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Athletes Reflect On Conference Change

At+the+top+of+the+fifth+inning%2C+senior+Alanna+Vawter+pitches+against+Liberty+High+School+in+the+sectional+game+Oct.+17.+Vawter+was+on+the+team+all+four+years+with+a+personal+record+of+19-4+her+last+season.+%E2%80%9CObviously+there+was+a+lot+on+the+line+this+time.+It%E2%80%99s+one+of+those+games+that+you+kind+of+wish+you+could+take+back+a+couple+pitches+here+or+there%2C+but+that%E2%80%99s+part+of+the+game%2C%E2%80%9D+said+Vawter.
At the top of the fifth inning, senior Alanna Vawter pitches against Liberty High School in the sectional game Oct. 17. Vawter was on the team all four years with a personal record of 19-4 her last season. “Obviously there was a lot on the line this time. It’s one of those games that you kind of wish you could take back a couple pitches here or there, but that’s part of the game,” said Vawter.

At the top of the fifth inning, senior Alanna Vawter pitches against Liberty High School in the sectional game Oct. 17. Vawter was on the team all four years with a personal record of 19-4 her last season. “Obviously there was a lot on the line this time. It’s one of those games that you kind of wish you could take back a couple pitches here or there, but that’s part of the game,” said Vawter.

Makanani Grace

Makanani Grace

At the top of the fifth inning, senior Alanna Vawter pitches against Liberty High School in the sectional game Oct. 17. Vawter was on the team all four years with a personal record of 19-4 her last season. “Obviously there was a lot on the line this time. It’s one of those games that you kind of wish you could take back a couple pitches here or there, but that’s part of the game,” said Vawter.

Hailey Milliken

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As of fall of the 2018-2019 school year, the Missouri State High School Activities Association reclassified each Suburban Conference, and the school athletics has moved up from the Suburban White Conference to the Suburban Red Conference.

“I think this a good move, because it’s certainly provided all of our sports teams and upcoming MSHSAA sponsored activities with an opportunity to compete with someone else,” said assistant principal Kevin Kooi.

The sports teams went from playing schools like North Kansas City, Oak Park and Ruskin high schools to now playing Lee’s Summit, Liberty, Liberty North, Park Hill South, Truman and St. Joseph Central high schools.

“When we found out about the change, we were actually pretty excited to face more competition. I feel like this is the conference we deserve to be in,” said senior and volleyball captain Tatum Thomas.

Although there was excitement for this change, there has also been discussion of whether this is presenting more of a challenge to the athletic programs this year after being so successful in the past years.

“The competitive nature of this conference is definitely more so than before. I think its overall forced our coaches and players to build a stronger game plan, perhaps to even work a little harder in the summer to prepare,” said Kooi.

Student athletes alike have felt some of the pressures of the change during competition so far this fall .

“The softball team was worried, because we haven’t had an easy win this year, and last year we had a few. We got run-ruled for the first time ever, but I don’t think it’s because we aren’t doing well as a team, it’s just a lot harder,” said senior softball player Ravin Moore. The team’s season ended during sectionals Oct. 17 against Liberty High School with a 3-4 loss on a 21-5 record.

Besides having tougher competition, many athletes have had to deal with losing valuable players on top of it all.

“We knew that we would have a lot more requirements that we would have to push ourselves to do. We lost like 11 seniors in the past year, and that was basically our defense. We have a lot of new talent this year, and we knew we would have to work harder with the conference change as well,” said boys soccer captain junior Jesse Kuykendall.

Even after being faced with challenges, the positivity and drive hasn’t disappeared. The big wins last year kept the momentum into competition this season.

“If anything, this season has been more fun and exciting. My viewpoint on how we play isn’t affected by our conference,” said senior and football captain Landon Donaldson.“Regardless of conference, I believe we can go out there and beat every single team we play.”

Amelia Crow
Up against Liberty High School, sophomore Ainslee Stepp serves the ball in the JV game at Liberty High School Sept. 20. The Varsity team moved on from the first round of districts Oct. 22. “We really improved as the season has gone on, and come together. Being a sophomore on the team, I have really looked up to the juniors and seniors and tried to follow their lead,” said Stepp.

Lexi Valdez
On the offensive line, senior Daniel O’Neill gets ready to start the play against St. Joseph Central High School Oct. 5 at home. Varsity won 48-0, adding to their record, making it 7-2. “It was a special game for me. It was a great way to end the year at home. It was the perfect way to send off the seniors,” said O’Neill.

Lexi Valdez
Taking the ball, junior Jared Kinate dribbles down the field against St. Joseph Central High School Oct. 17. Varsity lost 0-2. “The season is good so far. I’ve had a lot of fun, the team this year has a good energy, and hopefully we can make it far in post season play,” said Kinate.

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