WRITER: Shane Jackson

Preps notebook: Senior linebacker leading LHS defense

Lawrence High senior linebacker Caleb Mondi hasn’t always been a defensive superstar. In fact, Mondi didn’t even play on the defensive side of the ball until the 2017 season. Mondi, who has been playing football since the third grade, only really knew how to play receiver prior to making the switch. One year after flipping sides, Mondi is the team’s best defensive player and has shown the potential to ...

Preps notebook: Seahawks soaring past competition in 2018

The Bishop Seabury volleyball team has stormed onto the scene through the first 15 games of the 2018 campaign. After going 2-0 in a triangular at East Lawrence Recreation Center Tuesday, the Seahawks are now 12-3 to start the season and are ranked No. 5 in Class 2A via the Kansas Volleyball Association. Bishop Seabury bested KC East Christian Academy (25-19, 25-18) and Veritas (25-19, 25-17) to tack on two more ...

Preps notebook: A look at how area teams did this past week

The Lawrence High volleyball team has hit the ground running to start the 2018 season. Lawrence defeated Olathe South (25-11, 25-14) and Shawnee Mission South (25-12, 25-17) in a triangular Tuesday. The Lions then finished second at the Olathe South tournament Saturday, which included wins over Olathe South, Shawnee Mission South, Blue Valley Northwest and Manhattan. Blue Valley North, the No. 1 team in Class ...

Free State eases past Olathe East in home opener

Not even Mother Nature could slow down the Free State football team. Despite the wet conditions, Free State looked just as flawless on the offensive end during a 41-0 victory over Olathe East Friday at FSHS. The Firebirds scored a touchdown on all four possessions in the first half of their home opener en route to their second consecutive shutout of the 2018 season. “I thought we came out and set the tone ...

Preps notebook: Area football teams set for home openers

Free State senior Jax Dineen hasn’t stopped thinking about how the 2017 season ended. Dineen sustained an ankle injury on a 67-yard run in the first quarter of the 6A quarterfinals. Dineen was forced to watch the entire second half from the sideline, as Free State suffered an overtime loss to Derby. Friday will be the first time Dineen and the rest of his team plays a game at FSHS since that season-ending ...

Preps notebook: LHS senior begins final year in gymnastics

Lawrence High senior Josie Hickerson hasn’t fully comprehended the idea that this is her final season in gymnastics. Hickerson, who has been competing in gymnastics since she was 4 years old, doesn’t plan on pursuing the sport at the collegiate level. As a result, Hickerson is relishing the fact that everything is going to be a last for her this fall. “It’s been my entire life,” Hickerson said. ...

Preps notebook: A look at how area teams did this past week

The fall sports season is in full swing now with most area teams beginning the 2018 campaign this past week. Free State and Lawrence High gymnastics will open the year with a meet Tuesday at LHS, but the rest of the teams have already started the regular season. The Bishop Seabury volleyball squad has posted its best start since 2015, while many other area programs have managed to find the win column. Here’s ...

Strong start lifts Free State to convincing win over Olathe West

OLATHE — After winning the coin toss, Free State’s football team elected to defer to Olathe West. Yet it merely delayed the inevitable. The Firebirds forced the opposition into a punt after three plays on the first drive and wasted no time sending a message. Free State scored on the second offensive play of the 2018 season and never looked back, scoring 27 points in the first quarter during a 41-0 win ...

FSHS coach Bob Lisher reflects on career ahead of season opener

Even amid his busy schedule, Free State football coach Bob Lisher allows himself to sit back and reflect on his career every now and then. Just before the season opener, Lisher does just that when looking at his first opponent of the 2018 campaign, as FSHS squares off with Olathe West at 7 p.m. Friday at Olathe District Activity Center. Olathe West is the newest program of the state, competing in its first ...

Preps notebook: Area football teams to start 2018 campaigns

The high school football season is officially here. Lawrence High started the year off with a Thursday game, while Veritas actually began its regular season last week. The rest of the area football teams are slated to begin the 2018 campaign at 7 p.m. Friday. Free State, Baldwin, Eudora, Tonganoxie and Perry-Lecompton will all start the year with a road opener, while Veritas (0-1) will play its second ...

Lawrence High offense falters in 26-10 loss to Olathe South

It didn’t take long for the Lawrence High football team to gift head coach Steve Rampy an advantage. After forcing Olathe South into a three-and-out on the opening drive, LHS scored on its very first offensive play. Senior quarterback Garrett Romero handed the ball to sophomore running back Devin Neal, who cut outside and sprinted down the Lawrence sideline for a 58-yard touchdown run. Despite scoring within ...

Rampy set to begin his LHS tenure in season opener vs. Olathe South

Lawrence High head coach Steve Rampy doesn’t like being the center of attention. Despite being a quarterback in his playing career, Rampy has always enjoyed the fact that the sport of football takes a team effort. So when asked about making his debut as the LHS football coach, Rampy was quick to mention the entire team in his answer. “I can’t wait to watch us play,” Rampy said. “I can’t wait to ...

FSHS senior returns to soccer team after year off

Rowan Laufer made his much-anticipated return Tuesday at Free State High School against Olathe South in the season opener. Laufer scored both goals, including one on a penalty kick, during a 3-2 defeat in Free State's first match of the 2018 season. Prior to that, the Free State senior attacking midfielder hadn't played a match with his high school team since his sophomore season in 2016. Laufer, who spent a ...

KU volleyball's new lineup ready for challenging 2018 schedule

After the University of Kansas volleyball team posted a 30-3 record en route to a Final Four appearance in 2015, head coach Ray Bechard had a hard time putting together a schedule for his team. Scheduling got much easier for the 2018 campaign, however, after the Jayhawks lost plenty of their production to graduation. Kansas, which began its season with a come-from-behind victory at Arkansas on Friday, will play ...

Week in review: Area teams begin fall sports season

The 2018 fall sports season officially began last week with a number of area teams in action. Free State’s volleyball team put up a good fight against the top-ranked team in the state, while the Lawrence High boys soccer team suffered a narrow defeat against a program that made it to the state tournament in 2017. Here’s a recap of all the area teams from the first week of action: About this feature Preps ...

KU linebackers prepare for final season together

For as long as they can remember, University of Kansas senior linebackers Joe Dineen and Keith Loneker Jr. have been inseparable. Loneker, who is 20 days older, and Dineen have been lifelong friends due to their parents’ connection. Dineen was the only pint-sized peer at Loneker’s first birthday, and there is a photo of them in diapers together. They both played for the same Pop Warner team when they first ...

Firebirds enter fall season with huge expectations

The 2018-19 season is already underway for the Free State fall sports programs. FSHS girls golf competed in a tournament Wednesday to officially kick off a new year. The volleyball team is set to face the top-ranked squad in Class 6A on Saturday, while most programs will begin play next week. Here is a peek at all of the Firebirds’ fall sports teams for the 2018 campaign: About this feature Preps ...

Lions set for start of fall sports season

Lawrence High’s fall sports teams will kick off the 2018-19 season this week. The girls golf team opens the season Wednesday, while the girls tennis team is slated to begin its campaign Thursday. The boys soccer team, which will be the only program to play at LHS this week, has its season opener Friday. Meanwhile, many other teams will launch play next week. Here is a peek at all of the Lions’ fall ...

KU football roster has plenty of local flavor in 2018

Former Lawrence High head coach Dirk Wedd didn’t stay retired very long. Not long after finishing his 19th season at LHS last November, Wedd was offered a chance to make an impact at the collegiate level. David Beaty, who is the head football coach at the University of Kansas, decided to bring Wedd on the staff as a defensive analyst for the 2018 season. “I think he was caught completely off guard when I ...

Welcome to our new coverage of local high school teams

Since the start of the fall sports season officially begins this week, I thought I’d take the time to formally introduce myself. My name is Shane Jackson, and I’m the new high school sports reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World. I came to Lawrence in June after spending a year covering high school sports for the Manhattan Mercury — my first job after graduating from the University of Kansas in May ...