Fall teams’ schedules released early
Spring sports are on athletes' minds now, but most schedules have already been drawn up for fall and some winter sports next season.
Athletics director John Lee said the entrance of Bonner Springs to the Kaw Valley League has helped speed up the scheduling process. Schedules usually aren't finalized until May.
Lee said the schedules are always subject to change, but games have been drawn up for football, soccer, volleyball and boys' and girls' basketball.
Most schedules will be primarily the same as this year, with the obvious addition of Bonner Springs. The soccer schedule will change slightly, as it will now include Kansas City Christian in the regular season finale Oct. 21. KC Christian defeated Tonganoxie in the 4-3-2-1A playoffs last season and finished as State runner-up.
The biggest changes came in football. Tonganoxie dropped Pembroke Hill (Mo.) and Parsons. New opponent Wamego, which came two games shy of the 4A State title game last year, will come to Tonganoxie on Sept. 6 for the season opener.
The Chieftains will also play three other playoff teams in Basehor-Linwood, Santa Fe Trail and Immaculata, which was the 3A State runner-up last season.
The Chieftains will always play teams in the KVL's large-school division Bonner Springs, Mill Valley, Basehor-Linwood and Lansing. Tonganoxie will also play some teams in the small school division, which consists of De Soto, Immaculata, Perry-Lecompton, Piper and Santa Fe Trail. This year, Perry-Lecompton is the only KVL team the Chieftains won't be playing.
Wamego will be the Chieftains' only nonconference game, but Tonganoxie coach Mark Elston would rather have more.
"I'm not in favor of it, but they didn't ask me," Elston said.
Now with a 10-team conference, it's possible that some teams won't play outside of the league. Immaculata, meanwhile, will play just six conference games because the Raiders' district games are all outside the league.
Tonganoxie travels to Bonner Springs to take on the 5A Braves after opening with Wamego. Elston hopes his team will maintain confidence with tougher early games.
"To be the best you have to beat the best," Elston said.
The boys' and girls' basketball teams will also start their seasons in different fashions as both will participate in Atchison's preseason tournament Dec. 5-7. The boys could take on Atchison, creating a rematch of this season's 4A Sub-state final in Hiawatha where Atchison won 66-55.
The girls' team will also play in the Immaculata Tournament in late January, replacing the Lawrence-Free State Firebird Winter Classic.
Other team schedules can be found in the scoreboard, which is also on page 2B.