Hillsboro and Hesston picked to finish first


Mid Central Activities Association coaches are expecting Hillsboro and Hesston to repeat as champions of their respective districts this winter.

The two teams, which battled each other in the sub-state finals last season, were clear favorites among the eight coaches participating in the Free Press preseason poll.

The Trojans, a unanimous pick in the Mid Division, lost three senior starters from last season’s 20-3 team, but return one first-team (Jill Hein) and one honorable-mention all-league selection (Shannon Kroeker) plus seven other seniors.

The Swathers, who received all but one first-place vote in the Central, return one honorable-mention pick (Katrina Brodhagen) from their 20-5 squad while losing two first-teamers (Mary Washburn, Amber Young) and an honorable-mention (Christi Lehrman) pick to graduation.

Following are the preseason predictions, based on the eight coaches who voted.

Mid Division Girls

1. Hillsboro (3A)

Coach: Becky Carlson (18th year, 279-114 career record)

Last season: 20-3 overall, 8-0 Mid Division

Top players: Jill Hein, 5-9 senior (All-MCAA first team); Shannon Kroeker, 5-10 senior (All-MCAA hon. men.); Jenna Jost, 5-5 senior; Robyn Penner, 5-9 senior; Andrea Peachey 5-6 senior; Sara Thiessen, 5-9 senior; Amber Hefley, 5-6 senior; Shelby Estelle, 5-8 senior; Holly Lindsay, 5-4 senior.

Poll points: 8 (8 first-place)

2. Sterling (2A)

Coach: Larry Brownlee (6th year, 127-72 career record)

Last season: 12-10 overall, 6-2 Mid Division

Top players: Jane Anthony, 5-9 senior (All-MCAA hon. men.); Nicolle Galyon, 5-11 senior (All-MCAA hon. men.); Sarah Bundy, 5-10 sophomore; Lydia Smith, 5-6 junior; Jill Washmon, 5-3 senior; Courtney Gord, 5-9 sophomore.

Poll points: 23

3. Ellinwood (3A)

Coach: Billy Maddy (4th year, 55-98 career record)

Last season: 12-10 overall, 6-2 Mid Division

Top players: Keri Wise, 5-10 (All-MCAA hon. men. guard).

Poll points: 26

4. Halstead (3A)

Coach: T.J. Warsnak (2nd year, 7-14 career record)

Last season: 7-14 overall, 3-5 Mid Division

Top players: Lindsey Miles, 5-10 junior (All-MCAA first team); Missy Egley, 5-4 senior; Karen Wendling, 5-10 junior.

Poll points: 30

5. Wichita Collegiate (3A)

Coach: Theresa Gross (3rd year, 18-24 career record)

Last season: 11-11 overall, 3-5 Mid Division

Top players: Katherine Healy, 5-7 senior; Jackie Brown, 5-5 junior; Mary Strom, 5-7 senior; Kate Schaake, 5-10 freshman.

Poll points: 33

Central Division Girls

1. Hesston (3A)

Coach: Brennan Torgerson (7th season, 90-107)

Last season: 20-5 overall, 7-1 Central Division

Top players: Jenny Washburn, 5-10 senior; Katrina Broadhagen, 5-7 senior (All-MCAA hon. men.); Ashley Wray, 5-11 senior; Megan Lamb, 5-9 junior; Sara Washburn, 5-7 sophomore; Liz Sower, 5-10 sophomore.

Poll points: 11 (7 first-place)

2. Nickerson (4A)

Coach: Marilyn Smith (4th season, 30-34)

Last season: 8-13 overall, 3-5 Central Division

Top players: Becky Crawmer, 5-11 senior (All-MCAA first team); Krista Harmon, 5-5 senior; Rochelle Patton, 5-7 senior; Shannon Swafford, 5-8 junior.

Poll points: 23

3. Lyons (4A)

Coach: Chad Comley

Last season: 13-8 overall, 5-3 Central Division

Top players: Sierra Radke, 5-3 sophomore (All-MCAA first team; Deanna Baxter, 5-11 junior (All-MCAA hon. men.); Alisha Leiker, 5-3 senior; Sarah Rumler, 5-2 senior; Kristin Burton, 5-6 senior; Andria Stegman, 5-9 junior.

Poll points: 23.5

4. Haven (4A)

Coach: Dwight Roper (6th season, 218-118)

Last season: 16-7 overall, 5-3 Central Division

Top players: Allison Goff, 5-10 junior; Kami McCurry, 5-5 junior; Emily Hunsberger, 5-7 junior; Christy Cramton, 5-9 senior; Laura Gibson, 5-11 senior; Michelle Turner, 5-3 junior.

Poll points: 26.5

5. Smoky Valley (4A)

Coach: Gina Taldo

Last season: 7-13 overall, 2-6 Central Division

Top players: Lacey Scott, 5-8 senior (All-MCAA hon. men.); Lindsy Edwards 5-6 junior; Jennalee Porter, 5-4 senior; Jenny Sherwood, 5-5 junior.

Poll points: 36

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