Archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Chinstraps and Mouthpieces

Kaw Valley League rule hinders seniors, teams

November 20, 2001

Playing sports at Tonganoxie High School is an attainable goal. In larger schools, such as Lawrence High and Free State High, the opportunities are slimmer with their larger enrollments.

THS, though, is large enough that factors such as court space and the number of coaches can signal a change in procedure.

Tonganoxie is one of a few Kaw Valley schools that doesn't have a cut policy. It was a possibility in July, but the school board went with the creation of a C-team instead.

That meant that extra players would have a chance to play, it just wouldn't be with the high school basketball team. The team would have school-issued uniforms, but would have to find other schools wanting to schedule games. Playing games against recreational teams would also be an option.

Volleyball and basketball, sports the policy was expected to effect, haven't implemented the rule because a large number of players weren't out. The policy could work if numbers increase, but a larger problem has come up.

The Kaw Valley League doesn't allow seniors to play any level but varsity. No matter how many years of experience a senior has, he can only play varsity, although there are exceptions. A foreign exchange student playing basketball in his one year at the school, or a senior with a severe injury coming back through rehabilitation in junior varsity.

The rule has been in the league since the early 1980s, but it needs to go.

Every player, whether a freshman or a senior, deserves a chance to play varsity. Some players take more time to reach their potential, but teams shouldn't be assembled based on what year players will be graduating.

Tonganoxie had nine seniors out for the boys' basketball team. Varsity teams can only have 12 players.

Spots are never guaranteed. The seniors didn't just join the team last week, either, but everyone deserves an opportunity whether it be the varsity, junior varsity or freshmen teams.

This concept would be possible with the senior rule no longer in effect.

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High school football has finally finished. Although no Kaw Valley League teams advanced to the title game, one team came on strong toward the end of the season.

Immaculata, which was 1-5 going into districts, finished the regular season 4-5. The Raiders then defeated higher-seeded Nemaha Valley and Silver Lake before losing to undefeated Neodesha 18-8, one game shy of the state title.

Immaculata finished the season 6-6, while Neodesha finished 12-1 after losing to Conway Springs 16-14. CSHS finished the season 13-0.

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Tonganoxie cross country runners Kyle Norris, Nathan Bailey and Tommy Powell advanced to the National AAU Cross Country Championships on Dec. 1 in Orlando, Fla.

It reminded me of my experience with the AAU, although it was certainly not cross country.

Competing in the 1994 National AAU Indoor Track and Field Championships in the Anschutz Sports Pavilion in Lawrence, I heaved the shot roughly 40 feet in the intermediate age level. I was the only one competing in my division that day, but I set the national record.

Apparently not too many athletes competed in that event if I was setting a national record.

I'm pretty sure it's been topped since then.

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