Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Friday, Oct. 12, 2012

Olathe South qualifies for state golf tourney

The Kansas City Star

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Olathe South coach Mark Smith nervously watched his girls come in on the 18th green Monday at Overland Park Golf Course, knowing that every stroke could be the difference between qualifying for the Kansas 6A state tournament as a team and winding up fourth or fifth — on the outside, looking in.

“It was really close (with Lawrence and Olathe East) and we knew it was going to go down to the wire,” Smith said.

He watched one of his Falcons five-putt that final hole, a potential blow for the team’s hopes.

“But the next girl (Abbey Lynch) drained a 50-footer,” Smith said. “It was one of those putts where I saw several girls putt it right off the green, but she rolled it right in. She’s been our No. 5 all season, but she came in with a 102 today, which is her personal best score.”

It also was South’s fourth score in the team race, helping achieve a season-best 374 total. The Falcons edged Lawrence by 2 shots (376) and Olathe East by 4 (378).

Now, junior Bailey Gibson, who led South’s charge with a 77 and finished fifth overall, will have some company at state after qualifying as an individual the last two seasons.

“It’s going to be great, and it will a whole new experience for her to share it with other people,” Smith said. “I think she’s enjoyed it before and likes going to state, but the whole team atmosphere and the bonding that goes on will be special. That’s been their whole goal from day one to try and make it as a team.”

Emily Farrar (94) and Madison Newman (101) rounded out South’s scorers.

Meanwhile, Olathe North senior Megan Manning shot 1-over par 72 and finished second by 1 stroke at the regional behind Olathe Northwest junior Audrey Judd.

It was just the latest clutch round for Manning, who finished seventh at 6A state last year and has shown a knack for coming through at postseason meets.

She smashed her career-best tourney score, a 78 she set at the regional meet as a sophomore.

“I didn’t think I did well under pressure, but it turns out I do,” Manning said. “I’m really excited. My goal is to get in the top five since I finished seventh last year. That was a good tournament for me and there’s a lot of good competition, but the score today definitely helps my confidence.”

Hawks volleyball snags league crown

For the first time in program history, Olathe East’s volleyball team claimed a share of the Sunflower League title, sharing the crown with Lawrence Free State after both finished 10-1 in league play.

“We’ve been 10-1 and 9-2 before,” said Hawks coach Brian Martin, whose squad beat the Firebirds head-to-head. “We’ve been second and tied for second, but we’ve never won. We talked about at the beginning of the year how teams thrive on doing something that’s never been done before. We knew we had a chance of being successful in the league and the girls jumped on that challenge.”

Of course, Martin isn’t sure that ultimately was East’s greatest motivation.

“When we finally beat Shawnee Mission North, they all went out to Culver’s and had ice cream,” Martin said. “I think was a bigger deal for them.”

Led by two seniors — Courtney Will, who is the reigning Sunflower League player of the year, and Megan Starling — who’ve played varsity for three seasons, the Hawks won’t rest easy after winning league.

“We set our goals on ultimately getting to state again, but we said there were small steps,” Martin said. “We’ve got a lot of the players back from last year. We lost two or three seniors, but most of these kids haven’t known anything else. It’s their expectation to perform and keep advancing. That’s all they know.”

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.

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