Every day, Lawrence High baseball coach Brad Stoll thinks about his team’s crushing late-inning collapse in the regional final last season.
“We’re ready to wash that memory out of our brains as soon as possible,” Stoll said.
That’s a theme among the coaches of the spring sports at Lawrence High: getting a fresh start to another season.
Stoll’s team will start the year in Oklahoma, taking on Edmund Memorial on Saturday. The competition will be tough, but Stoll likes when his team gets knocked down a little bit.
He’s using last year’s disappointing season as motivation, too. The Lions underachieved and went 11-11 after winning the state championship in 2009.
When the Lions fail to perform or don’t show much effort in practices, the coaching staff calls it an 11-11 effort.
“It was kind of a blow to our pride to go up and watch eight other teams go to the state tournament,” Stoll said.
The girls swimming team is quickly approaching its first spring competition.
The diving portion of the Emporia Invite is today, while the swimming portion is Thursday.
The team is larger than it was last year, but a lot of the swimmers don’t have much varsity experience. Coach Kent McDonald is also trying to find divers.
“We’re kind of a young, learning-how-to-swim team this year,” McDonald said.
LHS track coach Jack Hood has 37 juniors and 30 freshmen among the 129 athletes out for the team this spring. Hood’s philosophy of working solely for the final two meets of the season means his team may not reach its potential until late April.
“Walk in our gym and there’s 106 state titles,” Hood said. “There’s no conference banners, there’s no league championship. There’s no regional winner or anything.”
“Anything less than a state championship, and you’ve failed as the season’s gone because they’re not hanging a banner.”
The track team starts its season on Thursday at the Topeka West Relays.
Learning on the fly is important for the girls soccer team, which starts its season with a new coach, Joe Nemzer.
He said the girls come to practice every day excited to improve. And though Nemzer has put an emphasis on conditioning, the girls seem to have bought in.
“The last week hasn’t been easy,” Nemzer said.
The Lions play their first match of the Wichita South Titan Classic on March 29.
The boys golf team lost a lot of firepower from last season. Only two lettermen — junior Logan Henrichs and sophomore Blaine Van Blaircum — return. The season starts March 28 at the Blue Valley West Invitational.
LHS tennis coach Chris Marshall said he’s excited for the new season because the Lions will be able to hold all practices and a couple matches on the Lions’ new tennis facility. For most of last season, the Lions had to commute to the Kansas University courts.
The tennis team starts its season at Emporia High on March 29.
The first game for the softball team doesn’t occur until March 31, so coach Reenie Stogsdill will have plenty of time to work a couple freshman into her starting lineup.
After picking up eight more victories in 2010 as they did in 2009, the Lions have their eyes set on a trip to the state tournament.