Lions out west for playoffs

By Cooper Wright, Staff Writer

For decades, Lawrence High School has competed in the east region for regionals and playoffs in athletics. This will likely be coming to an end for most sports this year as LHS will be moving into the western side of postseason play. This is due to new 6A schools East of Lawrence High and other schools that have moved into 6A.

“The change won’t really affect us until playoffs but then we have the possibility of traveling up to 6 hours to play, which can be a good or bad thing depending how you look at it,” senior basketball and soccer player Garrett Hart said.

Liberal, KS is about the furthest place any sports team could go as it is around 13 hours round trip. When traveling to a place as far away as Liberal, teams would  have to stay overnight somewhere. While travel may be a pain, the experience of playing in the West will likely be a new and fun experience for most teams.

“We’ll be playing teams that we don’t normally see in the regular season, but we’ll have to drive much farther away to play playoff games,” Hart said.

In most sports, the Eastern side of Kansas is more difficult when it comes to postseason play, so the move to the West could ultimately be beneficial for playoff success. However, the West has historically been stronger than the East in wrestling, so the move for wrestlers may not be as beneficial.

“If the regionals are easier you’ll qualify more kids (for state) which is good but you may not have as much success,” track coach Jackie Hood said.

There are two theories on the move West. One is that some sports may qualify more people for state but may not be ready for state due to weaker competition in the regionals. The other is that the East was better because it put only the best athletes to state and prepared them better for success at state. While there is a trade off in that sense, Hart thinks that the move will ultimately be a good thing for Lawrence High athletics.

“Being in the West is a blessing in all honesty. For the majority, with the exception of football, teams in the west are traditionally weaker due to ‘weird’ conferences,” Hart said.