O zark i l l u s t r at e d March 2011
SPRING SPORTS baseball boys golf boys tennis boys track girls soccer girls track
Ledgestone Country Club at StoneBridge Village is open to the public
Area appreciation at LedgeStone Country Club in March. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, show your local identification and receive a round of golf for $39.00. That is more than 60% off our normal rate. Area appreciation: $39.00 greens fee on Sundays, Tuesdays & Thursdays through the month of March. To receive the area appreciation rate, you must show a valid driverâ€™s license. To receive area appreciation, you must reside in one of the following counties: Stone, Taney, Marion, Baxter, Barry, Greene, Christian, Lawrence, Polk, Webster, Carroll and Boone. Kids play free in April at LedgeStone Country Club. Good anytime in April, children age 15 and under play for FREE. Each child must be accompanied by a paid adult with a valid driverâ€™s license. Call (417) 335-8187 to schedule a tee time. Proper golf attire required. www.ledgestonegolf.com
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Spring is on its way and I, for one, cannot wait! I don’t know about any of the rest of you, but unless I’m standing on top of a ski slope, I pretty much have no use for snow. Therefore, hopefully we have seen the last of the snow flakes, especially since the spring sports season is set to begin very soon. I have had the opportunity to travel all over the Ozarks over the past few months to conduct interviews, take pictures, or to distribute copies of Ozark Preps Illustrated and, without fail, I regularly encounter readers who thank us for what we are doing to support high school sports in the Ozarks. However, this is a FREE magazine, which means that we are entirely dependent upon advertising dollars for revenue. I believe that Ozark Preps Illustrated has very competitive advertising rates, and that we offer, perhaps, the most diverse demographic of any periodical in the region. So, if you like Ozark Preps Illustrated—and like what we are doing to support high school sports—then please consider advertising in the magazine. If you are not a business owner, then please encourage any business owner you know to contact me regarding advertising opportunities. We can certainly work something out! This issue of Ozark Preps Illustrated is packed with our Spring Sports Preview, which features previews of the spring sports teams in the Ozarks, including baseball, boys golf, tennis and track, as well as girls soccer and track. In preparation for this issue, Ozark Preps Illustrated sent questionnaires to all of the spring sports coaches in the coverage area. For those coaches who took the time to complete and return the questionnaire for their respective team—and there were many—we have included a preview in this issue for that team. Due to space limitations, you will not find the popular Rewind section in this issue, but look for a profile on one of the Ozarks’ best historical teams in our next issue. Our other monthly columns—including Time Out, Photo Finish, Milestones, and On The DL—are included, as is the Chalk Talk column, which is written this month by Crane girls basketball coach Jeremy Mullins. Of course, you can find Scott Puryear’s End Zone column in its usual place. On a more somber note, it is really easy to get caught up in the excitement of high school sports, especially this time of year when we have the winter sports wrapping up their state tournaments, while the spring sports are about to begin play. However, it only takes a sobering announcement to jolt us with a dose of hard reality, and remind us all that high school sports, though exciting, are not the be-all, endall that we sometimes make them out to be. As many of you are aware of by now, talented Hillcrest freshman Darnell Green-Beckham was diagnosed with a form of leukemia recently, and was rushed to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., for immediate surgery that would allow him to begin daily chemotherapy. At press time, Darnell was still at St. Jude’s, where he is expected to remain for the next couple of months before he is able to return to Springfield. Although the prognosis appears to be good, Darnell is expected to continue chemotherapy in the coming years. I cannot imagine what Darnell—or his family—is going through right now. I can only say that my heart and prayers go out to Darnell and his family during this difficult time. God has a plan for all things, though at times, it is difficult for us to understand exactly what the reasoning is or purpose for that plan. May God be with you, Darnell… As always, thanks for reading Ozark Preps Illustrated! Sincerely,
O zark i l l u s t r at e d O z ill O zark i l l u s t r at e d O ill O zark O zark i l l u s t r at e d PW O z ill O zark i l l u s t r at e d O ill O zark i l l u s t r at e d O z ill O zark i l l u s t r at e d O ill O zark i l l u s t r at e d O z ill O zark i l l u s t r at e d O ill O zark i l l u s t r at e d O Editor-In-Chief
i l l u s t r at e d
P r a i r i e Wa r b l e r Publishing, LLC
P.O. Box 777 Bolivar, MO 65613 417.770.0003
Publisher/Editor-In-Chief Byron Shive Art Director Ty DeClue
Contributing Writers Jeremy Mullins Scott Puryear Dr. J.P. Simanis
Contributing Photographers Jamie Carney, Jayne Ewing, Beth Hall, Pam Jennings, Jaimie Lafler, Toni Peterson, Brenda Putman, Teri Roy, Jill Salmon, Stephanie Shade, Tammy Walden, Rodger Wheeler and Kathryn Wilson On the Cover Members of the 2010 Billings baseball team celebrate at home plate after a walk-off grand slam by Austin Essick to win the State Sectional game 9-6 in extra innings over Norwood last season. (Photo by Rodger Wheeler, Republic Monitor)
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O zark O zark rk i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ted O zark O zark O z i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ill STARTING LINE UP O zark O zark rk i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ted SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW O zark O zark O i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ill 14 Baseball O zark O zark rk i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ted 24 O zark O zark O Boys Track i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ill 27 Girls Track O zark O zark rk i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ted O zark zark O 30 Girls Soccer O ill i l l u s t r at e d ill u s t r at ed O zark O zark rk i i l l l l u u s t r at e d s t r at ted e d 32 Boys Tennis O zark O zark O z i l l36 i i l l l l u s t r at u s t r at e e d d Boys Golf O zark O zark rk i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d t e d DEPARTMENTS O zark O zark O i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ill Milestones 6 O zark O zark rk Chalk Talk 7 i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ted Time Out 8 O zark O zark O i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ill On The DL 9 O zark O zark rk i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ted 10 Photo Finish Ozark O zark O i l l u s t r at i l l u s t r at e d ill e d Zone End 38 O zark O zark rk i l l u s t r at e d i l l u s t r at e d ted Ozark Ozark O
by Praiole or in ponsible or manur similiar e will be
Dr. J.P. Simanis makes recommendations regarding offseason workouts
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Hermitage’s Dakota Roberts (Photo by Jill Salmon)
Crane girls basketball coach Jeremy Mullins talks about the importance of fundamentals.
Scott Puryear has a change of heart with regard to “select” baseball teams.
Glendale’s Sarah Powell (Photo by Teri Roy)
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Spokane’s Brandon Bates (Photo by Toni Peterson)
Purdy’s Kevin Miller (Photo courtesy of Purdy High School)
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Buffalo’s Blake Boatwright (Photo courtesy of Buffalo High School)
Central’s Ellie Reichard (Staff Photo)
Spokane’s Molly O’Brien (R) (Staff Photo)
GIRLS SWIMMING (STATE SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS) Anna Brinck, Nixa—13th-place, 200 Freestyle (1:58.02); 13thplace, 100 Freestyle (54.62) Central—16th-place, 200 Freestyle Relay (1:43.35) (Jordyn Johnson, Livie Sommerfield, Amy Allen, Serena Chang) Glendale—11th-place, 200 Medley Relay (1:54.43) (Claire Hubert, Sarah Powell, Gretchen Stein, Anna Leonard); 14th-place, 200 Freestyle Relay (Sarah Powell, Claire Hubert, Gretchen Stein, Anna Leonard) Jordyn Johnson, Central—14th-place, 100 Butterfly (1:00.93) Kickapoo—5th-place, 200 Freestyle Relay (1:41.28) (Maddie Marshall, Hallie Roach, Jenna Harmison, Merideth Swain); 10th-place, 400 Freestyle Relay (3:42.28) (Jenna Harmison, Hallie Roach, Kelsey Messner, Merideth Swain) Anna Leonard, Glendale—11th-place, 100 Freestyle (54.39); 12thplace, 50 Freestyle (24.88) Emma Metz, Logan-Rogersville—7th-place, 200 Freestyle (1:56.82); 11th-place, 500 Freestyle (5:12.59) Sarah Powell, Glendale—13th-place, 100 Breaststroke (1:09.63) Ellie Reichard, Central—10th-place, 1-meter Diving (331.10) Gretchen Stein, Glendale—2nd-place, 200 IM (2:06.21); 2ndplace, 500 Freestyle (4:59.28) Merideth Swain, Kickapoo—10th-place, 100 Butterfly (59.77); 14th-place, 200 Freestyle (1:58.39) WRESTLING Christian Adams, Willard—State Qualifier, Class 3 (285) Aaron Allen, Bolivar—4th-place, Class 2 (171); District Champion Gareth Behr, Bolivar—3rd-place, Class 2 (215); District Champion Ryan Cleous, Logan-Rogersville—State Qualifier, Class 2 (215) Steven Cody, Central—State Qualifier, Class 3 (189) Kerick Crouse, Republic—State Qualifier, Class 3 (152) Michael Cuthbertson, Branson—2nd-place, Class 3 (140) Dakota Davis, Nixa—5th-place, Class 4 (130) Jeff Fletcher, Buffalo—State Qualifier, Class 2 (171) Jr. Fuentes, Reeds Spring—6th-place, Class 2 (119) Grant Godfrey, Ozark—State Qualifier, Class 4 (125) Devon Graville, Reeds Spring—4th-place, Class 2 (112) Willy Gray, Ozark—State Qualifier, Class 4 (189) Ethan Grinder, Reeds Spring—State Qualifier, Class 2 (140) Jared Harrill, Bolivar—State Qualifier, Class 2 (160) Derick Harris, Buffalo—6th-place, Class 2 (215) Jeff Held, Central—6th-place, Class 3 (130) Sam Hughes, Bolivar—3rd-place, Class 2 (103) Roy Hulland, Branson—State Qualifier, Class 3 (103) Jonathon Inman, Branson—2nd-place, Class 3 (171) Jake Laswell, Republic—State Qualifier, Class 3 (171) CODY LINDSAY, OZARK—STATE CHAMPION, CLASS 4 (171); District Champion Dmitry Loftis, Ozark—5th-place, Class 4 (119) Dustin McClintock, Ozark—6th-place, Class 4 (135) Jacob Milligan, Marshfield—State Qualifier, Class 3 (112) Steven Morey, Reeds Spring—3rd-place, Class 2 (135) John Oss, Ozark—State Qualifier, Class 4 (152) Trenton Patterson, Ozark—State Qualifier, Class 4 (145) Jake Pritchett, Nixa—State Qualifier, Class 4 (140) Jarrett Rogers, Ozark—State Qualifier, Class 4 (285) Jesse Ruark, Willard—5th-place, Class 3 (215); District Champion Steeler Seaburn, Willard—4th-place, Class 3 (152) Jesse Sherman, Bolivar—State Qualifier, Class 2 (130) Josh Shockney, Ozark—State Qualifier, Class 4 (140) Cody Shoemaker, Bolivar—State Qualifier, Class 2 (189)
Bolivar’s Gareth Behr (Top) and Buffalo’s Derick Haris (Bottom) (Staff Photo)
Caleb Shuck, Willard—State Qualifier, Class 3 (130) Kody Tipton, Hillcrest—State Qualifier, Class 3 (189) Joseph Velliquette, Nixa—4th-place, Class 4 (103) Sawyer Vincent, Willard—State Qualifier, Class 3 (160) Lee White, Reeds Spring—4th-place, Class 2 (145) TYLER WHITE, REEDS SPRING—STATE CHAMPION, CLASS 2 (152); District Champion Derek Williams, Bolivar—State Qualifier, Class 2 (125) Tanner Wood, Central—State Qualifier, Class 3 (145) JOE ZIMMER, LOGAN-ROGERSVILLE—STATE CHAMPION, CLASS 2 (189); District Champion MISCELLANEOUS • Everton’s Logan Brown recorded a triple double (18 points, 10 assists, 10 steals) in a 65-45 win over Halfway on Dec. 4. • Three members of the Chadwick girls basketball team have surpassed the 1,000-point career scoring plateau this season. Erika Davis and Krystn Dollarhide both reached the milestone in a 53-36 loss to Ash Grove on Jan. 13, and Jamie Hale went over the 1,000-career point threshold in a 72-20 win over New Covenant Academy on Feb. 21. As of Feb. 25, Davis, Dollarhide and Hale had scored 1,139, 1,141, and 1,029 career points, respectively. Davis also broke the school record for career three-pointers after scoring 29 points in an 88-27 victory over Bradleyville on Feb. 24, and had hit 168 three-pointers for Chadwick as of Feb. 25. Hale also recorded a triple double (20 points, 10 rebounds, 10 steals) earlier this season in a 52-18 win over Galena on Dec. 2, and scored 41 points in a game against Bakersfield a week later. • The Verona girls basketball team also has three 1,000-point scorers for their careers. Tristan Carrasquillo scored 23 points in a 76-46 victory over Marion C. Early on Dec. 18 to go over 1,000 points for her career, while Jenna Chadd scored 24 points in a 69-25 victory over Thomas Jefferson on Jan. 7 to surpass 1,000 points. Jessica Smith went over 1,000 points for her career after scoring nine points in the Lady Wildcats’ thrilling 65-64 victory over Purdy on Feb. 10. As of Feb. 25, Carrasquillo, Chadd, and Smith—all of whom are juniors who will be returning next season—had scored 1,413, 1,258, and 1,094 career points, respectively. • The Glendale girls basketball team has a pair of players who have surpassed the 1,000-point plateau this season. Emily Cline scored her 1,000th career point on a free throw, as she scored 11 points in a 57-51 loss to Kickapoo on Feb. 6. Junior Megan Deines surpassed the
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1,000-point plateau with a three-pointer from the baseline in a 60-34 win over Columbia Hickman on Jan. 14. • Crane senior standout Levi Cook became the first player in school history to surpass the 2,000-point plateau in a 65-55 victory over Pierce City on Jan. 28. • Bolivar’s Micah Cribbs recorded a triple double (21 points, 12 rebounds, 10 steals) in a Dec. 3 game against McDonald County. • Spokane’s Trevor Decker recorded a triple double (15 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) in a 59-41 victory over Clever on Feb. 17. • Sparta’s Mikalah Hardcastle scored 36 points in a 67-47 loss to Galena on Feb. 21 to surpass 1,000 points for her career. • Everton’s Jessica Holland scored 21 points in a 59-30 win over Lockwood on Feb. 17 to surpass 1,500 points for her career. • Miller’s Justin Jack scored 19 points in a 90-71 win Diamond on Jan. 14 to surpass 1,500 points for his career. The senior standout also grabbed his 1,000th career rebound in a 66-30 victory over College Heights on Feb. 11. Jack recorded a double-double in the game with 16 points and 10 rebounds. • Fair Grove’s Kayla Kepler recorded a triple double (35 points, 12 steals, 10 rebounds) on Jan. 29 in a 64-52 win over Laquey. • El Dorado Springs’ Nick Norval recorded a triple double (16 points, 16 rebounds, 10 steals) in an 85-55 victory over Lamar on Feb. 14. • Spokane’s Molly O’Brien scored 17 points in a 50-39 win over Reeds Spring on Jan. 10 to surpass the 1,500-career point plateau. The senior has also become the school’s career scoring leader this season. • Hillcrest’s Taylor Parham scored 20 points in a 76-61 victory over Camdenton on Feb. 17 to become the school’s all-time career scoring leader. • Pleasant Hope’s Eric Sechler scored 20 points on Feb. 11 in a 60-57 loss to Stockton to put him over 1,500 points for his career. As of Feb. 23, the senior had scored 1,577 career points. • Greenwood’s Hawken Thieme scored 41 points and pulled down 25 rebounds in a 58-46 victory over Clever on Feb. 14. • Chadwick’s Seth Thomas has recorded a pair of rare quadruple doubles this season, the first of which occurred in a 68-25 victory over Niangua on Jan. 24 (16 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals). Thomas’ second quadruple double (45 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists, 11 steals) happened in a 79-36 victory over Bradleyville on Feb. 24. Thomas also recently surpassed the 1,500-point plateau, and as of Feb. 25, had scored 1,522 career points.
Submit Milestones by email at: email@example.com
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Jeremy Mullins Head Girls Basketball Coach, Crane Lady Pirates
Fundamentals in sports are a major element of a successful team at any level. It is not just about executing the fundamentals some of the time or most of the time, but it is about practicing these fundamentals perfectly so often that they become part of a player’s game. Fundamentals should become so ingrained within players that they become an unknown habit of their game. A team could have a great offensive scheme, but if players have not mastered the fundamentals, such as good passing, ball handling, or moving effectively with and without the ball, its offense will not be successful. Likewise a team cannot be defensively sound unless all players know the basics and know how to execute them. Fundamentals are not a part of the game—they are the game.
As a coach, I feel practicing the fundamentals is something that sometimes gets overlooked beyond the middle school level. Even at high levels of competition, it is important to practice, reinforce, and maintain the basics of the sport. Fundamentals are not just something that should be reviewed at the beginning of each season, but must be stressed and diligently practiced daily. Correctly practicing fundamentals each practice is key in my program. Practicing correct repetition of a skill helps create muscle memory. The development of muscle memory is what allows players to execute correctly at key times without having to think about what they need to do. Almost without fail, if a player must move their concentration from the flow of the game to a basic
Crane head girls basketball coach Jeremy Mullins coaches up the Lady Pirates during a timeout late in the fourth quarter of Crane’s 61-58 victory at Spokane on Feb. 17. (Staff Photo)
concept of the game they will make a critical mistake. Just going through the motions when practicing fundamentals is not conducive to teaching the fundamentals; in fact, it is actually counterproductive as players will pick up more bad habits than good. Successful teaching of fundamental skills is about making sure the motions are executed to perfection each and every day. Being fundamentally sound takes hard work, dedication, and lots of practice. The more players practice fundamentals correctly, the more likely these movements will become instinctive. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. As Coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “with intensive, intelligent, and repetitive work, we can all do the basics, better.”
TO Mary Bergmann
St. Louis Cardinals Probably pay for college
If yo in u co ti u pe me t ld g o rio o w o d o a ny b a c uld r e tim k yo r a , w e ug h o? ere
ha co t is y lle o tea ge o ur fa m? r p vor ro ite sp ort s W ha wi t wo th $1 uld y mi ou llio do n?
Give some to charity, and probably buy a beach house. I’d also share some with my family, because I’m nice.
W ho mo is y de ou l? r r
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That is tough. In our District game last year, I missed a free throw to tie the game. I would definitely go back to that game and make the free throw. The 1970’s
Basketball/Baseball Pleasant Hope Grown Ups
My Mom and Dad Mizzou
Do more basketball stuff, like traveling
The 1920’s or 50’s
Kansas Jayhawks basketball
Invest it to make more millions
Give some to charity, my church, and my family, and save a little for myself
I’d go back to the dinosaur age, because everyone says there were no people back then, so I’d be the only person and make history.
I have always liked North Carolina
I’d probably just put it in the bank and wait ‘til later in life.
I’d go back with the dinosaurs and see if I could survive.
Probably my brother
Christian Kirk Basketball Kickapoo
The Benchwarmers My Mom
Soccer/Basketball Springfield Catholic
I don’t know...prob- Save some of it and I’d go back to my donate the rest. freshman year. The ably Mizzou past four years have gone by so fast.
Get a nice truck and save the rest
Medieval times. It would be fun to see all of the costumes.
I don’t really have one...probably North Carolina
Pay back my Dad for all that he has spent on me.
I’d go back to when I was 10. I was so carefree and had no worries.
Roxie Vaught Basketball Crane
u g wh o? ere
It can be hard to stay in shape when daily workouts for sports aren’t required. Despite the fact that you may have more time on your hands and other things sound more intriguing, it is still important to maintain weekly workouts during the offseason. Here are a few suggestions to keep your post-season fitness interesting:
1. Don’t stop the cardio. Running, riding a bike, elliptical and kickboxing are all ways you can participate in heart healthy exercises. It is important to get 20-60 minutes of cardio in at least five (5) days a week. 2. Add in weight training. If you currently have a lifting plan, you should continue with it. You can, however, vary it some from your in-season workouts. Make sure that you work out all of your large muscle groups.
Dr. J.P. Simanis M.D., MPH, MSPH
3. Change up your workouts. Doing the same workout every day can get boring. Not to mention, it exhausts your muscles. Be sure to rotate cardio, weights, and stretching throughout your weekly workouts. 4. Keep it fun. Motivation can be hard
to come by in the off season, especially after being overwhelmed and burnt out from daily practices. Try picking up a new sport. If your offseason is in the winter, try an indoor sport like rock climbing or racquetball. Working out with a partner will also help you to keep workouts fun and help you to improve your motivation and accountability.
5. Make sure to rest. It is important to allow your body time to rest as well. Since your body is used to being put through physically extensive activities daily during the season, you don’t want to stop completely. However,
you should give yourself a break a few times a week so that you don’t get burnt out during the offseason too. It is also crucial for muscle recovery.
6. Don’t continue eating like you are still in season. During your sport’s season,
your body is used to burning a lot of calories due to the amount of physical activity you are participating in. So eating anything you want won’t really affect you. But as you wind down into the offseason, it is important to remember that unless you want to gain weight, you need to adjust your eating habits to your new level of activity. Eating a balanced meal will help you to stay fit and be overall healthier. A balanced diet with a varied, consistent workout plan will help you to stay in shape when you are not in season and help prepare you for pre-season.
Fair Grove’s Ciara Eastwood (#10) drives around Pleasant Hope’s Kari Hillenburg (#5) in the Lady Eagles’ 69-54 victory over their rival on Feb. 7. Eastwood scored 21 points to pace the Lady Eagle attack. (Staff Photo)
Logan-Rogersville’s Joe Zimmer (R) grapples with Center’s Alex Taylor in the finals of the 189-pound weight class at the 81st MSHSAA Wrestling Championships on Feb. 19 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. Zimmer won the match 9-2 to complete a perfect 50-0 season. (Photo by Jaimie Lafler)
Forsyth’s Chris Mortensen (#30) shoots in the lane over Crane’s Anthony Vermillion (#45), as the Pirates’ Jordan Bowling (#41) looks on. Bowling scored 20 points in the game as Crane defeated the Panthers 67-54 on Feb. 15. (Staff Photo)
Billings’ Kaleb Harter (#14) ties up Dadeville’s Dakota Webb, as the Wildcats’ Lane Truman (#30) and Brady Chastain (#33) look on, in the Bearcats 84-72 victory on Jan. 27 at Billings. (Staff Photo)
Glendale’s Gretchen Stein swims in the finals of the 500-yard freestyle at the 36th MSHSAA Girls Swimming & Diving Championships on Feb. 19 at the St. Peters RecPlex. Stein finished in 2nd-place in the event with a time of 4:59.28, and also took 2ndplace in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:06.21. (Photo by Teri Roy)
Mt. Vernon’s Kaden Jones (#23) goes up for a twisting shot on a fast break against a Kansas City O’Hara defender in the Mt’neers’ 66-53 loss in the first round of the 84th Annual Nixa Invitational Basketball Tournament on Jan. 27. (Staff Photo)
Central’s Caprese Marshall (#12) drives up court in the Lady Bulldogs’ 54-49 loss to Bolivar on Feb. 10. Central advanced to the Class 5 District 12 final before losing to top-ranked Webb City. (Staff Photo)
Reeds Springs’ Tyler White battles Seneca’s Jalen Skaggs in the Class 2 District 3 finals of the 152-pound weight class at Bolivar on Feb. 12. White won the match with a pin as the first period ended, and captured a state championship a week later at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. White, who wrestled at 160-pounds during the regular season, dropped to 152 for Districts and finished the season undefeated at 39-0. (Staff Photo)
Boomtown, Pop. 1 - Kickapoo’s Ryan Rippee (#1) dunks in the Chiefs’ 79-70 victory over Camdenton on Feb. 5. Rippee scored 25 points in the game to lead Kickapoo. (Staff Photo)
Crane’s Maggie McManamy (#24) shoots over Spokane’s Kenzie Depee (#31), as the Lady Owls’ Kendra Vernatti (#4) looks on, in the Lady Pirates’ 61-58 victory at Spokane on Feb. 17. (Staff Photo)
Pract · Trust Admin
Logan-Rogersville’s Mackenzie Palmer dives into the pool for her leg of the 200yard freestyle relay during the preliminaries of the 36th MSHSAA Girls Swimming & Diving Championships on Feb. 18 at the St. Peters RecPlex. (Photo by Teri Roy)
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SPRING SPORTS l l a
b e s a b PREVIEW ash grove
After a 3-11 start to the 2010 season, the Pirates came on strong at the end, winning seven of their last 10 games. Ash Grove will look to improve upon a 3rd-place finish in the Mid-Lakes Conference this season, as the Pirates return eight starters from a year ago. “We must be more competitive and win more of our non-conference games,” said longtime head coach Rick Creed. “We are striving to be in the top three in the MidLakes. Our pitching has to be more consistent. Our lineup needs to be more aggressive top to bottom.” The Pirates’ top returning player will be senior Chris Beasley, who posted a 7-2 record and 2.07 ERA and .529 batting average last season as a pitcher/outfielder, and earned 1st-Team All-District and All-Conference honors in the process. Junior catcher Stephen Chavez also is back after garnering All-District and All-Conference honors after batting .386 for the year. Chase Simmerman, a junior pitcher/ infielder, was named 1st-Team All-Conference as a designated hitter after batting .313 last season. Juniors Cody Mooneyham (.318 BA) and Connor Wood (.359 BA) both received All-Conference recognition last season, while other returning starters include seniors Dustin Bowman and Jacob Watson, who will be returning from an injury, and junior Rhett Proctor. Senior Tyler Gray and sophomores Garren Johanson and Caleb Robinson also will look to contribute. “We return all but one starter from last year, and we will have strong pitching, quality depth, and experience,” said Creed. “But our weakness will be the long ball.”
aurora After a 9-16 record last season, the Houn’ Dawgs will have six starters back this spring, as Aurora will make a push to improve upon last year’s 6th-place Big 8 Conference finish. Aurora lost four All-Conference seniors from a year ago, including Jason Hicks and his .405 batting average and pitching. The Houn’ Dawgs must replace the bulk of their pitching, and also have some returnees up their batting averages this spring. Aurora will be led by four full-time returning starters in seniors Austin Hicks (.293 BA batting leadoff, 8 SB), speedy Tanner Kasinger and Michael Parbury, who will likely be the team’s ace after a strong summer, and sophomore Dallas Peterson, who hit .343 last summer. Other returnees with starting experience who will need to step up in 2011 include senior Dillan Dykes, the team’s most improved player last year, and junior Austin Lenox, who can play multiple positions and will also be another option on the mound. Junior Cody Thornton and sophomore Andrew Parker also will look for more production after solid summers. Aurora will have plenty of depth from a group of players who will push for varsity action, including senior Josh Meyer, juniors Jesse Galloway, Lucas Guthrie, Devon Stephens, Collin Thornhill, and Seth Whitlock, and sophomores Kyle Eden, Logan Parker, and Spencer Shreve. “We lost four good seniors from last season, but we return nine players who received some type of varsity experience,” said head coach Grant Baker. “Our guys know what we have to replace, and have been working hard in the offseason to improve in all aspects of their game.”
Billings The Wildcats enjoyed a successful 2010 campaign, which featured a 19-4 record and #5 state ranking in Class 1. Billings won District and Sectional championships before the season ended in disappointing fashion with a 6-3 loss to St. Elizabeth in the state quarterfinals. Billings must 14
Buffalo’s Jordan Henderson (Photo courtesy of Buffalo High School) replace six seniors from last year’s team, but the youthful Wildcats begin the 2011 campaign with a preseason #8 state ranking in Class 1. The Wildcats return standout sophomore Austin Essick, who was named All-State and All-Conference last spring after a strong freshman season on the mound (6-1, 2.08 ERA) and at the plate (.506 BA, 10 HR, 32 RBI). Essick picked up in the fall where he left off in the spring, batting .521 with 18 RBI, four homeruns, and 15 stolen bases, while posting a 4-1 record on the hill (0.95 ERA, 32 K, 29.3 IP). Senior pitcher/infielder Trey Elliott hit .511 with 20 RBI in the fall and recorded a 1.46 ERA and 21 strikeouts in just 24 innings of work on the mound. Pitcher/infielder Connor Jenisch hit .357 in the fall with 15 RBI and four homeruns. Last spring, the junior posted a 5-0 record on the mound (1.40 ERA). Junior first baseman Cody Moore (.300 BA, 11 RBI in the fall), and sophomore Lane Thurman return, as does sophomore leftfielder Nathan Smith (.515 BA, 22 RBI last spring), who missed most of the fall with an injury. Freshman Dawson Meyer will also look to make his mark with the varsity after a solid fall. “What will be key for us is putting together a complete game,” said head coach Allen Stolte. “We have four talented pitchers and guys in our lineup that can hit. We need to make sure to get defense behind our pitching staff, and be consistent on offense.”
Bolivar Last season was a bit of a roller coaster for the Liberators, as Bolivar began the season 10-3 and then lost six of its last eight regular season games before rebounding to play its best ball of the season in the District Tournament. Although the Liberators lost the District title game to Monett—as well as eight seniors off of last year’s team—Bolivar does return four starters and 80% of its innings pitched from a year ago. The top returning player for Bolivar this spring will be pitcher Greg Jacobs, who posted a 7-2 record last season, including eight complete games, to go with a 2.30 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 64 innings of work. The senior, who also was a member of the Team Missouri Junior Sunbelt team and Midwest Nationals last summer, was named Class 3 honorable mention All-State, as well as All-District and AllConference. Bolivar also returns a pair of senior starters in catcher Jacob Hampton and pitcher/outfielder Josh Chamberlain (2.19 ERA), as well as junior shortstop/pitcher Jason Myers (.303 BA, 2.69 ERA). Other returnees who will need to step
up now that they are in the starting lineup include senior Alex Wells, junior Clayton Miller, and sophomore Kolby Follis. “Our inexperienced players will need to contribute at the plate and defensively for us to be successful,” said head coach Eric Briggs. “Although we will have some new faces this year, I expect us to gain experience and confidence as we move through the season. We have the pitching to make some noise in the postseason, but we will need our lineup to put some runs on the board in May.”
branson Branson enjoyed a phenomenal season last spring, as the Pirates swept undefeated through COC play and won a District championship before losing a 1-0 eight inning heartbreaker to eventual state runner-up Webb City in the Sectional round. Branson, which finished last season with a 23-5 record, enters this spring as the #5-ranked team in Class 4, but must replace four starters, including a pair of All-Staters in Tee Helsel and Timmy Townsend. The Pirates do have a core group of returning players who got a taste of postseason baseball a year ago. Leading the way for Branson will be a trio of returning starters, including the reigning COC Player of the Year in pitcher/ infielder Mike Compton, who posted an 8-1 record and 0.93 on the mound last season. Compton, an All-Stater who has signed to play collegiately at national powerhouse Florida State next season, also batted .430 with 10 doubles and 30 RBI. Isaac Johnston (.329 BA, 22 RBI) and outfielder Paul Stevens (.316 BA, 15 RBI), a pair of All-Conference performers, also return. The speedy Johnston and Stevens are deadly on the base paths for the Pirates with 18 and 10 stolen bases last season, respectively. Seniors Brandon Frans and Taylor Tankersley, and juniors Parker O’Dell and transfer Alex Stephens also will be looking to contribute in 2011. “The expectations here in Branson are always high, and hopefully we can continue to build on our tradition of hard work, attention to detail, and being competitive late in the year when it is most important,” said head coach Steve Lael. “We have a nice mix of very talented veterans to go along with a group of kids who have seen firsthand what it takes to win against the kind of talent we have to go against every game in the COC, the area, and the unbelievably strong teams in our District. Our goal is always the same: to try and get a little better at what we do every day.”
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After an 8-17 record last season, which included several close losses, the Bison return eight starters and expectations are high this spring. Buffalo will look for leadership from four returning seniors, including catcher Blake Boatwright, pitcher/infielder Jordan Henderson, pitcher/outfielder Austin Lankford, and infielder Dylan Love. The Bison also have a pair returning junior starters in Cody McGuire (pitcher/ infielder) and Dylan Rice (pitcher/outfielder), as well as sophomore Dalton Winkler, a pitcher/infielder. Junior outfielder Alex Gerleman will look to step into the starting lineup this season after making contributions off the bench a year ago. “Our key to success will be defense and pitching,” said head coach Brad Roweton. “I think every team in America could say that, but we can’t give up eight-plus runs to good teams and expect to win. We need to stay away from giving up the big inning, and limit the other team’s scoring when they do score. “Our biggest weakness last year was probably maturity,” added Roweton. “This year, we need to mature as a team and perform with confidence on every play. Our biggest strength is probably our pitching. We don’t have a shutdown #1 guy that is throwing in the upper 80’s, but we do have depth at that position. We had a good summer and we have seen several of our kids gain confidence over the course of the last several months. Experience and maturity are good things for a baseball team.”
Central Central posted a 6-14 record last season, and despite the loss of four seniors, the Bulldogs return an experienced lineup this spring that will be looking to improve on that mark. The Bulldogs will be led by their two best hitters in seniors Steven Cody and speedy centerfielder Evan Shoemaker. Cody (.344 BA), a right-handed pitcher, batted #3 in the lineup last season and is the team’s best power hitter, while Shoemaker (.344 BA) is a four-year starter who covers a lot of ground in center for Central. Senior catcher Kyler Small (.316 BA), another four-year starter, is the team’s most experienced player, while junior speedster Austin Harris (.367 BA, 14 RBI, 15 SB) is the team’s best pure hitter. Senior Ezra Wood, who missed last season due to injury, will be the Bulldogs’ #1 pitcher if he can get healthy. Senior leftfielder Aaron Creason also returns, along with junior second baseman Dan Jones. Senior Burton Guion will look to break into the starting lineup, while junior Karl Rovey will be one of the Bulldogs’ three primary pitchers this spring. Junior Thomas Pesek (.327 BA) was the most improved player on last year’s team. The Bulldogs will also look for contributions from a pair of sophomores in catcher Kipper Gardner and third baseman Evan Robinson. “We have to throw strikes and, more importantly, we have to make the routine plays on a consistent basis for us to win games,” said head coach Bill Shoemaker. “We now have a team that has some experience. We have come a long way at the plate, but we still lack a lock-down defense. With our pitching being limited, it hurts us to give away extra outs.”
clever Things are looking up for Clever, as the Bluejays return a strong nucleus of young players who suffered through a tough stretch last spring, but who came on strong in the fall baseball campaign. Clever went 7-30 last spring with a lineup dominated by underclassmen, but did snap the team’s 41-game losing streak. In the fall, with a pair of juniors, six sophomores and one freshman in the lineup, the Bluejays posted a winning record at 11-9, but will need to improve a sluggish .284 slugging percentage this spring. Juniors Jordan Burnett, Nathan Coram and David Pennewell (.296 BA, 21 RBI, 9 SB) will look to lead a young Clever squad, with Burnett and Pennewell returning starters from the fall. Pennewell is the Bluejays’ top pitcher after posting a 5-2 record in the fall with a 2.58 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 43.3 innings of work. Burnett is the team’s #2 pitcher (3-3, 1.66 ERA, 42 K, 46.3 IP). The juniors have plenty of burgeoning talent in the classes below, including the team’s best hitter in sophomore Chance Wolfe, who batted .327 with 20 RBI and 12 stolen bases in the fall. Other returning starters include sophomores Ranger Curtis (14 RBI), Tyler Martin (19 RBI, 18 SB), Travis Pennewell (14 RBI), Dalton Thompson, and Bryce Wilson. In addition to Coram, Clever will have depth in the form of
sophomores David Deltoro (a defensive specialist), Austin Myers, and Chase Thomas. “The key to our success will be run production,” said longtime head coach Marty Little, who will be retiring at the end of the spring season. “The attitude toward the game is good on this team. Our pitching is beginning to come around, with several quality performances in the fall. You can’t win championships, though, without someone on the hill that can keep the other team’s offense to one run less than your team’s offense.”
crane The Pirates finished with a 32-16 record last spring and fall combined, and after a strong fall campaign, Crane enters this spring as the preseason #7-ranked team in Class 2. Crane lost six starters from last spring, but used strong starting pitching at the top of the rotation and timely plays at the plate and in the field to have a successful fall, which included winning the West Plains Back to School Wood Bat Classic for the second-straight year after defeating defending Class 1 state champion Dora in the championship game. The top returning player for the Pirates is multi-sport standout Levi Cook, a senior outfielder who garnered 2ndTeam All-State and SWCL Most Valuable Player honors last spring after batting .444 with eight homeruns, 60 RBI, and 24 stolen bases, in addition to posting a 6-3 record on the mound (2.38 ERA). Crane’s top returning pitcher is senior Zach Akins, a 1st-Team All-SWCL honoree who went 8-2 on the hill with a 1.73 ERA, while also batting .362 with six homeruns and 24 RBI. Other returning starters from last spring include senior Hunter Quick (3 HR, 12 RBI), as well as senior Dylan Head (10 RBI) and junior Cody Lumpkin. Junior Dylan Sekscinski and sophomore Canyon Clevenger contributed last spring before stepping into more prominent roles in the fall. “This year’s team has a great deal of inexperience at the varsity level,” said head coach Bryan Harmon. “We have some key players back from last year’s team, but we are going to have to ask some young players to step into the lineup and produce right away. We have strong pitching at the top of the rotation. If others will step up and improve in the third and fourth spots in the rotation, we will have a successful spring.”
dadeville It was a record-setting year at Dadeville last spring, as the Bearcats set a school won-loss record after posting a 20-5 record en route to a District title and PCL co-championship. Dadeville lost a 3-1 pitcher’s duel to St. Elizabeth in the Sectional round, and also lost five talented seniors to graduation. The Bearcats do return a talented lineup this spring, though, which is led by 2nd-Team All-State and 1st-Team All-District and All-Conference senior Trenton Bergmann (.528 BA, 20 RBI, 13 SB), who will be making the move from the infield to full-time duty behind the plate this sea-
son. Fellow senior Zach Medley (.344 BA, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 14 SB) returns to the mound for Dadeville after posting a deceiving 5-3 record last spring, since the All-District and All-Conference honoree often faced some of the Bearcats’ tougher opponents. Senior Robert Cowan (.377 BA, 6 2B, 19 RBI, 12 SB), another All-District and All-Conference recipient, returns at second base. Senior Cory Hurd (.300 BA) is the team’s best outfielder, while fellow classmate Ben Dobbins will be the team’s primary first baseman and power threat at the plate. Senior Zach Johnson is the team’s most improved player, while senior pitcher Scott Holman returns to the team after sitting out last spring. Junior Conner Vermillion will be the team’s starting shortstop after a utility role a year ago, while sophomores Dusty Freeze and Nick Yocom will also contribute. “The keys to our success will be how fast our veteran players accept their role as mentors and develop team chemistry, and how quick our fundamental work pays off for the younger players,” said head coach Brent Rountree. “Our strengths are our offense and defense, and the depth of our pitching. We need to improve our knowledge of the game, though, and our fundamentals. There are also some question marks surrounding our pitching staff.”
After a slow start to the season last spring, the Bulldogs rebounded to finish at 10-15 for the season. El Dorado Springs only lost two seniors from a year ago, but one of those was a four-year starter in All-District catcher Colt Whitesell. The Bulldogs do return eight starters this spring, so expectations are high for a strong season. El Dorado Springs’ pitching will be one of its strongpoints this season, as the Bulldogs return a pair of quality starters in senior Kanon Hoover and junior Garrett Mays. Hoover threw a 14-strikeout, one-hit shutout in the first round of Districts, a Bulldog victory over Lamar, while Mays tossed a no-hitter against Skyline last season. Hoover (.438 BA, 10 2B, 20 RBI) is also equally talented with a bat in his hands. Senior third baseman Trey Barger (.404 BA, 3 3B, 17 RBI) is the team’s best returning hitter, but may need to make a switch to catcher with the loss of Whitesell. Senior right fielder Tyler Copper (.333 BA) returns to the starting lineup, as do senior Tyler Cantrell and juniors Brendan Fast, Kyle McCullick, and Ace Whitesell. Sophomores Chance Butterfield and Derek Taylor also figure to step into more prominent varsity roles. “You are only as strong as your pitching and defense,” said head coach Drew Osborne, “but last year, we really struggled defensively and on the mound, allowing more than seven runs per game on average. We did not do a lot of the little things right. Offense should be a strongpoint, as we have a lot of returning players who swung the bats well.”
Greenfield’s Johnny Munton (Photo courtesy of Greenfield High School)
Boelke, second baseman Justin Burk, and shortstop Wyatt Stephens. Along with Ashwege, other sophomores include pitchers Dylan May and Austin Tate. Boelke, May and Tate will eat innings and close games for the Bears. “I like our starting pitching,” said head coach Bill Mulholland. “Our keys to success will be hitting spots, timely hitting, and defense. We need to learn to be confident in the big game and play with poise. We need to hit the weight room and develop strength for the big hit. I like our doubles approach, however, and will coach to this ability. These kids are hard workers and have a bitter taste in their mouth. They do all the small things right and that might take us over the top.”
fair grove With seven starters returning this spring, optimism is high at Fair Grove, as the Eagles return a talented and experienced lineup this season. Senior Jared Green, a unanimous 1st-Team All-Conference shortstop and All-District performer, will be the team’s ace on the mound. Junior catcher Jared Harmon was also an All-District and All-Conference honoree last season, and led the team in hits a year ago. Sophomore second baseman Deric Link led the team in RBI last season, and garnered All-Conference honors for his efforts. Senior Damein Blanton, who has started at multiple infield positions and designated hitter the past three years, will be ready to go after offseason shoulder surgery. Fellow classmate Ian Magdziarz, who started as a sophomore but missed all of last season due to a torn labrum, is at full strength again, while fellow classmate Mike Joyce will see action at first, third and DH, and may even see some time on the mound this spring. Junior Sean Winder returns in centerfield, and will be expected to increase his production at the plate. “I have high expectations for this spring with seven starters returning,” said head coach Bryan Tucker. “For our team to be successful this spring, we will have to pitch well, hit for a high average, move runners, and be opportunistic on the base paths. Our conference (Mid-Lakes) will not be easy with the likes of Stockton and Strafford, plus being moved to Class 3 this spring for Districts will prove to be a great test. I feel that if we come together as a team and have strong senior leadership, though, we will be able to compete for a conference and District title.”
fair play It was a bit of an up-and-down year for Fair Play last spring, as the Hornets sandwiched six- and five-game winning streaks around a stretch where the team lost seven of eight games, but the Hornets played well in Polk County League play, tying Dadeville and Wheatland for the regular season crown, Fair Play’s first conference title in nearly 30 years. Shortstop/pitcher Tyler Weaver returns after garnering All-District and All-Conference honors last spring. The senior batted .488 with seven doubles, five triples, five homeruns, 33 RBI and 25 runs scored, while posting a 2-1 record on the mound with 27 strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA. Senior outfielder/catcher Ryan Durst is back after being named All-Conference following a season in which he hit .400 with six homeruns, 21 RBI, 22 stolen bases, and 24 runs scored. Junior pitcher and utility player Jacob Wallen (.313 BA, 14 RBI, 13 SB) went 4-1 on the mound last season with 27 strikeouts. Last season, junior outfielder Caleb Whaley had a .329 batting average, 19 RBI, 13 stolen bases, and scored 21 runs. The Hornets also return seniors Cahlub Sicard (.297 BA, 14 RBI) and Dallas Wicklund, and junior Jacob Redman. Sophomore Zach Murphy hit .450 last year in a limited role, while fellow classmate Lance Schaffer will be looking for a more permanent varsity role. “I feel like this year we have a team with a ton of promise,” said head coach James Frank. “We really need to see top production out of our seniors. We also need to be solid Hurley’s Tyler Simpson (Photo By Pam Jennings)
Hillcrest’s Matt Futrell (Photo by Brenda Putman) defensively and get quality innings out of our starters. I feel like we can be very strong this year offensively. If we hit anywhere near as well as last year, we will be fine.”
Although the Falcons’ overall record was just 13-9 a year ago, Glendale went 8-1 in conference play to capture the Ozark Conference title. However, the Falcons must replace 12 players from last year’s roster, but do return their top two pitchers. The Falcons do return three full-time starters, including the reigning Ozark Conference Pitcher of the Year in Trey Watson, who posted a 4-1 record last season with a 2.55 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 35.2 innings of work. Skyler Ladd (.431 BA, 17 RBI) garnered 1st-Team All-Conference honors as the Falcons’ catcher, and 2nd-Team honors as a pitcher (5-1, 26 K). Shortstop Josh Bunselmeyer (.424 BA, 16 RBI) also returns after receiving 2nd-Team All-Conference honors a year ago. Glendale will need to find replacements for the departed players, and will look for major contributions at the plate and in the field from Grant Allen, Jacob Haase, Cody Jacobs, Austin Rist, and Major Venable. Austin Rist, Taylor Sturdefant, and Ky Miller will likely see time on the mound. “The key to this year for us is not beating ourselves,” said head coach Howard Bell. “We can’t give up extra outs, and must score runs when in scoring position. We have strong pitching and depth, but we lack experience. We will use a lot of different combinations during the year to get the best nine on the field come District time.”
Last season, the Panthers had a record of 15-8, which included a second-place finish in the rugged SWCL. However, Forsyth must find a way to replace five starters from a year ago, including an All-Stater in Larry Skeen. Reigning SWCL Co-Coach of the Year Jim Julian does have talent returning, though, as the Panthers will be looking for a conference crown and more in 2011. Forsyth’s lineup is dominated by underclassmen, but the Panthers do return four starters. Sophomore Derek Hurst returns in centerfield (and on the mound) after garnering 1st-Team All-Conference honors following a season in which he hit .313, drove in 11 runs, and stole 15 bases as a freshman. Juniors Billy Dees (.333 BA, 14 RBI, 11 SB), a 2nd-Team All-SWCL selection, and shortstop Seth Nilges (.333, 16 RBI) are also back for the Panthers. First baseman Drew Cherry (.288 BA, 18 RBI) is the lone returning senior starter. Sophomores Taylor Darting and catcher Alex Pate will look to step into the spots vacated by departed seniors, while the Panthers got a lift in the fall from newcomer Jalen Perry, a senior pitcher who posted a 5-2 record with a 2.40 ERA, while batting .500 with seven doubles and 13 RBI. “I think our strengths will depend mainly on our consistency,” said Jillian. “If we play the way we are capable of, our strengths will include our ability to throw strikes and our team defense. Offensively, our 1 through 6 hitters do a pretty good job of putting the ball in play. Our bottom part of the order needs to get more confident and consistent enough to put pressure on opposing pitchers.”
The Bears used a 9-1 finish to the season to advance all the way to the District championship game last season for the fourth time in the past five years, but will have to replace seven starters this spring, including All-State pitcher Chris Foster and several clutch hitters. Despite the loss of Foster, Galena’s starting pitching should be stout this time around, as the Bears have a pair of talented arms at the top of the rotation to throw at opposing offenses. Senior co-captain Colby Hall, who went 5-2 a year ago, is the team’s #1 pitcher, but sophomore Tyler Ashwege, a hard throwing southpaw, will challenge Hall for the top spot. Catcher Kyle Lebow, one of just two seniors on the roster, is a co-captain who will lead the Bears at the plate— both offensively and defensively. Galena returns three juniors this season in pitcher Nick
The Hornets struggled to a 6-17 record last season, as injuries and inexperience made it difficult to find any consistency. Hermitage did win its opening round District game, though, and return a young team in 2011 that is hungry to turn the corner. The Hornets lost only two starters from a year ago, but one of those was an All-District and AllConference catcher/pitcher in Chazz Cornforth. Hermitage does return plenty of talent, and will once again be a threat to steal a base from any spot in the lineup. Second baseman Colin Gowin (.426 BA, 40 R, 16 RBI) is the top returning hitter, and the speedy junior stole a gaudy 42 bases a year ago en route to All-District and All-Conference honors. Senior outfielder Garrett Vest (.391 BA, 18 R, 18 SB) also garnered All-District honors. The top returning pitchers will be senior pitcher/shortstop Treston Birt (25 R,
After a 16-7 campaign in 2010, there will be changes for the Wildcats in 2011, as the team must replace four departed seniors and also welcome a new head coach in Casey Martin. “Overall, it was a good season, although the team battled a lot of injuries throughout the year, especially at District time when we were upset in the semifinals,” said Athletic Director Rob Vaughn of last season. The Wildcats welcome back some players with biggame experience, including senior pitcher/infielder Tyler Roby (.356 BA, eight extra base hits). Senior infielder Ryan Cooper also returns, as does fellow classmate Isaac Dodd, an outfielder. Senior Montana Hembree is an excellent centerfielder, but will need to increase his production at the plate this spring. Seniors Josh Daniel and Jordan Miller, juniors Chase Hargis and Johnny Munton, and sophomore Joseph Dill all started at various times last season, but will need to make the adjustment to playing full-time roles this season. “One of our strengths is that we have a lot of kids coming back with some experience,” said Vaughn. “Their ability and willingness to show leadership will be a major factor in the degree of success of our program this year. The team will need to adapt to a new coach, and find some arms to replace four graduates who each pitched to varying degrees.”
HOllister After starting the season 1-10, the Tigers won four of their last six games, and will look to carry that momentum into the 2011 season. Hollister lost five starters to graduation, though, and will need some talented younger players to step into varsity roles, including finding some pitching to go with the Tigers’ potent offense, which averaged over six runs per game last season. Returning starters include sophomore shortstop/pitcher Jesse Fisher, who led the team with a .442 batting average last season. Senior catcher Garrett Donavant (.375 BA, 12 RBI) will start for the fourth-straight season, while senior centerfielder Seth Haynes is one of the fastest players in the conference, but must increase his production at the plate. Junior Nicholas Lytle also returns to start at second base, and will also see time on the mound. The key to the Tigers’ success this season will be in finding some pitching from Lytle, juniors Tyler Carnelison and Cody Clark, sophomores Ethan Grubaugh and Donovan Thomas, and freshman Ryan Honeycutt. “We should have strong team chemistry and good defense up the middle, but we lack experience,” said head coach Kevin Roepke. “A good nucleus of the team played last summer and got better. We have spent more time in the weight room and have gotten stronger.”
Humansville The Tigers quadrupled their win total from 2009 last season by going 8-12 for the season, but will need to find replacements for their top two pitchers and three of the top four hitters in the lineup from a year ago. Senior infielder Levi Crews will be back after his offensive production (.474 BA, 23 RBI) helped garner him All-District and All-Conference recognition. Starting outfielder/designated hitter Cody Keller (.327 BA) will also be back for his senior season, while fellow classmate Michael Swearingin will also return in the infield. Junior Raymond Winfrey and sophomores Zach Payne and Stoan Spicher will also be back. Senior Nathan Hoelscher will look to help the team immediately at the plate and in the field after competing in track and field last spring. Freshman pitcher Quinton Smith will be counted on immediately on the mound. “We lose two of our top arms from last season, so finding consistent pitching will be the biggest determining factor in our success this season,” said head coach James Ledford. “We will need our newcomers to really contribute right away to our lineup. We will need players to step into a bigger pitching role this season and keep our team in games by throwing strikes and challenging hitters. We return six starters to our lineup, so hopefully we can continue to learn to play with confidence both at the plate and defensively.”
Kickapoo’s Jacob Hall (Photo by Beth Hall) 14 RBI, 20 SB) and junior pitcher/outfielder Sean Burkhardt (.349 BA, 20 R, 17 RBI, 2 HR, 23 SB), who was named AllDistrict last season. Other returning starters include senior catcher Skyler Harris, junior third baseman Derek Lawrence (14 R, 19 RBI, 19 SB), junior outfielder Dakota Roberts (15 R, 17 RBI, 10 SB), and sophomore outfielder Logan Rogers (.312 BA, 18 R, 21 RBI, 2 HR, 9 SB). Junior Cody White (.357 BA) and sophomore Allen Meyer (10 SB) will also be counted on for production this season. “This could be a turnaround season for us,” said head coach Mark Sabala. “We have consistently hit over .300 and stolen well over 100 bases each season I have been here. We developed some great pitchers in the past, and are hoping our young arms are ready to step up and compete. It should be a fun season one way or the other for us.”
HIllcrest The Hornets were a relatively young team in 2010—starting one freshman and a pair of sophomores—and posted a 9-17 record, which included five one-run losses. Hillcrest lost six players to graduation, including four starters, but the Hornets welcome back a solid team for 2011 that has an-
other year of experience under its belt. Junior infielder Levi Skinner is the top returning hitter after batting .363 last season (20 R, 12 RBI). Senior catcher Michael Esther (.328 BA, 10 2B, 10 RBI) and fellow classmates Dallas Williams (.319 BA, 2 HR, 15 RBI) and outfielder Joel Lewallen (2 HR, .609 SP) will be counted on to lead the youthful Hornets. Sophomore outfielder Chase Briscoe is the other returning starter. Seniors Connor Erwin and Keenan Gore, and junior Matt Futrell will also be expected to produce as they make the leap from contributor to full-time status. Futrell is the team’s top returning pitcher after receiving All-Conference recognition last season. Skinner, Williams, Gore and senior Dustin Whittle will also see plenty of time on the mound this season. “The key for us this year will be cleaning up the fundamentals and continuing to improve offensively,” said head coach Ryan Schaffitzel. “We must raise our team fielding percentage by 20 points and lower our team ERA by half a run. We also need to utilize one of our strengths, which should be team speed. We must do a better job of putting pressure on the opponent’s defense. If we can do these things, we should have a successful season.”
hurley Last season, Hurley suffered through some growing pains, as the Tigers started five freshmen and two sophomores en route to a 7-14 record. However, despite the youthful lineup, the Tigers won the Mark Twain Conference for the sixth-consecutive season, and lose only two players to graduation. Hurley returns most of its lineup from last spring, which will be another year older this time around. Returning starters include outfielder Shannon Dawson (13 SB), who will be the team’s elder statesman this season as the lone senior. Juniors Christian Bieker (10 RBI) and AllConference pitcher/infielder T.J. Gold (10 RBI, 18 SB) also return to the starting lineup, as do sophomores Layton Fortney, infielder Jacob McClendon, All-Conference Dominick Parton, and pitcher Tyler Simpson (14 SB), another All-Conference honoree a year ago. “We will be young again with only one senior and two juniors starting,” said head coach Joey Little, last season’s Conference Coach of the Year. “Last year, we did not put the ball in play as much as I would have liked to. This year, we will use a lot of small ball to advance runners so we can try and score more runs. With our speed, we should do a lot of running and taking the extra base. We should be better on defense, so this should cut down on the other teams scoring so much. We play a lot of bigger schools during the season, so I am hoping that come District time, we will be playing our best ball.”
Kickapoo After posting a 19-9 record and a share of the Ozark Conference title last season, the Chiefs must find a way to replace nine departed seniors, including five starters. Kickapoo has plenty of experienced talent returning, though, including a pair of All-District and 1st-Team All-Conference players in seniors Jacob Hall and Dylan King. Hall, a shortstop who batted .352 with seven doubles, three homeruns and 21 RBI a year ago, was also named 2nd-Team All-Ozarks. King batted .366 last season with six doubles, three homeruns and 20 RBI, and also garnered 2nd-Team All-Conference honors on the mound after posting a 4-2 record. Outfielder Payton Reed (.350 BA, 8 2B, 23 RBI) returns for his senior season after being named 1st-Team All-Conference a year ago. The Chiefs also return a trio of 2nd-Team All-Conference honorees to the starting lineup in senior pitcher/centerfielder Tyler Lopez (.323 BA, 8 2B, 2 HR, 26 RBI), senior third baseman Andrew Thomas (.311 BA, 11 RBI), and junior pitcher Alex Lawson (4-0, .364 BA). Junior Ryan Rippee (.292 BA, 20 RBI) also returns to start again, while senior Ty Sims will step into a starting role at catcher. Senior Patrick Nace will be a utility player at multiple positions in the infield and outfield. “We will need to throw strikes off the mound, cut down on our strikeouts at the plate, and make the routine play on defense,” said head coach Jason Howser. “If we will buy into ‘team first,’ we will be competitive this spring. Our difficult schedule will allow many different players an opportunity to earn a starting spot.”
logan-rogersville Last spring was an exciting season for the Logan-Rogersville baseball team, as the Wildcats posted a 21-7 record en route to the school’s first-ever Final Four appearance on the diamond. The Wildcats faced elimination in the Sectional round, trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning to Pleasant Hill, but scored four runs to advance. After a fourth-place finish in Class 3 last season, Logan-Rogersville will begin this spring as the preseason #5-ranked team in Class 3. The Wildcats lost five players to graduation, including four starters, but return a talented lineup that knows what it takes to make a deep tournament run. Logan-Rogersville will have an All-Conference ace at the top of its rotation this spring in senior Randy Preslar, who posted a 9-2 record last spring with a 3.30 ERA and 54 strikeouts. The top returning hitter will be junior centerfielder Joe Young, who had a .440 batting average, hit 10 doubles and five homeruns, drove in 29 runs, had a .762 slugging percentage, and also stole 13 bases. Senior third baseman Steve Nagrich (.353 BA, 2 HR, 15 RBI) also returns, along with junior second baseman Zach Herman (.310 BA, 12 RBI, 10 SB). Senior first baseman Colton Snider is also back this spring, as are juniors Trenton Gualt (.275 BA, 6 2B, 14 RBI) and Ethan Schlesener (.290 BA, 14 RBI). The Wildcats will have plenty of depth in juniors Caleb Chainey, Ryan Cleous, Evan Hutton, Tome Kirkland, and Beau Mantle, as well as sophomores Justus Boever, Evan Gruener, and Justin King. “The most important key is that we will need to have a legitimate #2 pitcher step up at some point this season to go with Preslar,” said head coach Brad Lotz. “Also, we have a killer schedule. We have to understand that last year is over. The quicker we realize that, the better. I have a feeling our schedule will be a quick reality check for us. Our guys will need to learn the meaning of perseverance. At times, we could take some major lumps, but we hope it gets us ready for our tough District.”
marion c. Early After a slow start last spring, the Panthers regrouped and went 16-3 the rest of the way to finish at 17-6. Marion C. Early had to replace six seniors following the spring season, but the Panthers came back last fall to post an 11-3 record against a tough schedule. Senior Randy Presley will be the team’s ace this spring after posting a 3-0 record and 1.88 ERA last season and 3-1 record (0.88 ERA) in the fall. Senior catcher Brock Grant is a weapon behind the plate throwing out potential base stealers, as well as with a bat in his hands (.311 BA, 16 BOB, 18 RBI). Junior second baseman Brandon Martinsen is a three-year starter, and the top returning hitter in the lineup after hitting .436 last spring with 18 RBI, and following that 18
up with a .403 average in the fall. Martinsen, who was a 1st-Team All-District honoree last spring, will likely play shortstop when he is not pitching for the Panthers (2-0, 3 S, 2.72 ERA). Junior Tyler Beavers (.290 BA, 19 R, 15 RBI), a versatile utility player, can play all nine positions for the Panthers, including pitcher (3-1). Stepping into the starting lineup this spring will be seniors Tyler Baker (.293 BA, 2-0 record in the fall) and first baseman Brody Huff, as well as juniors Devin Hignite (.349 BA in the fall) and Jacob Wilson (.353 BA in the fall), and freshman leadoff hitter Dustin Hargus (.323 BA), who led the team in runs scored and hits last fall. Senior Derek Painter, a contributor last spring, returns to the team after missing the fall season to concentrate on cross country. “Our philosophy for this year is to be a lot more aggressive at the plate than we were in the fall,” said head coach Brian Thompson. “We definitely need to be more focused at the plate and drive the ball to the opposite field. Defensively, we look to be fairly solid again this spring.”
Purdy’s Reese Stevenson (Photo courtesy of Purdy High School)
Marshfield Marshfield finished at 12-13 last spring, largely due to an inexperienced lineup. Even though the Jays graduated four starters, they return a talented roster of players with another year of experience to draw upon, including All-District and All-Conference honoree Lee Jay Wagner, who hit at a .410 clip a year ago. Also returning for Marshfield are Buck Cardwell (.325 BA) and Will Pate (.310 BA), as well as Payton Bransfield, Baxter Noel, and Sean Wallace. The Jays suffered their first loss of the spring when they learned that Mike Brewer, who hit .375 and posted a 2-2 record on the mound a year ago, will be out for the season due to injury. “Success this year will be determined by how we play defense and hit in clutch situations,” said head coach James McAnarney. “I think that losing our top two pitchers from last year will be a concern. The pitchers we have coming back have been working hard in the offseason to get stronger, and I feel they will do very well. Inexperience could come into play early, but I am confident that with the athletes we have, we will be successful.”
nixa The Eagles posted a respectable 17-9 record a year ago, but came up just short of where they wanted to be in finishing in second-place in the COC Large and losing in the District semifinals to Branson. Nixa must replace six departed seniors this spring, but do have a core group of returnees to build around. Senior pitcher/outfielder Josh Neufeld was an All-Conference selection a year ago after posting a 4-0 record and 3.79 ERA on the mound. Seniors Eric Christophel and Adam Kragskow are the Eagles’ top returning hitters. Christophel batted at a .333 clip with 13 RBI last spring, while Kragskow hit .321 with 14 RBI. Senior catcher Thomas Dean also returns, as do juniors Jared Robillard (.284 BA, 16 RBI) and pitcher/outfielder Dean Deetz (3-3, .279 BA, 11 RBI). “In order to be successful, we will need to throw strikes and make the routine plays,” said head coach Howard Spokane’s Kyle Gammon (Photo by Toni Peterson)
Greenwood. “I see our strength being the starting pitchers. We have three pitchers returning with varsity experience. With the pitching we will see in the COC, though, I know there will be days where runs will be hard to come by. I am concerned whether we will be able to score when we are not hitting well that day.”
ozark The Tigers were a youthful bunch last spring and posted a 15-11 record with mainly underclassmen in the starting lineup. With seven returning starters and nine returning letter winners overall, optimism is high at Ozark for a successful season. The Tigers return a good mix of experienced seniors and juniors, and should be in the thick of the Central Ozarks Conference race this spring. Senior Cody Holzer will be a dual threat for Ozark, both on the mound and at the plate. The power hitter belted four homeruns and drove in 16 runs last spring, and also posted a 3-1 record on the mound. Senior pitcher/infielder Andy Westfall hit .333 and drove in 12 runs a year ago, while senior infielders Kyle Jochems and Blake Martin also are back this season, along with utility player Michael Headlee. Headlining a strong junior class are outfielder Willy Gray (14 RBI) and catcher Jimmy Oslica (.308 BA). Junior Hayden Stancer also returns, as does outfielder Landon Snyder, who also posted a 2-0 record on the mound last spring. “We will compete with every team,” said head coach Mike Essick. “We are going to have to improve our quality at-bats, reduce our strikeouts, and focus on being aggressive hitters. Our pitching will have to do a good job of disrupting the timing of hitters, and consistently staying in the strike zone. Our success will depend on how well we are able to execute, move runners, and get timely hitting with runners in scoring position. If we can do these things, we should be in the thick of things in the District tournament.”
parkview The Vikings went 12-14 a year ago, with five of the losses by a single run, but must replace six departed seniors— including five starters—this season. Parkview will have a key piece of the puzzle back, though, in junior standout Spencer Johnson, who enjoyed one of the most dominant offensive seasons in area history last spring as a sophomore. Johnson, a 1st-Team All-State honoree and the reigning Ozark Conference Player of the Year, posted some gaudy offensive stats a year ago, including a .563 batting average, 1.188 slugging percentage, 45 hits, 14 homeruns, 46 RBI, 34 runs scored, and a .657 on-base percentage. Senior Darin Francis (.313 BA, 4 HR, 8 2B, 25 RBI), a four-year starter at catcher and Missouri State signee, is the unquestioned leader of the team, and is a three-time recipient of All-Conference honors. Junior Taylor Hendrick, who missed a good portion of last season with a hamstring injury, will be the staff ace and will start at shortstop when not pitching. Sophomore Andrew Kendrick (.464 BA, 3 HR, 26 RBI), who received 1st-Team All-Conference honors last season as a freshman, will shift from DH to a full-time role at first base this season. Fellow classmate Landan Ruff (.333 BA, 10 RBI) will start in centerfield this season, while senior second baseman Zack Perry (.365 BA, 12 RBI) also
returns. “The keys to our success this year will be our pitching staff and the ability of some of our young talent to step in and fill some varsity roles,” said head coach John Thompson. “Our biggest weakness is a lack of varsity experience among our pitching staff. That said, our offense is one of the best in the area and is our biggest strength. Our depth on offense will give us a chance to win night in and night out. As long as everyone stays healthy, we should be successful.”
pleasant hope Pleasant Hope suffered through an 8-13 season last spring which had the Pirates trying to replace a talented group of seniors lost from 2009. “A lot of kids had to be thrown in with not having varsity experience from the year before,” said head coach Page Jones. “We lost a lot of tight games that we could not finish. I feel like we just went through a lot of growing pains and their confidence took a hit.” The Pirates lose four more seniors from last year, including their top pitcher, outfielder, and one of the team’s top hitters. However, Pleasant Hope does return senior multisport standout Eric Sechler, who was an All-District and 1stTeam All-Mid-Lakes Conference selection last season after batting .390 with 30 RBI and 20 stolen bases. The Pirates also bring back seniors Clay Farrell and Austin Patterson, as well as junior infielder Austin Hovey. The Pirates will also welcome Kataro Yajima, a junior foreign exchange student who hits well and is also a strongarmed catcher. “He’s an immediate impact type player,” said Jones of Yajima. Sophomore Tanner Andrews, a pitcher/infielder, is also back after batting over .300 with 15 RBI a year ago. “The key to our success will be how well the new starters adapt to the speed of varsity ball,” said Jones. “I feel confident that they will respond. Some of our young pitchers have shown promise at the JV level, so we are hoping they can make an impact for us this spring.”
purdy Expectations are high around Purdy this spring, as the Eagles return seven starters and 10 lettermen from last spring’s 14-10 team which gained a three-way share of the Ozark 7 Conference crown. After a 17-2 fall campaign, Purdy enters this spring as the #5-ranked team in Class 2. The Eagles return a trio of senior pitchers who also know how to handle a bat. Riley Veith will be a force for the Eagles this season—both at the plate and as the Eagles’ ace on the mound. The senior posted a 5-1 record and 3.66 ERA last season, while also batting .400 with six doubles, 14 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. Fellow classmates Kevin Miller (.475 BA, 5 3B, 26 RBI) will also be a dual threat (4-0, 2.17 ERA), while Landon Terry (4-1, 3.58 ERA, .368 BA, 18 SB) will also be counted on for leadership and production. Purdy’s top returning hitter likely belongs to the junior class, though, although a case could be made for either Devon Bennett or Cody Hall. Bennett, the Eagles’ centerfielder, hit .436 with 29 RBI and 12 stolen bases, while Hall (rightfielder) posted similar numbers (.434 BA, 25 RBI, 10 SB), but led the team in homeruns with six, even though he missed half the season due to injury. Junior shortstop/ pitcher Reese Stevenson also is back (.371 BA, 11 RBI, 3-0, 2.25 ERA), and will also see action at catcher. The Eagles also return three sophomores who started last year in leftfielder Austin Hancock (.452 BA), pitcher/ first baseman Cameron Terry (.314 BA, 10 RBI), and second baseman Keevin Walker (.317 BA). Junior Britten Hardwick and sophomores Thomas Garcia and Martin Sanchez will look to expand their roles in 2011. “All of our pitching is returning, which will be key to our success,” said head coach Joshua Hughes. “If we continue to hit at a high rate, along with our pitching and if we, hopefully, increase our defensive ability, we will put ourselves in a place to win a lot of games.”
reeds spring Reeds Spring was a bit snake bitten last season, as the 1012 record could have been much better. The Wolves had a lead in 17 of their games, and very easily could have been 16-7. With the loss of six seniors, including five starters and four All-Conference selections, the Wolves will need to find replacements from a talented group of underclassmen. The Wolves welcome back a two-time All-Conference
pitcher in senior Johnny Davis, who posted a 5-5 record last season (2.29 ERA, 69 K). Reeds Spring will need to find production on the mound from a group that includes seniors Eddie Blanchard and Zach Kidd, junior Lucas McDannold, and sophomores Johnathan Locke and Joey Longstreet. Reeds Springs graduated the bulk of its offense from a year ago, and will need the returning players to increase their production at the plate. Blanchard, a 1st-Team AllConference catcher, is the leading returning batter (.348 BA, 10 2B, 2 HR, 24 RBI). Senior third baseman Josh Cherry (.307 BA) will be counted on to increase his numbers, while senior shortstop Austin Duvall (.336 BA) and second baseman Kidd (.308 BA) had strong seasons for the JV last season, but will be varsity regulars in 2011. McDannold (.304 BA, 13 RBI) and fellow junior Ryan Pearman also return to help the offense. “The biggest key to this season will be pitching and offensive stability,” said head coach Chris Funk. “Another key to our success will be replacing our offense that we graduated last year. We lost a lot of our offense from last year, but I do like the way that this year’s team has worked tirelessly to improve in that area.”
republic The Tigers will be in full rebuilding mode after graduating nine starters and 13 lettermen from last season’s 10-9 team. Republic does return a pair of starters to build around, including first baseman Josh Marler, who garnered 2nd-Team All-Conference recognition a year ago after batting .400. The senior will also be counted on to anchor the Tigers’ pitching staff this spring, as well. Junior Garret Woods will need to increase his offensive production, in addition to playing stellar defense at shortstop. Senior Ryan Sifferman is a returning letter winner, and along with a host of newcomers that includes senior pitcher/outfielder Evan Moffitt, will need to get acclimated to full-time varsity action. Junior Jacie Austin, a speedy outfielder, also will be making the jump to varsity, as will fellow juniors in catcher Dalton Cooper, pitcher/outfielder Patrick Dickens, and second baseman Daniel Zaragoza, as well as sophomore pitcher/middle infielder Nathan Srobel. “With the loss of 13 players from last year’s team, we are looking to fill every position on the field,” said head coach Howard Quigley. “We have several good young players, and I look forward to watching them develop. Watch for the Tigers to improve as the season goes on.”
skyline Last season was a nightmare for Skyline, as the Tigers finished 6-17 and had a 12-game losing streak to close the season. After losing eight of nine starters from 2009, the Tigers then lost three players to season-ending injuries last spring. Skyline returns a healthy and experienced lineup this season, though, and will be looking to get back to the lofty standards of past Skyline teams. Senior Jake Brown, a four-year starter at third base, is fully recovered from an ACL injury, and the team captain hit .417 with one homerun and five RBI in five games last spring before the injury. Senior Jarret Lindsey was a part-time starter last season, while fellow senior Sam Vader will compete for more time in the outfield this spring. Stockton’s Robbe Ewing (Photo Jayne Ewing)
The Tigers’ strength might be their junior class, which includes five full- or part-time starters from a year ago. Brennan Holt, an All-District and All-Conference honoree last spring, led the pitching staff with a 4.20 ERA, as well as batting .323 and leading the team in runs scored. Pitcher Brandon Bishop, who tied for the team lead in hits last season (21), is fully recovered from shoulder surgery. First baseman Levi Looney (team-leading 17 RBI) is back, as is speedy centerfielder Cody Mountain. Nate Taylor, a parttime starter last season, can play multiple positions for the Tigers. Sophomore Tyler Curts is fully recovered from a knee injury and will contribute in multiple areas this season for Skyline. Sophomore Dalyn Trippe was a full-time starter last season in the infield and at catcher, and also led the team with three wins on the mound. A couple of freshmen, Wyatt Dampier and Ryan Melton, will also push hard for varsity playing time. “I believe that we’ll be a lot stronger offensively than we were a year ago,” said longtime head coach Jim Brown. “Adding three quality pitchers to our mix will be a huge benefit, too. We will also have an additional year of experience and maturity.”
sparta Injuries curtailed success for the Trojans last year, as Sparta recorded a 12-8 record last spring. The Trojans lost five players to graduation, including four starters and three All-Conference performers, and posted an 8-8 record in the fall with a young lineup. The Trojans return six starters this season, including a pair of seniors in Bradley Freeman and Brice Kissee. Freeman, a pitcher/middle infielder, had a strong fall campaign with a 2.83 ERA in 47 innings and .326 batting average. Kissee, the Trojans’ first baseman, hit .415 in the fall and is the team’s top returning hitter from last spring (.412 BA, 7 2B, 19 RBI). Sparta also returns four junior starters, including pitcher/third baseman Aaron Alexander, pitcher/ shortstop Josh Jenkins (.355 BA, 11 RBI), centerfielder Kyle Lafferty, and catcher Josh Swindle (.311 BA in the fall). Sophomore Jacob Shipman had a limited varsity role a year ago, but will be counted on heavily on the mound this spring after a strong fall season (35 K, 25 IP, 2.80 ERA). The Trojans also started a couple of freshmen in the fall in second baseman Ryan Conklin and leftfielder Dylan Hatch. Freshman Lance Porterfield also saw varsity action in the fall as a pinch hitter and at DH. Depth will be provided by sophomores Dylan Davis and Zac Pellham, and freshmen Kelby Humble and Robert May. “This will be the youngest team that we have had in the four years I have been at Sparta,” said head coach Michael Willis. “I believe our strength will be our pitching with Freeman and Shipman. Our weakness will be our inexperience. However, I was pleased with some gains we made in our summer and fall schedule.”
spokane The Owls finished 11-13 a year ago with inconsistency being an issue, but won their first District game since 2003. Spokane loses five seniors from last season, but returns a solid lineup of experienced underclassmen, who will look
to be a threat in the rugged SWCL, which includes stateranked Billings and Crane. After sitting out last season, John Gray will be the lone senior on the team, and will be counted on to lead the youthful Owls. Junior Brandon Bates is a defensive weapon in centerfield, and has committed just one error in two years of starting. Kyle Campbell, a junior catcher, has bulked up and will give the Owls a power threat at the plate. Versatile junior Randall Bolin can play multiple positions, while fellow junior Kyle Gammon, a crafty southpaw, has improved his bat speed and power at the plate. Sophomore middle infielder Zach Turner (.445 BA in the fall) and fellow classmate Billy Ellis, another speedy outfielder, also will be counted on heavily this spring. “We will have a lot of speed in our lineup, an element that was missing the past few years,” said head coach Chris Peterson. “We have pitching depth, speed, bats, and solid defense. Each year, a team has to find its identity. Once this team finds theirs, great things will happen.”
springfield catholic After a solid 16-8 campaign in 2010, the Fightin’ Irish return a loaded lineup this spring, and will begin the season as the #3-ranked team in Class 3. “No matter what expectations are placed on us by others, we control how much pressure we put on ourselves,” said head coach Jason Daugherty. The Fightin’ Irish return six starters, led by a 2nd-Team All-State and 1st-Team All-District and All-Conference player in senior Calvin Roebuck, who hit .457 last season with 13 doubles, five homeruns, and 47 RBI. The pitcher also posted a 4-0 record on the mound. Springfield Catholic will also feature a pair of All-District and All-Conference honorees in seniors Scott Chesbro and Hunter Johnson. Chesbro (.415 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI) will likely move to the outfield this season, and will also eat some innings on the mound. Hunter, who played outfield last season but may move to first this spring, has good pop in his bat (.425 BA, 3 HR, 28 RBI). Senior Conor McCaskill (.357 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI), an AllConference catcher, also returns to start, along with a pair of juniors in Dylan Love and Jack Wolfe. Love is a solid defensive player who also gets on base a lot, while Wolfe (.452 BA, 8 2B, 14 RBI) is an All-Conference infielder who has also stepped up on the mound (1-1, 1.27 ERA). Junior Austin Tribby is the team’s top returning pitcher (6-3, 5.78 ERA), and will be counted on to face the tough opponents and log big innings. Senior Alex Baker should be in the mix for an outfield spot and time on the mound. “I feel that our offense is our team’s strength,” said Daugherty. “I am confident that we can put nine guys in the lineup that can all hit and create offense. The ability to run will also be a strength.”
stockton Last season was a banner year for Stockton, as the Tigers finished 21-5, won District and Sectional titles, and advanced all the way to the Class 2 Final Four. Stockton lost a 6-5 heartbreaker to eventual state champion Crystal City in the semifinals, but with only three seniors gone from a year ago, the upcoming season could be even better for the Tigers. Stockton returns six starters for 2011, including four All-State players, as the Tigers begin the season ranked #2 in Class 2. It all starts with senior Robbe Ewing, the Tigers’ all-everything pitcher (including 1st-Team All-State) from a year ago, who recorded a gaudy 155 strikeouts last season with a 1.20 ERA. When he is not pitching, Ewing (.526 BA) is also an All-Conference shortstop. Senior Buck Walker (.459 BA, 16 SB) and senior pitcher/shortstop Kevin Martin (.426 BA, 3.29 ERA, 30 K) also return after All-State, All-District, and All-Conference performances last year. 1st-Team All-State first baseman Gavin Kenney (.475 BA, 16 2B, 35 RBI) also is back. Senior Ethan Meeks, an All-Conference leftfielder who stole 19 bases a year ago, returns, as do seniors Nathan Ewing and Jake Pyle, and junior Josh Baker. “The key to our success will be staying healthy, not getting ahead of ourselves, and getting a few breaks here and there,” said head coach Steve Ewing. “Our strengths are our talent and experience, but we can’t desire the end before we get there.” Editor’s Note: For the Spring Sports Previews, questionnaires were sent out to all of the high schools in the Ozarks requesting information for each of the respective high school’s spring sports teams. The previews that appear in this issue are based upon questionnaires that were returned to Ozark Preps Illustrated.
strafford The 2010 campaign was another successful season for the Strafford baseball program, but yet a little bittersweet in the way it ended. The Indians had a record of 23-5 for the season, which included a second-straight District title and a Sectional championship, but ended with a second-straight state quarterfinal loss, this one a 7-1 loss to Mid-Lakes Conference rival Stockton. Strafford will be making the jump to Class 3 and a loaded District 11 this season, which includes rival Fair Grove and state-ranked Logan-Rogersville and Springfield Catholic. The Indians lost just three starters from a year ago, so there is plenty of talent returning, including senior pitcher Ethen Highley, who posted a perfect 8-0 record on the mound (0.78 ERA, 48 K), and slugging first baseman Conner Wilson, who posted some gaudy offensive stats (.623 BA, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 38 R, 1.232 SP). Senior catcher Anthony Peters (.394 BA, 16 RBI) will be back, as will another senior in starting shortstop Jared Yarberry (.393 BA, 4 HR, 31 RBI, 41 R). The Indians also return their starting second baseman in Chris Berry (.367 BA, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 20 R), and a pair of senior starting outfielders in Cody Leamy (.302 BA, 11 RBI) and Tanner Davis (.269 BA, 27 R). Senior Grant Holmes, juniors Michael Burks, Brady Taylor and Zach Yarberry, and sophomore Jacob Shoemaker also return and will look to step into roles vacated by the departed seniors from a year ago. “Our keys to success will be good pitching and great defense,” said head coach Shane Pierce. “We are excited about the season, as we have a tremendous group of seniors who will hopefully lead us in the right direction.”
walnut grove The Tigers were an inconsistent 9-16 a year ago, but should improve upon that number in 2011 with more steady play. Walnut Grove must replace a couple of departed players in starters Moriah Adams (third base) and Jessica Misner (second base), but have a trio of senior standouts to build around. Senior Lucas Tebbe had a phenomenal 2010 season at the plate. Tebbe, who has been named All-District and All-Conference all three seasons at Walnut Grove, had a deadly .635 batting average last season, and also hit six homeruns, knocked in 30 runs, scored 34 runs himself, and had a 1.079 slugging percentage. Senior Josh Peck (.352 BA, 2 HR, 2 3B, 15 RBI, 30 R, 15 SB) also had a solid season at the plate, en route to 2nd-Team All-District and AllConference honors last season. The third returning senior is Austin Brown, who hit .362 with 24 RBI a year ago. “Pitching and defense will be the key,” said head coach John Craig. “How much we can improve in those two areas will determine how much success we have this season. We’ll be solid in the middle of the batting order, and Tebbe, Peck, and Brown will be as good as anyone else in the conference at their positions. Our biggest weakness will be our defense and that we don’t have a dominant pitcher to run out on the mound to match-up against other top pitchers.”
weableau After finishing 18-6 a year ago, including a 4-3 PCL mark, the Tigers must replace five starters in 2011. Weaubleau suffered a setback last summer with an injury to one of the best sophomores in the area in 2nd-Team All-State shortstop Calab Kauffman, who hit 11 homeruns last season in also earning 1st-Team All-District and All-Conference honors. “Do to the injury, I’m not sure how much production I will get out of Calab,” said second-year head coach Brett Bybee of Kauffman, who will play but is not completely healthy. “When healthy, a player like Calab can make a huge difference.” Junior second baseman Joe Lean, who has increased his speed and improved his defensive skills, will also see action on the mound for the Tigers. Senior Ryan Tenedine will pitch and also play outfield for Weaubleau, and will be counted on for leadership in addition to production. Fellow senior Zack Tennyson could be the Tigers’ ace, and has the ability to play any position for the Tigers, though he will likely play in the outfield when not on the mound. Junior Deven Barger is a threat at the plate, but must improve his fielding skills in order to be more of an all-around player. Junior Ryan Demartino will play both catcher and shortstop for Weaubleau. Freshmen Matt Goehrig and Derek Hoard also figure to contribute for the varsity in their first seasons. “We lost a lot of talent from last season, but we have
some young talented players who are going to have to fill some big shoes for us this year,” said Bybee. “I’m sure it will be a season of ups and downs with these young players, but I am looking forward to the challenge.” Wheatland’s Clay Crouch (Photo courtesy of Wheatland High School)
wheatland The Mules enjoyed a 22-6 record last spring, which included a 6-1 conference record and a share of the school’s first Polk County League title in baseball. Wheatland loses three starters this season, including All-State pitcher Greg Box, but return a deep and experienced lineup—including six returning starters—that is primed for a deep tourney run in May. Senior shortstop/pitcher Clay Crouch, a Co-Most Valuable Player of the PCL last spring, is the Mules’ top returning player, and one of the top players in the entire area. Crouch posted some gaudy offensive stats last season (.519 BA, 41 H, 9 2B, 3 3B, 49 RBI, 20 SB), including hitting 10 homeruns, en route to earning 1st-Team All-State, AllDistrict, and All-Conference honors. Crouch also excelled on the mound for the Mules (5-1, 2.95 ERA). Junior catcher Austin O’Neal (.375 BA, 3 HR, 29 RBI) is also back after garnering All-District and All-Conference recognition a year ago. Senior pitcher/shortstop Cody McLain (6-2, 2.59 ERA, .260 BA, 20 RBI, 18 SB) also returns, as do fellow seniors in third baseman Mikall Day and outfielder Russell Day (.284 BA, 13 SB). Junior Trent Kallweit (.305 BA, 2 HR, 27 RBI) is the other returning starter. Seniors Andrew Hamer and Daniel Shollenberger, junior Levi Kennedy, and sophomore Nathan Dixon will all vie for starting roles this season. “Defensively, we should be pretty solid this year, but we need to get better with our offensive consistency,” said head coach Pat Dougherty. “We had a successful season last year, but fell a little short of our goals. This has provided some extra motivation for our guys this offseason.”
willard Injuries and inconsistency resulted in a 14-13 record for Willard last spring, as the Tigers were without two of their top three pitchers. With only two starters lost—and with everyone healthy—Willard will look to better that record in 2011, as 15 juniors and seniors return this spring. Senior Bobby Hampton (.361 BA, 14 2B, 32 RBI) garnered All-Conference recognition last season. Senior Spencer Blacksher (.340 BA, 26 RBI) will also pitch for the Tigers this season (2.94 ERA). Senior Lucas Peterson could not pitch last season, but was an All-Conference honoree as a sophomore. Returning junior starters include Trevor Bowling, Michael Burgess, Tyler Hampton (.346 BA), and Jed Owen. Juniors Kolton Anderson and Ryan Stewart figure to get the first shot at replacing the departed starters. “We have really strong leadership and experience with all of our upperclassmen,” said head coach Scott McGee. “We return quite a bit in our lineup, and our pitching staff is deep and talented. We will have to make improvements defensively on the infield. We should be solid behind the plate and at the corner spots, but our middle infield has to improve. We will be very strong offensively, but our defense will determine whether we are average or really good.”
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SPRING SPORTS k c a
r T s y PREVIEW Bo Bolivar
The Liberators return the bulk of last season’s COC Small champions, with only five athletes lost to graduation. Bolivar qualified a pair of relays and a couple of individuals for the State meet last season, the majority of whom return in 2011. The 4x100m relay team of Kaleb Follis, Mike Jones, Levi Miller, and Haryl Starkey set a new school record in the preliminaries of the State meet last spring, and with the exception of Jones, the team returns intact for another run this spring after earning 1st-Team All-District and 2nd-Team All-Conference honors a year ago. Mitchell Waters, who received All-District and All-Conference honors, also returns after qualifying for State in the 400m run. Ryan Kulju returns after finishing in 13th-place at the State meet last spring in the 300m hurdles. The 4x800m relay team of Garret Evans, Randall Keathley, Sterling Roberts, and Garett West qualified for State last year, and Evans, Keathley and Roberts return in 2011 after garnering various All-Conference and All-District honors last year. Other returnees include Manny Ofori-Yeboah, a 1st-Team All-Conference selection, and Jacob Jones, who garnered All-District and All-Conference honors last spring. “Track and field is like a big puzzle,” said head coach Daniel Bayless. “With 18 events to fill and many kids with different abilities and talents, we will have to find out where everyone fits best. I feel we have the young men to win titles. We just have to determine how to use them the most efficiently.”
continued hard work ethic on the part of our students,” said head coach Jim Vaughn. “Our strengths will be the sprinting events, jumping events, and distance. All of our track athletes are involved—and work hard—at an offseason program, unless they are involved in another sport.”
buffalo After a successful season last spring, which saw the Bison advance one relay team to State and win several events at the COC Small meet, Buffalo returns a host of talented athletes this spring. According to first-year head coach Todd Sell, the strength of the team this year will be its experience, especially from a strong senior class that knows what to expect from the coaches and what they want to achieve as a team and individually. Depth will be an issue for the Bison, though, at least in terms of multiple athletes in each event. Half of the 4x400m relay team, which broke the school record last spring, returns in 2011, with seniors Devin Riley and Justin Simmons back again this year after being named to the All-District and All-Conference teams. Riley also garnered All-Conference recognition in the pole vault, while Simmons added All-Conference honors in the 100m sprint and 400m run. Buffalo’s 4x800m relay team won the COC Small title for the second-straight season last spring, and seniors Jeremy Ashwell and Paydn Davis return again in 2011 after receiving All-Conference honors a year ago. Senior Jeff Fletcher captured 1st-place and All-Conference honors at the conference meet last spring in the pole vault. Junior Donnie Wise also returns after earning All-Conference honors in the 3200m run. Other returnees include seniors Jared Hogue and Jon Hood, juniors Nathan Hoffman, Tyler Maddux and Joseph Nevills, and sophomore Artemio Rodriguez.
Central After a successful 2009 campaign, in which the Bulldogs advanced six athletes and a couple of relays to the State meet, last year was a rebuilding effort, and that process continues this spring. “We must rebuild with young athletes to get back to that caliber,” said head coach Ozzie Riley. The Bulldogs must replace four departed seniors, including Cody Blankenship, Will Farmer, and Scotty Hutchinson. Central does have a few key building blocks in Darryl Andrew, Thomas Sorg and Jake Wallentine, though. “The key to our success this season will be the matu24
Bolivar’s Sterling Roberts (Photo by Stephanie Shade) rity of the runners,” said Riley, who is entering his fourth season as the head coach at Central. “We would like to have more numbers to enter into track meets. This would allow us to place more athletes into events, which gives us a better chance of scoring in meets. The student-athletes in the offseason program are gaining in size and strength, but numbers continue to be a problem.”
HIllcrest Optimism is high for the Hillcrest track team, as the Hornets return a number of athletes from last season, including nine juniors who will comprise the bulk of the team. It also helps to have the reigning Gatorade Missouri Track Athlete of the Year returning in junior superstar Dorial Green-Beckham. Last season, the multi-sport phenom won state titles in the 100m dash and long jump and notched a second-place finish in the triple jump at the Class 4 State meet. Senior Jordan Gardner will handle the field events for Hillcrest, including the discus and shot put, while fellow classmate Seth Thomas will compete in the sprint events. Along with Green-Beckham, the Hornets return eight other juniors in Stuart Andress (hurdles), Austin Craven (distance), Thomas Enlow (distance), Kyle Fausett (sprints/jumps), Nick Gann (sprints), Donovan Mathis (sprints/jumps), Austin Sherman (sprints/jumps), and Andrew Zay (sprints). The Hornets also have a quintet of sophomores who will look to contribute this season in John Pigford (sprints), Derek Rea (sprints/jumps), Brad Shirley (sprints), Daniel Sirkel (middle distance), and Clay Skidmore (distance). “Our keys to success will be an increase in numbers and
After a solid campaign in 2010, which saw the Tigers regularly finish in the top third of most meets they entered, optimism is high at Hollister with all but one athlete returning from a year ago. One sign that the Hollister track program is on the rise is the steady increase in numbers from year-to-year. “The boys numbers continue to grow from two athletes in 2004 to 20 in 2010,” said head coach Tucker Pierce. “There were excellent performances from several individuals throughout the year, and at the conference meet, that we need to continue to build on.” The Tigers will feature 12 returning letter winners this season, including seniors Seth Haynes, Cody King and Dustin Lucas, as well as nine juniors, including Spencer Ambrosier, Jordan Britton, Zane Morse, Wyatt Rublee, Kyle Sheppard, Dale VanDeuran, Calvin Wakefield, Austin Wenger, and Peter Wittl. Last fall, most of Hollister’s track athletes competed on the gridiron in the Tigers’ first season of varsity football, and Pierce believes that that experience will help his team this spring. “Our athletes should be even better this year after the first full season of varsity football,” he said. “That should help bring in a sense of mental toughness that we should see on the track and the field. The boys team has also been training harder than ever in the weight room, which is a must if you want great performances out of your athletes. Our strengths this year should be our sprint relays and jumps.”
Humansville The Tigers had a banner year last season, as Humansville captured PCL and District championships, and earned nine medals at the State meet. The Tigers must replace six departed seniors this season, including a trio of state qualifiers. However, Humansville returns a solid line-up of athletes, many of whom received postseason recognition a year ago. Leading the way for Humansville will be three members of last season’s state qualifying 4x400m relay team, including seniors Aaron Cross, Ethan Mason, and Colton Wendleton. All three garnered All-State, All-District and All-Conference honors a year ago. Joey Brown, an All-State senior, also returns to compete in the 3200m run and 4x800m relay. Brown received All-District and All-Conference honors last season, as did a host of other returnees, including senior Tyler Christy (a state qualifier), juniors Charles Brown and D.J. Davis (another state qualifier), and sophomores Caleb Ryan and Austin Wood. Senior Matthew Youngblood also returns, while the Tigers will look for immediate contributions from sophomore Dakota Shoemaker and freshman Jacob Brown in the distance events. Senior Jesse Brown, a transfer from Bolivar, will contribute immediately in the throwing events and sprint teams, while other newcomers include junior Damean Moreland, sophomore Parker Owings, and freshmen Tim Ames and Devin Starnes. “The key to our success will be our depth,” said head coach Brian Wickler. “We have a lot of very talented kids, and that is always a key when trying to compete for a District championship. We will also need to stay healthy for the duration of the season so our boys will be in shape and ready to compete in May during the State series.”
Hillcrest’s Dorial Green-Beckham (Photo by Tammy Walden)
“The keys to our success will be conditioning and depth,” said head coach David Gray. “The more conditioning our athletes have, the better they will perform as the season goes along. While we have some great returning athletes, we also have to have depth in the team in order to compete. The abilities and leadership of our returning athletes will play a major role, be we are going to be a young team with a good number of freshmen and young men going out for track for the first time.”
Kickapoo After a 3rd-place conference finish last season, the Chiefs return a roster of talented athletes, but must replace three seniors, including Danny Thater, who was state champion in the mile and runner-up in the 3200m run at the State meet. Also departed are Brandon Ridder and Clayton Sippy. “We had a very good season last year,” said head coach Jeremy Goddard. “We were third at conference, and had a good mix of sprinters and distance running.” Kickapoo does return Adrian Todd, a state qualifier in multiple events last season, including the two mile run and 4x100m and 4x800m relay teams. Other major contributors from a year ago that return this season include Cody Anderson, Corbin Fisher, Austin Gott, Garett Hull, Hikeem McCormick, and Dillon Teal. “Depth will be a key this year,” said Goddard. “We don’t have as many superstars, but we have good depth in most events. Our strengths will be distance, hurdles, and sprint relays. Our weakness will probably be the field events. Our guys have shown consistency in the offseason and a willingness to get better.”
marion c. Early The Panthers are looking for a solid group of young athletes to step up and make a mark in 2011. The final roster of athletes is yet to be determined, but Marion C. Early does have a senior that will be counted on to score points in multiple events for the Panthers this spring. Senior Derek Cole will be looked to for leadership, and will also compete in the 400m and 1600m runs, as well as the long jump. “Our success this upcoming season will be determined by the amount of hard work and effort that we put into our training program,” said head coach Jon Sanders.
Marshfield With only one senior departed to graduation, expectations are high in 2011 for Marshfield. Departed senior Brad Dinwiddie, a state qualifier in the long jump, will be missed, but the Jays return a balanced and experienced lineup this spring. Marshfield has plenty of depth in the middle distance events, with returnees including seniors Logan Bethurem, Jared Jones, and Jake Vinehout, as well as juniors Nathan George, Jon LuCern, and Danny Poe, and sophomore Cory Miller. Jones will also compete in distance events, while Poe and Miller will pull double duty in the sprints and hurdles, respectively. In addition to Jones, other distance runners include senior Evan Strickland and sophomore Cole Burchfield. In addition to Poe, other sprinters include senior Jonathon Foster and sophomores Vincent Paoni and Jonah Hill, who will also compete in the throwing events. Other throwers include seniors Jake Burkett and Ethan Lowery, junior Adam McDonald, and sophomores Spencer Gregoire and Tyler Stepp.
After a 3rd-place conference and 5th-place District finish last season, the Eagles must replace 13 seniors lost to graduation, including a pair of state runner-ups in Seth Matlock and Seaton Owensby in the high jump and pole vault, respectively. However, Nixa has plenty of experienced upperclassmen returning this spring. Steven Hynds returns for his senior season as the school record holder in the shot put, while fellow classmates Cullen Bryant (middle distance), Brett Callahan (distance), and John Klass (middle distance) also return. The strength of the team likely will be Nixa’s 10 juniors, which includes sprinter Brady Adams, the only returnee from the school record-setting 4x100m relay team. Other junior returnees include distance runners Seth Barton, Brandon Martin, and Payton Welch; sprinters Kyle Bates, Quinton Herdon, and Kevin Shrauger; pole vaulters Brady Melugin and Cole Phillips, and Nakoah Brown in the jumps. Sophomores Carney Wilmes and Christian Witt also return in the jumps. “The keys to our success will establishing a good, strong work ethic, and encouraging more of our student-athletes to come out for track,” said head coach Lance Brumley. “We’ve got several juniors and seniors with experience that are returning, which should be a strength. We lost several good team leaders from last year’s squad, and the current seniors will need to fill that void.”
ozark The Tigers captured COC Large and District championships last season, as well as the Aldo Sebbens Relays, and only lose five seniors from last year’s squad, including Thomas Ligon, who earned silver medals in both the discus and triple jump at the State meet. Ozark does return over 30 athletes this season, including a core group that will be counted on for major point production this spring. All four members of the All-District and All-Conference 4x400m relay team return in seniors Brian Canizalez and Shawn Schaefer, junior Skylar Verfurth, and sophomore Daniel Anderson. Verfurth and Anderson also earned AllDistrict and All-Conference honors, along with junior Tyler Calhoun, as members of the 4x200m relay team, while Verfuth received the same recognition for the 200m run. Anderson and Calhoun both received All-Conference honors as members of the 4x100m relay team, as did senior Matt Jones. Calhoun was also named to the All-Conference Team in the high jump. “Our guys need to continue to understand that there is always untapped potential in each our teammates, and we will work to make sure we get the most out of all of our team,” said head coach Justin Emmerton. “We will have
to find new faces to earn points in the field events. Our strengths will be our returning experience, relay teams and talented newcomers, but we have large holes to fill in the field events. Our team also needs someone to step up in the mile and two-mile as a consistent scorer.”
parkview After a successful season in 2010 that included a firstplace finish at the Republic Relays and seven qualifiers for the State meet, the Vikings will have to find a way to replace six seniors from last year’s team, all of whom competed at the Sectional or State level a year ago. Parkview does have several strong and experienced returning athletes who will be looking to increase their scoring from last season. Leading the roster of returnees is Jordan Kukal, an AllState junior who finished in 5th-place at the State meet in the discus last season with a throw of 157’9”. Kukal, who also competes in the shot put, may also see action in the 400m run and, possibly, some relay events. Junior Cody Gilmore is the best returning jumper, and will also be a major contributor on the sprint relay teams, and may run some open sprint events. A deep and talented group of sprinters will be led by senior Ian Williams, who will contribute in most of the sprint relay events. Speedy sophomores Chris Hargrove and Myron Willis will also figure prominently in the sprint events, including the relays. Junior Keaghan Economon, a standout cross country runner, will look to score points for the Vikings in the distance events. “The key to success this year will be to continue to build experience in all areas of the team,” said head coach Jay Miller. “We will continue to focus on building and preparing strong relay teams, and will look to improve performances in the field events and distance events.”
reeds spring The Wolves enjoyed an exciting 2010 season which saw Reeds Spring athletes earn several medals at the State meet, including a 3rd-place finish in the 800m run by Ben Selby, a 7th-place finish by Zac Branch in the 300m hurdles and a 5th-place finish by the Wolves’ 4x400m relay team. However, Selby, Branch and half the 4x400 team have graduated, which means that other athletes will need to step up their production for Reeds Spring this spring. Aaron Allphin, a member of the state medalist 4x400m relay team, is a good place to start, as he also was the COC Small champion and Sectional qualifier in the high jump. Two members of the COC Small champion and Sectional qualifying 4x200m relay team return in Jacob Lewallen and Dominick Smith. Dylan Weber also is back after qualifying for Sectionals in the 110m high hurdles. The Wolves have plenty of experience back in the field events, with Shane Corporon, Evan McGregor, Jordan Rogers, Donnie Sommese, and Seth Thomas back in the shot put and discus. Josh Hager will compete in the middle distance runs, while Adam Jenkins and Travis Neels will handle the distance events. “We have some good experience returning in several areas, and will be solid in several different individual events, but we need more depth,” said head coach Brian Moler.
Nixa’s Brady Melugin (Photo courtesy of Nixa High School)
“We must find some replacements for the loss of some great sprinters from last season. There has been some strong interest in the offseason, so we’re excited about that.”
springfield catholic The Fightin’ Irish will have some experience back in 2011, and will look to improve on last year’s performance. Leading the way will be the school record-setting 4x100m relay team comprised of seniors Josh Moncada and Jesse Noose, junior Dallas Duncan, and sophomore Mitchell Moncada. Other returning lettermen include senior Jim Hill and junior Lee Viorel. Springfield Catholic will have plenty of depth in the distance events with the return of juniors Andrew Daus, James Glover, Evan Haley, and Chris Wester, and sophomore Evan Craig. Junior Kirk Kaczmarek will be the primary competitor in the middle distance events. Seniors Michael Engler, Nick Engler and Ben Straus will team up with Noose and the Moncada brothers to handle the sprints and jumping events. The Fightin’ Irish will be young in the field events, but feature solid competitors in sophomores Tyler Hill and James Whitlinger in the shot put and discus, and fellow classmates Danny Renner and Wyatt Squib in the pole vault. “We have a strong returning group back from last year, with what appears to be a solid freshmen group,” said head coach Bobby Cornelison. “We have several athletes who finished fifth at District last year who are motivated and hungry to improve this spring. As our numbers continue to grow, we hope to not only be strong in individual events, but also become more competitive as a team.”
stockton The Tigers graduated the majority of their top scorers from a year ago, and will have to have several younger athletes step into the vacated spots in 2011. “We will definitely be missing our seniors from 2010,” said head coach T. Jay Sanderson. “Almost each and every senior out for track qualified for the State meet in Jefferson City. Our boys were senior
heavy last year, which gave us a strong season. However, we still have a lot of great talent, including a handful of upperclassmen that will continue on the winning tradition.” Leading the way this spring for Stockton will be senior Ely Hendricks, who qualified for State last season in multiple events, including school record-setting performances in the 110m and 300m hurdles. Hendricks is also the lone returnee from the state qualifying 4x400m relay team, which went undefeated last season until the State meet. Distance runner Dustin Pate also returns as the lone returnee from the Tigers’ 4x800m relay team, which garnered All-State recognition after a 4th-place finish at the State meet. “The keys to our success in 2011 are pretty simple really: hard work, determination, and a desire to get better every day,” said Sanderson. “We have several proven returning tracksters that are going to get us points we can rely on each and every meet. I’d say a possible weakness of our team is going to be the lack of experience on the big stage for a majority of our boys. I only say this because we were very senior strong in a lot of the running events, and other athletes will have big shoes to fill when taking on these roles.”
strafford Strafford capped off a successful season last year with a 10th-place finish at the Class 2 State meet, and with only one athlete lost to graduation, expectations are high in 2011. “As always, having kids that step up and involve themselves in a variety of capacities to help the team is what leads to small school track success,” said head coach Tim Hester. “We have worked hard in the offseason to get faster and stronger, and if we stay healthy and have each team member find their niche, we will have a successful year.” Leading the way for the Indians will be senior All-Stater Dylan Barnum, who qualified for State last season in three events, including the 110m hurdles, 300m hurdles, and the long jump. Barnum placed second in all three events in scoring 24 points for the Indians at the State meet, and also set the school record in the 110m hurdles (14.38) and 300m hurdles (39.67) at the State meet. The Indians 4x800m relay team comprised of Blake Alexander, Zach Cobb, Will Lee, and Jesse Snow also qualified for the State meet last season, and returns intact this spring. Alexander, a sophomore, re-
turns after a strong debut as a freshman last season which resulted in a trip to State in the 400m run. James Grass, who missed advancing to State in the 110m hurdles by just one place a year ago, also returns. Other returning letter winners include Josh Avers, Cory Baker, Jeremy Choate, Zac Lee, Jake Quinn, Trevor Sayre, Avery Thornton, and Jacob Waterman. All will be counted on to fill vital rolls for the team.
willard The Tigers sent two athletes to the State meet last season, both of whom return in 2011. With Willard also returning several other experienced and talented athletes, optimism is high for a strong season. Leading the way for Willard will be junior Skyler Frazier, who qualified for the State meet in both the discus and shot put after notching 2nd-place and 3rd-place finishes, respectively, at the conference meet. The other returning state qualifier is Sawyer Vincent in the pole vault. Jacob McGuire provides the Tigers with another strong thrower after the junior recorded a 4th-place finish in the discus and an 8th-place finish in the shot put at the conference meet. Senior Dan Nielsen is back to run the 800m after placing fourth in the event at the conference meet a year ago, while junior Andrew Smith returns in the high jump after a 4th-place conference finish in 2010. “The sprint groups were on the fringes of scoring as individuals and relays last year,” said head coach John Germann. “This year, without the loss of any upperclassmen, we look to add to our point totals and continue to climb in the rankings. The throws have always been a key for our team, and we look for that trend to continue. We have two other strong points in the pole vault and high jump. Our sprint groups need to continue to improve, though.” Editor’s Note: For the Spring Sports Previews, questionnaires were sent out to all of the high schools in the Ozarks requesting information for each of the respective high school’s spring sports teams. The previews that appear in this issue are based upon questionnaires that were returned to Ozark Preps Illustrated.
SPRING SPORTS k c a
r t s l PREVIEW gir Bolivar The Lady Liberators will be looking to take the next step in 2011 after winning a conference championship and finishing second at the District meet a year ago. However, Bolivar must replace 10 departed seniors from last year’s team, including a school record holder and state qualifier in Rachel Schrader. The cupboard is not bare at Bolivar, though, as the Lady Liberators return a host of athletes that garnered postseason recognition last season. Junior distance specialist Ashley Lawson is the only returning state qualifier, but senior Tori DeClue, Ashley Payne, and Leah Sawyer all received various All-District and AllConference honors a year ago. Faith Harris and Kellsi Rickman both were named honorable mention All-District in 2010, as was Elizabeth Wharton, who set the school record in the pole vault (8’6”). “Track and field is like a big puzzle,” said head coach Daniel Bayless, who along with Vicki Newcomb coaches both the boys and girls track teams. “With 18 events to fill and many kids with different abilities and talents, we will have to find out where everyone fits best. I feel we have the young women to win titles. We just have to determine how to use them the most efficiently. “We have had pretty good numbers over the past few years, and that has given us some depth in most events,” he added. “We have lost a few key athletes and it is yet to be determined how we will fill those spots. It will be fun to see who steps up and leads this year.”
buffalo The Lady Bison were fairly young last season, but return virtually their entire lineup this spring with another year of experience under their belt. “We had a good season last year,” said first-year head coach Todd Sell. “With only one senior last year, we were fairly young and inexperienced, so we are expecting to improve our times from last year and hopefully we will have a big season this year.” Buffalo must replace just one departed senior, but that was a big loss in All-Conference jumper Brittany Glasscock, who also competed in multiple sprints and relays in addition to the long and triple jumps. The Lady Bison do have several returning athletes, though, including sophomore Brittany Eagleburger, who garnered All-Conference honors in the 800m run. Buffalo also returns seniors Casey Everitt, Rachel Hagan, and Karly Wilson, as well as juniors Mackenzie Adams, Sarah Ames, Hayley Chapman, and Sara DeMarr. Sophomore returnees include Megan Gronniger, Sarah Hallemeier, Rachel Loges, Destiny Reid, and Kendra Webb. “Hard work and dedication will be the key this season,” said Sell. “We are returning some great kids that work hard both on and off of the track. We are no longer a young inexperienced team. We have mostly juniors and seniors that understand what is expected and how hard they need to work. Most of our athletes have been running and competing for a while now, so hopefully that knowledge will pay off for them.”
Central It was a down year for the Lady Bulldogs in 2010, as Central finished the season with only three athletes due to injury, discipline and other issues. This spring marks a season of change for the Lady Bulldogs, as new head coach Callie Newton takes over the reins of the program, and will
be looking to instill the work ethic and mental toughness that she imparts to her players as head coach of the Lady Bulldog basketball team. “The keys to our success will be keeping a full team, and motivating and encouraging the kids to come out and stay out for track,” said Newton.
glendale The Lady Falcons will be looking to improve on last season’s campaign, and the core of last season’s roster returns with another year of experience under its belt. Glendale must replace a pair of departed seniors in Jessica Bear and Kenzie Swan, but do return senior Olivia Brand, who is the lone returning state qualifier after recording a 9th-place finish in the shot put at the State meet last spring. Brand is one of three Lady Falcons who garnered All-Conference honors last season, along with junior Elise Monroe and sophomore Emily Mendel. Glendale also returns its school record-setting 4x400m relay team of seniors Brandi Casteel and Abbee Vanness, and juniors Paige Singleton and Julia Wells. Also returning for the Lady Falcons are senior Hannah Montgomery, juniors Alyssa Ballard and Sarah Middleton, and sophomores Ellyn Atkinson, Hallie Burlew, and Justice Canady-Lyon.
“We have two strong throwers, several competitive sprinters and relay teams, and one new but strong hurdler,” said head coach Jeff Berryessa. “However, we have a lack of numbers, and we need to develop our distance and middle distance runners, and find a few jumpers. Our key to success will be finding numbers for placement in more events. I’ve been pleased with the participation of new and untested girls, though. They are trying to ‘learn the ropes,’ and trying to become stronger to help their team.”
HOllister The Lady Tigers continue to make strides in the right direction after a successful 2010 campaign. “The growth of our team continues to be something we’re hanging our hat on,” said head coach Tucker Pierce. “Upon my arrival in 2004, Hollister had five girls competing in high school track and field. Last year, we saw the number of competing athletes increase to 22.” The highlight of the season was the 4th-place finish in the long jump at the State meet by freshman Hannah Smith, who returns for her sophomore campaign after garnering All-State honors a year ago. In addition to Smith, the Lady Tigers have several returning letter winners, including All-Conference honorees in
Bolivar’s Tori DeClue (Photo by Stephanie Shade)
seniors Terra Dimmetroff and Catherine Herd. Other returning letter winners include senior Laura Westfall, juniors Katie Combs, Ibsy Manute, Taylor Pierce, and Dawn VanDeuren, as well as sophomores Michaela Fisher, Amber Huffman, and Kristen Kennedy. “Our success depends on how hard we train in the weight room throughout the year, and how hard we push ourselves every day in practice,” said Coach Pierce. “Mental toughness is something we are stressing this year to make it to the next level at the state competition. The jumping events and hurdles should be our strong suit on this year’s team. Even though we will be relatively young this year, we are striving for a Top-5 finish at State.”
Humansville Last season was a banner year for Humansville, as the Lady Tigers captured a Polk County League championship, finished in second at Districts, and brought home five medals from the State meet. Humansville only loses three athletes from last year’s team, but all three were state qualifiers. The Lady Tigers will be keyed by a host of juniors this season. Humansville’s All-State 4x800m relay team returns intact, and is comprised of juniors Kayla Cross, Shayla Cross, Christy Locke, and Lyndie Routh, all of whom garnered All-State, All-District, and All-Conference honors a year ago. Junior Kellie Bays, a returning state qualifier, received All-District and All-Conference honors last season, as did senior Amanda Carter and junior Mallori Featherstone. Juniors Brittany Goddard and Alyssa Nash both were named All-Conference. Senior Tonya Baker, junior Britaney Leonard, and sophomore Katie Mann will be counted on to step-up into bigger roles this season, while sophomore Tiffani Jenkins should help immediately in the sprint events. Freshmen Miranda Allison and Sarah Kurpjuweit competed at the State cross country meet for Humansville in the fall, and will be counted on to produce in the distance events. Other freshmen that head coach Brian Winckler will be looking for contributions from include Jessi Hazelwood, Rachel Orrell, Katie Rummel, and Bailey Webster. “Our biggest strength this season will be our experience at the State level,” said Winckler. “We have nine girls on our team who have competed at State in either cross country or track over the last couple of years, and experience like that can’t be replaced.”
Kickapoo The Lady Chiefs finished in third-place at the Ozark Conference meet a year ago, but will need to find replacements for several departed seniors in order to improve on that mark in 2011. Key losses for Kickapoo include Lauren Collette, Melody Elswick, Katie Mabary, Courtney McCarter, and Rebecca Senn. “Distance was the strength of our team last year, with several seniors leading the way,” said head coach Jeremy Goddard. “We won every distance event except the 800m. We had a solid team of sprinters and a superstar in the mile.” That “superstar” is senior Liz Reida, who returns this season after finishing in 3rd-place at State in the 1600m with a school record time of 4:58. Reida also finished in 8th-place
at State in the 3200m, with another school record time of 11:11. Junior Kia Pierce also returns this season after garnering All-District and All-Conference honors in the 100m and 200m sprints. “We need a lot of contributions from young girls stepping up to replace what was lost,” said Goddard, now in his 10th season as girls track coach at Kickapoo. “The mile and two mile will be strong up front, and we have a couple of good sprinters. We have several new girls coming out, too, which should help.”
Marshfield Marshfield has a host of returnees for 2011, including a trio of Sectional qualifiers and one state qualifier in senior Jessica Stepp (long jump). Fellow senior Jesse Greer was a Sectional qualifier in a pair of events (400m and 800m), while junior Sydney Stevens qualified for Sectionals in the high jump. Marshfield will be young overall, but depth should not be a problem for the Lady Jays, as head coach Bridgitte Peterson welcomes back a pair of seniors (Greer and Stepp), eight juniors, and seven sophomores. Joining Stevens in the junior ranks are Casey Boyett, Courtney Boyett, Lindee Clair, Emily Crowley, Lauren Whitlock, Ashley Yarnell, and Megan Yarnell. Sophomores include Taylor Hunt, Libbie Lawson, Allison Moss, Danielle Mostrom, Riley Theobald, Brodie Woods, and Brianna Works. “The primary key to success will be to increase our numbers and continue to improve each day,” said Peterson. “Increased participation will provide more competitive practices and fewer events without two or three entries. The second key will be the leadership that our seniors provide. We are strong in the jumping, middle and long distance events, but we need to improve in our sprints and throwing events. Last season, we sent one athlete to compete at State, but we plan to have five or more there this year.”
Willard’s Bailey Hession (L) and Nixa’s Marissa Frasier (R) (Photo courtesy of Willard High School)
that we will be able to improve upon for several seasons in the future.”
After a rebuilding year featuring a wealth of contributions from freshmen and sophomores, the Lady Eagles return intact for the 2011 campaign, and will look to build on the foundation laid a year ago. “It was a year of growth and improvement for us,” said head coach Jim Middleton. “As a young team, we might not have been the top point earners at the meets, but the young athletes continued to grow and improve and set new personal records throughout the season.” One of the leading point earners for the Lady Eagles last season was Marissa Frasier, who returns for her junior season as the school record holder in the 1600m and 3200m runs. Also providing Nixa with depth in the distance events will be seniors Megan Mills and Rebecca Pearcey, while senior Hannah Rodgers will handle the high jump duties for Nixa. Juniors Heather O’Connor, Megan Wickersham, and Staci Wickersham will pull double duty in the pole vault and sprint relays, while fellow classmate Alexia Lange will compete in the sprint relays for the Lady Eagles. “Our key to success this year will be to improve upon the techniques and fundamentals that were gained last year,” said Middleton. “Our strength and our weakness is one and the same—our age. We are a very young team. However, because we are young, we have a fresh talent
ozark The Lady Tigers will be looking to improve on last season’s second-place finishes in the COC Large and District meets, and return a slate of experienced athletes in 2011. Ozark must replace a trio of departed seniors, though, including a multiple state qualifier in Katelyn Barnes. Leading the way for Ozark will be standout senior speedster Josie Dyke, who has previously qualified for State in multiple events, and will compete this season in the 100m and 200m sprints, and the 400m run, as well as multiple relays. Senior Stormie Carter will compete in the 300m hurdles and various relays, while fellow classmate Carly Wingert will compete in the distance events, as well as the 4x800m relay. Senior Jackie Wacha also will compete in the distance events, as well as the 800m run and the 4x800m relay. Senior Carlie Allison specializes in the field events (shot put and discus), while junior Brenna Jenisch will compete in the distance events and 4x800m relay. Ozark has a pair of talented sophomores who are coming off state-qualifying campaigns in Autumn Austin (triple
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jump) and Samantha Dexter (sprint relays), and also will rely on sophomore Courtney Clancy in the distance events and 4x800m relay. “We are going to have to have good balance throughout all of the events to be successful as a team,” said head coach Shawn Widel. “And solid work ethic is always crucial to success in track and field.”
parkview Parkview sent seven athletes, including a pair of relays, to the State meet last season, but will look to improve on last year’s 5th-place and 6th-place team finishes at the conference and District meets, respectively. The Lady Vikings must replace three departed seniors, but return several athletes who be looking to step into larger roles in 2011. Senior Rana Thomas should once again be one of the state’s best high jumpers. The former All-State athlete (2009) has cleared 5’3” in the event and will look to increase that height this season. Senior Creighton Chavez posted some very fast times in the 400m and 800m runs last season, and will look to challenge existing school records in those events this spring. The Parkview relay teams should be strong again in 2011 after sending both the 4x100m and 4x200m relay teams to State last season. Senior Tenaja Brown, junior Kalesha Johnson, and sophomores Selena Balbaneda and Jermesha Mason will look to continue the Parkview tradition in the relay events. The Lady Vikings will also welcome several athletes from last season’s successful JV team, which won the AllCity Meet. “The key to success this year will be to continue to build experience in all areas of the team,” said head coach Jay Miller. “We will continue to focus on building and preparing strong relay teams, and will look to improve performances in the field events and distance events.”
reeds spring The Lady Wolves return virtually intact in 2011 after a solid year last season which saw Reeds Spring finish second at the COC Small meet. Although Reeds Spring lost a pair of state qualifiers to graduation, the Lady Wolves return a bevy of Sectional qualifiers who will be looking to take the next step this season by qualifying for the State meet. Shannon Allen returns after qualifying for Sectionals in three events, including the 200m, and the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. In fact, all four members of the COC Small champion 4x100m relay return, with Sabra Boes, Alexis Haynes, and Keely Hill joining Allen on the relay team. All four members of the Sectional qualifying 4x400m relay team also return, with Sam Akromis, Cheyenne Randle, and Abby Vernon joining Allen once again in 2011. Katie Schmidt and Yun Han will handle the distance events for Reeds Spring, with Schmidt the school record holder in the 3200m run with a time of 12:35.6. Marley Harmon will compete once again in the high jump, triple jump, and long jump for Reeds Spring. The Lady Wolves also have talent in the other field events, with Cassie Williams returning after winning conference championships in both the shot put and discus, while Hailey Mason set the school record in the pole vault last season with a vault of 7’0”.
“Our team strengths are our balance in athletes among the sprints and field events, and great experience returning,” said head coach Brian Moler. “We need to find depth for our distance runs, though.”
republic The Lady Tigers saw an increased number of girls out for track last season, and that group will enter 2011 with a full year of experience under its belt. Republic only loses one athlete from last year’s squad, but that departed senior is Sharla Friend, a two-time All-State high jumper. “Our numbers were up last year, which allowed us to be more successful than in the past few years,” said head coach Tori Mooneyham. Returnees for the Lady Tigers include Miranda Cunningham, an All-District pole vaulter, and sophomore Alex Botkin, an All-Conference and All-District performer in the 300m hurdles. Republic will look for senior leadership from Jeanna Beck, Emily McDaniel, and Clarissa Watkins. Junior Kavosha Edmunds will also be looked to for help in leading a strong group of sophomores. Along with Botkin, other sophomores include Jessica Chapman, Sarah Kreul, Haley Willis, and Hannah Willis. “This is our first year to have girls soccer at Republic, which will in turn probably hurt our numbers this year,” said Mooneyham. “Depth is very important in track to pull as many points as possible. If we can maintain our numbers, we have a better chance of being successful. We do have some strong returners coming back from last year, but our success may be determined more by how many young kids we have come out.”
stockton The youthful Lady Tigers are poised for a strong season after returning a bevy of underclassmen from last season’s team which finished in 8th-place at the Class 2 State meet. Senior Chayla Rutledge, a key player for the Lady Tigers on the hardwood, will be one of the team’s elder statesmen after qualifying for the State meet last season in the shot put, with fellow classmate Lauren Elder also a returning state qualifier. Also returning for the Lady Tigers will be three members of the 4x400m relay team which broke the school record with a time of 4:10.12 atr the State meet—which was fast enough for a 2nd-place State finish. All three returnees are sophomores, including Emilyn Dearman, Josie Pyle, and Rachel Wheeler, who solidified an All-State finish in the mile last year by setting a school record en route to a 7thplace finish at the State meet. Dearman ended her freshman campaign on a high note by setting a pair of school records at the State meet. The speedster finished in 3rd-place in the 300m hurdles, while notching a 4th-place finish in the 100m hurdles. “The keys to our success are pretty simple really: hard work, determination, and the desire to get better every day,” said head coach T. Jay Sanderson. “Our biggest weakness is also our biggest strength: we have a very young team. We are heavily loaded, though, to do very well again this year at each and every meet we’ll attend.”
strafford The Lady Indians will be youthful in 2011, as Strafford returns its entire line-up from a year ago, with only one senior in the bunch. Last season, Strafford qualified its 4x800m relay team for the State meet, and the Lady Indians return five girls this season who will compete in that event throughout the year, including Sarah Everett, Katlyn Hatz, Emily Oberbeck, Jennifer Ogara, and Ashley Wilks. Taylor Filley is the lone senior on the team this season and, according to head coach Tim Hester, “is an excellent 400 and 100 runner, but is willing to do anything to help the team.” Jamie Alexander also returns after just missing advancing to State last season in the discus. Grace Bernskoetter, Katelyn Triplett, and Mena Whalen also return, and all three will be counted on to fill vital roles for the team this season. “As always, having kids that step up and involve themselves in a variety of capacities to help the team is what leads to small school track success,” said Hester. “We have worked hard in the offseason to get faster and stronger, and if we stay healthy and have each team member find their niche, we will have a successful year. Our strengths will be in our hurdles, 4x800, 1 mile, 2 mile, discus, and pole vault. Our weakness is in the jumping events, but we are going to focus on strengthening that this year.”
willard The Lady Tigers did not advance a single athlete beyond the District meet, but return virtually intact for 2011 with 13 letter-winners returning, and will look to use that experience to take a step forward in 2011. Leading the way for Willard will be senior Destany Kappler, who will handle the field events for Willard (shot put and discus). Head coach Greg Hession is looking for more production from these events. “I expect Destany to move from being a thrower who occasionally scored a point or two to a thrower who we can rely on to get some points at each meet,” he said. Hession is also expecting big things from junior distance runner Kim Pearl, including picking up some points in the 3200m. Sophomore Bailey Hession was the team’s leading scorer last season as a freshman, and will focus once again on the middle distance events, including a race as short as the 400m run. “I expect Bailey to once again be our leading scorer and to advance beyond the District meet,” said Coach Hession. “We will need to continue to bring good numbers to each meet,” said Coach Hession. “One of the strengths of our team is their willingness to work and improve. The real strength of our team this year will come from our freshman and sophomore classes. My goal for the year is to have a stronger finish. We are aiming to move to the middle of the conference race.” Editor’s Note: For the Spring Sports Previews, questionnaires were sent out to all of the high schools in the Ozarks requesting information for each of the respective high school’s spring sports teams. The previews that appear in this issue are based upon questionnaires that were returned to Ozark Preps Illustrated.
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o s s l PREVIEW gir Bolivar The Lady Liberators finished 14-5 a year ago, but ended their season in disappointing fashion with a hard fought 2-1 loss to state-ranked Harrisonville in the District final last spring. Bolivar must replace four defensive starters from last year’s team. “We are going to need to replace the majority of our defense and find some steady play in goal,” said head coach Jeff Edge. “We have some very promising young kids in those spots, so we will see how they develop throughout the season to see if we can make another run at state play.” Bolivar does return a host of players who garnered postseason recognition last season. The Lady Liberators will be led by a pair of senior captains in Jonna Welch and Izzy Mersch. Welch, an All-State forward, is one of the area’s better players, and keyed the Bolivar offense last season by scoring 29 goals and recording 16 assists, while Mersch garnered postseason recognition as a midfielder. Senior midfielder Laura Beth DeShazo returns after garnering AllDistrict honors last season. Bolivar also features a talented junior class, which includes All-Stater Sarah Magana, who scored 25 goals last season. The Lady Liberators also return a pair of All-District juniors in midfielder Mariah Roberts and defender Darian Treacy, as well as three other starters in senior midfielder Bethany Hash and sophomore midfielders Sammy Jacobson and Abbi Porter. “The strength of the team this year will be our offense,” said Edge. “We return two All-State forwards, as well as our entire midfield from last year. I wouldn’t consider our defense a weakness right now—we just need to overcome some lack of experience at the varsity level.”
branson The Lady Pirates enter their third season of play following a 3-18-2 record a year ago. Branson must replace seven players—including six starters—from last year’s team, including an All-District and All-Conference performer in Neva Raschel, the team’s leading goal scorer last season. “The key to our season will be scoring,” said head coach Dave Brenner. “It sounds like an easy answer, but this season we will be looking to some young players to step up and score. Last season, we scored 14 goals and 10 of those came from last year’s seniors. We have had a couple of players playing club soccer, and they will bring that experience to the field this spring.” The Lady Pirates do return four starters in midfielders Chenelle Delgadillo and Maggie Drummond, as well as Amanda Hinkle on defense and Kialey LaCroix in goal. Other returning part-time starters and contributors include Cassi Harris, Nikki Raaf, Sydney Scott, Rae Sorenseon, Hannah Stark, Hayden Stark, and Dovie White. “We will be strong in the defensive end anchored by our goalie and two players with a lot of experience,” said Brenner. “Offensively, we will have to really learn how to complement each other to be successful. We do not have a single player who can take on a defense like in the past. We will depend on a total team attack.”
Central The Lady Bulldogs overcame a sluggish start to the season to finish 6-14, which included a first-round District victory over Carthage. “Our players struggled at the beginning of the season to find themselves as a team, but proved to be a strong contender in the District playoffs,” said head coach Christine Welch. Central must replace three starters from last season, but 30
have a pair of returnees to lean on until other players step up. Senior defender Amy Allen, who will be starting for the third-straight season in 2011, is a “strong competitor in the back,” according to Welch. Junior goalkeeper Sarah Nichols, who was nominated for All-District honors the past two seasons, will also be entering her third-straight season as a starter. “Nichols is an amazing keeper, and we look forward to her junior year,” said Welch. Allen and Nichols will serve as team co-captains this season. “The key to our success will be working together as a team early in the season to find the right mix of returning players and new incoming players,” said Welch. “Our strengths are our communication and hard work, but we tend to be ‘individual’ players at times on the field, instead of working as a unit.”
glendale The Lady Falcons finished 13-5 a year ago, but saw their season end in disappointing fashion with an own goal in overtime of a 3-2 loss to rival Kickapoo in the District semifinals. Glendale must replace eight players from last season, including Ashley McWilliams and Lindsey Sprouse, both of whom are playing this season at Drury. The Lady Falcons do have talent returning, and will be led by a trio of 1st-Team All-District and All-Conference players, including one of the most athletic players in the region in senior Emily Cline, who scored 20 goals and had six assists last season. Junior Molly Brewer is returning from ACL surgery, while junior Alex Opfer is “the most versatile player we have and can contribute from any position on the field,” according to head coach Jeff Rogers. “We have the ability to run at people and will create numerous scoring opportunities,” said Rogers. “Our younger players will need to step up, though. We lost our entire back line to graduation last year, and that group started together since their sophomore years. I think any coach would say that with spring sports, the key to success is keeping the kids healthy. They play a lot of soccer in a short amount of time, which can lead to injuries.”
HIllcrest Despite a 4-17 record a year ago, the Lady Hornets had a successful season, as the team featured a host of girls who were new to the sport. “We had a good season with 43 girls participating, many of which were either new players to the sport or in their second year of the sport,” said head coach Amy Erickson. “A lot of hard work went into learning the game, and the coaches expect that to be built on this season.” Hillcrest must replace six departed seniors, including Courtney Busby, Beth Cantu, Kayla Mayfield, Kelsi Moos, Laurie Orr, and Olivia Tinkler. However, the Lady Hornets will replace those six seniors with six more seniors this season, including Jamie Danzer, Danni Dorsey, Shinaed Peavey, Ali Randolph, Devon Tibbetts, and Jennifer Watts. “We will need to play to 100% of our ability,” said Erickson. “Staying strong and maintaining our energy throughout the game is the focus of this year’s season. We have burgeoning talent on the squad that I really hope comes out as we go through the season. We had more girls than expected come out for offseason conditioning. There has also been a consistency that will help us going into the season.”
Kickapoo The Lady Chiefs have been making strides in recent years, and saw that hard work pay off last season with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over Glendale in the District semifinals, which put Kickapoo in the District title game for the third-straight season. Kickapoo, which finished 13-12 last season, must replace four departed seniors. The Lady Chiefs will be led by a pair of talented seniors in McKenna Adams and Marin Gelsheimer. Adams was named 1st-Team All-Conference and All-District last season after scoring 18 goals. Gelsheimer was also a 1st-Team All-Conference and All-District performer last season. Ju-
Greenwood Despite an enrollment of around 100 students, Greenwood finished above .500 a year ago, and competed well against Class 2 and 3 schools. The Lady Bluejays also advanced to the District title game for the first time in team history last season, but must replace seven departed seniors. “We will be a young team this spring, so our success will be measured by whether our young players can step up and fulfill the leadership gap caused by losing seven seniors,” said head coach Chris Shull. “We are in the same District as the defending state champions, so we have no choice but to raise our work ethic, speed of play, and seriousness.” Greenwood does return seven starters, including Sara Cook, Annabelle Chaffin, Jackie Dugan, Sydney Ganus, Anna Grace Kirkman, Mary Margaret Kirkman, and Emily Lapreze. Cook and Mary Margaret Kirkman return as the leading goal scorer and assist leader from a year ago, respectively. “Our strength will be our great team chemistry,” said Shull. “This is a very close group of student-athletes, and they work hard for each other. Our weakness will be not meeting the fitness demands in time for the season to start. Spring break sets us back 10 days compared to other teams. We are extremely excited to play on our new soccer field this spring. This will be the inaugural season for the high school girls soccer team to use the field. As a program, we are extremely honored to use such nice facilities.”
Kickapoo’s Katie Lynn (#6) (Photo courtesy of Kickapoo High School)
nior McKenzie Danzer returns at goalkeeper after receiving 2nd-Team All-District honors a year ago. Returning starters also include seniors Kate Bess, Rachel McIntyre, and Kaylee Stephens, while juniors Lauren Rowland and Casey Weitzel also have starting experience. Senior Katie Lynn returns in 2011 after sitting out last season due to an injury. The Lady Chiefs have several players who contributed last season who will be counted on to step into larger roles this season, including senior Abby Sadler and juniors Brittany Baker, Katie Etter, and Danielle Smulczenski. “In order to have a successful 2011 season, we will need to have some consistency throughout the course of the season,” said head coach Phillip Hodge. “We must be able to score some goals in a competitive match, and play the entire 80 minutes.”
As with any first-year program, experience will be lacking. “Our varsity squad is expected to be very young,” said Hines. “There are currently four freshmen and two sophomores who have substantial playing experience outside of high school. We are optimistic that once these players acclimate to the high school level of play—and with the development of seven or eight players in supporting roles— that we will be competitive in District play.” Despite the first-year status of the program, Republic does have plenty of team speed, and excitement is high for the Lady Tigers’ first season on the pitch. “Our overall team speed will be good, and everyone is very excited about participating in a first-year program,” said Hines. “Unfortunately, though, we only have three athletes that have played soccer together, so an initial lack of team chemistry will have to be overcome.”
The Lady Wildcats suffered through a disappointing 8-16-2 campaign in 2010, as a rash of injuries made it difficult to field a team at times, with five of the losses coming as a result of penalty kicks. Logan-Rogersville must replace eight departed seniors from last year’s squad, but does welcome back a host of experienced—and healthy—players in 2011. “We had a season of injuries that made it hard to field a team,” said head coach Brett Wubbena. “The key to our success this year is to stay healthy and come together as a team.” It all starts in goal for the Lady Wildcats, as LoganRogersville welcomes back one of the area’s top keepers in senior Kelsay Leingang. “Defense is our strength, along with our keeper,” said Wubbena. “I think Kelsay Leingang has been one of the top keepers in the area the last couple years.” In addition to Leingang, Logan-Rogersville will have plenty of senior leadership provided by Stevie Heidzig, Erin Locke, Taylor Mooneyham, and Shelby Rust. Logan-Rogersville will also have the services of a trio of junior returning starters in Alyssa Blake, Kristen Meinert, and Megan Smith. The Lady Wildcats have plenty of depth and experience in the sophomore class, too, as Logan-Rogersville returns starters Raina Feckovic, Tawny Stowell, and Haley Weeks, as well as contributors Amber Graham and Colette Mast.
Springfield Catholic recorded one of the most dominating seasons in girls soccer history last season. The defending Class 1 state champions, who posted a record of 20-4-1 on the season, had 10 team members receive Class 1 AllState honors, and featured a lineup which had 20 players playing at least 15 minutes per game. The Lady Fightin’ Irish must replace five departed seniors, but return a deep and talented roster dotted with players who received postseason honors and state tournament experience a year ago. Springfield Catholic recorded a gaudy 19 shutouts last season—and only surrendered 11 goals for the entire season—and the bulk of the Lady Fightin’ Irish defense returns in 2011. Springfield Catholic returns both of its keepers, including senior Rachel Scott (0.09 goals against average) and junior Megan Goetzinger (0.54 goals against average), both of whom were named 2nd-Team All-State in 2010. Add to that both of the Class 1 Co-Defensive Players of the Year in seniors Carsen Baron and Rebecca Mayus—both of whom were named 1st-Team All-State last season—and the Springfield Catholic defense should be stout once again. Springfield Catholic is equally dominant on the offensive end of the field, and return both of the Regional Co-Offensive Players of the Year in Shelby Hatz (20 goals) and Natalie Smid (14 goals, 10 assists), both of whom also received 1st-Team All-State honors. Junior Bekah Bade (15 goals, 10 assists) was named 2nd-Team All-State last season, while senior Andrea Parker (9 goals, six assists) received honorable mention All-State honors. Senior Emily Ortega and junior Connor Guy are also returning starters. Depth will not be a problem for Springfield Catholic, as the Lady Fight’ Irish return several players who saw significant minutes a year ago, including seniors Jordan Banasik, Jessica Bowman, Courtney Devlin, and Emily Loethen, as well as juniors Mandy Bailes and AnnMarie Banasik, and sophomore Michelle Garrison. Head coach Ben Timson also expects immediate contributions from freshmen Allie Banasik, Kelly Devlin, Hannah Kofron, Lydia Holtmann, and Nicole Ortega.
Marshfield The Lady Jays recorded a record of 13-13-1 a year ago, which included a Branson Tournament championship. The Lady Jays must replace six players from last season, including a trio of All-District and All-Conference players in Ashley Honeycutt, Morgan Horman, and Dannyca Mostrom. Marshfield will be led by a quintet of seniors this season. “Our seniors have been a big part of our success the last two years,” said head coach Paul Lewis. “Most of them have been starting for three years.” Senior captain Alex Cantrell, who has signed to play collegiately at Southwest Baptist, returns at midfielder after garnering All-District and All-Conference honors last season. Senior forward Kylea Ryser also returns after an All-District and All-Conference campaign in 2010. The other returning seniors are forward Jennifer McArthur, and a pair of defenders in Morgan Blackstock and Shelbie Porter. “Our strength will be our speed at some of the outside and forward positions,” said Lewis. “Experience should also be a strength. We return six starters off of last year’s team. Our biggest weakness is the loss of five key starters from last year. I have been pleased with the large number of athletes participating in our preseason workouts. We have had upperclassmen taking a lead role in our workouts, and have a great mixture of freshmen.”
nixa Last season, the Lady Eagles enjoyed the best season in school history by setting a school record for wins (18), won their first-ever District championship, and advanced to the state quarterfinals. The Nixa defense recorded 15 shutouts and only allowed a total of 11 goals for the entire season. Nixa must replace three starters, but return a solid lineup that features several players who received postseason recognition, including a pair of All-State players. Senior Kristin Miller returns in goal for Nixa after surrendering just 11 goals and recording 12.5 shutouts last season en route to All-State and other postseason honors. Junior Lauren Moats was also awarded multiple postseason honors, including All-State, after scoring 21 goals and recording nine assists.
Parkview’s McKenzi Payton (Photo courtesy of Parkview High School Yearbook) All-Region senior midfielder Kelsey Haist returns, as do fellow classmate Kelsey Bartell, junior defender Abby Turnbull, and sophomore defender/midfielder Brittany Kirkpatrick. All four received All-District and All-Conference honors last season. Other returning starters include senior midfielder Courtney Frerichs and a pair of senior defenders in Anne Pierce and Shelby Zielke, while junior Rachel Murphy is returning from an injury. The Lady Eagles have several other returning contributors, including senior Halie Owen, juniors Brooke Finley and Tatum Mangum, and sophomore midfielder Jordyn Hoskins. “Our key to success this season will be team unity,” said head coach Evan Palmer. “The girls need to realize we have a target on our backs. Our opponents will give us their best every night. We will need to be able to deal with success and everything that comes with it.”
parkview The Lady Vikings finished 15-4 last season, including a perfect 9-0 record in Ozark Conference play, as Parkview won the school’s first-ever conference title in girls soccer. However, the season ended in heartbreaking fashion, as the Lady Vikings lost 1-0 to Nixa in the District semifinals in a game that was declared official at halftime following a lightning storm. Parkview must replace five departed starters, including Jessica Maerz, the conference Player of the Year last season, and Shelby Stewart, the News-Leader’s 2010 Female Athlete of the Year. The cupboard is not bare at Parkview, though, as the Lady Vikings return a deep and experienced lineup that features several players who received postseason recognition last season. Senior McKenzi Payton was named 1st-Team All-District and All-Conference, and also was named to the Class 3 All-Southwest Region Team. Seniors Kelsey Loderhose, Molly Robb, and Anna Withers return after receiving various All-District and All-Conference honors. Other returnees include versatile senior Holly Messick and senior defensive midfielder Olivia Solari, as well as a pair of talented sophomores in midfielder Emily Courtney and outside backer Amy Greene. Parkview has plenty of experienced depth provided by seniors Mary Langbartel and Sydnie Pilkinton, and juniors Rebecca Castillo, Amanda Leckrone, and Alex Shupert. “Our strengths are that we are a disciplined team defending, and we have experience in every channel of the field,” said head coach Clint Nurnberg.
republic This will be the inaugural season for girls soccer at Republic, and head coach Mike Hines is pleased with the interest in the program thus far. “All of our athletes are very eager to start the season,” he said. “We expect 40 to 50 girls to tryout, which is a very high number.”
willard The Lady Tigers finished 11-11-1 a year ago, but did capture their first-ever District championship. Willard must replace four departed seniors, including Rebekah Mann, Amy Pearl, Deshann Rexroat, and Rebecca Skinner. “Last year, we were very young,” said head coach Brad Hornback. “There should be improvement just based on being a year older.” Willard will look for leadership from its five returning seniors, including Brittany Ahart, Brittaney Dunn, Madi Giesler, Billye Redburn, and Kelsey Whitcomb. Juniors Hali Harrison, Taylor Stav, Torri Thomas, and Chelsea Wolf also return, as do sophomores Macie Cotter, Miriam Dashtipour, Jesse Stoll, Regan Textor, and Lindsay Owens. “We have been focusing on becoming more of a team and less of individuals for the upcoming season,” said Hornback, who will be entering his first season as coach of the Lady Tigers. “We will still be young, but the girls are really starting to tighten things up. As far as preseason workouts are concerned, the girls are participating in a program that challenges them as they never were before. They are showing up and excited about it.” Editor’s Note: For the Spring Sports Previews, questionnaires were sent out to all of the high schools in the Ozarks requesting information for each of the respective high school’s spring sports teams. The previews that appear in this issue are based upon questionnaires that were returned to Ozark Preps Illustrated.
SPRING SPORTS s i n n
e t s y PREVIEW bo Fenwick, who went 10-4 a year ago. Juniors Brad Barnhardt (11-1) and Josh Doublin (11-3) also return. Nixa will look for other contributors from last season to step into more prominent roles in 2011, including senior Chase Housley, junior Corey Cann, sophomores William Eck and Richie Fenwick, and freshman Spencer Hamilton. “Our keys to success this year will come from working hard in practice and building a strong mental, strategic, and physical game plan,” said head coach Slade Snowden. “I am just pleased to see several players put in that extra effort over the summer attending camps and clinics. I know that all of their hard work will pay off this season to help them accomplish their individual goals and team goals.”
The Liberators capped off a successful 12-3 campaign in 2010 by winning the school’s first conference championship in boys tennis. However, Bolivar must replace four of its top five players this season, including three who were four-year varsity players. “We are going to be a young team this year,” said head coach Chuck Martin. “We are returning some players who have played a lot of tennis in the offseason, but who are still pretty young. I look for continued improvement out of our young players.” The Liberators do return their #2 singles and a #1 doubles player in junior Trevor Sparks, as well as their #6 singles player in junior Kyle Bolton. Sophomores Aric Gooch, Baylen Rowland, and Stephen Waldo will also be counted on for contributions this spring, and there is the possibility that some more upperclassmen will be out for the team. “Mental toughness will be the key,” said Martin. “We have to keep our heads in every match. This will come with maturity. Our youth is something I would list as a weakness, but more and more people are picking up rackets every year. My young players love playing tennis a lot.”
The Tigers enjoyed a stellar 2010 campaign, which included a 12-4 record and a hard fought 5-4 victory over a talented Webb City team. The good news for Ozark in 2011 is that the team only lost its #3 player to graduation in Chris Thomas, and returns virtually intact this spring. Christian Dyer returns at the #1 singles slot, with the #2 singles player returning in Zach Deckard. Ozark also welcomes back its #4 player from a year ago, Chandler Mercer, as well as its #5 (Dylan Nuckolls) and #6 players (Andrew York) from last season. Blake Sarrazin figures to get the first shot at taking over the spot vacated by Thomas’ graduation, although Matt Fry and Caleb McBain will be moving up the ladder. “The keys to our success will be preparation and conditioning,” said head coach Greg Hannah. “We have the potential to be a strong team if we can avoid injuries. We are deep, and competition for the top six spots should be interesting.”
Last year marked the first season of tennis at Clever, and despite the team’s 4-10 record, head coach Brian Breeden feels the season was a success. “The first year of the tennis program, I feel, was a success,” said Breeden. “The team started out with limited experience. However, by the end of the season, we had been able to compete with several veteran teams in the area. I was proud of the efforts and excited for the upcoming season.” The Bluejays return four players from last season, including J.T. Dunow, Dakota House, Brandon Laney, and John Schupbach, all of whom will be counted on for leadership as Clever welcomes a batch of underclassmen to the team. “The main key to our success this season will be for the players who were a part of the team last year to help lead the newcomers,” said Breeden. “The boys tennis season is short, and in order to succeed, we have to be mentally and physically ready to play each and every day. Our strengths would be our willingness to work and strive to get better every day. One of our weaknesses is that for most of the players, this will be their second year playing.”
After starting the season 10-1, plus winning its own tournament, Forsyth stumbled down the stretch with three-straight losses against some stiff competition to finish the season at 10-4. The Panthers must replace seven seniors who have departed to graduation, and will have to get several players who played JV last season acclimated to varsity. Leading the way for Forsyth will be the only returning varsity player from a year ago in sophomore James Borges, who compiled an 11-3 record playing in the #5 singles slot, as well as a 17-6 record in doubles. Stepping up to the varsity this season will be juniors Brian Cook, David Culler, Josiah Enns, and Drew Tate, as well as sophomore Donovan Derby. “The keys to our success this season will be our young players stepping up and replacing our seven seniors and improving every day,” said head coach Jack Harrison. “Our young players have good potential, but lack varsity experience. They will be a strong team against our competition before they graduate, and I believe they will be a contender by Districts.”
The Falcons enjoyed a successful 2010 campaign, which included a conference championship. Glendale placed second at the District Tournament, which advanced the Falcons to the Regional round, where Glendale defeated Joplin 5-1 to win a Regional championship. Glendale’s season came to an end in the semifinals of Sectionals with a 5-1 loss to eventual state champion Columbia Rock Bridge. Six seniors from last year’s team must be replaced, but the Falcons return their top two players in senior Paul Nahon and sophomore John Nahon. Paul Nahon posted a 26-1 record in the #1 singles slot en route to a Class 2 state singles championship. Senior Derek Hunter, who will team with Paul Nahon as team co-captains in 2011, also returns. Trevor Bachus is also back, and head coach Bob Cooper has been pleased with the junior’s effort and improvement. “The key to our success will be how well our players step up to replace players that graduated,” said Cooper. “Our strength should be at positions one and two, where the Nahons return. Trevor Bachus has worked hard during the offseason, and could push John (Nahon) for #2.”
Editor’s Note: For the Spring Sports Previews, questionnaires were sent out to all of the high schools in the Ozarks requesting information for each of the respective high school’s
reeds spring Glendale’s Paul Nahon (Photo by Jamie Carney)
HIllcrest A lack of depth hurt the Hornets in dual matches in 2010, as Hillcrest posted a 5-10 record for the season, but the team fared much better in tournament play. Hillcrest advanced all the way to the Sectional round before bowing out of the state tournament with a loss to eventual state champion Columbia Rock Bridge. Five seniors from last year are gone, and the Hornets will be young in 2011. Hillcrest does return its #3 singles player for the past three years in Sawyer Mills, but the senior will likely have to make the leap to one of the top slots this season. Juniors Zach Hampton and Mike Mayfield both have varsity experience, but will also likely need to step up into tougher competition. The Hornets also will welcome talented freshman Dallis Feemster, who is a highly-rated USTA Junior player. “We have a young team with the potential to learn,” said head coach Ben Whitacre. “Our weaknesses are youth, youth, youth.” Hillcrest will gain a break after dropping in class status this season. “The drop in class will enhance our chances of qualifying players or the team for state competition.”
Kickapoo The Chiefs faced stiff competition in 2010, posting a record of 7-6, as a strong senior class was put to the test with each match. Kickapoo lost eight seniors to graduation, but do return three players from last year’s varsity team in seniors Brandon Cederblom, Connor Coday, and Sean Lor. Both Cederblom and Coday teamed with departed seniors to advance to the District quarterfinals in doubles last season. The Chiefs will rely heavily on members of the JV team that finished 12-1-1 a year ago to step into the other vacated roles. Stepping up to the varsity this season will be 13 players, including seniors Charles Kagogo, Jared Levy, Dalton Mackey, and Chase Snider, as well as juniors Kyle DeVries, Klayton Hawkins, and A.J. Strangeland. Kickapoo also will have the services of six sophomores in Brandon Barnes, Nabig Chaudhry, Daniel Chung, Tim Hager, Chris Knoth, and Tim Lor. “The keys to our success will be working as a team in an individual sport, and how much practice the individuals have completed prior to the season,” said head coach Susan Lynch.
The Eagles must replace the top two players from last year’s team, which posted a 9-3 record and won the Kickapoo Tournament. Nixa does have talent returning, though, starting with seniors Blake McDowell, who posted a 9-3 record last season, and Charlie
The Wolves suffered some growing pains last season after losing four of their top players to graduation in 2009. However, despite the inexperienced roster, the team got better as the 2010 season progressed, and are looking to build on that progress this spring with another senior-dominated line-up. Reeds Spring lost three more seniors to graduation last year, but do return six players with starting experience, including the team’s #1 player in senior Chris Schultz. “Going into this season, he (Schultz) is very confident in his ability, and is looking forward to having a breakout senior season,” said head coach Jeff Fisher. Other returnees for the Wolves include seniors Matt Palikij, Corey Blum, and Zach Pietz, and sophomores Keith Hoffman and Tyler Sutor. “Our strength should be that we have five players returning that played mostly varsity last year, and that experience will be valuable,” said Fisher. “Most of our players will have to step up at least one spot from where they played last season, though, and that could be difficult.”
After losing the bulk of its starting roster to graduation following the 2009 season, Republic suffered through a 2-12 campaign last season, as the Tigers were forced to replace the departed seniors with mostly inexperienced players. This spring, the Tigers only have three letter winners to replace, and will be looking to improve on last year’s mark. The leading returning player is senior Cody Eckerson, a threeyear letter winner. Joe Barttels also returns after earning a varsity letter a year ago. The Tigers will look for Eddie Alivio, Austin Bryan, Cruz Heimer, Taylor Mooneyham, and Caleb Roussel to step into the vacated spots. “Hopefully, we can capitalize on several players who gained valuable experience last year playing varsity or higher-ranked JV tennis,” said head coach Eric Hanson. “We have some experience, and a great group of hardworking players. However, we must find replacements for three lost letter winners.”
springfield catholic Behind the leadership of five seniors, the Fightin’ Irish made a good run at the end of last season with a strong finish at the COC conference tournament and a 2nd-place finish at Districts. However, Springfield Catholic must replace those five seniors this season. Springfield Catholic does welcome back the team’s #1 player from a year ago in senior Connor Dahlber. Senior Tom Diebold also returns after playing #4 singles in 2010. Sophomore John Bentley will look to make the jump to full-time varsity action after seeing spot duty last season. The Fightin’ Irish will also be looking for contributions from senior Tim Brooks and sophomore Nick Wiegers. “We have a lot of young guys with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, so motivation shouldn’t be a problem,” said head coach Scott Guilkey. “On the other hand, we’ll be a fairly young team without a lot of experience.”
Kirby Van Birch
SPRING SPORTS lf
o g s y PREVIEW bo Bolivar With six returning letter winners back for another round this spring, the youthful Liberators are setting their sights high in 2011. Bolivar finished in 2nd-place at the conference tournament last spring, and three of their returnees earned 1st-Team All-Conference honors. Junior Ben Clayton paced the Liberators with a second-place finish at the conference tourney, while junior David Harris and sophomore Haden Stevens finished in a tie for tenth. Other returning lettermen include junior Patrick Gaither and sophomores Josh Condren and Tyler Tran. “We are very excited about our upcoming season,” said head coach Teresa Holt. “Our goal this year is to improve on the 2nd-place conference finish. Districts will be held the last week of April in Clinton and the Liberators would like to conclude their season with a trip to the State tournament.” Bolivar will host its own tournament Apr. 11 at Silo Ridge Country Club.
The Eagles will look to build on last season’s success, and return all six golfers from last season’s District title team, including a pair of state qualifiers in senior Matt Loyd and sophomore Brock Derrick. Also returning for Fair Grove are senior Ben Bass, junior Dustin Rippey, and sophomores
Monroe Mackinney and Joe Stafford. “With the new Sectional tournament this year, it will be more difficult to make the State tournament,” said head coach Cody Bull. “Our players are very excited at the prospect of having five guys who can play well and compete for team titles at tournaments this year. We have a lot of young players out this year for the first time, and I am excited to get on the course with this group of kids. We will need to continue to work hard on our game to find a way to send a team to the State tournament in 2011.”
greenwood After winning a Class 1 state championship in 2009, last season was a bit of a rebuilding year for Greenwood. However, the Bluejays finished the season strong by placing second at the District tournament, and qualified three golfers for the State tournament. Two of those state qualifiers, George Boyd and Evan Stelzer, have graduated. However, Greenwood does return the 2009 individual state champion medalist in senior Andy Godwin, who has qualified for the state tournament all three years and is expected to have a strong senior campaign on the links. Another key returnee is junior Ben Ellis, a returning letter winner who will bring his experience and game to the fold for Greenwood this season. Junior Curry Spray also lettered for the Bluejays last season, while junior Sam Jones will be seeing his first year of varsity action. Although Greenwood practices at Deer Lake, the Bluejays do not really have a “home” course. Instead, the Bluejays will compete in some big tournaments this season, including the Springfield Invitational and the Jim Pearson All-City Tournament, while the District Tournament will be in Cassville. “Andy Godwin is tournament tested and I expect him to have a nice senior season,” said head coach Darren Taylor. “While the others are inexperienced, they have improved every year and we believe they are ready to step up.”
HIllcrest The Hornets return six golfers to the course this spring, and will look to use that experience to post lower scores and compete for tournament honors this season. “We have some experience returning, which is a big plus on the golf course,” said head coach John Schaefer. “Our guys have a better understanding of what it’s like to play competitive golf.” The top returning golfer for the Hornets, who practice and play their home matches at Payne Stewart Municipal Golf Course, is sophomore Caleb Abalos, who has an 18hole scoring average of 82 strokes. Hillcrest will also gain the services of sophomore Trevor Fleetwood, a transfer from Bolivar, who brings an 85 stroke average to the Hornets. Other returning golfers for Hillcrest this season include seniors Corey O’Keefe, Christian Swanson, and Dylan Wood, and sophomores Rylan Pryor and Sean Smith. “We have some good competitive players, although some have only been playing competitive golf for just one season,” said Schaefer, now in his fourth season coaching the Hornets.
hermitage Nixa’s John Fugate (Photo by Kathryn Wilson)
The Hornets return three of their top five golfers from a team that won its second-consecutive District title last season. Hermitage must replace Ben Salmon, a two-time AllDistrict golfer and last season’s District medalist, as well as another two-time All-District golfer in Mookie Deney. How-
ever, the Hornets do return a trio of experienced golfers in Garret Vest, who garnered All-District honors last season as Hermitage’s #2 golfer. In addition, Hermitage brings back All-District Anthony Johnston, as well as Jason Collins. “We will have several new golfers this year,” said head coach Shane Salmon. “Some have played baseball and some are just new to the program. If we can improve our ball-striking, that should give us chances to score better and be competitive in most matches we play. I have a group that likes to practice and that should be a major strength for us this year. We just need to improve on our overall game.”
HOllister First-year head coach Gregg Filiatreault loses a two-time state qualifier to graduation in Casey Williams, but returns a strong nucleus of talented golfers in 2011. The returnees are led by junior Anthony Schrier, who qualified for State last season as a sophomore, and has his sights set on a return to the State tournament again in 2011. The Tigers also welcome back senior Logan Geisinger, who will be looking to end his high school career on a high note, and juniors Brad LaCore and Sam Lemons, both of whom are tournament-tested at the varsity level. Hollister also welcomes in a batch of newcomers, who will look to make their mark at the varsity level this season. “Anthony Schrier returns as a junior and 2010 state qualifier,” said Filiatreault. “Senior Logan Geisinger and a host of young golfers will compete for varsity playing time.”
Kickapoo Last season, the Chiefs placed in the top four in seven of the eight tournaments they entered, which included a pair of second- and third-place finishes and three fourth-place finishes. However, Kickapoo must replace three departed seniors. Joe Atkisson was named to the Class 4 All-State Team and was also the individual medalist at the Springfield Public Schools Invitational last season. Joe Peck, who also was a medalist last year, graduated, as did Marcus Puryear. In addition, sophomore Chase Netherton moved away after competing as a freshman last season for the Chiefs. Kickapoo does return three letter winners, including senior Tyler Maggi, who earned individual medalist honors in a match last season. Also returning are sophomores Taylor Dade and Harrison Palmer. “The key to our success will be the amount of improvement the returning players have made over the last nine months, and the ability of the incoming freshmen to step in and contribute on the varsity level,” said head coach Ron Yocum. “Great team chemistry will be a strength, but we lack varsity experience.”
nixa Last season, the Eagles finished in 4th-place at the COC tournament, and in 6th-place at the District tournament. In order to improve on those finishes in 2011, Nixa must find replacements for four golfers departed to graduation. “We have a lot of experience returning to the team this year,” said head coach Tom Robison. “If we combine the skill that we have with a strong team effort, we should be able to put a very good team on the course.” The Eagles do return a talented senior in Evan Morrow, who was a state qualifier last season after a 10th-place finish at the District tournament. Morrow also finished in 4th-place at the conference tournament. Other returning starters include senior Dustin Johnson and junior Jeremy Liss. Nixa will look to fill its remaining starting spots from
a group of returnees that includes seniors Weston Hanger and T.J. Hills, juniors Aaron Ashmore, Ryan Eady and Nick Jeter, and sophomore Nick Cobb. “Most of our returning starters played in a lot of summer golf tournaments,” said Robison. “Those situations give kids a lot of experience that translates into success when it comes to the high school season. Our weakness, like everybody else, is the game of golf itself. Unlike any other sport, you are involved for four to five hours, and a lot of distractions and ups and downs can occur in a single round. By that, I mean when you are playing well it’s a great feeling, but when things don’t go well, you have to maintain and fight to stay focused.”
ozark The Tigers began last season by winning the Republic Tournament, and played well to end the season by winning both the MSU Relays and the COC Tournament. Ozark sent three golfers to the State meet, including Miles Aduddell, Jared Cohen, and Justin Timberlake, with Timberlake garnering All-State honors after tying for 6th-place at State. Timberlake leads a strong returning cast dominated by seniors, as Ozark only loses Jacob Stancer to graduation. “Our varsity team is made up of mostly seniors with a lot of golf experience under their belts,” said head coach Jared Lotz. “Having competed in numerous tournaments, those experiences should help to gain composure, confidence, and wisdom late in the season when pressure can mount.” Timberlake garnered All-District and All-Conference honors last season, while fellow senior Jared Cohen—who was the individual medalist at the Republic Tournament last year—was also a state qualifier last spring. Senior Ben Hogan was named the 2010 Springfield Junior Golf Foundation Player of the Year last season, while senior Jacob Wherley will be counted on for production in 2011, his second season of varsity golf. “We have the talent that it takes to succeed,” said Lotz, now in his third season at Ozark. “Fending off complacency and being deliberate with our practice time will be keys for us this year. Obviously, getting everyone to peak at the right time is always a challenge for any team as it enters the latter part of a season. If we can play to our potential at the right time, we can contend.”
purdy The Eagles return their entire team from last season, which saw Purdy finish in 3rd-place in the District Tournament behind Final Four-bound New Covenant and Greenwood. Purdy qualified two golfers for State in Phillip Roller and Brady Wormington. “This year’s team looks to be even better than last year,”
said head coach Grant Young, who will be entering his second season at the helm of the Purdy program. “We return all eight of our golfers, and get the chance to play on our home course (Cassville Golf Club) for our District. I expect Phil Roller to continue to improve from his great freshman year, and for Brady Wormington to become a senior leader for his team on the golf course. It will be a battle every match to see who can round out the rest of the varsity squad.” Wormington, one of two seniors on the team, and Roller, a sophomore, are unquestionably Purdy’s top two golfers, but the Eagles have six other golfers who will be vying for varsity match time this season. Senior T.J. Faris, juniors Alex Haworth and Garen Nelson, and sophomore Devan Keeler rotated each varsity meet last season, and all have tournament experience. Junior Drew Williams will also compete for varsity match time, while sophomore Vaughn Payton will be making the jump to varsity play after playing primarily for the JV a year ago.
reeds spring The Wolves return to the links this spring fully intact, as Reeds Spring returns its entire lineup from a year ago. Senior Mathew Meyer will lead the charge for the Wolves after qualifying for the State Tournament last season. “I expect him (Meyer) to qualify again this year, with better expectations during the state tournament,” said head coach Mike Chapman. “I feel our team scores will be better and we can be a threat during tournaments.” In addition to Meyer, Reeds Spring also returns senior Jordan King, as well as juniors Adam Cross, Tom Davis, and Steven Morey. “Success in golf depends on how much the golfers work on their personal games,” said Chapman. “I feel the kids have worked hard this summer and, if that is true, we as a team will be fine. Everyone works hard and we have no internal problems. I feel the kids have worked very hard in the offseason, and we are looking forward to competing in the COC Small and other tournaments.”
republic With only one golfer departing to graduation from last season (Dylan Fletcher), depth will not be a problem for Republic, as the Tigers return 11 golfers from a year ago, with a good mix of veteran leadership and youthful talent. “We have some good returning players back with varsity experience, plus good young talent that we expect to contribute immediately,” said head coach Kris Flood. Republic has six seniors back this season, including Adam Cockrell, Jon Combs, Nick Dibben, Jacob Hannah, Aston Haworth, and Walker Moore. Three juniors will help with depth, and include Spencer Clark, Desmond Dornak, and Dalton Fanning. Sophomores Beau Allen and Anthony Turner will also look to contribute at the varsity level. “Our main strength is that we have good experience,” said Flood, who will be entering his fifth season at the helm at Republic this season. “Plus, we have players that work hard at the game.”
Hermitage’s Skyler Harris (Photo by Jill Salmon)
Springfield Catholic had a lot of success on the links last season, as a senior-laden lineup won four of the seven tournaments it entered. In addition to capturing a COC Small division championship, Springfield Catholic also won its District and advanced to the State meet, where the Fightin’ Irish finished in 7th-place in Class 2. This year, though, Springfield Catholic must replace four departed seniors, all of whom had four years of varsity experience. The losses include four of the team’s top five players, including the top two in David Bailey and Keaton Piper, respectively. Also gone are Andrew Hennessy and Ryan Libel. Jeff White is the only returning player who saw significant varsity action last season. White averaged 80 strokes over 18 holes last season, and will be looking to lower that average in 2011. The Fightin’ Irish do have some up-andcoming golfers who will look to step into the varsity lineup immediately, including junior Nick Gori, sophomores Tyler Johnson and Ben Wiles, and freshman Lorenzo Catapang. “This year’s team has not played together yet, but as early as it is, I see much potential,” said head coach Don East. “I know some of these guys have been taking lessons and practicing when possible in the off season. I expect this team to follow in the footsteps of the departing seniors and that is to encourage each other, play often, and most of all have fun!”
Purdy’s Phillip Roller (Photo courtesy of Purdy High School)
willard Last season, the Tigers were forced to rely on several players with little varsity experience, which resulted in some inconsistency for much of the season. Willard only lost one player to graduation, but that was the team’s best golfer in Luke Owings, so Willard will rely heavily on a trio of returnees this season. Senior Christian Stack is a threeyear letter winner, and has the lowest scoring average of the returning golfers. Junior Grant Williamson is a two-year letter winner, while Willard also will look for production from sophomore Jared Holmes. According to head coach Matt Stone, the key to the team’s success in 2011 will be consistent golf from the trio mentioned above. In addition, the Tigers must find consistent contributions at the #4 and #5 spots, which will likely come from a batch of newcomers, including several who participated in Willard’s golf camp last summer. “The strength of our team is that we have individuals within the program that are beginning to understand that hard work in golf does pay off,” said Stone. “Our kids are starting to realize that golf isn’t just a game you can play for two months out of the year and stay competitive with others in Southwest Missouri. They have started to see that little by little, and it has only made them want success that much more. We are still young, though. Throughout most of our season, we will rely on at least two, and in some cases three, underclassmen to contribute to our varsity rotation. These younger players, though, have shown that they have a desire to be competitive in the game of golf, which has us excited about our future.” Editor’s Note: For the Spring Sports Previews, questionnaires were sent out to all of the high schools in the Ozarks requesting information for each of the respective high school’s spring sports teams. The previews that appear in this issue are based upon questionnaires that were returned to Ozark Preps Illustrated.
I used to think the whole “select” baseball team concept was a tad overrated and certainly overpriced, a way for a few adults to make money off families with promises of getting their talented young son on the radar of college and pro scouts. I used to believe for certain that if there was some hotshot, rocket-armed kid out there slinging it 90 miles per hour—even if he played for some Class 1 school in the hills where the theme from “Deliverance” was their official school fight song—the NCAA Division I coaches and the pro scouts would somehow always manage to find him. After all, once upon a time, they found Jim Winn at Clever High School. And Barry Short at Mansfield High School. And Kennie Steenstra at Plato High School. And Jason Hart of Fair Grove. All, as far as I know, without having to travel thousands of miles across the country to be seen. But then the more I listen to former LoganRogersville High School baseball standout Seth Conner recall the amazing path he took from just another good high school player to signing a professional contract late last summer with the Toronto Blue Jays, the more I’ve got to believe that “select” baseball is fast becoming like AAU basketball—if it’s not already there. For those who want to “get somewhere,” perhaps, a necessary step. Because, in this high-tech age where every kid with a dream is flooding college coaches with highlight DVDs, emails and recommendations from scouting services that often simply get tossed aside because they don’t have time to sift through every one of them, something has to separate the haves from the have-nots in terms of the legitimate, top-shelf college and pro skills. Today’s young baseball hopefuls have to find a way to be seen. Not on tape. In person. Sure, word can still circulate to the point where the college scouts might find their way to a small rural town for a live look-see at a prospect during the high school season. And don’t get me wrong…I’m still a huge believer in what those prep coaches do for four years to get their players ready for their shot. The chance to play with other top area and regional standouts on an all-star “select” team will never carry the emotion of, say, going to
Scott Puryear Co-Host, The Sports Reporters (JOCK 98.7)
Scott Puryear has been a part of the Springfield media scene since 1985 as both a sports writer/columnist for the Springfield News-Leader and in his current role as co-host of The Sports Reporters Mondays through Fridays from 9 to 11 a.m. on JOCK 98.7 FM. a Final Four with the group of buddies you’ve spent your whole childhood going to school with and waiting for that moment. But now, because of time constraints for the coaches, a top prospect had better find a way to almost recruit the college and pro scouts themselves, instead of the other way around. And the only sure-fire way to do that? Be seen. Go where they are, not wait for them to come to you. Today’s college coaches and pro scouts are much more likely to show up at, say, the Golden Corral buffet of baseball talent than they are at a place with a one-item menu. They want to see this kid that they’re either going to invest a scholarship in worth thousands of dollars, or maybe a signing bonus worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, play against other top prospects, as opposed to seeing him take deep the offerings from a pitcher who’ll be stocking shelves at Wal-Mart the next couple of years. Give Conner credit for figuring this out at just the right time. As a Rogersville sophomore, Seth was a big, strong kid with plenty of potential and the intangibles (attitude, work ethic, demeanor) any coach would love to have…but he still needed that extra boost to stand out. Realizing we run the risk of turning this column into an infomercial, he hooked up with the Midwest Nationals and coach Randy Merryman. He played three summers with the elite club, the best of the best in a three-state region, getting his face and skills out there for the scouts to see at the surplus of baseball meat markets the Nationals visit each summer. He spent the fall of his senior year trying to get bigger, faster and stronger, working on his technique and attempting to convince the scouts that he was better than he showed the summer before with the Nationals. Merryman got Conner invites to some of the more prestigious showcase events, including the World Wood Bat Tournament down in Florida, and once there, Conner delivered the goods. Pop in the bat. Bigger (20 pounds), stronger body that projected more power. And an attitude that would make Tim Tebow want to be more like Seth Conner. Meanwhile, Merryman, in almost a Scott Boras-like impersonation, went to work on creating the PR buzz among the scouts, college coaches—and the media—about this special
talent at Rogersville who was a draft steal waiting to happen. Hey, don’t fault him…that’s exactly what all those parents who sign their kids up with a program like the Nationals are expecting, and paying, him to do—use those connections. Remind the scouts and coaches about the Scott Elberts and Lucas Harrells and Brett Sinkbeils you’ve churned out and sent to the big leagues, and then let them know about the next one you’ve found. In this case, it was Conner. He signed an NCAA letter-of-intent with Missouri State, a great fall-back plan just in case his pro baseball dream never materialized. But lo and behold, it did. After a prep season in which he hit nearly .500, slammed 11 homers and drove in 40 runs—while leading Rogersville to its first Final Four appearance—Conner was picked in the 41st round by the Blue Jays. After a summer of negotiations and deliberating one last time whether he wanted to go the college route for three years and then try the pro draft again, a now 6-foot-2, 205-pound Conner is on his way to Dunedin, Fla., for his first spring training, where Toronto will give him a look at third base and possibly as a catcher. Conner’s view, looking back, on “select” baseball? He often wonders where he might be now without it. “I obviously think it’s huge,” he says with a smile. “Coach Merryman and his staff had a very good track record of producing high draft picks and guys who would get Division I college offers. He was able not only to get me seen by pro scouts, but by college scouts as well, and he was the one who was creating the buzz about me personally. “The competition out there (select baseball) is just at a higher level,” he added. “And those scouts want to see how you compete with other athletes at that upper echelon and who are trying to get to the same place you are. It definitely prepares you for the mindset of what college and minor-league baseball is all about.” Which sounds eerily like some of the same things college coaches say about AAU basketball. And high-level club soccer. And club volleyball. And… Yes, “select” baseball is here to stay. Parents, get those checkbooks out. Because, just like everything else these days, you get what you pay for.
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