The defending state champions Girls’ Tennis team is set to start the season with a match versus Pembroke Hill on Aug. 30. The team will be missing sophomore Elizabeth Barnickel for the match, due to a tournament over Labor Day weekend not affiliated with the school.
“We traditionally lose to [Pembroke Hill] when actually, if we were playing them later in the season we would be beating them,” Coach Chipman said.
Expectations for this season are similar to last year’s, though the team lost two key seniors, Mimi Fotopoulos and Mollie Cooper. Fotopoulos won the state singles title last year, and Cooper was a part of the doubles team that also took home the state title. The team graduated four others that were a part of the team last season.
“One main goal of ours is to stay together as a team,” senior Elizabeth Wilcox said. “We will do this by coming to practices and not having any issues with one another.”
Wilcox will most likely be teaming up with her younger sister, Sophomore Stephanie Wilcox, in doubles matches. Elizabeth Wilcox will be participating in singles matches as well.
“It’s my senior year, so I’d like to go out with a bang,” Wilcox said.
The varsity Girls’ Golf team has yet to have a tournament this season. Their first tournament is on Sept. 5 at Deer Creek Golf Course. There, they will compete against all of the sunflower league schools.
“[The Deer Creek tournament] will be a good one,” senior Anne Willman said. “ It gives a chance to play against the schools in the area and prepare for League.”
The JV team had their first tournament on Tuesday at Lake Shawnee. The team came in second.
Whitney Wendal- 47
Laurie Doerflinger- 53
Anna Sheridan- 48
Grace Adams- 63
Varsity has not lost anyone from last year’s state team. Seniors Anne Willman and Kelley Tomlin will be leading the team.
“I think that we have a chance to be really good this year,” Willman said. “My goal is to win state and that would be really special.”
It has been a week since the four teams were set and tryouts ended. The varsity team has yet to have their first duel which will be an away game next Thursday against BV Northwest a classic rival. In preparation for this match the girls have been working specifically on blocking and defensive positioning. This year’s key players are looking to be mostly seniors: senior Ashley Allegri, an outside hitter, will be a key point-scorer for the varsity team thanks to her high vertical and strong arm swing. Senior Anne Recker will be the team’s libero and key defender for the season. Junior Jordan Finnigan is new to varsity and will be the key setter.
The boys’ soccer team is looking to bounce back after a disappointing playoff loss in the second regional game of the 2011 season. The team had a solid season, finishing 14-4. Now with nine returning starters and 20 seniors on the team, the Lancers have high expectations.
“I think it’s reasonable to expect one of the best years of East soccer history,” senior Clint Dunn said.
Practices set the standard for the year right away. The team has been training with intensity in drills and small sided games, along with doing sprints or long runs everyday. Although state looms in the future, the Lancers are trying to stay focused on their first game against Piper on Sept. 4.
“All 24 of us have to stick together until the end,” Senior Jack Sernett said. “If we do that, I think we can achieve our ultimate goal this year.”
With the blue and black scrimmage set for 6:30 tonight, here’s a look at the 2012 Lancers. Coach Chip Sherman’s first four-year class heads into their senior season with high expectations, due in large part to highly-touted senior transfer Jordan Darling. Darling, a four-star recruit from Texas, is the highest rated football prospect East has ever had and has already committed to play quarterback for KU next year. His addition has made the Lancers a dark horse competitor for state.
But Darling isn’t the only key addition to the team. Reed Harbor, a senior transfer from Mill Valley, gives the Lancer lines unprecedented size, shoring up what could have been one of the team’s few weaknesses.
Aside from Darling, East’s real strength comes on the defensive side of the field. The Lancers have one of the best and most experienced linebacker cores in the state, led by Sam and David Stewart and Patrick Blackburn. The D-line should be more formidable than expected with the addition of Harbor as well as junior Dominique Atkinson, and the secondary, led by returning senior safety David Sosna, should be one of the best in the Sunflower League.
Areas of concern for East include the loss of their entire running game from last year and their loss of star receiver Elliot Faerber, but the Blue and Black scrimmage today should tell fans whether those holes will be effectively filled.
The Cross Country team will be looking to rebuild from losing their top seniors such as Adam Simmons and Katie Crawford. Spots on varsity will be open for contention this Sunday at Time Trials.
Junior Annie Kuklenski will be looking to return to State this year after her best year on the team last year.
“We have all been trying to get in the best shape as possible before the season starts,” Kuklinski said.
Kuklenski believes the hardest challenge so far has been the hot August weather. Time trials will be held this Saturday morning at Shawnee Mission Park.
The Gymnastics team is starting full swing into the new year. With Coach Chuck Lundblad in his second year of coaching and a team of 15 girls, the group is off to a great start.
“Being on the team is so fun,” freshman Maddie Rooney said. “I’m learning a lot and meeting a lot of new people.”
The team has been practicing with the North girls’ team for a few years, forcing them to share a coach with the seven girl team because of difficulty finding a coach for both programs.
“It’s hard having to share a coach,” junior Madi Lage said. “I feel like he can’t get to all of us.”
Coach Lundblad took no time getting used to the larger amount of gymnasts, throwing himself into practice and meet configurations.
“I have to keep my head on a swivel!” Lundblad said. “There are girls flying everywhere and I have to make sure they are safe.”
After placing 3rd at Olathe East’s Invitational last year, the gymnasts are hoping to take advantage of their bigger team and place even higher.