Spring sports look to rebound

Kris Long, Print Editor-in-Chief

Spring sports anticipates plenty of returning starters to take the field this month after a young group of athletes carried teams in 2021, and players and coaches have high expectations for the coming season. 

Softball is one of the teams hoping to make a comeback this year after they lost their first Regional match last season. The team is almost entirely returning starters and has four seniors. They expect their experience to lead them to more success in 2022.

“We do have a very young team and we only lost one senior last year so I think we’re going to do very well this year,” senior Paige Dupler said. “[Tryouts] are different than other years just because we have so many returning girls, and there were only five new girls this season so it feels like it did last season. But I’m very excited to keep playing with these girls and have the same team atmosphere because we do click very well.”

Girls soccer and baseball both made it to state last year and both placed fourth with relatively young teams. 

“I feel like coming back this year, [we’re] not as young, we got some experience so I think we’ll be able to make a run at state again,” senior Braden Dinkle said. “We have good team chemistry. We all seem to play good together, we all know each other. So [the goal is] just doing what we do, just playing and having fun.”

While much of the team has some Varsity experience, Girls Soccer lost key players in the attack — Reagan Giesbrecht and Sam Grynkiewicz — with last year’s graduating class. 

“We only have a few spots for starters, so we’re looking at some holes to fill and then we have some girls coming off injuries,” senior Delaney Lunsway said. “We didn’t think we’d have as many girls [try]out but … we’re at 34, so [we have] pretty good numbers.”

Golf placed ninth at state last year and return all but one of their Varsity line-up this spring. 

“I’m excited,” senior Jonathan Wefald said. “I think we have a good chance to do great, we still need to put some work in on the course but I think we have a chance at doing well.”

Girls swim also took ninth at state last year and will return this season with seven seniors, as well as multiple competitive underclassmen. Previous individual state placers out for swim this year include sophomore Ruth Perez and junior Sophia Steffensmeier.

“We have a lot of returning seniors and we have a couple of returning starters,” senior Meredith Graves said. “But we also have a lot of new swimmers, which is really nice to have a new group of people. It’s been rough recently with changing pools and having so many different changes, especially losing our dive program has been really hard and so our expectation this year is just to build the bond between everyone… we want to focus on building the team up and really trying to get back into a routine of how the team works.”

Boys track represents the exception to the common theme of returning starters this year. The team is coming off of a state win last season having lost some of their biggest athletes, including alumnus Daniel Harkin. Returning state placers include juniors Tanner Dowling-Burnett in the 400 meter dash and Charles Morgan in the 300 meter hurdles and senior Ben Mosier who took fifth in the 800 meter run, as well as sophomore high jumpers Vincent Malone and Aaron Newcomer.

A team state medal evaded the girls track team in the 2021 season. However, more athletes are out this year. Even so, they are ready for a competitive season. Returning state finalists include junior Gili Johnson in the girls 400 meter, junior Avery Larson in the triple jump, sophomore Abigail Gruber in discus and senior Tuelia Ilalio in shot put. 

“I am really excited with the amount of girls who have shown up and are looking really good and excited to compete this year,” senior track athlete Kyra Arasmith said. “We have quite a few new athletes… They all seem very positive and that makes such a great environment.”

Boys tennis also lacks experience. After taking third at state last year, they will only return seniors Jackson Ivester and Kelton Poole to the Varsity line-up. 

“I think we’ll do well this year,” Ivester said. “Even though we lost [four out of the six] of our [top six] players, we’re still [looking pretty good] this year so I think we’ll do well.”

Tryouts for spring sports started on Feb. 28, and Girls Soccer will have the first spring season opening in their home game against Seaman on March 22.