Chieftains anticipating new places, new faces
Depending on which sport they're watching, Tonganoxie High fans could see some new destinations and plenty of fresh opponents.
The most drastic schedule change will come this winter when the THS wrestling team travels to Kearney, Neb., and Goodland for wrestling meets. The team opens the season in Kearney, a tournament that will replace the Atchison tournament on the schedule. The Goodland tournament will be right before the winter break.
"Goodland's going to be like going to state," said THS athletics director Brandon Parker. "It will have the best there."
Looking to beef up the team's schedule, Parker slated the two tournaments, along with the regular local invitationals.
"We've got a few kids who look to place and they need to be challenged," Parker said, referring to state. "They've got to go out and see the best during the season instead of seeing them in Wichita.
"Unfortunately for our geographic sense, that means we have to travel a little bit."
This season's Tonganoxie Invitational also will have two new teams -- Baldwin and Anderson County.
Although this year's football schedule has many of the same opponents, league member Bishop Ward is new to the schedule. Perry-Lecompton also appears on the schedule for the first time since 2001. PLHS, De Soto and Bonner Springs will be Tonganoxie's district opponents. Although De Soto will begin play in the Frontier League this fall, the Wildcats still will face the Chieftains in district play.
Tonganoxie again will face league rival Lansing, but at a different time. The teams usually meet in the season finale, but this year they tangle in the season opener as THS looks to defend its Kaw Valley League title. Tonganoxie and Piper were co-champions last fall.
The schedule is about the same as last season. And again this year, it will be filled with plenty of talented teams.
Bishop Ward, a team Tonganoxie defeated in 2002 and 2003 substate tournaments, now will be on the schedule full-time as a KVL member.
Triangulars in Paola and Topeka dot the non-tournament schedule, while THS will compete in the De Soto Invitational, the Central Heights Tournament and the Tonganoxie Invitational.
The home tourney will feature Manhattan, Great Bend, Olathe East and Eudora. Manhattan won last year's Class 6A title; Eudora fell to Tonganoxie in a 4A substate semifinal match last October.
Throw in state teams Lansing and Mill Valley, and the schedule looks challenging.
"We don't have tons of breathers," Parker said. "The schedule is demanding."
Along with the Tonganoxie Invitational, THS will host the KVL junior varsity tournament.
Lawrence-Free State and Kansas City Christian have been regulars on the Tonganoxie soccer schedule for some time.
That will change come September.
Those games have been replaced with a home-and-home series with Eudora. Ottawa still will be on the schedule, while Bishop Ward enters the picture as a new league school. De Soto, last year's second-place team in Class 4-1A, will be off the schedule with the Wildcats' departure to the Frontier League. Fellow state qualifier Mill Valley, however, still is in the league.
No changes exist for the THS cross country team this year. The team's biggest meet other than state again will be the Rim Rock Invitational between Lawrence and McLouth.
Boys and girls basketball
Both Tonganoxie teams will play against St. Marys in their season openers. The games will be played at home before the teams compete in early season tournaments at Central Heights (boys) and Anderson County (girls).
Bishop Ward will replace De Soto on the league schedule, while St. Marys replaces Jeff West on the non-conference slate. The Chieftains are likely to play Jeff West in the Tonganoxie Invitational.
Tonganoxie now will see two-time defending state champion Bishop Ward on a regular season basis. As for its non-conference schedule, the team will play Pleasant Ridge instead of Ottawa.
"It's fairly local competition," Parker said.
The Chieftains will see Jeff West and Atchison on its opening night for the third straight year. The team will see new faces in Pleasant Ridge and Bishop Ward.
Tonganoxie's track schedule will be roughly the same as last year, although Parker said another meet could be added.
The golf schedule is the only one to still be in limbo. No major changes are expected from last year, but meets could be added as the season gets closer.