Bailey Coon, Bryce Tharman compete in indoor track outside of high school season

Two WHS students are preparing for the high school track season with the NEK Track Club.

Senior Bailey Coon and junior Bryce Tharman participate in the Northeast Kansas (NEK) Track Club program. The NEK club was created to teach youth the necessary skills and develop them over time with an indoor and outdoor competition season.

Coon has been with the club for four years competing in the indoor and outdoor season. For the indoor season, she participates in shot put and weight, and shot put, hammer and discus for the outdoor season.

“I decided to do it because I did track in junior high and liked it,” Coon said, “Then in high school my dad wanted me to play softball, but I still wanted to to do track. So then junior high long distance) coach Greg Baron talked to me and introduced me to NEK.”

Coon also had the opportunity to compete in both the USATF and AAU Junior Olympics last summer. Coon participated in hammer and shot put at both of these competitions. For the USATF Jr. Olympics, competition started in Liberty, MO. To move onto the next meet in the competition, Coon had to place in the top five. Coon continued to place in the top five to advance to Little Rock, MO. and Greensboro, N.C. For the AAU Jr. Olympics the set up was the same. Coon was able to advance from Independence, MO. to Joplin, MO. and then to Des Moines, Iowa.

This is Tharman’s first year with the program after deciding he wanted to prepare for the high school season year round. “I wanted a good way to help get in shape for outdoor track in the spring,” Tharman said. For now he is competing in just the indoor season, but still debating on the outdoor season. Unlike Coon, Tharman participates in the running events. He runs the 800, the 1500 and the 3000 meter races.

Coon and Tharman both agree that it’s a great way to prepare for the high school season and enjoy everything that the program does. “I like the environment. Everybody there is friendly and competitive and they’re all there for the same reasons I am,” Tharman said. Coon said it’s also a great opportunity to meet new people and college coaches at the meets too.

Practices are held at Kansas State University and meets are mostly in Kansas, Missouri or Nebraska, so the main difficulty of participating is the scheduling between school and other extra activities. Coon and Tharman have found it important to improve their skills so they found ways to work the meets and practices into their busy schedules.

“I have a job this year, so I’m slightly late to practices on Sunday. And since I’ve been doing it for four years, I have it worked well in my schedule,” Coon said.

Coon competed at Northwest Missouri State University last weekend and placed first in shot put and weight. Tharman was supposed to compete at Pitt State University, but was unable to compete due to bad weather conditions.

— Kaytlyn Meseke, @kaytlyn_nelle

New boys basketball coach hopes to lead by example

Smart challenges players to set goals for season

New boys basketball boys head coach Christopher Smart is hoping to help achieve individual and team goals at WHS. Wabaunsee is Smart’s first high school head coach job, but he brings several years of experience at Mission Valley and Marysville. Smart hopes to see improvements from the previous season.

Where have you coached before?

I started down at Mission Valley in 2002 as an 8th grade coach then the next year I was up in high school as the assistant coach. I went through 2006 there. Then I was in Marysville as assistant coach from 2006 to 2009, and I haven’t coached since.

What are some of your goals for the year?

One of my big team goals for the season is to keep the opponents under 45 points, top three in the mid-east league, and get to the sub-state championship game to give a chance to get to state, which I think this team has. We have a lot of hype, we have a lot of the keys I think to get there. I’ve told them this {The team} that as coaches we can show them to door, they have to walk through it.

Do you have any individual goals for the year?

No technicals, I will never be belligerent to refs, my face might be red and I might be cussing underneath my breath, but I will get T’d up if that means getting the boys fired up. Other individual goals are to just be a leader for the guys, show respect to the opponents, the fans, the refs, and the other coaches and just lead by example.

What prompted you to want to coach at Wabaunsee?

I didn’t know if I would ever get back into coaching, and I came to a few games last year, and it really kind of got the fire going back inside me again, seeing the potential out on the floor, and seeing what these guys could potentially be. I then started talking to some school board members about it, even just talking about the games themselves, then it kind of just came up that this high school coaching job kind of came open and those things we were talking about I think kind of got my foot in the door a little bit for this position, but it definitely peaked my interest coming to games last year.

What are some challenges that you never realized as head coach?

All the work I have to do. As a head coach you are constantly scheduling summer stuff, and constantly thinking about the future with summer, but its constant bombardment of stuff you have to do besides the basketball. Now that being said I don’t mind that stuff it keeps extremely busy and I really don’t mind it at all.

What do you think the community’s expectations are of you?

I think that the community’s expectations are pretty low but I feel really confident with this group. I think that we have everything we need, and I think once we start winning games the community will be a lot more interested in boys basketball. Another thing I am doing is having all the boys volunteer to get them out in the community, for the most part the community supports this program and I want them out supporting the community the way they are doing us.

What are some of the team’s advantages and disadvantages?

Disadvantages I think are the previous seasons kind of just lingers over you. They are used to losing, not used to having success. Once they start winning they are going to deal with that. Are they going to get a big head? Do you need to keep them level? I thinks that’s the big thing. That mentality gets into their heads and it just needs to be changed.

Advantages, I am impressed with the effort. I didn’t know what to expect, coming in. I didn’t know if they were going to bust their butts for me or like in grade school I have to give them a pep talk every 10 minutes. I had no idea. I think that their effort has been very good so far. Mentally we are getting there. It has been a lot of new stuff thrown at them so I think they will get there.

Were there any challenges getting hired later in the year? 

As soon as I got hired I was working to just get the boys to summer camp which was in just four or five days. Also trying to get the boys into tournaments during the summer. As soon as I got hired I probably called about seven or eight different coaches trying to get into tournaments.

Outside of coaching what do you like to do?

Hunt and fish, I am definitely an outdoors man.

How are you trying to build relationships with the boys?

I think that is some of the biggest challenges in coaching is also some of the most rewarding is connecting with them, I think that once you connect with them i think they respond. It’s constant talking to them besides the basketball stuff. I really have to dive a little deeper with them.

— Laurel Barber, @Lawl_e_20

Q&A: Wrestlers hope to continue program’s success

The WHS wrestling team is looking forward to a successful season under head coach Joey Heersche and assistant Travis Conrad. Senior Sean Dugger and Sophomore Eli Mumpower were interviewed by the Charger to get a better understanding of the team.

How many people are out this year?

Eli: Ten. Marek Boatwright and Jackson Havenstein are the freshman. Myself, Derek Wallin, Lane Berkenmeier, Isaac Mumaw, and Alex Warner are the sophomores. Frank Gilbert is our only Junior, and Sean and Austen Bonnette are the Seniors.

How many returning wrestlers do you have?

Sean: We have 6 returning wrestlers from last year, so we aren’t inexperienced. Austen is returning from Sophomore year and Lane is returning from Junior High.

What are some goals you hope to achieve as a team this year?

Eli: We want to have multiple state qualifiers.

Sean: While we’d like to make it to state, we still want to build the team up for years to come.

What are some of the challenges you will face this year?

Eli: Everyone making weight.

Sean: Poor motivation due to the long season makes it tough to keep going. Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas also destroy motivation as it just means getting back down to weight.

What are some team strengths/weaknesses?

Eli: Some of the wrestlers are struggling to stay eligible academically.

Sean: The team lacks experience on any state mats, but is willing to work hard to get there.

What do you think are some community expectations for the team this year?

Sean: I imagine the community expects a lot from how successful the team has been, so we might as well fulfill those expectations.

Eli: State qualifiers.

How do you think the team will bounce back after losing two state champion wrestlers?

Eli: We already have some possible state qualifiers.

Sean: Just because we lost some champions doesn’t mean we are going to stop, we are just going to want to send more to the state level as well as getting more champion titles.

In what way do you guys think you can help keep the program going in future years?

Eli: Keeping a fun environment so people don’t quit.

Sean: By keeping a high level of success as well as having fun, the program will continue to improve.

The team opens the season Saturday at Mission Valley.

Q&A: Boys basketball players Brown and Imthurn discuss team goals

The boys basketball team is starting the season with a new coach and new team goals. The Charger interviewed seniors Tanner Imthurn and Connor Brown about the upcoming season.

How many people do you have going out on the team this year, and how is it spread out between classes?

Tanner: It’s like 20 something. I think there are more underclassmen.

Connor: I would say it’s evenly distributed between classes.

How is this year going to be different with a new coach, and what are you looking forward to about it?

Tanner: [Looking forward to] Meeting some of the goals that we set as a team earlier in the season.

Connor: We have a lot more plays this year than we did last year. We have a whole new offense. I’m looking forward to our first game and seeing how well we apply our practices in the game.

What are some team goals for this year?

Tanner: We want to give up less points than we ever have on defense before in past years.

Connor: Less than 45 points.

Tanner: We’re trying to out rebound the other team by 10 and give the other team less second chances.

Connor: Working together on the court, and no bickering.

Tanner: Always have a positive energy.

What will be some of the challenges you think the team will face this year?

Tanner: One of the challenges is that we don’t really have a big kid that’s also tall. So we might struggle a little bit on the inside.

Connor: I think the only thing that’s going to beat us is ourselves.

What do you think are the most important games this year?

Connor: I think they’re all important.

Tanner: That’s what I would say, I think they’re all equally important.

Connor: If we can win all of our league games, they’re pretty important.

What do you think are some community expectations for the team this year?

Tanner: Have a winning record, and make some kind of run into sub-state and state.

The team starts the season on tonight at home against Axtell and plays at home Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in the Wabaunsee Invitational.

Q&A: Girls basketball players Hutley, Oliver anticipate a competitive season

With coaching changes and a bigger team the girls basketball team is ready to start playing. To understand how the players feel about the changes and how the team is working in practice the Charger had an interview with senior Abby Oliver and junior Madelyn Hutley.

How is the team different this year?

Oliver: We have a lot of different changes in the coaching staff and we have a lot more girls out. We went from only having 13 to having almost 20, so practices are more fast paced. We always have to be doing something to get everyone involved.

Hutley: This year there is a chance for new leaders to step up and do our role and we should have a pretty good season.

What are you most excited for this year with a different team?

Oliver: I think we are going to play a lot faster pace of game this year and looking forward to it, so that is always fun.

Hutley: I’m just looking forward to playing. Just getting out there and playing.

What are the goals that the team has?

Oliver: I think always our biggest goal is to win league. We have one of the toughest leagues in the state

Hutley: I wasn’t going to say we have goals, we have a destination and that is state.

What strengths does this newer team have?

Oliver: I think our guards, we have really good guard play and we are really quick. We have a lot of fast girls.

Hutley: We are diverse.

What weaknesses do you guys have?

Oliver: Right now the few post players we have are hurt and we don’t have a big dominant post player.

Hutley: We are pretty small and we need to get in better shape.

How do you think the coaching changes will affect the team?

Oliver: I think the coaching changes this year are positive changes and having a third coach is good because we have a lot of freshman out and it helps them start somewhere.

Hutley: This year we have a lot more encouragement and it’s more beneficial for the team.

The team starts the season tonight at home against Axtell and plays at home Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in the Wabaunsee Invitational.

Oliver signs to play basketball at Washburn

Senior Abby Oliver signs to play basketball at Washburn with her parents Kelly and Jason Oliver. “The coaches and program at Washburn were a really good fit for me. I also felt at home in the atmosphere of the school and how it is a small community feel,” Abby said. Photo by Laurel Barber.

Oliver celebrates signing in ceremony at WHS

Senior Abby Oliver signed to Washburn University to continue her basketball career Monday.

The signing was held in the commons and had a large turn out, including elementary classes Oliver has worked with through career and community connections.

Principal Jan Hutley and basketball coach Shana Perine both spoke at the signing. “I’ve had the privilege of watching her compete since she was very small in a variety of sports,” Hutley said, “and though she is multitalented, good at every sport she’s ever participated in, I have to say there’s a special place in my heart watching her play basketball.”

“She’s absolutely a great leader, she means well, she wants her team to do their best and you can see that on the floor. When she is on the floor our team is better,” Perine said.

Oliver’s father, Jason Oliver, also spoke on her accomplishments. “Her mom and I are extremely proud of all the hours Abby’s put in, it’s awesome for her.”

Oliver has an impressive high school sports career, including cross country, tennis, volleyball, basketball, and softball, making the decision a difficult one. “It was a really hard decision to choose between softball and basketball, since I had put so much time and work into both, but basketball has also been slightly the favorite,” Oliver said, “ I love how the game is so fast paced, and you’re always moving and having to read the situations in front of you.”

Oliver also had other schools reach out to her. “I had some other schools show interest, especially at some of the larger AAU tournaments Madelyn (Hutley) and I played in over the summer.” Oliver said, although she ultimately landed on Washburn. “The coaches and program at Washburn were a really good fit for me. I also felt at home in the atmosphere of the school and how it is a “small community” feel. Being so close to home was just a big plus.”

Oliver plans to take lessons she learned in high school with her to college. “I think a big lesson that WHS sports have shown everyone and continue to show is the off-season work that you put in really makes the difference. My coaches here have also always pushed me and my teammates to our fullest potential.”

— Emma Frey, @_emmafrey_

Stuewe Signs to play softball at Allen County

Senior Kinsey Stuewe signs her letter of intent to play softball at Allen County Community College Thursday in the library with her parents, Jeff and Deb Stuewe. Photo by Emma Frey.

Senior Kinsey Stuewe signed to Allen County Community College to continue her softball career at a signing ceremony Thursday.

Principal Jan Hutley spoke about Stuewe’s leadership. “I want to say how proud I am, in such a small school as we have, to have so many kids have the potential to go on and play college sports,” Hutley said. “I’ve seen her play softball, and that’s amazing, but I am more impressed with the kind of person that Allen County is getting. They don’t come better than Kinsey Stuewe.”

“I’m fond of small schools,” Stuewe’s father, former principal Jeff Stuewe said, “because of all the things you get involved in and all the opportunities that it presents. But you don’t get there without support.”

Stuewe chose to go to Allen because she liked the coaches and the overall atmosphere of the school. “I really liked what they had to offer,” Stuewe said.

Stuewe was part of the 2018 2A state championship softball team.

Stuewe has been involved in many clubs and extracurricular activities at Wabaunsee High School. She believes she can apply all of these experiences in college. “KAYs and FCCLA and then NHS always helps. SAFE and SADD I think will help me more once I get there, and FCA will help me a lot when I’m there.” Stuewe said. She said KAYs and FCCLA helped her achieve her goals by increasing her public speaking skills. “I really wouldn’t know what to look for if I hadn’t been told while I was here.”

“I’m excited to meet new people and be able to be 18 and work out in the gym whenever I want,” Stuewe said, “and I’m excited to see where the rest of my class goes.”

— Emma Frey, @_emmafrey_

Letters awarded at fall sports night

Wabaunsee’s four varsity fall sports awarded letters in a ceremony Tuesday night at WHS. Coaches of each team talked about their program’s accomplishments.

Cross Country
Sean Dugger
Brendan Dugger
Luke Stuhlsatz
Bryce Tharman
Austin Henderson
Isaac Lira
Eli Mumpower
Peter Stuhlsatz
Alex Warner
Elijah Wade
Jessica Vanstory
Maddy Hutley
Sierra Quathamer
Kimi Buchanan
Emma Frey
Emma Alderman
Ashlyn Dugger
Cecelia Emmert
Kyndal Maike
Cade Oliver
Tanner Imthurn
Jace Reves
Travis McCall
Jackson Frank
Conner Brown
Dalton Turner
Brayden Meseke
Eli Wollenberg
Austin Magette
Derek Wallin
Dawson SChultz
Austen Bonnette
Logan Brown
Aiden Boeckman
Jakob Schutter
Keaton Johnson
Austin Miller
Noah Mills
Jarett Bolinder
Frank Gilbert
Adam Miller
Daniel Flach
Football Managers
Macy Falk
Alexis Hafenstine
Kinsey Stuewe
Auty Schreiner
Megan Strait
Kassidi Huff
Emma Michaelis
Kylie Evans
Kinsey Stuewe
Autymn Schreiner
Natalie Moser
Kaytlyn Meseke
Kendyl Bolinder
Raegan Feyh
Lily Ogden
Mayah Mumpower
Alyssa Lohmeyer
Abby Oliver
Auty Schreiner
Megan trait
Laurel Barber
Macy Falk
Alexis Hafenstine
Jordan Magette
Maddy Wertzberger
Will Glotzbach

Cross Country finishes 6th at State

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Cross Country ends season

The boys Cross Country team ended a successful season with a 6th place finish at State.

In Wamego Saturday, the boys ran hard to place as a team in the top half. Even though they only got 6th place, the team was only 7 points away from third.

Five of the varsity runners ran state last year, all of which improved by more than one minute. Sophomore Alex Warner was the top runner of the team and placed 29th individually. “I feel like I could have done better and it was not the way many of us wanted to end the season,” junior Bryce Tharman said.

The team already begins to look at next year in the hope of placing even higher at the state. They will only graduate one member from the boys and girls team, seniors Sean Dugger and Jessica Vanstory.

“We’re going to miss our two seniors,” coach Roger Alderman said, “But are excited about all of the talent we are returning.”

The boys team ends its season as league and regional runners-up with an overall record of 54-9.

“I appreciate all the work our whole team has put in throughout the year,” Alderman said. “We had a great effort to finish the year.”

Sean Dugger, @seandugger

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