Category: Season Previews

Trojan boys short on experience, but long on talent
Trojan boys short on experience, but long on talent

Trojan boys short on experience, but long on talent

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This group of seniors and letter-winners will form the base of the Hillsboro boys? basketball aspirations for 2007-08. Pictured from left are Gavin Serene, Daniel Jost, David Loewen, Clay Shewey and Mitchell Koop. Jost is the only returning with significant varsity playing time as the Trojans lost eight athletes to graduation, injury or departure. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press.

Despite some adversity even before the start of the season, Hillsboro High School boys? basketball coach Darrel Knoll is looking for his fresh-look Trojan squad to improve on last year?s 11-11 record.

Knoll knew he?d be losing seven key players from last year?s team, but a knee injury to returning point guard Spencer Brown late in the football season has changed the tenor of the upcoming campaign.

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Five state qualifiers spice a solid Trojan mat lineup
Five state qualifiers spice a solid Trojan mat lineup

Five state qualifiers spice a solid Trojan mat lineup

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The Hillsboro wrestling team has 10 varsity-seasoned seniors and letter-winners to fill many of the 14 weight classes on this year?s wrestling card.? Pictured from left are Jacob Yoder, Tyler Jones, Frankie Martin, Nicholas Mueller, John Hein, Jared King, Zach Jost, Grady Stultz, CJ Shaw and Alex Jost. That bodes well for a Trojan program that has compiled a 25-1 record in duals the past two seasons. Don Ratzlaff / Free Press.

With five state qualifiers returning, plus several other athletes with varsity seasoning, coach Scott O?Hare anticipates another strong year for Hills?boro wrestling.

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Bluejay men expect to surprise KCAC competition
Bluejay men expect to surprise KCAC competition

Bluejay men expect to surprise KCAC competition

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The Tabor College men?s team is off to a 2-5 start against a tough early-season schedule. First-year coach Micah Ratzlaff expects his squad to surprise pollsters who picked the Bluejays to finish ninth in the preseason KCAC poll. Pictured are: back row (from left) assistant coach Garrett Bryant, Mike Rousell, Jared Hett, Orson Thomas, Kory Faul, Brent Nelson, Brett Curran, head coach Micah Ratzlaff, Zack Vanselow, Mike Stoecker, Jordan Funk, Jeff Hussong, Andrew Schroter, assistant coach Anthony Monson, student assistant coach Tyler Weinbrenner; front row, Brad Kaiser, Aaron Schmucker, DaQuon Anderson, Kyle Kroeker, Kyle do Blonk, Caleb Good, Aaron Whitelaw, Dustin Burnett, Melvin Green, Dale Collins, Ryan Watson. Vance Frick / Tabor College.

On the cusp of conference play, the 2007-08 Tabor College men?s basketball season already bears some of the marks of a transition year.

With the loss of all-conference guards Andy Brubacher and Tyler Weinbrenner to graduation, along with Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference ?Newcomer of the Year? Greg Munroe this off-season, and combined with the changing of the guard at the end of the Bluejay bench, Tabor slid to ninth place in preseason polls.

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Tabor women retooling for start of KCAC schedule
Tabor women retooling for start of KCAC schedule

Tabor women retooling for start of KCAC schedule

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The Tabor College women have compiled a 1-8 record through a tough preseason. First-year head coach Shawn Winter is looking for some success when the KCAC season opens Thursday, Nov. 29, against Bethany College. Pictured above are: back row (from left) manager Kelsey Bloss, manager Whitney Allen, manager Cherise Strangohr, Chelsea Malone, Erin Runge, Brittany Roth, Jenny Glaskell, Katie Fast, Jordan Crosson, Haley Parsely, Dana Champlin, Addie Cole, assistant coach Landon Jordan, head coach Shawn Winter; front row, Erin Dragoo, Abby Claassen, Stephanie Silvas, Kristen Allen, Cassondra Huxman, Joanna Pyle, Stacie Herman, Kristen Watson, Cheri Mount, Amanda McDonald, Brianne Greene, Katie Mount.

A season ago, the Tabor College women?s basketball team put together a 26-6 record, including a 15-3 mark in conference play, and defeated Cardinal Stritch in the first round of the NAIA Division II national championship tournament.

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Peabody-Burns boys’ depth, height fuel team potential
Peabody-Burns boys’ depth, height fuel team potential

Peabody-Burns boys’ depth, height fuel team potential

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In Roger O?Neal?s third season at the helm of the Peabody-Burns boys? squad, the Warriors have an experienced rotation that goes nine deep. Mastering team defense will be key to the team?s success. The seniors and lettermen on the squad are: back row (from left), Adam Benson, Duane Unruh, Nathan Bishop, Trevor Hamm, Andrew Loucks; front row, Brian Wingert, Jake Middleton, Jacob Simmonds and Aaron Topham.

Entering his third season coaching the boys? basketball team at Peabody-Burns High School, Roger O?Neal has a well-rounded group of seniors.

Ranging from 5-foot, 10-inch guard Duane Unruh, who averaged just under nine points per game last year, to 6-9 Andrew Loucks, O?Neal will have a solid starting lineup.

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Warrior girls have experienced core, but limited depth
Warrior girls have experienced core, but limited depth

Warrior girls have experienced core, but limited depth

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The Peabody-Burns girls have seven seniors and letter-winners returning: (from left) Tabitha O?Neal, Becky Morris, Danielle Savage, Traylee Woodruff, Jessica Gillet, Julie Wedel and Bayleigh Clark. Andrew Ottoson / Free Press

The good news for the Peabody-Burns High School girls? basketball team is that coach Darren Schroeder begins his fifth season with a core of seven returning seniors and letter-winners largely intact.

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Burhoop will lead Centre girls as only returning starter
Burhoop will lead Centre girls as only returning starter

Burhoop will lead Centre girls as only returning starter

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The Centre High girls? basketball team has six seniors and letter-winners back from a team that went 17-5 in Kelly Steiner?s first year as coach. They are: back row (from left), Brooke Carlson, Justine Jennings, Kylie Burhoop; front row, Samantha Alvarez, Amy Hajek and Shelby Deines.

The Centre High School girls? basketball team enters its second year under Kelly Steiner having posted a 17-5 regular season record before flaming out against Hope in regional play in 2006.

In 2007, the Cougars will lean heavily on senior Kylie Burhoop to provide a veteran presence on the defensive glass.

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Cougar boys regroup amid tough Eisenhower League
Cougar boys regroup amid tough Eisenhower League

Cougar boys regroup amid tough Eisenhower League

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After posting an 8-13 overall record but going 4-2 in league play, the Cougars have five seniors and letter-winners returning this year. They are: back row (from left), Zach Slayden, James Weber, Michael Kaiser; front row, Ben Krause and Bryant Brunner. Andrew Ottoson / Free Press

In his second season coaching boys? basketball at Centre High School, Cody Schafer is looking at an Eisenhower League full of parity with a sense of opportunity.

But having lost the bulk of their scoring and four starters to graduation, the Cougars face an uphill climb.

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Bluebird boys’ quality depth bodes well for new season
Bluebird boys’ quality depth bodes well for new season

Bluebird boys’ quality depth bodes well for new season

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A balanced attack will help the Goessel Bluebirds as they try to follow up last year?s fourth-place finish in the state tournament with another solid season. ?Our scoring will be spread out and our five seniors will be counted on,? coach Justin Coup said The team?s seniors are: back row (from left), Seth Ott, Sam Lehrman, Nathan Ensz, Cameron Voth and Kurtis Duerksen. The Bluebirds also expect big contributions from junior lettermen: front row (from left) Travis Fensky, Austin Unruh, Kendall Voth and Craig Banman. Andrew Ottoson / Free Press

The Goessel High School boys? basketball team returns one starter from the squad that went 23-5, won the Heart of America league with a 10-1 record and placed fourth at the Class 1A state tournament a year ago.

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Goessel girls will do battle in HOA with young squad
Goessel girls will do battle in HOA with young squad

Goessel girls will do battle in HOA with young squad

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Experienced players Jennifer Raymond (left) and Aspen Frey will feature prominently for the Goessel girls this season. The same is true to a lesser extent of every player on the Bluebird roster of 11 players. First-year coach Ryan Hoopes said, ?They are a hard-working group of girls and very coachable.?

In the wake of a 10-13 season that saw the Bluebirds post a 5-6 Heart of America league record, the Goessel High School girls? basketball team lost its top five scorers.

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