free State. Most fared even better in the classroom.

Hershiser looked back on that team Thursday night from the top row of the bleachers at Free State's gym, where he had just finished providing color commentary on a broadcast of a Firebirds victory.

"We had smart kids on the floor," Hershiser said. "You can't coach smart. You can't make them smarter. That was a Dream Team in that I looked forward to coming to practice every day. Those girls were mature, they were a pleasure to coach, and there was great family support."

With the help of Hershiser and local soccer nut/attorney Shelley Bock, here's a look at the accomplishments of Dubois' teammates, listed in alphabetical order:

Kristin Bock: Captain of the Baker University soccer team, Bock graduated magna cum laude in December and landed a six-month internship with the NAIA in Olathe.

Joyia (Chadwick) Yorgey: An All-American in volleyball and track at Williams College, Joyia was a first-team all-academic selection as well and a national champion in the heptathalon.

Stacie Garland: She played four years of volleyball at Baker University and is so sharp in the classroom she's looking into going to medical school.

Rychel Johnson: She ran track at Johnson County Community College.

Jayme Lisher: Daughter of Free State High football coach Bob Lisher, Jayme played volleyball for two years at Baker and now is on the rowing team at Kansas University.

Lindsey Morningstar: Put her athletic genes to use for the Temple University volleyball team.

Christina Neighbors: Played basketball and ran track at Cloud County CC.

Katie Rhodes: Played basketball and ran cross country and track for Fort Hays State.

Lauren Wilkinson: Now working at Free State as a paraprofessional and assistant soccer coach, she recently graduated from Missouri-Rolla, where she was team captain of the soccer team.

"We had a fabulous mix of high-character kids," Hershiser said. "Every day I felt like every one of them would do the right thing in the gym, in the classroom, and outside the school."

Now that's a Dream Team.

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