State solo and ensemble festival results

by Emma Hibdon

“It gives people a chance to showcase their voices, many who don’t usually get to; it gives everyone an equal opportunity to see how they compare to others in a friendly, uplifting way”- Allie Erickson

This past weekend, hundreds of students from all over the state competed in Columbia at the MSHSAA State Solo and Ensemble Music Festival. Students have been preparing for their performances whenever and wherever they can.

Continue reading State solo and ensemble festival results

Hubner, Valdivia dominate as distance duo

By Brett Tieman

The names of both of these girls can be found all over the cross country and track record boards. They are two of the top female distance runners ever to come through BSHS.” – Head cross country and track distance coach Matthew Johnson

The girls track team has seen plenty of success this season, earning a top-three finish in every meet so far and winning two. A large part of this success is girls distance runners senior Elaina Hubner and junior Tessa Valdivia.

Their accolades are many: both girls have been varsity in cross country and track since their freshman years.  Both are two-time All-State runners in cross country. Hubner has one All-State medal in track; Valdivia has earned four. The success seen from these two is unprecedented at BSHS.

The names of both of these girls can be found all over the cross country and track record boards. They are two of the top female distance runners ever to come through BSHS,” head cross country and track distance coach Matthew Johnson said.

Johnson noted that earning all the honors that these two have achieved takes a large amount of “commitment and effort” which is the backbone of the track program.

“Tessa and Elaina are the epitome of these most important values that our girls distance running program stands by. Tessa and Elaina are both talented athletes, but the growth they have both experienced as runners proves how commitment and effort are the most important factors,” he said.

Johnson discussed not only their practice habits but their work ethic outside of practices as well. “Their dedication extends well beyond the seasons in which they compete for the team. Tessa and Elaina put so much of their free time in the offseason into improving as runners and it has been great to see their hard work pay off. They have sacrificed so much to achieve team and individual success,” Johnson said.

Having each other is one thing about the two that helps them compete at such a high level as well. Over the years they have formed a strong bond that has helped them elevate their skills.

“Tessa’s like my best friend. I love her so much. We really pull each other; like if I’m having a bad race, or if I’m not pushing hard enough, she’ll get in front of me and pull me forward, and if she’s having a bad race, I’ll get in front of her and pull her forward. We just switch off taking the weight of the race, and it allows us to compete against each other just like we do at practice,” Hubner said.

Competition at practice is another thing that really prepares both for meets, as being able to compete with someone at the same level at all times pushes both to new heights.

“Tessa is always there to push me through workouts. It’s nice to know I have someone next to me who is just as fast as me. It’s always great to have that reminder that there is someone who trains just as hard as you, and it motivates you to work harder,” Hubner said.

The relationship that has formed between Hubner and Valdivia extends to the entire distance team as well. Hubner cites the main reason she loves running, other than winning, as the family that she gets from the team.

“The distance team is always together. We meet up in the morning and walk to class together, and we hang out outside of school which is like having my best friends around me all the time,” Hubner said.

Hubner and Valdivia have become great leaders for their teammates to go to for help as well, and their teammates can find that help, not only by asking them but by watching them too.

“Both girls have a wealth of experience to share with the other runners, they compete hard in races and work hard in practices as much for their teammates as they do for themselves. The other girls on the team don’t have to look any further than what they see Tessa and Elaina doing every day to know what it’s going to take to advance themselves to the next level as a runner,” Johnson said.

Valdivia and Hubner each share that experience in a different way. Johnson describes Valdivia as a “silent leader” who teammates can watch and see the example of what hard work and dedication looks like, while Hubner is a “vocal leader” who teammates can go to if they have a question or need advice.

“I say what needs to be said, and then Tessa just does it. She leads by example; if you look over at Tessa, she is always doing what she needs to be doing and when people come to me, I’ll tell them what to do if they don’t know,” Hubner said.

Different personalities and ways of showing leadership have formed a great dynamic between the two. With Hubner ready to graduate and head out to compete at Washburn, Valdivia will have to overcome losing her main partner for the last three years.

“It has worked well having two leaders that are very different, yet complementary to each other. The part that Tessa might miss the most, is that she is losing a training partner to graduation. At the same time, this could be considered an opportunity for Tessa to take the next step forward in her running career,” Johnson said.

Even without her partner, Johnson feels that the experience Valdivia has had with Hubner will allow for a seamless transition of leadership.

“I think what Tessa and Elaina have learned from each other through different experiences will help Tessa to step into that ‘Senior Captain’ role. Tessa, along with junior Reese Howard, will be able to lead this team to the next level of our development as a program pretty much seamlessly,” Johnson said.

With another year nearly wrapped up, Johnson looks at the toll that all the running puts on a person, and how the endurance that they show through it all will help each of these girls in the future.

“Distance running is very hard on a person’s body, not just physically, but emotionally, and mentally as well. Throughout their three or four years in the program, they have had to endure many ups and downs; successes and failures. I firmly believe that what they have put themselves through as teenagers has helped to prepare them for the ups and downs; and successes and failures that life will bring,” Johnson said.

While Johnson looks towards their futures, Hubner reminisces on the bonds that she has formed in her four years running and how that will help her in the future.

“I learned to love so much from my teammates. They’re like the best people I’ve ever met and they’ve taught me so many lessons, so I’m going to cherish all the time that I’ve had with them,” Hubner said.

The final stretch of the season is in sight as these two girls and their teammates look to continue to show their skills at Blue Springs South for the Conference Championship Meet tomorrow.

Students go green for Earth Week

By Samantha Johnson

“You don’t have to change your entire life to help the world we live in. Picking up a piece of trash one day or spending the ten dollars it takes to get a reusable water bottle can help the earth far more than you know.” -Junior Alana Nyhart

With the celebration of Earth Day on Apr. 22, Wildcats United held an Earth-based spirit week to focus on cutting down use of harmful gaseous, plastic and cotton products. Students across campus ate meat-free meals, carpooled to school and wore thrifted clothes to compete for eco-friendly prizes. Continue reading Students go green for Earth Week

Senate election season off to a positive start

By Abigail Starr

“I’ve grown into a capable and confident woman through leading my peers. Groups like this one have led me to make dozens of great connections.” -Junior Sophie Mermelstein 

Last week BSHS elected student senate executives for the 2018/19 school year. This group will be responsible for leading the senate in planning events, motivating peers and encouraging school spirit. Executives are typically extremely involved students who see many aspects of the BSHS’s campus; therefore, they create a variety of goals to further unify students and staff. Continue reading Senate election season off to a positive start

Wildcats read up on National Library Week

By Samantha Johnson

“Whenever [students] need help, whatever it may be, I hope that this is one of the first places they come to.” -Media specialist Sadie Birdsell

With new age technology and freshly printed pages, public libraries across the U.S. supply citizens with hundreds of resources for researching, gathering and schooling. The American Library Association [ALA] has sponsored what is known as National Library Week annually since 1958. Continue reading Wildcats read up on National Library Week

Beauties, beasts partied until the last rose petal fell

By Caitlin Ham

“It was such an honor to be crowned prom queen, and it’s definitely something I will remember for the rest of my life.” –Senior Maisy Kurucz

Ball gowns, tuxedos, flowers, slow dancing…all of this was in full swing at this year’s prom, themed Beauty and the Beast. Prom was held on April 14th at Crown Center located in downtown Kansas City. Student favorites included the photo booth where students could take pictures with their date or friends featuring frames and costumes and the chocolate fountains with countless dipping options. Continue reading Beauties, beasts partied until the last rose petal fell

Breakfast of Champions honors high quality students

By Jayla Sample

“They do not have to be the best at the activity, but they have to be someone who represents what it means to be a Wildcat. They are a leader and a team player.” -Senate Sponsor Danielle Knoll on what makes a champion

Each year, BSHS congratulates students who have been nominated and chosen by a coach or sponsor as a leader and team player. These athletes and activities participants are celebrated with a morning meal. Continue reading Breakfast of Champions honors high quality students

Gary Parker Invitational showcases Wildcat pride, tradition, success

By Brett Tieman

“(Having it named after Gary Parker) is the best part of (the meet). Coach Parker, 31 years here, was the one who built the foundation of this track program. Blue Springs had track long before Coach Parker, but had very little history in the sport.” – Head Boys Track Coach Joseph Cusack

This past Thursday, 21 track teams came to Blue Springs to compete in the Gary Parker Invitational. The boys track team took first in the event for the ninth straight year, while the girls finished third. Both teams represented the school well in a meet filled with tradition and honor. Continue reading Gary Parker Invitational showcases Wildcat pride, tradition, success

The online news home of Blue Springs High School. Article contributors include BSHS journalism students. Letters to the editor are welcome. Contact kgrusing@bssd.net with questions.