By: Madison Feldhahn

Olathe West is the reigning 6A State Champion, and the team is poised to defend that title. Top Gun Events caught up with head coach Cynthia Adams to get some insight on her Owls program.

The Owls had a dominant season from start to finish, going 24-1. They defeated Olathe North and Derby on their way to the title. The title game against Washburn Rural lasted just five innings, and the Owls scored 10 runs, including two home runs from senior third baseman Madison Walker.

Turning to this season, Adams knows the Owls are following in big footsteps. The program is looking to defend its title while having lost six seniors who played key roles on the team.

“Those six seniors did a great job preparing this team to be able to compete and know what it’s like to grind day in and day out for the high school season,” said Adams. “I think that we have big shoes to fill, but I think that they’re going to be ready to compete and be able to fill those shoes.”

Adams is excited for returning players to step into the upperclassmen roles and embrace the team’s mentality. Junior pitcher Brevyn Kellepouris is one of those players. The University of Central Arkansas commit allowed just two hits in the final 12 innings of the Owls’ title run. Adams also highlighted junior Maliyah Warren as a key piece. Warren, committed to the University of Central Florida, plays shortstop for the Owls. Adams has just one senior on her team this year and is excited for her to lead the younger girls in buying into the program.

The young Owls program is focused on the day-to-day grind and finding their stride as a team. With the high school season running from the end of March to the end of May, Adams wants her team to focus their efforts on building team chemistry and learning to mesh together.

“Since I started here four years ago, that’s been my number one goal – to drive that we play pitch by pitch, inning by inning. We don’t focus too much on individual stats. We are working as a team. We win as a team. We lose as a team,” Adams said. “We really focus on everybody giving their all every single day. If you do that, good things happen.”

Preparation is going to be key for Olathe West. The program has spent a lot of time scrimmaging and going through live reps during the preseason practices. In addition to these live reps, Adams is hoping to purchase a Hack Attack pitching machine for the program. The Owls raised $9,000 in a fundraiser this off-season.

The Owls are headed to Wichita to face the 5A State Champions Valley Center and the 5A State runners-up Eisenhower High School. The trip is going to provide the team with plenty of team bonding experience and put them to the test on the field.

“I’m excited because [Valley Center] is our first game, and it will just be a really high expectation from the start. I think the girls will have fun regardless, win or lose,” Adams said of the trip. “They get to travel, stay overnight, and have a little team bonding. The stuff they definitely need. It’s before conference starts so it’ll be a nice win-win.”

Olathe West opened in 2017, and this is just the sixth year of existence for the Owls’ softball program. The team has been able to accomplish a lot in such a short period The Owls have a great community, and Adams credits the support from parents and coaches for their rapid rise to glory.

“It just proves more to the point of how hard the girls work and how much they want it,” said Adams. “The girls are great. We’re surrounded by a great support system. They all buy into this program. I think they have so much potential, and they can definitely make a run at it again this year.”

Olathe West travels to Wichita to face Valley Center on Friday, March 22. The Owls will start conference play against Olathe East on March 26.

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