Head Coach: Dirk Wedd returns to his alma mater for his 11th season as team leader and 20th season overall.
2008 Finish: 4-6, Lost to Blue Valley, 42-23, in first round of Class 6A state playoffs.
Key Returners: Jay Baker, sr., OL/DL; Darrin Sorem, jr., RB/LB; Chris Gaston, jr., QB/DB; Chase Billings, sr., QB/DB; Tyrae Jenkins, sr., RB/DB; Dom Reiske, sr., RB/DL; Ricky Bellinger, sr., TE/LB; Jacob Weber, jr., OL/DL; and Jon Pederson, jr., QB/LB.
Impact Newcomers: Jamal Brown, jr., OL; Taylor Coleman, sr., TE/DE.
If You Go To One Game Make It This One: Sept. 4 vs. Shawnee Mission North. After 78 years of playing games at Haskell Stadium, the Lions will play their first game at the new, 4,000-seat, on-campus stadium.
This Team Most Resembles:
The NBA’s Golden State Warriors. Not a lot of known commodities out there, but they’ll still have a shot at the playoffs at the end of the season.
Coach Speak: “We’ve got some familiar faces still out there,” Wedd said. “But it’s going to be different this year. We have a huge sophomore class and a lot of those kids are going to get the opportunity to play. There are three or four juniors that could contribute early and as many as four or five sophomores.”
Head Coach: 1996 LHS graduate, Stephanie Magnuson, begins her third season in charge of her alma mater.
2008 Finish: 9-29, Lost in pool play at Class 6A state tourney.
Key Returners: Jasmyn Turner, sr.; Carrie Clemencic, sr.; Lillian Schonewise, jr.; Mary Coldsnow, jr.; Kiely Mosiman, jr.
Impact Newcomers: Alex Kincaid, sr.; Morgan Green, jr.; Kendyll Severa, jr.; Kelsey Broadwell, jr. “I’ve got nine solid players and I plan on using them all,” said Magnuson.
If You Go To One Match Make It This One: The Oct. 3 Joan Wells Invitational at LHS. After back-to-back disappointing showings, the Lions are determined to show better at their home tourney.
This Team Most Resembles: The LHS varsity team of 1994. That team, on which Magnuson was a junior, had six seniors and two juniors and ultimately won the Class 6A state title by defeating previously-unbeaten Shawnee Mission South in the state championship match.
Coach Speak: “Our plan is to follow up the baseball team’s state title with one of our own,” Magnuson said. “We got a taste of the state tournament last year and now that we’ve been there, we plan on going back every year. The girls have worked incredibly hard this offseason and everyone is 100 percent dedicated to our goal.”
Head Coach: Matt Anderson, who also is the school’s girls coach, returns for his second season in charge of the LHS boys.
2008 Finish: 4-12-1, lost in Rd. 1 of regionals.
Key Returners: Will Burg, sr., MF; Tor Fornelli, sr., F; Henry Chapman, sr., Tim Thompson, Sr., Matthias Reiber sr., D; Derek Roush, sr., D; Ryan Marienau, sr., D.
Impact Newcomers: Cody Campbell, sr.; Jeffrey Hermesch, jr.; Enoch Quaye, jr.; Julio Salazar, jr.; Nick Haig, soph.; Tanner Williams, soph.; Zach Wustefeld, soph.; Noel Fisher, soph.; Justin Riley, fr.; Gavin Fischer, fr.
If You Go To One Game Make It This One: “Make it to the Free State game (Sept. 22),” Anderson said. “We are now literally defending our turf.”
This Team Most Resembles: The 2007 Colorado Rockies, a blue-collar team that won’t quit and has the potential to surprise some people, like the Rockies did in reaching the World Series in ’07.
Coach Speak: “I think we’re going to surprise some people,” LHS coach Matt Anderson said. “We lost 13 seniors from last year’s team and, even though, that might seem tough to recover from on the surface, we’re ready to give some teams a run for the money.”
Head Coach: Brian Anderson returns to coach the boys and the girls. 2009 will be Anderson’s seventh season as the cross country coach at LHS.
2008 Finish: The LHS boys won the program’s first state championship. The girls meanwhile, were represented at state by just one runner, 2008 graduate Stefanie Stuever. Stuever finished 18th.
Key Returners: Boys — Roy Wedge, sr.; Joseph Springer, jr.; Calvin Morgan, sr.; Nicholas Shump, jr.; Simon Fangman, soph.; Zach Andregg, Soph.; Jonathan Gabler, sr.; and Cody Jones, sr. Girls — Michala Ruder, soph.; Lucy Daldorph, sr.; Chloe Hay, soph.; and Jordan Herd, sr.
Impact Newcomers: Boys — Nathan Stringer, soph.; and Kyler Thomann, sr. Girls — Emily Davidson, jr.; and Adree Shield, fr.
If You Go To One Meet Make It This One: “Regionals (Oct. 24) then State (Oct. 31 at Rim Rock),” Anderson said.
This Team Most Resembles: The 2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe’s back (in the form of Roy Wedge), but can the players around him rise to the challenge of defending a championship?
Coach Speak: “The boys would like to defend the state championship. They’ve been working hard all summer and their times are better now than at this time last year. The hard part is keeping everything in balance, health, injuries, school, jobs, etc. Our girls team is looking to improve on last season and to qualify for state.”
Head Coach: Kathy Johnson, who fills the odd role of coaching both the LHS and Free State High gymnastics teams, returns to LHS for her 13th season.
2008 Finish: Current senior, Maria Carvajal, was the lone LHS representative at the Class 6A state meet last season. Carvajal competed in the uneven bars.
Key Returners: Maria Carvajal, sr.; Caitlin Haig, sr.
Impact Newcomers: TBD.
If You Go To One Meet Make It This One: The Oct. 5 All-Around Invitational at LHS. This not only features LHS and Free State but also some of the best talent around the area.
This Team Most Resembles: The Utah Jazz of the 1990s. Like Stockton and Malone, the Lions return two gymnasts with great experience.
Coach Speak: “The expectation is for the girls to perform at their best and be successful in postseason competition at season’s end,” Johnson said.
Head Coach: Newly named boys basketball coach, Mike Lewis, returns for his 10th season with the girls golf team.
2008 Finish: The Lions return the top five golfers from the 2008 regional tournament and all are a year more talented and experienced.
Key Returners: Kathryn Lunte, jr.; Kristy Gerard, sr.; Leslie Queen, sr.; Taylor Covert, jr.; Payton Covert, soph.
Impact Newcomers: Kaley Tesdahl, sr.; Rebecca Zheng, sr.; Kirsten Vogel, jr.; Natalie Wilkins, soph.; Anna Coppes, soph.; Attie Pennybaker, fr.; Kelsey Consolver, fr.; Quillen Eichorn, fr.
If You Go To One Meet Make It This One: The Sept. 15 Free State Invitational at Lawrence Country Club. “It will be fun to play out there this year,” Lewis said. “Five of our girls are members and have played that course a lot in the past. And our invitational at Alvamar (Sept. 24) is always special for us.”
This Team Most Resembles: A skit starring the cast of Saturday Night Live. “We’ve got some girls who can get serious and really focus on their games, but we also like to have a good time,” Lewis said.
Coach Speak: “As a team, I really think that if we can make little improvements each week and stay positive and work towards taking baby steps, by the end of the season, the girls who have played for two or three seasons should be at the point where they can shoot some of their lower scores and finish on a strong note.”
Head Coach: Steve Hudson is back for his fourth season.
2008 Finish: The Lions sent their top doubles team to state in 2008, as then-juniors Jordan Payne and Elizabeth Simons qualified for the 6A meet in Topeka.
Key Returners: Jordan Payne, sr.; Elizabeth Simons, sr.; Jaimie Jarrett, sr.; Morgan Manger, jr.
Impact Newcomers: Taylor Eubanks, soph., Arianne Suchy, sr.; Bailey Frei, soph.; Kehinde Hameed, sr.
If You Go To One Match Make It This One: “The dual with Free State is always fun and exciting,” Hudson said.
This Team Most Resembles: The San Antonio Spurs of the last decade, a team with a good mix of youth and experience that uses hard work and fundamentals to succeed.
Coach Speak: “We’d like to get more than two people to state this year and I think we can. This could be our best season yet. We have so much experience back and a lot of returning talent.”