Opinion | KSHSAA should change postseason assignment process

As each team begins its season, players and coaches anxiously await to find out regional or sub-state assignments. It seems every year the reactions to assignments are either very excited or very disappointed.

As of now, high schools smaller than class 4A are split up into regionals and sub-state by the location of the school. Their records and level of competition are not taken into consideration.

Every regional seems to vary in the level competition. For an example, this year’s WHS softball regional assignment has a 2-1A state champion, 3A runner-up, and a couple recent state placers in the same tournament. Meanwhile, there are several regionals with teams we have run-ruled in the regular season as the top seed in the tournament. This has happened in all sports, but this year creates a particularly tough road for softball.

Although there are more schools in the 4A, 5A, and 6A classes, how the assignments are set up in the lower classes can be a modified version of the upper classes. By taking the upper half of team records in each class and dividing them up into different regionals, it allows regionals and sub-states to be evenly separated like the upper classes.

This will also make the state tournaments have a balanced level of competition and allow teams that have had great regular seasons to have a fair shot at state.

From personal experience of playing high school sports, my teams have competed in some of the most difficult games of our season in the regional or sub-state tournaments. Although the desire of making it to state may have contributed to these games, more often than not the teams played at a higher level of competition than the ones at state. The road to the state competition shouldn’t be more difficult than state itself.

— Abby Oliver, @AbbyOliver27

WHS spring sports coaches respond to regional assignments

Baseball will host regionals this year, which will take place May 13 and 15. Also participating in the tournament are Burlingame, Mission Valley, Lebo/Waverly, Lyndon, Northern Heights, Olpe/Hartford, and Rossville.

“This is the first time that 2-1A has had regionals with more than 5 or 6 teams. With 8 teams, there is no pitching advantage for the #1 or #2 seeds anymore as they will have to play quarterfinal games now, instead of just moving into the semi finals with a first round bye.  Otherwise, for our specific regional, there are some quality teams and there will be some good matchups. No matter what seed you end up with, it will take a very strategic and efficient game plan to advance,” coach Jeron Weisshaar said.

The softball team will compete in regionals at McLouth High School on May 13 and 14. McLouth will also host Atchison County, Mission Valley, Oskaloosa, Rossville, Troy, and Valley Falls.

“It’s gonna be very tough, there are a lot of good teams. There are eight teams in it compared to the usual five, so the chances of one of them being good is higher. I don’t know how they divided them up, but ours is very top heavy,” coach Brian Henry said.

The track team is to compete at Jefferson County North High School on May 17 against Valley Heights, Atchison County, Mission Valley, Horton, Jackson Heights, Bishop Seabury Academy, Lyndon, McLouth, Heritage Christian Academy, Oskaloosa, Kansas City Christian, Central Heights, Rossville, Maranatha Christian Academy and Jefferson County North.

“It’s kind of early to start telling whether it’s an easy regional or a tough regional, so that’s going to shake out. It’s a lot of the teams we usually see at a regional meet. How we’re going to compete with them, it takes later in the season to actually know that,” coach Roger Alderman said.

Check out all regional assignments at the links below:




Band and Choir Excel at State Competition

April 10, the WHS band and choir travelled to Louisburg, Kansas to compete in the State Band and Choir competition.

The band received a superior I rating for its performance of Brighton Beach and Call of the Wild.

The choir, just 2 points short of a I rating, received a II with its performance of Caledonia and Diraiton.

“I thought the band and choir performed extremely well,” band and choir director Richard Philbrook said.

“The band is definitely on a path to making a tradition of getting a I at state.”

Philbrook spoke with Louisburg’s band and choir director and was told that ‘The Wabaunsee High School choir was one of the best choirs he had heard all day.’ “I am proud of both groups,” Philbrook said. “Not only did they travel well, but they also performed well.”

Drama class prepares for spring performance

Junior Brendan Dugger and senior Maddie Alderman rehearse at city park for the spring drama performance. The play is at 7 p.m. May 4 in the WHS auditorium. Photo by Karlee Swenson.

As the drama class enters final preparations for its spring performance, it doesn’t just have one play to prepare. It has two.

Instead of one full-length play, the class chose two one-act plays to perform. The plays, “It’s Not You, It’s Me,” and “Breaking Badly,” both feature a series of painful breakups.

Director Brendan Praeger said the plays were chosen because of the difficulties of rehearsing during the spring. “Between sports and other activities, we only have a few classes where everyone is present to rehearse. We chose these plays because most of the scenes feature two or three actors, so we can rehearse more independently,” Praeger said.

Praeger said the class didn’t find a full length play that met its needs, so two shorter plays with similar themes was the next choice. “It’s like a double feature,” Praeger said. “Both plays have similar themes and energy, so they fit well together.”

In “Breaking Badly,” written by Jonathan Rand,  ending a relationship is never easy. Desperate for a way out, Lily turns to The Breakup Center, where she can pick the perfect method from a selection of real breakups.

For the second act, “It’s Not You, It’s Me” by Don Zolidis follows several couples through their hectic breakups. From a secret agent boyfriend to a girlfriend who is a pathological liar, one thing is for sure — everyone is about to get dumped.

Maddie Alderman plays the female lead in “It’s not You, It’s Me.” “I’m running my scenes with the other members of the cast and we’re especially trying to get down the comedic timing to make the scenes as funny as possible,” Alderman said.

Adding to the challenge of performing a play in the spring, the May 4 performance might be the only time the class gets to perform the entire production at once. “A couple of cast members are at a technology fair for the dress rehearsal, so even that will leave out several scenes,” Praeger said. “They just have to prepare well independently so we can put on an entertaining show.”

The play opens at 7 p.m. May 4 in the high school auditorium. Tickets for the performance are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

— Jayna Keller, @whscharger

Editorial: Prom is great, but could be improved

We’re not sure if prom really is the “most magical” night of a high schoolers life, but everyone on the Charger staff had a great time this weekend.

We love seeing everyone dressed up in dresses and tuxedos for promenade and seeing everyone pull up in the nice vehicles, or in some cases, farm equipment. The traditional dodgeball tournament, tricycle races and inflatables at after prom make everyone tired but the memories are the best.

Still, we think there are some ways prom can be improved.

The junior class tries their best to make prom amazing, but is missing multiple days of school to decorate really necessary? The idea behind having three days of set up is that every junior has a chance to go to the hall and decorate for prom. In reality, only a few juniors are allowed to leave school, while the rest stay behind in half-empty classes. We think that spending more time outside of school decorating would be less disruptive.

Sunday after prom, all juniors are expected to clean up the hall, but only a few show up every year. A great solution to this would be paying the sophomore class to clean and letting them pick and choose what they want for prom the next year. Since there are fewer sophomores at prom it would be a great way for them to fundraise.

As we sit in class three days after prom, all the attendees are still tired from ruining their sleep schedule and staying up until 3 a.m. The dance was scheduled to go until 11 p.m., but most people were out the door before 10. Starting After Prom earlier would get students home and in bed by 1 a.m. instead of 3 or 4. We know that After Prom is supposed to keep kids from partying, but after eight or nine hours of prom activities, and several more hours of prep for some people, most students will be ready for bed at 1 a.m.

There’s also a potential solution already built into district schedule. Every April features a professional development day for teachers (although this year was disrupted because of snow days). Putting that day on the Monday after prom would solve the problem of prom zombies showing up unprepared to learn.

All in all, we love prom, but we don’t think it should disrupt school for more than a week.

The editorial is the opinion of the Charger staff. Send letters to the editor to whscharger@gmail.com.

Opinion: Barber siblings handle pressing prom questions

Siblings Luke and Laurel Barber are back to answer the most pressing issues surrounding Saturday’s WHS Prom.

How much should I spend on Prom?

Laurel: The max you should spend on prom night is $250 between flowers, the dress or tux, dinner and accessories. There is no need to go crazy for prom. It’s one night and you probably will forget about it after high school.

Luke: Spend? I didn’t spend a single dime on prom. All my clothing is hand-sewn and crafted from recycled ocean plastic. If you’re spending money on anything other than food you are absolutely certifiably stupid.

What should I drive?

Laurel: Some schools don’t do a promenade, but Wabaunsee does. It’s a cool way to show off the dresses and tuxes. Showing up in a super cool vehicle is awesome. It’s a flex on everyone else. But if the vehicle doesn’t suit your personality you don’t have to take it. Take something you like and shows you.

Luke: Well, if you’re looking for cheap, here’s a few options. Wheelbarrow, tricycles, hitch hike, cartwheel. It doesn’t matter. No one else cares what you drive. People only care about what they take so don’t worry too much about it. In three years no one will remember anyway.

What are some good conversation topics if I want to avoid awkwardness with my date?

Laurel: Try going to prom with a friend — which is super cool. No need to only go to prom if you are in a relationship. The night can get awkward if you and your date don’t have a lot to talk about. The best way to find ideas to talk about is ask them about things they like and see where it goes.

Luke: Current Eco-Political atmosphere. Just talk about little things like that — not too serious but still topical for our age. Or just do what most people do at prom and gossip about other couples’ outfits. Either/or really.

What are some essential manners for Prom?

Laurel: Prom essential manners are something that is in the unsaid book of high school. To latch arms for the red carpet, the male sticks his arm out and the girl wraps her arm around his. This way it’s not awkward trying to watch them walk. The male should open the door and allow the girl to walk in first.

Luke: Fend for yourself. Again no one cares what you do. Everyone is too worried about what they are doing. Or try to be as awkward as you can and try to make people really uncomfortable that would be funny.

What are some huge mistakes to avoid?

Laurel: Mistakes to avoid at prom are thinking that everyone should stop what they are doing and focus on you. When you are getting ready, everyone else is busy and you should be grateful that they are spending the day with you.

Luke: Don’t throw up walking down in front of everyone. Too often has that mistake been made. The worst part is that the next couple has to walk through it. It’s just a matter of time until someone pukes themselves and then the whole prom is stained green. Don’t make that mistake two years in a row — trust me.

Is Prom as important as everyone says it is?

Laurel: Prom night is as important as you want it to be. If prom is the best night of your life then let it be. Don’t let anyone ruin the night for you because of their opinion.

Luke: I can’t remember half of what happened before or after. If it’s important to you, don’t go — it will never be as “magical” as you think it will be.

— Laurel Barber, Luke Barber, @Lawl_e_20, @lubarberler

Editorial: Basketball coach’s departure raises concerns

Chris Smart will not be returning as head boys basketball coach next year.

While no one on the newspaper staff played basketball under Smart, we have several concerns about his departure.

Of course, no one working for the district will comment on the circumstances surrounding Smart’s departure. That’s standard for personnel issues. While Smart did speak to the Charger about the progress the team made this season, he declined to speak about the exact reasons he won’t be returning.

We won’t speculate on why Smart won’t return, but coaching seems to be too temporary a position at Wabaunsee. Smart is the fourth head coach to depart in the last two years, following the removal of Maggie Strait (volleyball), Skylar Suther (boys basketball) and Brian Henry (football).

This pattern presents several problems for players and for the community.

A lack of longevity makes building a relationship between coaches and players difficult. On the best teams, players know their coaches and value their advice. The best coaches know their player’s strengths and weaknesses — knowledge that takes time to develop. Some players in the WHS basketball program will have to play for three different head coaches, assuming the next coach gets more than a year to prove their worth. Constantly starting over creates a disadvantage for the team, not only in the present, but for years ahead.

We also worry that the frequent changes will harm Wabaunsee’s reputation. Will uncertainty make it more difficult to fill coaching and teaching positions in the future? A school that doesn’t retain coaches is less enticing for a person who wants to put in the work to build a successful program.

Smart’s departure has not inspired the same level of anger in the student community that followed last year’s firing of Skylar Suther. But that shouldn’t necessarily reflect poorly on Smart. Suther had five years as a teacher and coach to build a reputation and connections. Smart only received one season.

We wish the best to the basketball team and its future coach, and we hope to see the program build in the future. We also hope the next coach has an opportunity to succeed.

The editorial is the opinion of the Charger staff. Send letters to the editor to whscharger@gmail.com.

STAR event teaches danger of e-cigarettes

Jessica Vanstory and Meredith Hess present their STAR project to underclassmen in the WHS library. “It was cool. I liked the way they talked to us as a group,” junior Jessica Hedges said. Photo by Emma Alderman.

Vanstoy and Hess qualify for nationals with presentation

Seniors Jessica Vanstory and Meredith Hess took on a project to spread public awareness of vaping.

To spread the awareness, Vanstory and Hess entered in the Illustrated Talk for their FCCLA STAR Event. Illustrated talk is a competitive event that includes an oral presentation for issues that concern the community. Vanstory and Hess said that their idea started when the vaping drama happened at the school.

“I think the topic is very timely because it’s important for teens to know the effect of e-cigarettes on their body,” FCCLA adviser Diane Breiner said.

Illustrated talk includes researching a project and then creating a visual. For the research, Vanstory and Hess compared the Kansas statistics of high school students to WHS students through an anonymous survey.

“I liked doing the survey because it was interesting to find out the stats of our school,” Vanstory said.

The competition requires a presentation to the targeted audience at least three times. Vanstory and Hess presented to FCS and English classes and were later asked to present to all WHS students by principal Jan Hutley.

“I think it was a timely and relevant topic for all students in the junior high and high school and the importance was definitely highlighted in the harmful, chronic effects of electronic cigarette use,” Hutley said.

Vanstory and Hess said they enjoyed this STAR Event because it was simpler and got to use their creative skills.

“I liked making the board because we got to be creative since nothing was actually required on the visual,” Hess said.

Hess and Vanstory took their project to state FCCLA this week, earning gold. They will compete at nationals in Anaheim this summer.

— Kaytlyn Meseke, @Kaytlyn_nelle

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