We are the Champions: Fall sports finish seasons with playoff games, tips to State

Matt Antonic, Sports Editor

FOOTBALL

For the second year in a row, Blue Valley was to play their first round playoff game at Shawnee Heights, who had snuck into the postseason in their final regular season game. The Tigers left behind a pile of ashes in their destruction of the Thunderbirds. BV cruised to a 28 point halftime lead en route to a lopsided 42-14 final score. BV was presented with an intriguing second round match-up; in the final home game of the season, the undefeated Mill Valley Jaguars came rolling into town. After losing their starting quarterback after three plays and giving up a touchdown on a strip sack, Mill Valley realized it was in for a night of misery. BV turned a 17-0 halftime lead into a 38-0 rout. After the game, Tiger players found out that BV West would be eagerly awaiting them for a rematch, with the Jaguars having crushed BV’s heart with an 18-17 victory in the regular season finale. BV West made the first two touchdowns look too easy, and was up 14-0 before anyone blinked. BV could have wilted but chose to fight and fight hard. Senior Logan Brettell hurled five touchdown passes, and the two teams traded punches until the end. With 3:26 remaining, Brettell rolled out and arched a beauty to senior Mikey Henson for the game winner. The most exciting game up until that point earned the Tigers a third trip to State in four years, where they finished 27-26 against the Salina South Cougars.

Playoff Finish: 5A State Champions

VOLLEYBALL

To accurately describe the absolute path of destruction Blue Valley left behind it on its way to the State playoffs, one simply had to witness the intensity the team played with it at a game, not just the footage shown at school pep rallies. Heading into the final stretch of the season, the Tigers sat at a respectable 11-7 record, only to have a fire lit under them and go on to win 14 of the final 15 games heading into the regional round of the playoffs. In the sub-State round, Shawnee Mission North folded like paper, and BV North failed to challenge the Tigers until the second set, earning the Tigers a trip to Topeka for the State tournament. On the day of semifinals, BV defeated Maize and Manhattan, allowing them a trip to the second day finals. Unfortunately, the Tiger run ended with a loss to Olathe East, and the chances for a State title were gone. The season ended on a high note, with the Tigers winning their consolation game against Olathe Northwest to finish third overall with a final record of 31-10. “I think we worked hard in the games,” senior Rachel Gearon said. “We probably could have done better. Not finishing where we wanted to was a bummer, but overall the season was a lot of fun.”

Playoff Finish: Third Overall

GIRLS TENNIS

The tennis team finished third out of eight teams in 6A Regionals, qualifying them for the State rounds at Maize High School. Out of 32 varsity squads competing, the Blue Valley team secured a respectable sixth place finish to conclude their season. Junior Morgan Steffes and sophomore Alexa Tiefel left no doubt as to who the best doubles team is in Kansas — they annihilated their competition and took home the 6A doubles championship.

Playoff Finish: Sixth Place Overall, 6A Doubles State Champions

BOYS SOCCER

In one of the greatest seasons in Blue Valley soccer history, the Tigers finished the season with a solid 12-5 record. The team recorded nine more wins than all of last year, which finished with a 3-13-1 record. The Tigers went to the playoffs with a five-game winning streak. BV began the playoffs in exciting fashion, coming back late to win an exciting first round match with Lawrence High School, 2-1. Down 1-0, junior Matt Jarnevic split the defense and scored with a shot that took a lucky bounce, hitting off the post and into the net to tie the game. With time dwindling and overtime looming, senior Ben McDonald hit a powerful free kick that deflected in, and BV took the lead for good. Then came the second round game that many would prefer to forget. Due to adverse weather, the BV Tigers hosted the Shawnee Mission East Lancers at home, and an upset seemed within reach. Excellent finishing by the Lancers and critical Tiger defensive letdowns resulted in a 3-0 lead for East at half. The score would never change, resulting in a horrific end to a remarkable season. “I feel like our team worked hard, but overall our effort wasn’t good enough to get us to where we should have been,” Jarnevic said.

Playoff Finish: Second Round

CROSS COUNTRY

The boys Cross Country Varsity Squad finished third in the Shawnee Mission East Regional, sending them to the State Regional rounds.

The boys team finished second in Regionals, and the girls team finished third, qualifying the team for State.

Twenty-four varsity squads from all around the state descended on Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan. to conclude the season and crown a champion.

The boys Cross Country team finished seventh out of 12 at Rim Rock with juniors Joe Gorthy, Jake Mikuls and sophomore Joey Wiederholt finishing in the top 50 in their 5K run. The girls Cross Country team finished 10th out of 12 at Rim Rock, with freshman

Kelsey Kincade and Sophomore Lindsay Davis finishing in the Top 50 in the 4K run.

GIRLS GOLF

Ninety-two participants from 23 different schools descended upon Garden City, Kan. for the 6A State Tournament. Blue Valley qualified by virtue of finishing in the top three of the Overland Park-Blue Valley Northwest Regional and sent the full varsity squad to Garden City. BV finished the tournament tenth out of 12 full teams. Sophomore Gracie Goheen finished 24th overall individually with a score of 91, and sophomore Alexis Vance finished 46th overall with a score of 101.