Parsons tennis head coach Jane Posch and Labette County boys golf head coach Jack Leake were among the spring sports SEK Coach of the Year honorees the league announced.
The Vikings’ boys tennis team won the SEK League Invitational at Independence during the course of the season, beating out Independence.
Parsons qualified four players — singles players Zach Spriggs and Carlos Collins as well as doubles duo Trey Martinez and Isaac Stringer — to the KSHSAA 4A State Tournament, where the Vikings finished fifth as a team.
“Having all these kids is what does it for you,” Posch said. “We’ve had great kids that have worked very hard the past four years. It’s not Coach of the Year, I had Players of the Year. They’re the reason we had success. They wanted to do well during the season.”
Parsons athletic director Rob Barcus credited Posch as a staple of the Vikings’ athletic department.
“She’s always been the constant success even when we don’t do well in other sports,” Barcus said. “We’ve always had kids in tennis qualify for the state tournament and win events. She provides a lot of stability in that sport. I never have to worry about numbers or quality.”
In addition to crediting her players, Posch also adorned praise to assistant coach Tyler Beardmore.
“I’ve got a great assistant coach in Tyler Beardmore,” Posch said. “He’s a huge help to our program. He’s grown up in it and now helps me coach and teach in the summer. That’s another reason we’re successful.”
As for Leake, he guided the Labette County boys’ golf team to the state tournament after taking second in the regional tournament. The Grizzlies finished seventh as a team at the KSHSAA 4A State Tournament in Dodge City earlier this week.
“We haven’t taken a team to state for quite a few years,” Leake said. “I’ve always had good kids. This year we had some kids that grew up playing the game. It’s always good team-building. The success this year re-energizes the effort in the offseason.”
Leake’s son, also named Jack Leake, finished fourth in the individual standings. The Grizzlies also secured the SEK League title for its performance throughout the regular season.
“You know how this goes, some years I have some players,” Leake said. “Coach of the Year doesn’t have anything to do with me at all. Things fall in to place some years, and other years they don’t. It’s a big honor, but there’s some other coaches that are better than me.”
Labette County athletic director Sean Price said Leake’s program is traditionally one of the most consistent in the school.
“He does a tremendous job with the kids,” Price said. “He get kids out and really develops them. A lot of kids don’t grow up playing golf, and he really works with them. Coach Leake is more than deserving of SEK Coach of the Year.”
The Parsons boys tennis program loses four seniors heading into next season, leaving Posch in charge of reloading a roster that returns Spriggs.
“We’ve got a good nucleus of kids coming back,” Posch said. “We’ve got guys who have played varsity. We’re just seeing who the other half of the team will be. We start working on that in summer tennis.”
As for Leake, four players that played in the state tournament are set to return in 2020.
“I’m excited for what we have coming back,” Leake said.
Other SEK League spring sports Coach of the Year winners included Gary Ausemus of Pittsburg (track), Josh Regan of Fort Scott (baseball) and Danny Burnett of Independence (softball).