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Posts tagged with Firebirds

Track and Field regional performance list

The KSHSAA released the performance list from regionals, which basically stacks up how all of the state qualifiers did from every regional. Of course, some people will improve their times during the state meet in Wichita on Friday and Saturday and rise up to the competition, but this gives a good look at who are the favorites to grab state titles.

Free State High's track and field team had 4 regional champions: Laura Kennard (400), Bailey Sullivan (800), Alexa Harmon-Thomas (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles) and Stan Skwarlo (800). Free State's boys' 4x800 relay team also won a regional title.

Lawrence High had 5 regional champions: Jensen Edwards (400), Kyleigh Severa (long jump), Rebecca Finley (shot put), Matia Finley (discus) and Caroline Dykes (javelin). The Lions' girls also won in the 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay.

You can find the entire performance list here, but I'm going to run through athletes who earned top four seeds and other notables marks.

Girls 3200: Free State's Claire Sanner (11:24.00, 6th place at state last year) is listed at No. 2 behind Manhattan's Alaina Schroeder who won the Free State regional. Emily Venters (11:42.43) is ranked No. 7.

Girls 1600: Venters is No. 3 (5:13.47), while Sanner is No. 5 (5:18.34) and the defending state champion, senior Bailey Sullivan (5:20.88), is No. 9.

Girls 800: Sullivan, who set a school record with a time of 2:15 at the SM North Relays, is ranked No. 4 (2:21.37). Venters is No. 9 (2:22.81) and senior Molly McCord is No. 12 (2:24.63).

Girls 100 hurdles: Free State senior and defending state champion Alexa Harmon-Thomas is ranked No. 1 (14.61). Juniors Gabbi Dabney (15.14) and Kiara Clark (15.23) are listed at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.

Girls 300 hurdles: Harmon-Thomas raced in the 300 hurdles for the first time all season at regionals and is the top seed (45.53). Clark is No. 3 (46.68) and Dabney is No. 9 (48.42).

Boys 4x800 relay: Free State's 4x800 relay team is ranked No. 1 after running the fastest time in 6A during regionals. Tom Keegan wrote a column on all of them, which can be found here.

Boys 800: Free State senior Stan Skwarlo, a Wichita State signee, is listed at No. 2 (1:58.21).

4x100 relays: Lawrence girls are ranked No. 6 (50.13), which is the same spot as the Free State boys (42.63).

400: LHS junior Jensen Edwards (59.48) is listed at No. 5, while FSHS junior Laura Kennard is No. 7 (59.72). LHS's Marissa Pope is No. 11 (1:00.39). On the boys' side, FS senior Elijah Harvey is No. 11 (50.91).

Girls 4x400 relay: The defending state champion Lawrence High girls are ranked No. 1 (3:59.29) and just ahead of Olathe East (3:59.69). If the Sunflower League meet was any sign, it should be a close race between the two schools.

Shot put: LHS' Rebecca Finley is No. 7 (37-00), while Matia Finley is No. 8 (36-00.5). On the boys' side, LHS senior Alex Jones is No. 12 (46-05) and sophomore Amani Bledsoe is No. 13 (46-05).

Girls Discus: The defending state champion, Matia Finley, is No. 2 (144-04) and Rebecca Finley is No. 3 (135-06). They were topped by Wichita NW senior Calea Carr (146-06) in regionals. Free State junior Hannah Shoemaker is No. 10 (117-10).

High jump: Free State's Dabney is listed at No. 7 (5-02), but nobody in regionals topped 5-02. On the boys' side, LHS' Logan Shields is No. 11 (6-02). Topeka High's Joel Long has the highest mark from regionals at 6-08.

Long jump: Lawrence High's Kyleigh Severa is ranked No. 4 (17-00.5).

Javelin: Free State's Scout Wiebe set a school record at regionals (140-07) and is ranked No. 3, while LHS' Carolina Dykes is No. 6 (118-00). Firebirds' Lucas Werner is No. 6 on the boys' side (167-07).

Triple jump: LHS' Tae Shorter is No. 4 (45-00.25), and Erik Parrish is No. 9 (44-04.5). On the girls' side, LHS senior Caitlin Broadwell is No. 8 (35-03).

Pole vault: Free State senior Trevor Hillis is the No. 1 seed (15-00) and was the only one at regionals to clear above 14-06. On the girls' side, Kennedy Dold is tied for second (9-06) as only one girl cleared above that mark (Megan Vanderpool, SM West, 10-06).

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Softball City Showdown Thoughts

One day after Lawrence High's offense provided a few blast-offs, Free State's softball team won on a walkoff Wednesday.

The two games were completely different, but somewhat fitting for the rivalry. LHS can swing the bats as good as any team in the Sunflower League, and that was on display on Tuesday. Free State thrives with its pitching, defense and timely hits, which it got on Wednesday.

We'll start with a look at Wednesday's game, a 4-3 win by the Firebirds on a walkoff single from sophomore Emily Byers.

The big key was FSHS senior Kaley Delg shutting down the Lions' offense. She only gave up two singles in the first three innings. Delg pitches with a little bit more movement than Meredith Morris pitches, and it caused the Lions to hit a lot of balls into the ground.

"I think we learned from what they were hitting yesterday what not to throw them," Free State senior Whitney Rothwell said. "Some girls we tried to pitch around a little bit, and others we knew what to pitch to them."

Once LHS took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning, Free State was on the ropes until Rothwell hit a one-out double in the sixth inning.

“I just went up there with the attitude, ‘I need to get a hit. I have to get a hit. She’s not going to beat me,’” said Rothwell, who went 3-for-3 in Wednesday’s game. “(Tuesday) I didn’t have such a good day hitting, so I felt like I had to come out with a new attitude and expect to get a hit.”

The Firebirds took advantage of a critical error to take a lead in the sixth inning, but they were only in that position because Delg held the Lions' offense at bay. In the seventh, when Byers had her game-winning hit, the Firebirds finally got that elusive timely hit. Byers was down 0-2 in the count when she hit a pitch into the outfield.

"That one found a hole and we happened to be on the lucky end of it today," Free State coach Lee Ice said. "Both teams played extremely well. They made nice plays, they were in the game, they’d come back. That’s the way these games are meant to be played."

LHS coach Joe Dee Tarbutton added: "The good news is, we’ve got the season right in front of us. We’re in good shape, playing good ball. You just have to learn from it and go forward."

Credit LHS junior Jolona Shield, who was sick and on antibiotics when she tossed a gem, giving up just one earned run in 6 2/3 innings pitched.

On Wednesday, the Lions proved hitting was contagious with a combined 12 hits in the third and fourth inning in a 13-3 win.

"We kind of knew what (Firebirds' starter Meredith Morris) was throwing," LHS senior Marly Carmona said. "She’s pitched against us, I think, almost every year. We knew she was going to throw us out(side). We knew that she was going to throw us off speed and drop. We were knowing where to hit it."

It was the top of the order - Morgan Byrn, Sophie Taylor, Kenzie Garvin, Kristen Gile, Marly Carmona and Jolona Shield - who stepped up at the plate. Free State tied the game, 1-1, in the third inning, before Byrn opened the bottom half of the inning with a triple and four of the next five batters got hits.

The Firebirds then cut the score to 4-3 in the fourth inning, before the Lions went on their big tear with six straight singles.

"I thought we had an opportunity there when it was 4-1, we get back to 4-3, then again, they put up the big crooked number the inning after that," Ice said. "That kind of took the air out of our sails a little bit. We just didn’t compete very well at the end. That’s the disappointing thing. But I give them a lot of credit."

Both teams won a game with their strengths, and it'll be interesting to see if the two schools match up again in regionals because they both proved how they can find ways to win.

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Boys tennis at regionals

Free State High senior Stephen Anderson and junior Sam Solis had a state tournament berth within their grasp but they just couldn't fully grab it.

The doubles pair fought back from a one-set deficit to force a tiebreaker, but ultimately lost, 7-6, 2-6, (7-2).

"It was really hard, especially in a close game like that," Anderson said. "But we sure played good and played our hearts out."

They weren't the only Firebirds who left everything they had on the court as freshman Ian Pultz-Earle won his first round match but lost the next two to fall just one win shy of a state tournament bid. He lost to Tyler Garland (SMNW), who had just lost to LHS's Thomas Irick, in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.

Junior David Neff had the same fate as Pultz-Earle, winning in the first round before losing the next two matches. Neff lost in the consolation semifinals to Conner Petty (O-South), 6-1, 6-2.

"The future looks bright for Free State tennis," Anderson said, "and I'm happy to see that."

"I think I am excited about our future, but I'm also excited about the seniors we had our team this year," FSHS coach Oather Strawderman added. "Stephen and Jackson (Schneider) both did amazing today. They both had super high expectations about their performance today and I think both lived up to it."

Lawrence High also has a lot of young players that have showed promise, but junior Elliott Abromeit will probably be the top singles man next spring. He had a tough draw against Austin Crist (O-North) and lost 6-0, 6-0. Abromeit has shown flashes of No. 1 singles talent, but he'll need to refine his game over the summer to match the strong serves and spin that his opponents can put on the ball.

Both of Lawrence High's doubles teams lost in the first round, though they were a much different lineup than anticipated. Senior Panyin Boye-Doe had to pair with freshman Sam Allen as junior Adam Edualy recovers from two broken wrists and senior Matt Carmody was out sick with pneumonia. Sophomore Johnathon Kinder and freshman Michael Braman also paired up, but it's hard to insert two freshmen into a regionals setting with no chemistry to work with.

However, before thoughts about next season get too far ahead, LHS senior Thomas Irick still has one week left to cap his final year when he plays at the state tournament in Wichita. He had a great comeback to win a regional title and it'll be fun to see if he can keep that magic throughout the week.

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Athletes of the Week

I'm a week late on posting this, but the Athletes of the Week (honored on April 28) both own school records in their respective sports. Free State junior Courtney Caldwell has dominated for the girls swimming and diving team, winning a state title in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle last year. Senior Trevor Hillis is new to the school's record books, setting a new mark in the boys pole vault.

Female Athlete of the Week: Courtney Caldwell
School: Free State
Year: Junior
Sport: Swimming
Week's accomplishment: Caldwell won four races (50 free twice, 100 free and100 fly) over two meets and helped the Firebirds win four relays
Favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
Most talented opponent: Shawnee Mission East
Smartest teacher: Kristin Harris (Math)
Favorite pro athlete: Ryan Lochte, Team USA swimmer
Most played artist on iPod: Chris Brown

Male Athlete of the Week: Trevor Hillis
School: Free State
Year: Senior
Sport: Track and Field
Week's accomplishment: Hillis set a new school record in the pole vault, clearing 15 feet and taking first place in the event at an eight-team meet
Favorite TV show: House (FOX)
Most talented opponent: Ryan Younger (Blue Valley)
Smartest teacher: Phil Mitchell (Social Studies)
Favorite pro athlete: Brad Walker, Team USA pole vaulter
Most played artist on iPod: Kendrick Lamar

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Athletes of the Week

Free State High's girls soccer team and Lawrence High's baseball teams finished undefeated last week. One big piece of the Firebirds' success was senior Maren Kahler, who scored goals in wins over Shawnee Mission North and Olathe Northwest. For LHS baseball, sophomore Parker Kirkpatrick was great at the plate and on the mound. He had two saves, and a few RBI hits to help the Lions beat Shawnee Mission South and Olathe South.

Female Athlete of the Week: Maren Kahler
School: Free State
Year: Senior
Sport: Soccer
Week's accomplishment: Kahler helped the Firebirds go 2-0 with wins over Olathe Northwest and Shawnee Mission North by scoring a goal in each game
Favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
Most talented opponent: Olathe East
Smartest teacher: Mr. Rabiola (English)
Favorite pro athlete: Abby Wambach, Team USA and Western New York Flash soccer player
Most played song on iPod: Give Me Back My Hometown (Eric Church)

Male Athlete of the Week: Parker Kirkpatrick
School: Lawrence High
Year: Sophomore
Sport: Baseball
Week's accomplishment: Kirkpatrick had three hits and earned two saves, including the last inning in LHS’s combined no-hitter in a win against Olathe South
Favorite TV show: Anything on ESPN
Most talented opponent: Olathe South
Smartest teacher: Ms. May (Business Law)
Favorite pro athlete: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees baseball player
Most played song on iPod: The Man (Aloe Blacc)

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Free State baseball has terrible luck

There's plenty of types of bad luck. Sometimes when you're playing poker, you just can't get the right cards. Sometimes you forget your umbrella when it rains. Then there's what happened to Free State's baseball team on Thursday.

The Firebirds stranded 13 runners on base, including eight in scoring position. Ultimately, it didn't cost them because Cooper Karlin hit a walkoff single in the eighth inning and FSHS had excellent pitching from Parker Tietjen and Casey Hearnen.

"It’s just the way it goes sometimes," FSHS coach Mike Hill said. "There were times where we hit the ball fairly decently. Having said that, there were quite a few opportunities that were just squandered. I think probably when you’re in that situation, people begin to press a little bit. There was probably a little bit of that going on, but again they persevered and got it done there during the eighth."

However, to prove how remarkable it was that the Firebirds didn't score a run before the eighth inning, I'm going to breakdown what happened each inning:

1st: Joel Spain hits a leadoff single, and is moved to third two batters later, on a single by Cameron Pope. Zach Bickling hit a shallow fly ball to right, and Spain couldn't tag, then Hearnen flied out to right.

2nd: Jacob Pavlyak drew a two-out walk, and was singled to second by Ryan Cantrell. Both Pavlyak and Cantrell moved up a base on a wild pitch before Spain struck out.

3rd: With one out, Cameron Pope was hit by a pitch. However, a fly out and strikeout ended the frame without him advancing.

4th: Ty Walmsley hit a one out single and stole second. Next, Pavlyak drew a walk, and both of got into scoring position after a wild pitch. After a strikeout, Spain drew a walk to load the bases, but Karlin popped out.

5th: Pope hit a leadoff single, and advanced to second, after a failed sacrifice bunt, on a passed ball. Pope made it to third on a wild pitch before Hearnen walked. With one out, a pop out in the infield and a routine fly out ended the inning.

6th: Spain tried to start a two-out rally with a single. He stole second and made it to third on a wild pitch. After Karlin walked, Pope popped out to the pitcher, who nearly dropped the ball as he retreated backwards to make the catch on the left side of the infield.

7th: Bickling opened the inning with a walk, and moved to second on a nice sacrifice bunt by Hearnen. A line out and fly out ended the threat.

"Normally we’ll catch a break in there at least, it was different today because we didn’t," Karlin said, "but we kept fighting so that’s all that matters."

Hitting with runners in scoring position (including the 8th): 1-for-11 (.091). Oof. Yes, you can tip your cap to the pitcher and defense, but that's also a lot of bad luck.

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Athletes of the Week

Two future college athletes had big weeks and helped their respective teams in large ways. Free State High's Bailey Sullivan, a TCU signee, led the Firebirds track and field team to first place in the Blue Valley Relays. Along with her record setting run in the 1600-meters, she also helped FSHS finish first in the distance medley relay and third in the 4x400 relay. Lawrence High's Thomas Irick, who will play tennis at Baker University, dominated his competition in an undefeated week. He's trying to improve on his eighth place finish at the state tournament last year and is off to a good start with a serve that he's been working on for several months.

Female Athlete of the Week: Bailey Sullivan
School: Free State
Year: Senior
Sport: Track and Field
Week's accomplishment: Sullivan was named the girls Athlete of the Meet at the Blue Valley Relays after setting a meet record in the 1600-meters (5:08.22) and helping the Firebirds in two relays.
Favorite TV show: Anything on HGTV
Most talented opponent: Teammates Claire Sanner and Emily Venters
Smartest teacher: Mrs. Wedge (English) and Mrs. Johnson (Special Education)
Favorite pro athlete: Mary Cain, Team USA distance runner
Most played song on iPod: Don’t Let Me Fall (B.o.B)

Male Athlete of the Week: Thomas Irick
School: Lawrence High
Year: Senior
Sport: Tennis
Week's accomplishment: Irick went 4-0 in his matches at No. 1 singles, leading the Lions to a dual victory over Bonner Springs and a 1-1-1 record at the Topeka Seaman quadrangular.
Favorite TV show: NCIS (CBS)
Most talented opponent: Brooks Kendell (Shawnee Mission East)
Smartest teacher: Mr. Carriger (English)
Favorite pro athlete: Rafael Nadal, tennis player on the ATP World Tour
Most played song on iPod: Sell Your Soul (Hollywood Undead)

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Athletes of the Week

It's early in the spring season for every sport, but that hasn't stopped a few athletes from rounding into midseason form. Lawrence High senior Allison Williams has already qualified for the state tournament in the one-meter dive as she's finished in first place in all three of her team's meets. Free State High senior Lucas Werner had a javelin toss of 155-4 against LHS in a dual last week, which is near his 155-01 toss that placed him 11th in state last spring.

Female Athlete of the Week: Allison Williams
School: Lawrence High
Year: Senior
Sport: Swimming
Week's accomplishment: Williams finished in first place in the one-meter dive at two meets, qualifying for state with a high score at the LHS invitational.
Favorite TV show: Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family)
Most talented opponent: Emma Roush (Blue Valley West)
Smartest teacher: Ms. Fangohr (Calculus)
Favorite pro athlete: Jake Dalton, Team USA gymnast
Most played song on iPod: I Want Crazy (Hunter Hayes)

Male Athlete of the Week: Lucas Werner
School: Free State
Year: Senior
Sport: Track and Field
Week's accomplishment: Werner took first place in the javelin throw with a toss of 155 feet, 4 inches in a dual against Lawrence High.
Favorite TV show: The Cleveland Show (Fox)
Most talented opponent: Olathe East
Smartest teacher: Mr. Lisher (Physical Education)
Favorite pro athlete: Brian Urlacher, former Chicago Bears football player
Most played song on iPod: Threatz (Denzel Curry)

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Athletes of the Week

Eliza Anderson helped the Firebirds take first-place at the Emporia Invitational and she also qualified for the state tournament in both of her events and both of the relays she's on. Michael Sinks went 4-for-5 with three runs and four RBIs in an 11-run comeback win over Putnam City North before helping the Lions top defending 5A state champion, Topeka Seaman.

Female Athlete of the Week: Eliza Anderson
School: Free State
Year: Junior
Sport: Swimming
Week's accomplishment: Anderson took first place in the 100 backstroke, second in the 200 freestyle and helped the Firebirds win two relays in the Emporia Invitational.
Favorite TV show: Modern Family (ABC)
Most talented opponent: Phoebe Edwards (Seabury Academy)
Smartest teacher: Mr. Springer (Social Studies)
Favorite pro athlete: Missy Franklin, Team USA and University of California swimmer
Most played song on iPod: Classic (MKTO)

Male Athlete of the Week: Michael Sinks
School: Lawrence High
Year: Junior
Sport: Baseball
Week's accomplishment: Sinks hit a three-run home run to help the Lions beat Putnam City North (Okla.) and went 2-for-4 in LHS’s 8-1 win over Topeka Seaman.
Favorite TV show: Teen Wolf (MTV)
Most talented opponent: Connor Kaiser (Blue Valley West)
Smartest teacher: Mr. Anderson (Algebra)
Favorite pro athlete: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees baseball player
Most played song on iPod: Trophies (Drake)

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