Another spring has brought with it another strong softball team for the defending Kansas Class 6A champions from Olathe East, where senior Jenni Brooks continues to shine in the circle as well as at the plate. Brooks, who also plays first base and signed with Wichita State, is 9-0 with a 0.98 ERA and leads the Sunflower League with a .685 average. She also has 10 doubles, four triples and 24 RBIs this spring.
1. You guys are 19-1 and rolled to another undefeated Sunflower League title, the fourth in a row and 12th in the last 13 seasons. How much fun is it being part of such a dominant program?
“It’s always exciting being with the team on and off the field. There’s nothing that’s not fun about it. I love playing for a team that plays together and is so unselfish. Being able to say that I got to come to this program and be part of it, it’s amazing. I’m grateful and thankful to be part of this.”
2. What is your favorite Hawks softball tradition?
“We have so many, but probably the team dinners are the best. Coming together for dinner and telling stories, just spending time together as a team is always nice. We usually talk about stuff other than softball. But I also like the Friday morning practice (at 6 a.m.). Waking up’s hard, but once you get here, we make it fun. We always have the music going and usually dance and get each other awake. It goes by fast.”
3. Will Olathe East wear the 6A crown for an eighth time in a couple weeks?
“I don’t want jinx it, but of course I hope so. I don’t know the teams away from our league — what teams have in Wichita or things like that. But we’ve played great this season. We have a young team and we’re still learning, but we also have hard workers and girls who want it really bad.”
4. Has it hit you yet that your time as a Hawk is winding down?
“It has hit me. Senior Night (on Monday) was really tough, because I love playing for coach (Jeff) Hulse and I love playing with my teammates. It’s going to be hard leaving these girls.”
BY THE NUMBERS
1 The seed for Staley, Blue Springs, Rockhurst and Liberty heading into the Missouri Class 5 baseball district tournaments, which begin Saturday. The top seeds all earned byes into Monday's second round. Missouri Classes 1-4 also open district play Saturday.
34 Unbeaten streak for the Olathe East girls soccer team, which came to an end Tuesday with a 2-1 loss to SM South. Last spring, the Hawks went 21-0-0, winning the Kansas Class 6A title, and were named national champions. Coach Terry Hair’s squad started the 2013 season 12-0-1 before the streak was snapped.
46-1.5 The top shot put recorded in Missouri this year (46 feet, 1.5 inches), which came courtesy of Fort Osage junior Asia Cole. The reigning state champion in the shot put and discus, Cole will travel to Winnetonka on Saturday for the Class 4, District 8 meet. Twelve teams are slated to compete in the event.
90 Margin of victory for the SM East boys golf team in the three-round Sunflower League championship. The Lancers totaled 880 strokes compared with runner-up Olathe East’s 970 and boasted the top five golfers: league champion Chase Hanna (210), Connor Knabe (225), Andy Spencer (228), John Sallaz (231) and Evan Bloom (234). SM East’s sixth golfer, Connor Richardson, tied for 10th (243).
NEWS AND NOTES
• A pair of Liberty North boys basketball players have signed letters of intent to continue their athletic careers into college. Shooting guard Zach Starr, the program's all-time leader in steals and assists, signed with William Jewell on Tuesday. Guard Nadhir Daughtery has signed with Graceland. ... Grandview senior Courtney Anderson signed a letter of intent Monday to attend Missouri Valley College on a volleyball scholarship. ... Shawnee Mission East will play Pembroke Hill at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Lacrosse Association of Kansas City championship game. The game will be played at UMKC. ... Blue Valley Northwest announced these signings: Kathy Curtis, softball, Wayne State (Mich.); Tayler Kirtley, swimming, South Dakota; Tate Lancaster, soccer, Baker; Jennifer Lowe, tennis, Case Western Reserve (Ohio); Austin Moses, football, Highland CC; Jesse Musser, swimming, Western Kentucky; Mason Schoen, basketball, Lake Forest (Ill.). ... These athletes at Olathe East have made college choices: Tyler Hooks, football/track and field, Ottawa; Austin Matters, cross country/track and field, Hannibal (Mo.)-LaGrange; John Blazevic, track and field, Pittsburg State; James Kor, swimming, Colorado School of Mines; Samantha Laflin, swimming, Birmingham (Ala.) Southern; Carissa Kemnitz, soccer, Johnson County CC; Alex Springer, golf, Central Missouri; Evelyn Vila, tennis, Baker.
| The Star’s Tod Palmer and Sam McDowell contributed to this report.