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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Top Railers signed for other sports

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  • At the upper echelons of high school basketball, teams are often judged by how many of its players are committed to, or have signed with, NCAA Division I colleges.?While the Newton High School girls’ basketball team has sent its share of players to Division I schools in basketball, this season’s senior class is signed to play in sports other than basketball.?Center Abbie Lehman and forward Emily Hiebert both signed to play volleyball at Wichita State this fall. Guard Kelsi Langley signed to play soccer at Butler Community College, one of the top-ranked junior college programs.?The three have helped lead the Railers to an 18-4 record and a berth in the Class 5A state tournament, which begins today in Topeka.?“More than anything, this season has been a tribute to these girls’ commitment to the program,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said about his senior class. “They have worked hard at getting better as basketball players. They have put in a lot of effort, which is why we’re going to state. They spent a lot of time in the summer working on their games. They also were in the weight room in the summer, often lifting before most people are out of bed.”?Lehman averages 12.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists and 3.5 blocked shots a game. Langley averages 7.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Hiebert averages 6.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.2 steals a game.?In volleyball, Lehman and Hiebert both earned all-league and all-state honors. They helped lead the Railers to state berths in all four seasons. They helped lead the Railers to a state runner-up spot as juniors.?In soccer, Langley earned all-league and all-region honors.?While the sports seasons in high school don’t overlap, there can be conflicts with the summer club seasons.?“It’s a delicate balance,” Jordan said. “(Newton volleyball coach) Jamie (Dibbens) and I work closely together. Sometimes there’s a volleyball tournament at the same time as a basketball tournament. These days, if you draw a line and tell a player you can’t play this sport or that sport, you risk losing that player. You have to learn to be OK with that. I’m happy that we have multiple-sport athletes. That’s the way it should be in high school.”?Jordan said he still fields calls from college coaches interested in the three.?“Early on, Emily has had Division I interest in basketball,” Jordan said. “Abbie has had numerous Division I and Division II offers. I’ve had several coaches ask me about Kelsi.”

     
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