With practices starting Monday, Nov. 16, the winter sports seasons of boys and girls basketball and wrestling have officially begun.
Following a second-place finish in last year’s state tournament, the high school boys basketball team has some high expectations for the upcoming season. The team will feature eight seniors, including Trystan Buss, Isaiah Dobbins, Jackson Fike, Logan Jensen, Caleb Rogge and Bailey Vetter and returning starters, Carson Becker and Jared Garcia. Also providing some support this year will juniors Cooper Schlochtermeier and Avery Ebert. The team will face the challenge of developing chemistry and finding their respective roles necessary to reach their goal of another state tournament appearance.
“We will be very experienced this year with a lot of kids coming back,” head coach Jim Johnston said. “Our goal will be to make it back to state and take care of business this time.”
As for the girls team, this year looks to be a little different. With a new head coach, Rock Creek alum Adam Plummer, the lady Mustangs hope to build a winning program again and have a successful season this year. With only two seniors on the team this year, returning starter Alli Snapp and Veronica Valburg, Plummer will look for underclassmen to step up and take solid leadership roles to help achieve the team’s goal of competing, improving daily and building mental toughness. According to Plummer, winning games will not be the team’s biggest challenge; it will be to just believe in themselves.
“I have never coached or played in a game that I didn’t believe we could win if we played well and executed our game plan,” Plummer said.
Finally, the Mustang wrestling team hopes to have a successful season this year under the direction of head coach Dan Pray. The team will feature six returning starters in senior AJ Burenheide, juniors Tim Reed and Dawson Stanley, and sophomores Zac Bailey, Ethan Crubel and Josh Ward. With only two seniors this season, Burenheide and Dallas Nold, this season’s expectations are to build up the program and prepare the young team for the future, while still having a successful season this year. According to Pray, along with being young, the team does not have the numbers it usually does and will struggle to spread out and fill the weight classes. Success this season will be a challenge for the team.
“It will all depend on how hard this group of wrestlers wants to work,” Pray said.
Article by Justin Reiss, staff technology manager
Photo by Olivia Lee, yearbook photo editor