Spring Sports Preview: Lawrence High baseball returning Tulane commit to the mound

Lawrence junior Noah Kirk pitches against Jefferson City during the River City Baseball Festival at Hoglund Ballpark on Thursday, April 14, 2022.

Spring sports are back in full swing at Lawrence High School, with all programs opening practices and competitions this week.

Here’s the outlook for the Chesty Lions:


Searching for its first state title in over a decade, the Lawrence High baseball team returns seven key contributors this season. Last year, the Lions finished 13-8 and stalled in the first round of the substate regional tournament.

On the hill, senior righty Noah Kirk and junior lefty Brooks Jones, a Tulane commitment, will be the most lethal arms on the pitching staff. Junior Sammy Stoll (1B/LHP), son of 18th-year LHS coach Brad Stoll, is also expected to carry some weight for the Lions this season.

Senior outfielders Dom Ostronic (CF) and Nate Blettner (LF) rejoin the lineup, with catcher River Lynch and utility player Jack Pfeifer rounding out the senior talent. Third baseman Tyson Grammer and shortstop Austin Crawford, both juniors, return depth to the infield.

LHS meets Sioux Falls Roosevelt in exhibition play on Thursday and Sioux Falls Bishop O’Gorman on Friday. The Lions’ home opener is slated for March 30 vs. Shawnee Mission South.


First-year skipper Michael Byrn hopes to push Lawrence High softball forward this season after last year’s disappointing 5-16 campaign. Returning senior leadership and young talent, Byrn said his group can take the next step this year.

Byrn expects his three key seniors – shortstop Emme Dye, centerfielder Hailey Ramirez and pitcher Maelee Folks – to help raise the standard for the Lady Lions.

“These ladies are putting in the grind and expect to win,” Byrn said. “We will have to play fundamental softball to put ourselves in a position to win games.”

Alongside Folks, junior Taylor Zeckser returns to lead LHS on the mound. Byrn also expects freshman Sophie Rowley to contribute in her first season, considering Rowley a “huge upside” for LHS in the circle.

Sophomores Lydia Folks (1B), Harper Dye (2B) and Maddy Crawford (3B) will be enlisted to protect the dirt. Behind the plate, Byrn expects junior Shea Rowley and sophomore Reese Dannevik to compete for the job.

LHS opens the year with a doubleheader at Manhattan on Friday.

Track and Field

The Lawrence High track and field team produced 20 state qualifiers last season and hopes to boost that number even higher this season.

Second-year coach Audrey Trowbridge returns six seniors – Natalie Kennedy (distance), Joan Epian (hurdles), Bre Jackson (4×100), Jude Harris (javelin), Cam Johnson (high jump) and Lance Bassett (discus) – to the roster.

Emma Roman Nose (distance), Miri Picman (triple jump/high jump), Colin Sanefur (100, 200, 4×100, 4×400), and Harrison Kirkwood (discus) – all juniors – will make for a deep Lions’ team.

Juniors Destiny Savannah and Jaylie Hohman also return, adding experience back to the 4×400 team. Newcomer and junior Paige Platt will take on roles in high jump, triple jump, and javelin.

Trowbridge feels her team has something to prove.

“I think we could surprise people in May and I think we will have a lot of kids who are new to the sport figuring out they were track kids all along,” she said.

LHS opens its season at the Topeka MidWinter Relays on Thursday.

Girls Soccer

Snapping a 14-game losing streak at regionals last year, the Lawrence High girls soccer team is ready to put its best foot forward this season.

LHS coach Joe Comparato, returning for his second year, returns a bulk of the talent from last year’s team, including senior goalkeeper Cree Stewart. Stewart logged over 300 saves last season and holds a key leadership role for Comparato’s squad this year.

Alongside Stewart, LHS returns sophomore midfielder Avery Bird. Bird has attracted attention from schools across the U.S. and competes nationally within the U.S. Women’s Olympic Development Program.

LHS opens its season at Shawnee Mission North on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Boys Golf

The Lawrence High golf team received a high volume of tryouts this year, setting lofty expectations for the year.

Fourth-year LHS coach John Moos expects improvement from this years roster after the Lions missed last year’s state tournament. Moos returns two senior leaders, Macade Lewis and Dallas Ostronic, to his varsity squad.

Alongside Lewis and Ostronic, LHS will have junior Gunnar Wayenberg, sophomore Nate Schworm, and freshman Andrew Kirkwood swinging for varsity seats.

LHS returns to the links for the Shawnee Mission East Invitational on March 27 at Kansas City Country Club.

Girls Swim and Dive

With longtime Lawrence High swim and dive coach Kent McDonald having retired after the boys season last winter, eight-year assistant Elle Weber, who once swam for the Lions, begins her head coaching career with the girls’ program this spring.

Four seniors – Macie McDermott (sprinter), Lulu Myers-Arenth (sprinter), Abi Jones (backstroke), and Paige Unekis (relays) – are tasked with leading a smaller LHS roster this season after a heavy senior turnover.

“It will be important to focus on individual growth and improvement throughout the season,” Weber said. “There are a lot of determined divers to qualify and perform well at both league and state!”

Weber’s squad returns a state diving qualifier in junior Emily Brandt, who placed seventh at state last season. Overall, LHS placed eighth in the Sunflower League and 11th at state last season.

LHS opens its season at the Emporia Tournament on Thursday.

Boys Tennis

A mixed roster has the Lawrence High tennis team poised to climb the Sunflower League this season, returning a bulk of the previous season’s roster.

Returning senior lettermen include Aiden Ammann, Henry Adams and Oliver Rubenstien, as 15th-year coach Chris Marshall leans on his upperclassmen to lead his squad through the unfavorable weather that’s made early practices a rarity.

LHS also welcomes newcomer Jack Bauch, a freshman who Marshall said will be playing the No. 1 spot this season.

“I look forward to the challenge of this season and seeing how some of our younger players can gel with older players to get better each day and improve at the game of tennis and life,” Marshall said.

LHS opens its season on March 28 at Emporia.


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