It seems almost unavoidable.
In some way, shape or form, spring sports teams from Lawrence High and Free State seem to face each other in regional play every year. And this year is no different.
Although the Lions and Firebirds baseball squads will avoid each other at regionals this time around, the girls soccer teams are not so lucky.
At 6 p.m. Monday at Youth Sports Inc., Matt Anderson's LHS squad, which earned the No. 4 seed, will play host to Jason Pendleton's Free State squad, which is seeded fifth.
The Firebirds defeated the Lions, 2-0, in their only meeting this season.
Meanwhile, in baseball action, Free State secured the No. 1 seed in its regional and will host the four-team regional on Thursday.
The Firebirds (16-2) will take on No. 8 seed Leavenworth (3-14) at 4:30 p.m. in Round 1. A victory would set up a 7 p.m. Thursday match-up with Olathe Northwest (11-9) or Junction City (10-10) at FSHS, where a berth to the state tournament would be on the line.
"The kids work all year long to put themselves in a position to host the regional tourament," FSHS coach Mike Hill said. "There's an obviouis benefit to playing in your home park, and certainly there's a strategic advantage to having the last at-bat."
This season marks the sixth straight year that Free State will host a regional baseball tournament.
Lawrence High (9-9), meanwhile, earned the No. 6 seed and will play third-seeded Manhattan (13-7) at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Washburn Rural. Rural (15-4) earned the No. 2 seed and will take on seventh-seeded Topeka High (6-14), with the winners of both games meeting for the regional title at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The Free State and LHS softball teams also were sent to opposite sides of the bracket, with FSHS earning the No. 5 seed and LHS earning the No. 7 seed.
The Firebirds (9-11) will take on No. 4 seed Topeka High (9-11) Monday at Olathe Northwest. The winner advances to play the winner of the game between ONW and Leavenworth.
The Lions (4-16) will take on Washburn Rural (18-2) at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Washburn Rural. The winner of that game will face either Manhattan (11-9) or Junction City (6-14) for the right to go to state.