LSE & LSW History: Why is the rivalry so strong?

Molly Leyden, Online Editor

LSE and LSW have, arguably, the most intense rivalry in LPS. When these two schools go head-to-head at any athletic activity, the crowds are grand, and it is always one of the biggest games of the season. The rivalry even goes beyond athletics and plays out in other activities,such as speech, debate and marching band. 

However, things haven’t always been this way. Before LSW opened in 2002, LSE’s previous rivals had been, “Whoever the next best team was in the state of Nebraska,” said Todd McQuistan, a Mathematics teacher at LSE and the DFA sponsor. 

Now, why is there a rivalry in the first place? Before LSW opened, LSE was known for its strength and prominence in sports. 

“As a coach, we saw quite a few kids move from Southeast to Southwest from our athletic program,” said former LSE coach and current LSE Athletic Director, Kara Graham. This then created a sense of betrayal from those who stayed at LSE, Graham said. 

“It was hard to watch some of our juniors that we had invested a lot of time in go over to Southwest and compete against us the very next year.” These feelings of betrayal and attack pursued and became the fuel for a long-standing rivalry.

The LSE-LSW rivalry continues today, and it is most notable in sports like basketball and football. When LSE and LSW are matched up in football and basketball, the rivalry becomes intense and these games often have the highest turnout. 

The student relationships between LSE and LSW are usually civil. Lots of students are friends with one another but can still become competitive when it’s game time. This friendly competition makes the rivalry even stronger with the sense of competing against friends and peers.

“I think it’s because we’re the two South schools. A lot of us are friends with each other and it almost creates a stronger sense of competition,” member of LSE’s Dedicated Fan Association (DFA) and dance team captain senior Kathleen Drummond said. 

Though there is still a flame in the rivalry, the relationships of LSE and LSW staff and students have changed. The relationships between the schools have become friendlier with time, but the schools still hold a strong sense of pride for their own school and distaste for the other when it comes to competition. 

“I think within [LSE] itself, it actually kind of promotes positive relationships. I think within a school having a clear rival can be somewhat of a positive thing,” said Todd McQuistan.

Having a rival can be a reason a school comes together. This plays out at LSE, students come together to rally against LSW which, while negatively impacting LSE’s view of LSW, creates a sense of community and a common interest for LSE.

LSE and LSW have a unique history and relationship. Historically, they have been rivals from LSW’s start, which has created a sense of competition for many years. Relationship-wise, LSE and LSW have a strong bond that can be both positive and negative. The relationship between schools is very strong and with the passion from both schools, this rivalry very well may continue to do so.