Some of Lawrence High’s spring sport teams return state-tournament experience. Others have ambitions of making it to the top this season.
All of the athletes are optimistic at this point in the year, and they’ll have a chance to match expectations as every team will begin play within the next week. Here is a look at what all of the Lions’ programs expect out of the upcoming season.
Lawrence High’s baseball players haven’t forgotten their 2-0 loss to Manhattan in the 2013 Class 6A regional finals, falling just short of reaching the state tournament.
The Lions bring back a lot of experience to avenge that frustration and reach their goal of state this season.
“We feel we have depth on the mound and an offensive presence in the top (and) middle of the lineup,” said coach Brad Stoll, who is in his ninth season as the head of the program. “(They’re a) very hungry and focused group.”
Senior catcher Drew Green highlights the returning players from last year’s 15-7 team. The Lions will also have senior outfielder Kieran Severa, junior shortstop Michael Sinks, sophomore Parker Kirkpatrick in the infield and senior Jacob Seratte in the outfield.
On the mound, senior Brandon Bell will look to repeat his success last year, when he earned first-team All-Sunflower League honors. Senior Bryce Montes de Oca, a Missouri signee, is returning from Tommy John surgery and hopes to be back in mid-April.
The Lions believe junior Nate Hulse and senior Doug Easum can help the team out in the infield while junior Zach McAlister can provide depth on the mound.
LHS opened its season with one win and one loss against teams from Oklahoma last weekend. The Lions will go on the road to face Topeka Seaman at 6 p.m. Friday.
First-year softball coach Joe Dee Tarbutton is excited about all of the talent on Lawrence High’s softball team.
The Lions will have a veteran infield with junior Morgan Byrn, senior Marly Carmona, senior Kristen Gile and junior Kenzie Garvin. Add in right-handed pitcher Megan Sumonja and lefty Jolona Shield, along with senior outfielder Andrea Mills, and there’s plenty of reason to believe they will improve on last year’s 7-13 record.
Sophomore catcher Katie Murrish and sophomore infielder Sophie Taylor are also expected to make big contributions for the Lions this season.
LHS will start the season on the road against Shawnee Mission Northwest at 4:15 p.m. on April 3.
Lawrence High’s girls track and field team returns many athletes who contributed to last season’s third-place finish at the state tournament, while the boys look to improve after taking last in the Sunflower League.
The girls bring back every member from their 2013 state champion 4x400 relay team: junior Leah Gabler, junior Jensen Edwards, junior Marissa Pope and sophomore Kyleigh Severa. The Lions will also have discus state champion junior Matia Finley and her twin sister, Rebecca Finley, who took second-place in the discus and eighth in the shot put.
Senior Caitlin Broadwell will help the girls in the triple jump, and senior Katie Lomshek leads the team in the high jump.
“We are young and should improve as the season goes on,” coach Jack Hood said.
Senior Erik Parrish took fourth place last year in the triple jump and will anchor the boys team along with Nick Benton.
The Lions open the season at 3:30 p.m. today in the Topeka West Classic.
Lawrence High’s girls swimming team had plenty of success last season, and expectations remain high with 37 swimmers and divers on this year’s roster.
Seniors Allison Williams and Mary Wroten bring plenty of experience, along with juniors Alex Ginsberg, Nicole Kelly, Hannah Lee and Nicole Oblon. The Lions are hopeful senior Gretchen Frick, who finished in second place in the 200-yard individual medley and third in the 500-yard freestyle at state last year, will return, as she is still undecided about swimming this season.
“We are a young team with 18 freshmen, many new to swimming,” eighth-year coach Kent McDonald said. “They are going to need to learn different strokes and get into swimming shape quickly.”
After taking fifth place in the Sunflower League and eighth at state last year, the Lions are confident they can count on freshmen Brittany Archer and Mary Reed-Weston to make a big impact this year.
LHS opens its season at the Emporia Invitational at 4 p.m. today.
Lawrence High’s boys golfers found plenty of success last year, taking ninth-place at the state tournament. A repeat performance will take strong seasons from their seniors.
The Lions need senior Narito Mendez, who shot an 82 at the state tournament last season to finish in 40th place, and senior Tucker Sutter to post low scores while the younger players develop.
“Our two seniors are great leaders,” coach Dirk Wedd said. “They will have a chance to have big years.”
Junior Brent Cawhee, who finished in 86th place in the state tournament, returns from last season’s varsity rotation, while the Lions add sophomore Dawson Dykes, sophomore Braxton Olson and freshman Cole Brungardt.
The boys golf season will begin Monday in the Shawnee Mission South Invitational at Meadowbrook.
Thirty boys came out for Lawrence High’s boys tennis team this season, which should help develop players quickly and provide a good atmosphere in practice on a team that has only three returning lettermen.
Senior Thomas Irick, a three-time state qualifier who took eighth at state last year, is expected to be one of the top singles players in Class 6A. Sophomore Elliott Abromeit and junior Adam Eudaly also return from last year’s team that finished 10th in the Sunflower League.
Despite many fresh faces, coach Chris Marshall and the Lions hope to get a boost from seniors Panyin Boye-Doe and Matt Carmody, along with freshmen Michael Braman and Sam Allen.
LHS will start its season at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Emporia Tournament.
Following a 1-15-1 season, Lawrence High’s girls soccer players are out to prove that they are much improved.
The Lions return senior defenders Danielle Campbell, Laura Neilsen and Whitney Simons, along with senior goalkeepers Alex Ewy and Elsa Regan, who should make it difficult for opposing teams to score.
On the offensive front, senior forward Addison Campbell will combine with senior midfielders Gretchen Hierl and Kayla Duncan, and juniors Keeli Billings and Sadie Keller.
“We have a renewed sense of purpose,” second-year coach Justin Young said. “The team has been pushing hard in the offseason and really working to get better. We also have a great amount of senior leadership returning.”
Freshmen Carson Drake, Skylar Drum and sophomores Erin Ventura and Elaine Harris are expected to play plenty of minutes in their first varsity season.
The Lions opened the season with a 2-0 victory over Pembroke Hill on Tuesday and will face Baldwin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at LHS.