WRITER: Shane Jackson

Preps notebook: FSHS, LHS both earn event victory at Sunflower League meet; Regional brackets released

Free State and Lawrence High each earned one event title during the Sunflower League track and field meet on Friday at the Olathe District Activities Center. As has been the case all year, the Firebirds were led by their distance squad. The boys 4x800-meter relay team won the race with a time of 7:55.56. That is now the fastest mark in the state so far this season. Lawrence senior Amaya Harris secured the ...

FSHS, LHS has top doubles teams place at Class 6A state tennis tourney

The top doubles tandems for Free State and Lawrence High ended up placing at the Class 6A state tennis tournament on Saturday at Harmon Park Tennis Complex in Prairie Village. Free State’s duo of senior Ben Melvin and sophomore George Thornton secured a seventh-place finish to cap off their first and only season as a doubles team. Lawrence’s pair of senior Drew Dean and junior Cuyler Dunn also completed ...

FSHS boys tennis enters state tourney with confidence after winning regionals; LHS doubles team ready for final meet together

Last week, Free State’s tennis team won a regional title for the first time in a decade. This week, they’re looking to take home even more hardware at state. The Firebirds have been riding their balance and depth all season, and that was definitely on display last Friday at the regional meet in Gardner Edgerton. In doubles, senior Ben Melvin and sophomore George Thornton took first, and Minh Vu and Jake ...

Seniors help Free State softball hold off Lawrence for 5-2 win in regular-season finale

The City Showdown in softball was much more competitive the second time around, but Free State team still managed to pull off a season sweep of Lawrence High with a 5-2 win in the regular-season finale on Thursday. The Firebirds, who rolled to a 15-2 victory over the Lions at their place just nine days earlier, needed a three-run sixth and a superb pitching performance from Tatum Clopton to hold off their ...

Preps notebook: Several Free State athletes sign to play sports at collegiate level

Free State athletes in football, baseball, basketball, softball and several other sports have officially signed to play at the college level, and the school held a ceremony to recognize them on Wednesday. In baseball, Gage Callaghan is planning to compete for Baker University and Matt Gabriel is headed to Benedictine College. Shannon Clarke will play women’s basketball at the United States Naval ...

Free State baseball earns 5-2 win over Lawrence to end regular season on high note

If you ask Free State senior pitcher Michael Uhler, his favorite out of the Firebirds’ win over Lawrence High on Tuesday night was the last one. Uhler was responsible for all 21 outs of Free State’s 5-2 win at Hoglund Ballpark. And the key to his complete-game effort in the rivalry game was that he had total confidence in his teammates behind him, which was never more obvious than on the final pitch. LHS ...

Two competitive City Showdowns on tap with local teams squaring off in baseball, girls soccer

There will be two City Showdowns taking place at the same time Tuesday night in Lawrence. Free State and Lawrence High will square off in baseball at Hoglund Ballpark at 7 p.m., while girls soccer will begin a little before that when LHS hosts FSHS at 6:30 p.m. Both games figure to be competitive with the programs sharing a lot of similarities with each other. It is eerie how much the Firebirds and Lions have ...

Free State softball finishes off perfect run through league play to win another title

It didn’t take long for Free State’s softball team to wrap up its outright Sunflower League title. The Firebirds needed just three innings to earn a 17-0 road win over Shawnee Mission East on Monday. With the victory, the Firebirds (16-1) won all 13 games of Sunflower League play to win the title outright. It marks the fourth league crown in program history, as Free State won back-to-back titles in 2005 and ...

Preps notebook: LHS, FSHS secure seven titles at Sunflower League swim meet; Free State softball rolls to win

Seven Sunflower League titles were won either by Lawrence High or Free State swim during the league meet Saturday at the Shawnee Mission School District Aquatic Center. Both squads came home with high finishes in the team standings. Lawrence claimed runner-up with a total score of 332. Free State took third with a mark of 296 as a team. Shawnee Mission East won the league title with a final score of 428. LHS ...

Chicago Bears excited about former Kansas RB Khalil Herbert after drafting him in 6th round of NFL Draft

A total of 14 running backs went off the board before the Chicago Bears selected former Kansas running back Khalil Herbert with the 217th overall pick. Yet that doesn’t mean the Bears will temper their expectations for the running back who played his final collegiate season at Virginia Tech. Chicago Bears area scout John Syty raved about Herbert’s playmaking ability in a video interview with Jeff Joniak, ...

Free State boys tennis wins regional title for first time since 2011

Free State’s boys tennis team took home a regional title for the first time in a decade on Friday in the Class 6A regional meet at Gardner Edgerton. The Firebirds had both doubles teams finish inside the top five and two singles players earn top-six finishes on the day. They scored 15 points as a team, which bested Olathe West’s mark of 10 points. It was enough for FSHS to win a regional crown in boys ...

Preps notebook: Lawrence baseball rolls past Mill Valley for 15-0 win behind balanced effort

A no-hitter from pitcher Grant Cleavinger and an offensive onslaught by the lineup led Lawrence High’s baseball team to a convincing 15-0 win at Mill Valley on Thursday. The game was called after five innings, and the Lions (11-7) extended their win streak to four in a row. Cleavinger pitched all five frames for LHS and didn’t give up a hit to the 16 batters he faced. He struck out eight batters and walked ...

Three things to know about Buffalo defensive coordinator Brian Borland

Not only will Kansas football have a new head coach, but it seems likely that there will be new coordinators on both sides of the ball for the 2021 campaign. While no official announcement has been made yet, Lance Leipold is reportedly bringing seven former Buffalo assistants with him to Lawrence. Brian Borland, who has served as defensive coordinator under Leipold since 2007, is one of the seven coaches ...

Three things that stood out about Buffalo O.C. Andy Kotelnicki after watching his coaching clinic

Who is Andy Kotelnicki? That’s the question Kansas football fans might be asking, as new head coach Lance Leipold begins to put his coaching staff together just a few days after taking over the program. Kotelnicki is reportedly one of the seven assistants following Leipold from Buffalo to KU, according to a Monday report from Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel. Given Kotelnicki has spent the previous eight seasons ...

Free State softball pushes past Lawrence High for 15-2 win in rivalry matchup

Free State’s softball team overpowered Lawrence High in a 15-2 rivalry win Tuesday night at LHS. The Firebirds collected 19 hits, which included three home runs to go along with another five extra-base hits, on their way to a convincing win in the latest installment of the City Showdown. It was the first such matchup between the two teams since 2019 after the 2020 campaign was ultimately canceled. Free State ...

Preps notebook: Late rally leads LHS baseball to road win; FSHS falls on senior night to snap win streak

A combination of stellar pitching and clutch hitting led Lawrence High’s baseball team to a 6-4 victory at Shawnee Mission West on Tuesday. Trailing 3-2 entering the final inning, the Lions put together a four-run rally in the top of the seventh to come away with the road win. It was a frame that started with a leadoff single from Devin Neal, who later scored the game-tying run on a RBI single from Carlos ...

Three observations from KU's first spring game since 2019

For the first time in two years, a spring game was played at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Thanks to a unique scoring system, the White team (defense) earned a 74-42 win over the Blue team (offense) on Saturday. While there is only so much that can be gleaned from an event like this within any collegiate program, it was the first time to watch KU in action since its winless campaign in 2020. Because of ...

Lance Leipold's versatility on offense was likely selling point for Kansas football

After what appeared to be a thorough coaching search, the University of Kansas officially picked Lance Leipold to take over its football program on Friday. And the case for Leipold, who came to KU after six seasons at the helm at Buffalo, was really never hard to make. He’s just a winner. Leipold is the fastest coach in NCAA history to reach 100 career wins at any level. He won six national titles while ...

Leah Mueller's big day leads FSHS softball to 7-0 win over Olathe East

In Free State’s 7-0 victory over Olathe East on Thursday night, the Firebirds got a rare surprise — a game that lasted all seven innings. The Firebirds, who have run-ruled plenty of opponents this season, went the distance on Thursday — although, being the home team, they didn’t have to play the bottom of the seventh. Head coach Lee Ice said he appreciated that his team got a bit more of a ...

Preps notebook: Free State boys tennis claims runner-up at Sunflower League tournament

Behind a balanced effort, Free State’s tennis squad earned a runner-up finish at the Sunflower League tournament on Thursday at the College Boulevard Activity Center. The Firebirds had both doubles teams and one singles player earn a medal on the day. They scored 79 points a team, trailing only Shawnee Mission East’s mark of 109 to win the Sunflower League team title. Olathe West finished in third place ...