Home pool advantage
A senior swimming captain for Free State High, Mitch Moore said he enjoys competing at the Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center - located in the middle of the FSHS campus - not just because of its proximity, but also because it provides the team with a slight advantage.
"The pool here is shockingly cold for a lot of other swimmers, so when we're in our pool it's no big deal," Moore said after winning the 100-yard freestyle and breaststroke races. He also said he gets an edge with the diving blocks at the center, which Moore loves. "The blocks at other schools are terrible," he said.
Both FSHS and Lawrence High's boys swim teams will carry a few more competitors come January. The Lions and Firebirds will add swimmers that are competing with the local club team, the Aquahawks.
LHS senior Alex Boyer, who swims with the Aquahawks, has already joined the team. He won the 100-yard individual medley and tied Moore in the 100-yard freestyle on Thursday. Boyer's presence, LHS coach Kent McDonald said, has already helped the Lions at meets and practices. "He's caused the team to step up another level," McDonald said. "The other guys are getting better.
"We expect a couple more (Aquahawks) in January and we'll be a different team."
Wilson & Wiebe fan club
FSHS senior Craig Rosenstengle loves what he's seen so far this year from his teammates, and leading scorers, Kris Wilson and Weston Wiebe.
"They have a knack for scoring. They're both really good players, and they're hard to stop. They're so versatile," Rosenstengle said.
Wiebe was particularly impressive in the Firebirds' (4-1) victory Friday at Olathe South when he flashed his offensive arsenal and scored 21 points.
Spates should return
Junior Firebirds guard Marcus Spates, who injured his left ankle against Lansing and missed FSHS's win at O-South, returned to practice this week and should be back in the lineup for Thursday night's game at LHS.
The two schools split along gender lines in 2006-2007, with Lawrence High's boys winning both head-to-head showdowns and Free State's girls winning three times.
¢For all the marbles
The most meaningful game between the two schools in 2006 came when the LHS and FSHS girls locked up in the sub-state championship game at Olathe Northwest.
Despite having the old adage "it's tough to beat the same team three times in one season" in its corner, LHS fell, 36-30, propelling the Firebirds to the state tourney, where they took third.
We're going streaking
After enjoying a streak of 11 straight victories over their crosstown rivals earlier this decade, the Lawrence High girls find themselves on the other side of the coin. Free State has won six straight, dating back to 2005.
¢A little rusty
Free State's girls stand to have the most rust when these four teams hit the floor Thursday night. The Firebirds haven't played a game since Saturday, Dec. 8, a 44-28 victory over Topeka-Seaman in the consolation bracket of the Bonner Springs Metro Prep Tipoff basketball tournament. The fifth-place game of that tourney, which was scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 12, was postponed because Savannah, Mo., could not make the trip. Also sprinkled in there was a Dec. 11 home game against Topeka High, which was called off because of inclement weather.
The LHS Finance Office is selling tickets to Thursday's LHS-FSHS game in advance from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
On game day, fans will only be able to enter through the new entrance to the west of the gym.
Adult tickets are $5 and students K-12 are $3. Free State students will not be admitted with their activity tickets because they are the visiting team.