Preps Notebook: Five Lions headed to state swimming Thursday; Stephens, Earl to represent LHS, Free State in Park City

Five Chesty Lions – seniors Luke Velte and Jack Tell, juniors Ryan Lane and Ike Adams and sophomore Alex Oral – are locked in for the biggest test of the season at the 6A state swimming championships beginning Thursday in Topeka at Capitol Federal Natatorium.

Velte, Tell, Lane and Oral finished fourth in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:33.35) and seventh in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:30.66) in Lawrence High’s eighth-place team showing at the Sunflower League championships last week in Lenexa.

Individually, Tell finished eighth in the 200-yard medley (2:19.20); Velte finished 12th in the 50-yard freestyle and defeated FSHS junior Jack Kempf in a four-person swim-off in the 100-yard freestyle (2:19.20) after finishing 17th in the preliminary round.

Adams, a member of the Lions’ 200-yard freestyle team, finished 15th individually in the 100-yard backstroke.

General admission gates are set to open at 8:30 a.m. Find more swimmers to watch in the Journal-World’s boys swimming postseason preview.

Stephens, Earl notch top-five finishes at wrestling regional

Lawrence High sophomore Goldy Stephens and Free State sophomore Delaney Earl punched their tickets to the 6A girls wrestling state championship on Saturday at regionals.

Stephens, a sophomore team captain for LHS at 190 pounds, moved to 31-10 on the season with a third-place individual finish by defeating Bonner Springs’ Braelyn Morris (by fall) and Kansas City-Washington’s Breanna Neal (disqualifed).

photo by: Contributed photo

Lawrence High sophomore Goldy Stephens (right, red) is recognized on the winner’s block after her third-place individual finish in the 190-pound class at the regional championship on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Bonner Spring High School.

Earl, a first-year wrestler at 140 pounds, climbed her way to the third-place title match with a win over Topeka-Seaman’ Aaliyah Tignor (by fall). Kansas City-Wyandotte’s Brelynn Brown bested Earl in the third-place title match, but Earl’s 10-19 record at regionals sealed her state berth.

photo by: Contributed photo

Free State sophomore Delaney Earl celebrates after a match at the regional championship on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Bonner Spring High School. Earl finished fourth individually in the 140-pound class.

Stephens and Earl will represent LHS and FSHS at the state championship from Feb. 22-24 in Park City.

Burkitt named KJCCC Player of the Week

Maddox Burkitt, a sophomore pitcher at Johnson Community College and former Free State standout, was named the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference’s East pitcher of the week on Monday.

In just two appearances this season, Burkitt is up to nine strikeouts on seven hits, three runs, and three walks through 4 1/3 total innings with the Cavaliers. The right-hander signed with Kansas in January.

Burkitt finished his FSHS career as the 2022 6A Pitcher of the Year.

Six Firebirds headed to the next level

The Free State football team announced six seniors officially signed with their desired programs on National Signing Day last week.

Hank Fuchs, Wesley Edison, Justin Lutz, Devon Hamilton and Johnnie Williams will continue their football careers next fall; Josiah Moss will focus on track and field at Dodge City Community College.

Fuchs, who committed to Indiana State earlier this fall, and Edison, who accepted an offer to continue his career at Kansas in December, are taking their talents to Division I programs after spending their final season as co-captains for the Firebirds.

Lutz confirmed his commitment to Iowa Western, Hamilton joined Lawrence High’s Tony Jacobsen in signing with Baker and Williams inked with Southern Missouri State.


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