A look at where Wildcats are prowling now
The football coach in Brad Scott can't wait until the day when his De Soto football team claims the swagger necessary to win championships and be competitive year in and year out.
And with a runner-up finish at its 7-on-7-summer football league in Gardner, that day appears to be getting closer and closer.
Standing in the way of the Wildcats bid for a football championship of any kind was fellow Frontier League foe Baldwin, which squeaked out a couple of close wins over the Wildcats Monday.
Going into Monday's action both teams knew they'd end up in the championship game because of the records they posted during the regular season. In other words, the first game was just a formality.
The Bulldogs ended up winning the first game by a 22-16 count and then went on to win the championship by a score of 8-0.
Two Wildcat defenders looked to be in good position to knock down a pass late in the first game. But the ball was deflected off the Wildcat defenders and fell into the arms of a Bulldog player who alertly ran the ball in for the winning score. Baldwin won the championship on the final play of the contest.
Scott said the first game was for seeding purposes only.
"Last year we were fourth," Scott said. "So I guess we're moving up."
Scott said the play of Alex Mercer (linebacker) and Sean Roberts (cornerback) really stood out for the defense. He also praised the play of incoming freshman quarterback Jake Morris.
The Wildcats finished their league season with a 4-2-2 mark and went 2-4 in a tournament in Lawrence to end the summer with a 6-6-2 record.
Scott and the rest of the Wildcats will end their off-season workouts with an elementary-school football camp during the third week in July. The camp is for any student who is in the second through sixth grades.
The middle school and high school camps are slated for the final week of July. The high school camp will take place in the morning, while middle schoolers will take the field in the afternoon.
Allie Heinen and the rest of the Kansas Swoosh basketball team just finished another run through another talented field on its way to its second championship in three tournaments.
So far, the Swoosh has won a tournament in Leavenworth as well as the tournament in Olathe last weekend. The team also took home the second-place trophy from a tournament in Wichita.
Heinen, who said she struggled lately, played her best game of the tournament in the championship game Sunday. Her 11 points and five rebounds were enough to hold off the charge of the Wichita Tornados.
The play of Swoosh point guard Jesse Mainz also paved the way for the select group of players from around the Kansas City metro area.
"She stole a lot of passes and scored points off of those steals," Heinen said. "Or she scored off of other people's steals."
The Swoosh will next be in action this weekend at a tournament in Emporia. Heinen and her teammates are expected to take the court at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Speaking of Wildcat basketball, Brett Maasen has been doing tons of work on the basketball court and in the weight room this summer.
According to boys Mid-America Youth Basketball coach Mike Alvarez, Maasen has been working hard to give the Wildcats a big presence inside next winter.
"He's much bigger this year than he was last year," Alvarez said. "He's every bit of 6-5 now and playing very well. Next season his teammates will be able to play catch with him. He should make life a little easier for everybody."
Alvarez added that the rest of the Wildcats improved their play from last year. In fact, the Wildcats just completed play at the Olathe tournament last weekend and won their consolation bracket.
The Wildcats lost their three pool games to fall into the lower consolation bracket but rallied and won their final two games, giving them three wins on the season.
In the process, De Soto avenged losses suffered earlier in summer play and at the tournament. Alvarez also praised his team for overcoming the jitters when teams applied the pressure on them.
"Last year we were on the wrong end of several blowout games," Alvarez recalled. "But that really hasn't been the case this year.
"We had a couple of occasions during the first week of action in which we suffered some pretty big losses, but since then our losses have been by 15 points or less.
"The kids have done an excellent job of taking care of the ball in pressure situations."
De Soto volleyball players are hoping their play in a Mid-America Volleyball league will help them turn their misfortunes around before heading into the 2004 high school volleyball season.
The team, dubbed the Cat Attack, appears to be making steady progress according to coach Erica Hood. Improvement has been noticeable in areas like their setting and hitting tempo, and their aggressiveness at the service line.
"We are trying to get them away from serves that are maybe too lolly pop-y," Hood said. "Recently they've been focusing their efforts on where to place the ball on serves as well as their aggressiveness at the net."
So far this season Lauren Hampton and Samantha Johnson have stood out for Hood as the Cat Attack has compiled a 1-2-1 slate against some of the bigger schools in the area.
De Soto swept Basehor-Linwood and split with Blue Valley Northwest earlier in the year. The Cat Attack has been swept by Notre De Sion and Blue Valley West so far this summer.
Hood described Hampton as one of the strongest and most consistent outside hitters on the team. "She is an aggressive player with tons of energy," Hood said.
The coach also described Johnson as a very coachable person who is a quick learner.
In league play teams play two games in each match regardless if there is a tie after two sets.
Following this week's action, the top three teams in each pool, plus two fourth-place teams will enter play in Pools A and B. The rest of the teams will play in pools C2 and D2.
On the fourth week, which begins Tuesday, games will be played at either St. Thomas Aquinas or Shawnee mission South.
The track season came to an early end for De Soto hurdler Luke Krehbiel, who had dreams of advancing on to some of the bigger meets across the nation.
The Wildcat junior-to-be finished seventh in the 110 -meter hurdles in a time of 17.91 seconds. He ran a ninth best time of 67.71 in the 400 hurdles. In order to advance to a national meet, Krehbiel would have had to finish in the top four.
"It was nice to run with people my age," Krehbiel said. "I look forward to seeing them and competing against them at high school meets in the future."