KINGMAN - Lee Williams High School finished its first year with varsity sports across the board and is about to welcome its first senior class in the fall. The Volunteers have built a solid foundation, and they're looking to have the rest of the schools in the Arizona Interscholastic Association recognize their name.
"We have established a base of our expectations for what we're trying to do athletically and academically," said LWHS Athletic Director Cory Williams. "In no way do I think we've arrived, but the kids have bought into Lee Williams - and not just in sports. That makes my job easier."
Williams is thrilled with the school's first year of having all teams playing at the varsity level without seniors on the rosters. The Vols made state playoff appearances in football and softball, and the baseball team came close.
Brendon Allred ran in the state cross country meet, and he joined 13 other Vols at the state track meet. Two Lee Williams wrestlers made it to state, including Nick Verville who finished third.
The Vols were successful both on and off the playing surfaces this year. They want to do that again next year, and Williams said it's all possible because of his coaching staff. Lee Williams does not have an opening for a head coach at the varsity level. Softball coach Mike Cummings has put in his resignation papers, but there is lingering hope around campus that he will actually stick around.
Though the athletic director is satisfied with the performance of each coach, he does want improvement and believes the best way for his coaches to do that is for them to self-critique.
"All the coaches go through season-ending evaluations," Williams said. "I let them tell me the areas in which they want to improve. We haven't achieved our goals, and that will always be a work in progress."
Every team for Lee Williams has now experienced what it is like to compete at varsity and can now prepare with knowledge at hand for the upcoming season. Some of the Volunteer squads are ready to make a splash and the others are expected to continue growing in both numbers and skill.
The football team has moved up a division and is in a new section - Division IV, Section III. The Vols expect to compete for the section title.
Volleyball players have put in a lot of work out of season, playing at the club level. Williams believes the boys golf team should compete for a section championship, girls golf should get stronger numbers, and cross country looks to keep improving.
The boldest statement Williams gave was his expectation for the boys basketball team to be in contention for the state championship.
"They're senior heavy," he said. "With Coach (Ray) Smith and the direction they've been going, they should compete."
The girls basketball team should be in the middle of things as long as the Lady Vols continue to develop the way coach Cain Atkinson had them improving at last season's end. Lee Williams wrestling is on the right track with Tom Jonseck at the helm.
The baseball and softball teams should be looking for state playoff spots, and the tennis squads are expected to show improvement. The track team will be loaded with seniors and its outlook is as bright as any.
"We've started a good base," Williams said. "Now we're transitioning to establish who we are."
The hunch is there are going to be some opponents next year who won't be happy finding out who the Volunteers are.