Free State

Free State football earns No. 1 seed for playoffs

The 28-10 City Showdown victory Friday over Lawrence High that sealed the Free State football team's District 1 championship also wrapped up a No. 1 seed on the east side of the Class 6A state playoffs bracket for the Firebirds.KSHSAA announced the seeds and first-round matchups for all16 6A ...

LHS football misses out on playoffs by one point

During a timeout midway through the fourth quarter, Lawrence High coach Dirk Wedd gathered his players and told them this was the most important five minutes of their football lives — an unexpected speech considering his team was down by 18 points.Wedd was constantly getting updates from ...

The hard way: Firebirds take the football, City Showdown from Lions

When Free State High’s football players needed stops Friday night in the City Showdown, they did it the hard way.The Firebirds had trouble halting Lawrence’s drives via routine tackles or forcing punts, but six takeaways worked just as well in their 28-10 home victory, which sealed the ...

Free State girls eye state title in cross country

This fall, Free State High’s girls cross country team has finished first at five races. At the other three, they took second.The Firebirds, coming off a regional championship, hope to make it six team titles today in their final race at Rim Rock Farm, site of the Class 6A state ...

A push up front: Senior center Wittman grows into leader for LHS

Kyle Wittman didn’t know it before he walked through the door to his coach’s office, but he was about to hear some things that would change the way he approached football.The offensive lineman had played the game since he was in third grade. In fact, he loved it. So when Lawrence High coach ...

Firebirds, Lions not just rivals, but longtime friends

Back in 2007, the football teams at Lawrence High and Free State shared a home field at Haskell Stadium.On Friday nights, whether the Lions or Firebirds played, the sixth-grade Lawrence Hurricanes football team would gather there, usually in some open patch of grass near the field, playing ...

FSHS linebackers embrace key roles

The Free State High football team’s five starting linebackers didn’t ask for this kind of responsibility, but they gladly took it on, embraced it and owned it.The linebacking corps has more experience than any other unit for the Firebirds (7-1, ranked No. 2 in Class 6A by Kpreps.com), so ...

Free State QB expected to play

Free State High football senior quarterback and free safety Joe Dineen has practiced and is expected to start on Friday against Lawrence.Dineen, who had his ribs X-rayed on Saturday, had to leave the Firebirds’ 25-23 victory over Leavenworth early in the second quarter last week.The Pioneers ...

Free State’s Harmon-Thomas up for award

Free State High’s Alexa Harmon-Thomas was named Monday as one of 20 state finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, which honors high school seniors for achievements in academics, athletics and leadership.On Nov. 4, one male and one female finalist from each state will be named ...

FSHS soccer falls in regionals

Garden City ? Free State High’s boys soccer season ended Tuesday with 3-2 overtime loss to Garden City in the first round of regionals.Chris Allen and PJ Budenberder scored for the Firebirds, who finished the season with a 6-10-1 record.Garden City improved to 13-4.

Sophomores making key contributions to LHS football

Months before Lawrence High’s football season began, coach Dirk Wedd saw something special in the incoming sophomore class.The earliest signs came way back in the last week of May, when the Lions began their summer schedule with team camp. Even then, Wedd began to envision a number of ...

FSHS guard shrugs off injury

Tyler Sampson didn’t think much of the injury at the time. One of the Free State High football team’s senior linemen, Sampson blocked a teammate during a preseason practice and felt some pain in his right wrist. He just kept going, though. No reason to stop practicing, he figured.Once the ...

FSHS volleyball falls at sub-state

Manhattan ? Derby ended Free State High’s volleyball season with a 25-22, 24-26, 25-23 victory over the Firebirds on Saturday in a sub-state opener.The Firebirds finished with a 13-23 record.“We kind of did the same thing we’ve done all year,” Free State coach Nancy Hopkins said. “We ...

FSHS girls 1st at XC regional

Junction City ? Three Free State High runners placed in the top four to lead the Firebirds’ girls cross country team to a Class 6A regional championship on Saturday at Milford State Park.Freshman Emily Venters won an individual championship with a 4K time of 14:43.63. Senior Bailey Sullivan ...

FSHS gymnasts beaming over title

Olathe ? Every pair of eyes in the Olathe North High gymnasium focused on Free State’s gymnasts Saturday evening, and the Firebirds, though worried, gave them a show.The other 12 gymnastics teams at the state meet had already finished for the day by the time FSHS finally was called over to ...

LHS, FSHS soccer to hit road for regionals

The Class 6A boys soccer brackets released by KSHSAA on Saturday sent both of the city's teams on the road for the first round.Lawrence High (7-8-1) received a No. 13 seed in the northeast regional and will play at No. 4 seed Blue Valley (12-4) at 7 p.m. Monday, at Blue Valley West, in ...

Firebirds hold off Leavenworth, 25-23

Without team leader Joe Dineen playing in the second half, Free State High’s football team needed a standout performance from its stingy defense.The Firebirds received that and more, shutting down each second-half Leavenworth drive to hold on to a 25-23 victory on Friday night at Free ...

Block, party: Sorell’s stuff ends thriller, sends LHS over FSHS

Lawrence High junior Cienna Sorell watched from the LHS bench, on the edge of her seat.In front of her, the student sections from rival high schools Lawrence and Free State screamed back and forth, and the volleyball players from the two schools matched each other point for point.In the final ...

Firebirds to face red-hot Pioneers

At one point this season, members of one of the state’s top-ranked high school football teams might not have given much thought or credit to Leavenworth. The Pioneers lost three of their first four games, including a setback against one of the Sunflower League’s least successful teams this ...

FSHS, LHS volleyball teams receive difficult sub-state draws

It won't be easy for either of the city's Class 6A high school volleyball programs to advance to the state tournament this season.The Kansas State High School Activities Association unveiled sub-state brackets on Wednesday, and both Free State and Lawrence will have to get past some of the best ...