Boys’ tennis is trying their best to regain composure this season after a few of their top players graduated last year. The team lost four starting seniors so the coaches had to move boys up that didn’t play varsity in the previous season.
Last year, the Lancers took second place at state, losing to BVNW. This year, varsity won the Shawnee Mission District Tennis Tournament and the Lawrence Invitational and JV took first in the Sunflower Tournament. The team took fifth place in the 16 team tournament on the Plaza, a tournament that they usually place top three in. Varsity head coach Sue Chipman believes that they didn’t place where they hoped to because of the doubles teams not being as experienced as she would like.
However, Santilli’s hopes are still high for the postseason. Each school gets to send two single players and two doubles teams to regionals and if they place in the top six at regionals they qualify for state. The coaches and players are hoping to send both of their singles players and doubles teams to state this year, like they did last season.
“Our doubles teams need to be more aggressive,” Chipman said. “They need to put balls away and end the points quicker.”
This year, the girls’ soccer team is 6-1-1 in league and lost another game that was non-conference.
“I feel we have done well,” varsity head coach Jamie Kelly said. “The two games we lost are to the first and second ranked teams in the entire state.”
The team is now working on improving their communication on the field and putting efforts towards strengthening their defensive line. The team is also trying to integrate new players to fill in the spots of the three players injured for the remainder of the season.
“The team chemistry is really good,” senior captain Elisabeth Shook said. “We have a deeper team, not just one person stands out.”
Kelly and Shook both believe that this team has the capability to make it to state, which hasn’t been done since 2001.
“I know that this team has the ability and work ethic to win against every team we will face,” Kelly said.
The team works together both on and off the field, with their eye on the prize at all times: “Shawnee Mission East” engraved on the state trophy.
With an undefeated season, the girls varsity swimmers have a positive outlook for how they will place at state this year. According to senior Mary Booton, the team has high energy and that they are all working as hard as they can to improve.
“This season has a lot more spirit than last year,” senior Bonnie Longan said. “The seniors really want everyone to feel like they are playing a part and we just want to be more unified.”
For the past few years, Lawrence Free State has been their biggest competitor. Though the Lancers fell short to Free State last year at the state meet by 25 points, placing in second, East has already defeated them twice this season.
East recently hosted their annual Lancer Invite meet where varsity swimmers who hadn’t gotten their state cuts yet pushed to reach the time they needed. In support of the younger swimmers, the upperclassmen let them wear their kneeskins, light and tight suits made to help swimmers go faster, to drop time and went to support them at the meet. The Lancers will have over 20 swimmers and divers competing at state, having the most competitors in the state. According to Booton, the team trying to improve on certain things in order to drop time and succeed at state.
“To improve, we have to work on racing skills and our mental toughness in order to finish races strong,” head coach Rob Cole said. “I know our girls can do it.”
The boys’ golf team recently pulled out their second tournament win at the Lawrence Free State Invitational at the Eagle Bend golf course. The team has placed in the top three in all of their tournaments this year, winning two and placing second and third in the other tournaments. This excludes the fifth place finish in the tournament that they played last Tuesday.
“We have gotten off to a good start, but I don’t think we have peaked yet,” senior Andy Spencer said. “We have potential to get better throughout the year.”
This year, the team has younger players on varsity, with three sophomores in the current lineup.
“Sometimes [having a younger team] is better, because you don’t really know what to expect; you don’t have the expectations so there is no pressure,” sophomore Thomas Lugar said.
Lugar believes that the team is not playing their best right now, but everyone is trying to get a little bit better each day. The boys don’t get to practice much during the winter because of the weather so they are trying to get back into the swing of things.
“We have the best player in the state [Spencer], and I think we will have three other guys push to get the score,” Lugar said.