Spring Sports Preview

Kortney Michel, Ryan Berry, Sierra Jones, Elizabeth Donaldson, Taylor Lincoln, Rebecca Donaldson, and Makenna Orton

Boy’s Tennis

After losing coach Cody Whitney at the end of the season, the boys tennis team will start this year with Michael Bass leading the team with a new assistant coach, Colby Slaughter. Slaughter has played tennis since he was eight years old and played on the varsity tennis team all four years at Shawnee Heights. Slaughter hopes to see much improvement for the upcoming season, however he also emphasizes the importance of enjoying the sport.

“I am most excited to see how much fun the payers are having. Even though I am competitive, it is important to see everyone having a good time,” Slaughter said.

After losing key seniors last year, the team has high hopes for success.

Boy’s Track

This year, the boys track team has the hopes of returning to state once again. .With three state returns  Michael Hoffer, Cade Holmes and Hunter Henderson, all juniors. The team has a very optimistic outlook on this upcoming season. Hoffer injured his ankle at basketball practice a few months ago and went through a month of physical therapy, and has continued  to work on his ankle on his own to prepare for this season.

“I hope to contribute to the team with everything I have, and get the school record in high jump and long jump.” Hoffer said.

Girl’s Track

After losing their top competitors, the girls track team looks forward to the new season with the hope of continuing to encourage more females to go out for track. The team is also very hopeful of having more girls place at state, since they have been so close in the past years. The team will build and grow off of the seniors leadership. The seniors are expected to step up and be leaders, especially to the new track athletes.

“I’m really excited to be one of the senior leaders. I can’t wait to see what my team can do.” senior Abigail Rebollar said.

Girl’s Soccer

For the fourth year in a row the Shawnee Heights soccer team has started a new season with a new coach. The 2016-17 soccer coach will be Nick Simmons. A former student of Shawnee Heights.

“It has been a challenge adapting to the different coaching styles each year, but I believe Nick will be a good addition to the 2017 soccer team,” senior Jasmine Blindt said “I think it will be good season because of all of the talented seniors we have. I think we will make it even further than we did last year.”

Girl’s Swim and Dive

The swim/dive team is expecting to have around 25 girls go out this season. This is a dramatic increase in participation compared to years in the past with only around 12 girls participating.

“When you swim a race you get a number of points for what you place and that adds up for your team, so I’m really excited to have more girls,” junior Lucy Hill said.

However, the swim/dive team isn’t positive that they will be able to have a team this year due to difficulties in finding a coach. The swim/dive team is parent funded so finances and finding a sponsor in the school district are the root of their difficulties. Last year, the team shared a coach with the Topeka West swim/dive team. This year, if the team shares a coach, they will only be allowed to have ten girls swim and two dive, being forced to cut athletes.

“Getting a coach is a work in progress. The season starts in two weeks so we might have to share with Topeka West and cut girls if we don’t find a coach in time,” junior Kyla Stanley said.

Softball

After graduating six seniors last year, the softball team looks to depend on this year’s upperclassmen to step up and lead the team. They will also depend on the young talent to fill in the holes of last years seniors. Faith Rottinghaus (12), Kaleigh Bayless (11)  and Paige Petefish (10) all received first team all state and are returning players. The team is looking forward to the season especially after they earned second at state last year.

“I’m looking forward to playing with new people, and making another team my family“  Petefish said.

Baseball

The Shawnee Heights baseball team is expecting about 50 people to try out. After losing nine seniors last year, Coach Ryan Schmidt is on the lookout for upperclassmen to help guide the way.“Losing that many seniors, about nine, we need this year’s juniors and seniors to step up,” Coach Schmidt said

Last season brought pride to Shawnee Heights. Coach Schmidt was named 2016 All-City coach of the year, six players with honorable mentions and seven making an All-City team.“I’m expecting a few changes with new KSHAA pitching rules but overall, I’ve seen a lot of talent at conditioning,” Coach Schmidt said. Try-outs begin the week of February 27 with the first game against Desoto on March 28.

Boy’s Golf

Shawnee Heights boy’s golf will begin again this spring led by coach Jason Swift. The boy’s golf team placed third in the 2015 5A State Championship, and as a team have gone to State for the past 11 years. Coach Swift hopes to return as the top team this season and win state, as well as be a more competitive team in the 5A league.

  “I’m excited for this group of players. I think we’ll be good this year because they work hard and they love golf,” Coach Swift said.

  This season watch out for seniors Nathan Browne, Cody Holt, Hayden Hunter, and sophomore Jared Holmer.