Head coach: Brad Stoll, seventh year at LHS.
2010 finish: 11-11, lost in regional championship to Manhattan.
Key returners: Ross Johnson, sr., Jake Johnson, sr., Alex Laughlin, sr., Aaron Gile, sr., Troy Willoughby, jr., Shane Willoughby, soph.
Impact newcomers: Corbin Francisco, sr.
Reason to hope: The Lions return seven seniors who have played together since junior high. After winning the state championship in 2009, LHS underachieved in 2010 and didn’t make it back to the state tournament. The seniors are motivated to not let that happen again.
Reason to fear: Miscues in late-game situations hurt Lawrence High last season, so the Lions will need to find a way to calm their nerves and play sound baseball in the later innings. The Lions will also be tested early with tough games in Oklahoma.
Coach speak: “We’re ready to wash that memory out of our brains as soon as possible.”
Track and Field
Head coach: Jack Hood, fifth year.
2010 finish: Boys team finished 15th at state and the girls team finished 27th at state.
Key returners: Alexis Scheibler, sr., Trent Edwards, sr., Blake Hocking, jr.
Reason to hope: Lawrence High has a revered track history, so the top athletes will certainly be dedicated. The girls team returns the entire 4 by 800 meter relay. Hocking captured a gold medal in the shot put at the AAU Junior Olympics this summer.
Reason to fear: Hood lost his complete boys 4 x 800 meter relay, so four new runners will have to step up. Hood likes to have him team practice hard through the early-season meets, so consistent success might not come until late.
Coach speak: “We’ll be a better team in May than we are now. Where we’re at now is a bunch of kids running around.”
Head coach: Reenie Stogsdill, 15th season
2010 finish: 9-13, lost in regional finals to Washburn Rural
Key returners: Kristen Bell, sr., Kasey Waite, sr., Lauren Massey, sr., Lauren Byrn, jr.
Impact newcomers: Marly Carmona, fr., Amanda Montgomery, fr.
Reason to hope: Massey pitched every inning for the Lions this year and will be a force on the mound. The Lions won seven of their last nine games to end the 2010 season and should finish near the top of the Sunflower League.
Reason to fear: Three starters were lost to graduation, so those holes will need to be filled. The freshmen will have to quickly adjust to the varsity game.
Coach speak: “Our goal is nothing short of the state tournament.”
Head coach: Chris Marshall, second year at LHS.
2010 finish: Graduated Byron Varberg was the Lions’ lone qualifier for state.
Key returners: Connor Schmidt, sr., Eric Long, sr., Ilan Rosen, sr.
Impact newcomers: Thomas Irick, fr.
Reason to hope: Schmidt, Long and Rosen played for Marshall on the varsity level last season, so they know what to expect. Since the Lions have their own tennis courts now, they won’t have to worry about commuting to KU every day. Irick will start at No. 1 singles and has a lot of potential.
Reason to fear: The Sunflower League is tough yet again. Marshall doesn’t expect his team to contend for the state title, but he wants his players to play with more consistency than last season.
Coach speak: “We’re much more comfortable now that we have our own tennis courts.”
Head coach: Dirk Wedd, fifth year at LHS.
2010 finish: Team did not qualify for state.
Key returners: Logan Henrichs, jr., Blake Van Blaricum, soph.
Impact newcomers: Connor Henrichs, fr., Taylor Grob, fr.
Reason to hope: There aren’t any seniors on the team, but Henrichs and Van Blaricum both lettered last season. The team will get better as the season progresses, and Wedd feels that four freshmen could contribute by the end of the season.
Reason to fear: Like in tennis, the level of play in the Sunflower League is unmatched in the rest of the state. Wedd will have to tinker with his varsity lineup to find the right mix.
Coach speak: “We have a lot of question marks.”
Head coach: Joe Nemzer, first year at LHS.
2010 finish: 4-12, lost in first round of regionals to Washburn Rural.
Key returners: Sarah Stuever, sr., Tess Carpenter, sr., Clare Payne, sr., Natalie Wilkins, jr.
Impact newcomers: Ella Magerl, soph., Elizabeth Burney, soph., Addison Campbell, fr.
Reason to hope: The Lions seem to have bought into Nemzer’s no-nonsense system in hopes of turning the program around. Nemzer doesn’t think many teams will expect the underclassmen’s talent in the midfield.
Reason to fear: Practice hasn’t been easy, so the Lions will still have to adjust to Nemzer’s coaching tactics. The defense is solid across the backline, but LHS will need to find a way to score goals.
Coach speak: “The senior leadership has been huge for us. They’ve really pushed the rest of the girls. I haven’t had to be that person.”
Head coach: Kent McDonald, fifth year at LHS.
2010 finish: 15th at state
Key returners: Mallory Neet, sr., Rachel Buchner, sr.
Reason to hope: The Lions are a young team, but they are working hard to improve quickly. The two captains — Neet and Buchner — will keep the team focused on getting better every day.
Reason to fear: McDonald doesn’t know if he will have any divers yet. Most of the younger girls haven’t competed on the varsity level and are still learning swimming basics.
Coach speak: “I have to slow down a little bit, and go with them through it more slowly. But they’re hard workers. That’s good too. It’s a tough sport physically, and no one’s quit yet.