Basketball, wrestling practice begins
Grappling coach welcomes 35 athletes — the most in one year
Kills, two-mile runs, corner kicks and touchdowns are being replaced with three-pointers, screens, escapes and takedowns.
Volleyball, cross country, soccer and football seasons finished up just a few weeks ago for Tonganoxie and McLouth high school sports.
Now, however, practices are under way for basketball and wrestling teams.
Practice officially started Nov. 13 for Kansas high school teams.
Here's a quick look at how practice is progressing for THS and McLouth teams:
Tonganoxie girls basketball
The Tonganoxie High girls basketball team will be seeking a second state tournament appearance in three years next March. That quest started Nov. 13 with the first day of practice.
THS coach Randy Kraft said the team is starting to take the form of a basketball team.
"We've got kids in shape, but they're not in basketball shape," Kraft said. "They've done a real good job for that first week."
The Chieftains have a combined 17 players in their varsity and junior varsity ranks, while nine freshmen started their high school careers Nov. 13 with the rest of the squad.
With only one player from last year, Kelley Stauch, lost to graduation, the team that went 21-2 last season and came just short of a second straight state appearance, returns almost completely intact.
The Chieftains will open the season Dec. 1 with a home game against Basehor-Linwood.
Tonganoxie boys basketball
THS has 34 players out for this year's boys basketball team. Tonganoxie has seven seniors, five juniors, eight sophomores and 14 freshmen on this year's squad, which hopes to improve on last year's 2-19 record.
Last season, Tonganoxie lost 18 straight games, but finished strong by winning its final two regular-season games and playing top-seeded Sumner Academy tough in the 4A substate quarterfinals. The two squads were tied at halftime before the Sabres pulled away for the win in the second half.
Tonganoxie coach David Walker is using a different practice configuration this season, as junior varsity and freshmen players are practicing together and varsity is practicing at a different time.
Walker said that is allowing for more repetitions for the varsity squad, while allowing the freshmen and junior varsity more time with "the teaching aspect of it."
So far, the new schedule has been successful.
"It's worked out real well," Walker said.
Tonganoxie will open its season Dec. 1 at home against rival Basehor-Linwood.
Optimism is high for the Tonganoxie wrestling team -- and so are the wrestling numbers.
THS coach Jeremy Goebel said he had 35 wrestlers practicing when workouts started last week.
"I think that's the best start since I've been here in terms of numbers the first week," Goebel said.
Tonganoxie has five seniors, eight juniors, seven sophomores and 15 freshmen.
The Chieftains return one state qualifier from last year in Kevin Hamm, who is a sophomore this season. The squad also lost just two seniors from last year's squad.
Tonganoxie will open the season Dec. 2 with the Kaw Valley League duals at Basehor-Linwood.
McLouth boys basketball
Two were better than one for the McLouth High boys basketball team last week.
The Bulldog boys, under first-year coach Jason Schroeder, had two-a-day practices last week. The team practiced at 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day.
"The work was hard and everyone was there," Schroeder said. "They're starting to look pretty good."
Schroeder, who was an assistant coach last year at MHS, begins his first year as head coach. He replaces Chad Brown, who coached the Bulldogs for four years.
Schroeder, a recent graduate of Kansas University, played high school basketball at Remington-Whitewater, a Class 3A school northeast of Wichita. He graduated from the school in 2001.
"I was very happy with the transition to a new coach and transition to a new style," Schroeder said.
The Bulldogs have 26 players out this season, seven of whom are seniors and five are juniors.
MHS, which finished last year with a 5-16 record, will open the season Nov. 30 with a Delaware Valley League tournament play-in game at Troy.
McLouth girls basketball
With 19 players out this season for MHS, coach Keith Miller was pleased with the first week of practice.
"I've been really happy," Miller said. "As far as conditioning, we're ahead of last year. We set goals in practice for our girls to achieve.
"Actually, we're ahead of where we were last season."
The Bulldogs are a youth-laden squad, with just two seniors, but four juniors, four sophomores and nine freshmen.
MHS went 3-18 last season and fell in the first round of Class 3A substate play.
This season, the Bulldogs will open Nov. 30 at Wathena in a play-in game for the Delaware Valley League tournament.
"We have a much more athletic team this year," Miller said. "We don't have the height we did last year, but we'll be able to get up and down the floor. "Inexperienced, but I think we'll get better as the year goes along."