Girard seniors Kenzie Dunlap and Kylie Kunshek have been good friends since elementary school and their close friendship benefits them in athletics.



Kenzie and Kylie possess the knack only best friends have of finishing each other’s sentences and they both have an infectious and disarming nervous laughter when they’re being interviewed for the first time by a reporter.

Girard seniors Kenzie Dunlap and Kylie Kunshek have been good friends since elementary school and their close friendship benefits them in athletics.

Kenzie and Kylie possess the knack only best friends have of finishing each other’s sentences and they both have an infectious and disarming nervous laughter when they’re being interviewed for the first time by a reporter.

“My older sister and her brother were in the same class in school,” Kylie said, friendly interrupted by Kenzie, who says, “They went to prom together.”

Kenzie and Kylie have played sports together since elementary school. They have participated in Girard Youth, YMCA, Girard traveling teams, Girard Middle School and Girard High School sports.

“We have each other in three different sports,” Kenzie said.

“Sports make our friendship stronger,” Kylie said.

Kenzie and Kylie were vital cogs on Girard’s softball team that went 19-3 last season, Kenzie as hard-throwing pitcher and Kylie her battery mate. Pitcher and catcher have played on Girard teams with a combined 60-5 record over three seasons and one Class 4A second-place finish (2008).

Kenzie allowed nine earned runs in 101 innings pitched and struck out 170 batters last season. She proved herself equally adept at the plate with a .429 batting average and she made All-CNC and All-State first team as pitcher, one of 12 players in Class 4A honored.

Kylie batted .400 last season and she said that her close friendship with Kenzie gives Girard a competitive advantage.

“It’s easy to get into a rhythm,” Kylie said.

For example, Kenzie found a rhythm against Independence last season in the first round of the Class 4A regionals. She made seven Independence hitters draw air on strikes and she allowed no hits in a 15-0 victory. Girard lost a 1-0 pitchers’ duel against Mulvane in the state tournament.

Kenzie and Kylie are part of a proud Girard sports tradition. It’s different this year as both girls, along with fellow senior Haley Brown, are in senior leadership and responsibility positions.

“I don’t know if we feel any pressure,” Kylie said. “We want to do it for ourselves.”

They played their final volleyball season this year. Kylie made her presence felt inside with blocks and kills as Girard’s All-CNC first-team middle hitter and Kenzie provided digs, setting and leadership.

Girard finished its 2010 volleyball season 24-13 (6-1 CNC), losing in the semifinal round of substate against Baxter Springs (25-9, 22-25, 21-25), which beat Girard for the CNC title in Baxter Oct. 19, four days before substate.

Girard girls basketball coach Brad Herlocker will depend on Kenzie and Kylie more this season because they are Girard’s leading returning scorers from a 24-2 (8-0 CNC) team last season, which finished third in Class 4A.

“We look to their leadership this season,” Herlocker said. “They’re going to be the glue that holds us together.”

Herlocker calls Kenzie the more quiet person of the two and the player who leads by example, while Kylie asserts herself more as a vocal leader. Kenzie will play shooting guard and the occasional point guard, while Kylie will be Girard’s strongest inside player.

“They’re very good friends,” Herlocker said. “It’s fun to watch.”

Kenzie and Kylie said they will miss playing sports together at Girard High.

“She’s awesome and she’s always there for people,” Kenzie said, talking about her friend. “She helps us get pumped up during games and she’s a good teammate.”

“I wouldn’t do it without her,” Kylie said.