Kate Szymczak has pulled off a rarity as a head coach at Dodge City High School.

    Szymczak has been the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year not once but twice during the 2009-2010 school year.

    Szymczak guided the DCHS volleyball team to the WAC championship and Class 6A state tournament in the fall while being named WAC Coach of the Year. She added to her hardware with WAC Coach of the Year honors as head coach of the Red Demons swim team, which qualified a relay team for the Class 6A state meet for the first time in school history and will be competing Friday and Saturday at Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka.

    Szymczak also had the WAC Swimmer of the Year in Red Demons sophomore Zhu Zhu Lundin Daniels, to boot.


Kate Szymczak has pulled off a rarity as a head coach at Dodge City High School.
    Szymczak has been the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year not once but twice during the 2009-2010 school year.
    Szymczak guided the DCHS volleyball team to the WAC championship and Class 6A state tournament in the fall while being named WAC Coach of the Year. She added to her hardware with WAC Coach of the Year honors as head coach of the Red Demons swim team, which qualified a relay team for the Class 6A state meet for the first time in school history and will be competing Friday and Saturday at Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka.
    Szymczak also had the WAC Swimmer of the Year in Red Demons sophomore Zhu Zhu Lundin Daniels, to boot.
    “It puts a smile on my face,” Szymczak said. “All of those long nights and mornings where I’m up real early and away from my family (her husband Craig, the Dodge City Middle School football and basketball coach, and their two dogs), it brings into light how hard I’ve worked for things and I wouldn’t ask for any different. I know both of my teams, the volleyball and swim teams, are very proud and represent Dodge City High School to the highest caliber, and that’s who I am as a person.
    “The program that I’m putting together ais really working with those girls. I’m very proud of the things I have done in the past three years being here and this is the second season that I have received this award (for swimming), and this year it means even more than it did the first time because of what we accomplished in this season.”   
    The 200-yard freestyle relay, featuring Lundin Daniels and freshmen Kari Keahey, Talia Falcon and Jenny Delzeit, set a state-qualifying time of one minute, 53.14 seconds during the regular season. Lundin Daniels qualified individually in the 100 butterfly (1:03.13) and the 50 freestyle (26.39).
    “Each year has been a new building block for us,” Szymczak said, “and beings that this is the first relay ever to go to state for Dodge City High School, I think it speaks volumes about what we’ve accomplished in the past few years and our younger kids on the relay — three sophomores and a freshman — are really stepping up to the plate and are filling really big shoes, which is amazing.”
    Keahey joined Lundin Daniels as a first-team All-WAC selction, and Falcon and Delzeit were second-team selections.

Dubious distinction
for Lundin Daniels
    The catalyst for the Demons has been Lundin Daniels.
    “Anything that a coach would ask for,” Szymczak said of Lundin Daniels. “Her work ethic ... she’s in practice in two-a-days, and she’s always wanting more yardage. She’s always asking me, ‘What can I do next? Can I lift weights at home? What can I do to make myself a better swimmer?’
    “She’s always looking for the next-best thing, which is awesome. She’s a leader and how she carries herself in practice and in the pool. Those girls reach out and latch onto her and I think she helps carry the team, with those other girls on the relay marching right behind her. It’s awesome to see someone at the sophomore level with that much impact on the sport itself and her in Dodge.”