Several Olathe North sports teams have reached state this year, including the girls golf team, the girls cross country team, and the gymnastics team. Of the teams that were invited to participate, cross country and gymnastics athletes achieved individual awards and gymnastics took state as a team.
The state gymnastics meet took place at Shawnee Mission West high school on October 23. In addition to winning state for the first time in 30 years, the team set a new school record and broke several other state records.
“I competed at state all 4 years whether that be with the team or as an individual,” senior Delaney Stanley said.
“This year’s state meet was definitely the best out of all of them. I never felt so confident at any high school meet.”
Senior Ella Margheim won first in every event, and Stanley, senior Paige Garza, and sophomore Hannah Jensen also won multiple titles. Together, the athletes’ individual performances secured the team a state championship.
“When I found out we won state and broke the record again, I got chills and I was speechless,” Garza said. “As Mr. Herman and Mr. Price mentioned that we would be the best gymnastics team to come through Olathe North, I wanted to cry!”
But this win didn’t come without a season of hard work behind them. The Olathe North gymnastics team managed to go through their entire season undefeated. The team is grateful for their coach, Amanda Harrington, and all that have supported them.
“My biggest inspiration was Mrs. Harrington because she always pushes you to be your best and works you hard!” Garza said.
The state meet is the end of the road for several seniors on the team, including Garza, Margheim, and Stanley. Some of them have chosen to pursue other sports in college.
“Sadly I will not be doing gymnastics in the future. I am hoping to pursue diving and a new sport called STUNT in college,” Stanley said.
However, Garza and Stanley both said their gymnastics careers have come to an end.
“Knowing this would be the last season I ever completed gymnastics made the work worth it,” Stanley said.
After a season full of wins, Olathe North’s girls golf sent two players to the state meet this year. Junior Kendall Nielsen and freshman Bria Dawson both qualified to compete.
Unlike in previous years, the 2021 state meet took place over a course of two days, rather than one. To advance to the second day, golfers had to place high the first day. Dawson managed to earn a spot on day two.
“I cut my strokes down to about 4 or 5 in the season, and then the first day of state, I did pretty well, I had my PR,” Dawson said.
Head Coach Richard Sula is proud of all that his team accomplished at state. The last time he had golfers at the state level was in 2018.
“We just had a great season. I’m really proud of our kids,” Sula said. “We compete every time we go out and play.”
However, the state golfers had to fight through poor weather to reach their high achievements. At the regional qualifier, golfers had to play in a rainstorm, and weather was also a huge disadvantage on the first day of state.
“It’s one of those things where as the day progresses, the wind changes, all the conditions change, so you have to be really, really aware of what’s happening and you just have to teach the kids to be aware of that, and what to do when that happens,” Sula said.
This year was also the first year Olathe North hosted its own tournament. They won this tournament, in addition
to placing high in the Olathe South and Sunflower League tournaments, which is an improvement from previous years.
“This year the team didn’t only improve in the sport, but I feel as a whole we grew closer this year and learned some great life lessons on the team,” Nielsen said.
Dawson and Nielsen both said that the golf team is a great environment, and encouraged other students to try out next year.
“We don’t care if we always have to win,” Dawson said. “We just have to be better ourselves.”
The girl’s cross country team took on another state meet this year and came out with huge success.
Through the season the girls pushed hard and their dedication continued to show.
Senior Lexie Dockstader completed her fourth season and also her fourth time running in the state meet for Olathe North. Her time in cross country gave her the opportunity to form strong connections with her teammates and coaches. Lexie will be attending Southeast Missouri State University next year as she continues running cross country as well as track and field.
“My biggest inspiration this year was my teammates and watching them go out and accomplish amazing things,” Dockstader said.
Coaching the cross country team for the past 10 years Levi Huseman believes that the team presented well at the state meet this year.
“We had three All-State runners Kaylee Tobaben (finished 4th), Shea Johnson (finished 2nd), and Anjali Hocker Singh finished as the individual champion,” Huseman said.
Having a common goal of getting better as a team and encouraging each other to always do their personal best has led them to see continued accomplishments.
Being the individual champion and having a record season, sophomore Hocker Singh feels that she pushed herself to be the best that she could this season, but is ready to work even harder.
“I am grateful for how far I have come, but I knew that I could still do more,” Hocker Singh said.
She believes that everybody on the team pushed their hardest this season, which gave her inspiration to do the same. Although she is only a sophomore Hocker Singh says that she plans on continuing to run at Olathe North as well as in college.