Preps notebook: Taylor Stuart named new Free State bowling coach

photo by: Nick Krug

Free State quarterback Malik Berry celebrates with assistant coach Taylor Stuart after completing a touchdown pass to teammate Keenan Garber during the first quarter against Olathe South on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 at Free State High School.

Free State will have a new head bowling coach for the 2021 campaign. The school announced on Tuesday via its website that Taylor Stuart will take over as head coach of both Free State bowling teams.

Stuart will replace Burton Gepford, who was the head coach of FSHS bowling between 2013-17 and again in 2020. Chuck Law, the Free State boys golf coach, served as the head bowling coach in 2018 and 2019.

“Excited and thankful for the opportunity,” Stuart wrote in a tweet on his personal Twitter account. “Can’t wait to get the season going.”

Stuart has been an assistant for the Free State football program. He has been on the staff for the previous six seasons, which includes four as the wide receivers coach. Stuart always seems to bring high energy, as he has been spotted multiple times chest-bumping players in celebration over the last few years.

This coaching tenure comes after Stuart had a successful playing career as the member of the Firebirds. Stuart was a senior that played both ways on the 2008 squad that made it all the way to the Class 6A state championship game before losing to Junction City.

Stuart graduated from Free State in 2009 and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Baker University in 2015.

Free State’s boys bowling squad has claimed sixth place as a team in each of the last two state meets. The 2021 bowling campaign is slated to begin in January.

Local soccer standouts earn postseason honors

Plenty of local soccer players earned postseason honors following an unusual 2020 campaign.

A trio of Free State players made the All-Sunflower League first team after finishing third in the league with an 11-5-1 record. Senior defender Jackson Barnett, senior forward Sarj Zeedan and junior forward Andrew Henderson all made the first team for FSHS.

Lawrence High senior Mason Anderson earned a first-team selection after he scored 16 goals on a team that made it to the regional championship game.

In total, the Firebirds ended up with eight all-league selections following one of their better regular-season campaigns in quite some time.

Senior goalkeeper Caleb Prescott, junior midfielder Joon Chun and junior defender Aaron Neff all made the second team for FSHS. Senior forward Yoav Gillath and senior midfielder Ryan Duan were named to the honorable-mention team.

LHS senior midfielder Alec Murphy secured a second-team selection on the All-Sunflower League squad. Senior defenders Tanner Glanton and Nicholas Davies both ended up with honorable-mention honors.

Meanwhile, in the Frontier League, a handful of area athletes earned first-team selections.

Baldwin senior midfielders Grady McCune and Colby Zimmerman both made the All-Frontier League first team. Tonganoxie also had two representatives, with senior defender Abel Mendoza and junior forward Grayson Sonntag both making it. Eudora senior Keaton Herron secured a first-team selection as well.

Eudora senior defender Jace McCormick netted a second-team selection. Baldwin junior defender Devin Prather also made the All-Frontier League second team.

Volleyball players net postseason honors

There were also a number of local volleyball players to come away with league accolades recently.

Free State’s volleyball squad had two athletes on the All-Sunflower League first team. Sophomores Sawyer Thomsen and Aubrey Duncan both made the list after leading the Firebirds to their second consecutive sub-state title. FSHS sophomore Rylee Unruh was named to the second team.

Lawrence High senior libero Hadley Bird capped off an impressive career with a first-team selection. She was the only Lion to be named to the first or second team. Senior middle blocker I’yawa Brewer and junior outside hitter Gianna Cooper came away with honorable-mention honors.

Eudora senior Jayla Pierce was the only local athlete to make the All-Frontier League first team. EHS junior Harper Schreiner netted a second-team selection. Baldwin sophomore Chaney Barth also made the second team.

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