For 14 months, the Olathe East High School girls soccer team was virtually untouchable.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
The Hawks rolled through last spring undefeated, winning the Kansas Class 6A state title and being chosen as national champions after a perfect 21-0-0 campaign.
Despite the usual turnover that accompanies high school sports, Olathe East opened the 2013 season 12-0-1 for a 34-match unbeaten streak.
“As I reflect on it, I think , ‘Wow, that’s quite an accomplishment,’” Hawks coach Terry Hair said. “I feel very fortunate and lucky to have had that type of run with the quality of girls that I get the opportunity to coach.”
Like all good things, Olathe East’s unblemished run came to an end Tuesday with a 2-1 loss against Shawnee Mission South.
“We had a chance to tie it, but (the ball) hit the left side, came across the goal line and hit the right side then came out,” Hair said. “It just wasn’t our night. We just didn’t play well enough to win.”
The skid hit two games with a 1-0 loss Thursday against Blue Valley, but 33-2-1 still isn’t too shabby during the last two seasons.
“As with any team, when you lose, you hope you learn from that and it causes you to refocus and play a little harder,” Hair said. “All 32 schools, when you enter postseason realize that one loss and you’re done. Hopefully, this focuses us to realize how fine the line can be between winning and losing — particularly in the sport of soccer.”
The Hawks will be one of the top seeds when the regional bracket is set Saturday and still have a great shot at repeating as 6A champs, even if the squad is dramatically different than last spring.
“We’re scoring more by committee,” Hair said. “I don’t really have a single person this year like I did last year with Kirstyn Corder.”
Of course, that means the Hawks have a few more options — most notably senior Lauren Zach, juniors Haley Hanson and Hannah Lukinac (an Olathe South transfer) and sophomore Natalie Wolfe — who might catch fire and power Olathe East to another title.
Crist, ONW doubles claim regional crowns
Olathe North junior Austin Crist made light work of the Kansas Class 6A regional tournament.
He dropped only two games in three matches en route to the championship, where Crist topped Lawrence junior Thomas Irick 6-3, 6-3 for the regional crown.
The victory also earned Crist a first-round bye at the 6A state tourney, which wraps up Saturday at the Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka.
Crist, 17-5, wasn’t the only champion crowned Monday on the Gardner Edgerton tennis courts.
Olathe Northwest junior Dom Fabiano and sophomore Taylor Ficke won the doubles title by knocking off Olathe South senior Brandon Edwards and sophomore Conner Petty 6-2, 6-2 in the final.
Fabiano/Ficke, 18-7, powered the Ravens to the team championship.
Olathe Northwest’s second doubles team, seniors Kip Unruh and Cody Connley (13-10), and both singles players, freshman Thompson Tong (15-10) and sophomore Lee Fitchett (16-11), also qualified for state.
Finally, Gardner Edgerton juniors Micah VanVleet and Dylan Meek (22-7) claimed third at the regional to make the state field.
Springer shoots way onto first-team all-league
Olathe East senior Alex Springer was the only player not from SM East to win a spot on the six-member All-Sunflower League boys golf first team.
Springer, who signed with Central Missouri, finished sixth overall with a three-round 235. He shot a 5-over 77 on Wednesday and tied for 13th during the Lawrence Invitational at Alvamar Golf Course in the league meet’s final round.
Springer’s performance helped the Hawks finish second — albeit a distant second — to SM East in the team standings. Olathe East totaled 970 shots compared to the Lancers’ 88.
Three other Olathe East golfers earned all-league distinction.
Zach Spencer wound up on the second team, finishing ninth overall (242), while both Christian Sheppard, who tied for 13th (247) and Brady Kaemmer, who wound up 18th (249), were honorable mentions.
Olathe Northwest’s Dillon Funk, who also tied for 13th (247), and Olathe South’s Cole Hanich, who claimed 17th (248), also were among the honorable mentions.
At Alvamar, Olathe South’s Jayce Steury finished eighth after a scorecard playoff broke a five-way at 75.
Hawks girls hoops announce camp
Olathe East’s girls basketball team will conduct three camps May 28-31.
A camp for players entering fourth through sixth grades is set for 12-1:30 p.m. with a seventh- and eighth-grade camp from 2-3:30 p.m. each day. The high school camp is scheduled for 3:30-6 p.m.
Information is available at the Olathe East girls basketball website or by emailing head coach Clint Evans at email@example.com.
Sunflower League boys golf
Team: 1. SM East, 880; 2. Olathe East, 970; 3. SM Northwest, 972; 4. Lawrence Free State, 992; 5. Olathe South, 1,017; 6. Lawrence, 1,020; 7. Olathe Northwest, 1,024; 8. SM South, 1,049; 9. SM West, 1,067; 10. Olathe North, 1,135; 11. Leavenworth, 1,281.
First team: 1. Chase Hanna, SME, 210; 2. Connor Knabe, SME, 225; 3. Andy Spencer, SME, 228; 4. John Sallaz, SME, 231; 5. Evan Bloom, SME, 234; 6. Alex Springer, OE, 235.
Second team: 7. Garret Allen, SMNW, 236; 8. Alex Green, LFS, 241; 9. Zach Spencer, OE, 242; 10t. Connor Richardson, SME, 243; 10t. Mitchell Bolton, SMNW, 243; 12. Wilson Hack, LFS, 244.
Honorable mention: 13t. Christian Sheppard, OE, 247; 13t. Dillon Funk, ONW, 247; 13t. Colton Allen, SMNW, 247; 13t. Thomas Flick, SMW, 247; 17. Cole Hanich, OS, 248; 18. Brady Kaemer, OE, 249.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.