Head coach: Mike Lewis, second year at LHS
2009-10 finish: 4-17, lost in first round of sub-state to SM Northwest
Key Returners: Jake Johnson, sr., Anthony Buffalomeat, jr., KJ Pritchard, jr., Logan Henrichs, jr.
Impact Newcomers: Brad Strauss, soph., Shane Willoughby, soph.
Reason to hope: The Lions struggled in their first season under Lewis, but the young team gained a lot of varsity experience. The three talented juniors — Buffalomeat, Pritchard and Henrichs — will likely pick up the scoring slack, and the players will start to feel more comfortable with Lewis’ program.
Reason to fear: Scoring might come at a premium. Lewis said he expects a balanced offensive attack, but the loss of senior Marcus Ray will hurt, especially in late-game situations. Even though the Lions will be more experienced throughout the roster, they are still relatively young.
Coach Speak: “Those juniors who are back this year who played a lot have definitely improved. They are looked to for some leadership in practice, but they’re also looked to perform well in games and once the season starts. We’re definitely still a work in progress.”
Head coach: Nick Wood, second year at LHS
2009-10 finish: 8-13, lost in first round of sub-state to Shawnee Mission North
Key Returners: Tamiya Green, sr., Emily Peterson, sr., Rachel Kelly, sr.
Impact Newcomers: Kelsey Broadwell, sr.
Reason to hope: Senior forward Tamiya Green is extremely athletic, and coach Nick Wood will put her in matchups where she can take advantage of that strength. It’s Wood’s second year, so the players should feel more comfortable with his expectations.
Reason to fear: The Lions lose 86 percent of their scoring from last season, so inexperienced players will have to score the basketball. The season opener won’t be an ideal learning environment — Washburn Rural finished 21-4 and third place in state last season.
Coach Speak: “It’s going to take us a while to figure out our roles. It’s going to take a little while for the seniors to figure out how to be seniors, how to be leaders. Those younger girls are going to be forced to step in and play.”
Head coach: Patrick Naughton, fourth year at LHS
2009-10 finish: Ten Lions wrestlers qualified for state. Junior Reece Wright-Conklin won the state title at 160 lbs. and sophomore Hunter Haralson finished second at 112 lbs.
Key Returners: Levi Flohrschutz, sr., Ben Seybert, sr., Reece Wright-Conklin, jr., Hunter Haralson, soph.
Impact Newcomers: Ryan Bellinger, fr., Garrett Girard, fr., Austin Magdaleno, fr.
Reason to hope: Wright-Conklin will look to defend his state championship, moving up from the 160 lbs. weight division to 171. USA Wrestling has him ranked sixth among the nation’s juniors at 171 lbs. Last year’s JV team won the league tournament, so the team has depth.
Reason to fear: If anything, the Lions will need their top wrestlers to at least equal their output last season if the team hopes to improve on its ninth place finish at state. A tough schedule, with tournaments at Eudora, Maize and Olathe North, will challenge the team.
Coach Speak: “We’re definitely going to be a really experienced team on the varsity side. But we’re still going to be young.”
Head coach: Kent McDonald, fifth year at LHS
2009-10 finish: 18th at the state meet
Key Returners: Zach Andregg, jr., Nathan Evers, soph., Adam Edmonds, soph., Charlie Thiel, sr.
Impact Newcomers: John Eeks, fr.
Reason to hope: Andregg swam the 500 freestyle and 200 IM at state last year and has apparently improved his freestyle sprint speed over the summer. McDonald will try him in a lot of different events and gauge the competition to place Andregg in the right races for the state competition.
Reason to fear: The diving team is relatively inexperienced. Thiel looks to have the most potential. McDonald said that he doesn’t expect a lot of swimmers to qualify for state, but their work ethic and solid technique could lead to personal records.
Coach Speak: “We’ve got a really good junior group and most of them have swam for us since they were freshmen. This is probably the largest group of essentially veterans. They know what they’re doing and they’ve got pretty good technique and good work ethic. We should have a good year in that sense.”