Shawnee Dispatch

SM Northwest Fall 2012 Preview: Experienced athletes abundant this season

Senior Claire Gordon returns to the SM Northwest girls tennis team looking to build off a sixth-place doubles team finish at 2011’s 6A state tournament. Enlarge photo

August 21, 2012, 10:18 a.m. Updated: 22 August 2012, 12:00 a.m.

Coming soon: Gymnastics update

Stay tuned to future issues of The Dispatch as we will preview gymnastics at SM North and SM Northwest

With fall sports kicking off, Shawnee Mission Northwest teams have narrowed down their rosters and are preparing for the grueling competition of another season in the Sunflower League.

Cross-country

As with each new season, coach Van Rose is ready to mold his young group of runners into state championship contenders.

In 2011, it was the girls who managed to bring home the state team trophy. However, losing several key runners to graduation has the Cougars relying on two seniors to help push the rest of the team.

Senior McKenzie Iverson will be one of the key runners returning for the girls along with fellow senior Katie Nelson.

Those two will be competitors at every race, but the rest of the squad is hard for Rose to figure out until further practice.

“It’ll be later in the season before we show anything,” he said.

The boys side returns several runners that will be vying for six varsity spots.

Senior Kirk Bado, who was fourth at state last year, hopes to be one of the leaders. Look for seniors Clayton Henderson, Connor Kelley and Collin Weems to also compete for some running time on varsity. Others that will be running with that bunch are junior Nate Sterns and sophomore Jake Malik.

Boys soccer

Coach Todd Boren lost eight seniors from a 2011 team with a talented lineup that finished with an 11-4-2 record but couldn’t win a regional title. Now with a host of seniors hungry for one last chance, Boren sees a different type of energy.

“A lot of these guys are going to be put into new roles where they’re going to need to step up,” Boren said.

Two players Boren will rely on are senior midfielders Cody Sliva and Galen Gossman. Other seniors looking to contribute are defenders Tyler Sliva and Andy Alvey. Meanwhile, junior defender Evan Miller appears ready to step up into his new role in protecting the back line.

Girls tennis

Replacing just three players from last year’s team has left the tennis program with competition for starting spots on the court. Top returners for SM Northwest include senior Claire Gordon, who was on the sixth-place state doubles team in 2011 with the since-graduated Mary Slattery. Sophomore Carley Olson also qualified for state last year. The Cougars also bring back juniors Amanda Rebori and Abby Zimmerman. Senior Brooke Evans will also be a factor on the varsity roster, and Clow said that two freshman — Colleen Freeman and Lexy Drummond — might put some pressure on the returning players.

Girls golf

After getting one state qualifier on last year’s team, the SM Northwest girls golf team hopes a slew of seniors will help them succeed as a group. For coach John Reiff’s squad it starts with that qualifier, Whitney McMillion, who looks to be the No. 1 player this year.

Other seniors on the team include Lauren Wilderson, Mackenzie Daniels and Megan Glenn.

Volleyball

After extensive summer workouts and a team camp at Iowa State University, coach Dana O’Nele can already tell this season will be better than last year. Of the four starters and six letter winners returning, senior Bridget Killeen has been pegged as the team leader by O’Nele, who expects Killeen to set the tone for the team this year.

Junior Kate Helfrich will be looked upon for a bigger role. Middle hitter Tatum Graves might have a chance to break into the lineup in a big way.

Originally published at: http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2012/aug/21/sm-northwest-fall-2012-preview-experienced-athlete/