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Winter sport season comes to an end

Additions to teams allow further advancements in competitions

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Pierian photo by Gina Schoettmer
Taking the ball down the court, senior Jalen Hillard attempts to advance the team further within their game. Hillard transferred to Richmond this season, coming from Northeastern where he played for the first three years of his high school career.

BOYS BASKETBALL:

Much like many other teams, the boys faced many changes this season from coaching staff to key players. These advancements allowed for further placement in their sectional and an improved record from last season. The boys made it to the semi-final game in the sectional where they fell short in the last quarter to Mount Vernon 44-49. The boys ended with a record of 12-14 and 4-5 in their conference.

The boys received many new additions to their team this year from freshmen, a new coach and most notably, a few of their leading scorers.

“Having different players has made the game different,” senior Lucas Kroft, who will be attending Ball State said. “This year I was able to shoot the ball more and I’ve been more in a scoring position than I was last year.”

Along with Lucas, his brother, sophomore Drew Kroft contributed to the team as well.

“With last year’s team, I didn’t play much because we already had a good team,” Drew said. “This year, I’m definitely in scoring position a lot more often.”

Along with these shifts within the team, there were also many returning players who adjusted to these roles within the teams.

“There was definitely a different playing style for the returning players,” senior Jordan Frye said. “It was hard to adjust at first but we began growing together. Towards the end of the season, the team was fully developed.”

Frye also mentioned his own personal role shift within the team.

“I had my ups and downs, in the beginning, I played well but for a few games I lost my spot,” he said. “Towards the end, I was a full-time starter again and we started to come back together. My role increased through the season specifically with my scoring.”

Altogether, though the boys fell short in the end, they have recognized some of the specifics that need to be improved.

“We’ve been shooting the ball very well, we’ve been scoring higher into the 70s-80s which is what we should’ve been doing all season,” Drew said. “We need to get better on rebounding and defense because we give teams second-chance opportunities.”

 

GIRLS BASKETBALL:

After facing the sudden passing of former coach, Casey Pohlenz, and the loss of key seniors, the girls faced many hardships and obstacles in order to get back on their feet this past season. Soon after the loss of their coach, former assistant coach Shane Hillard quickly stepped up and took place as head coach for the girls.

Senior Kierra Wright felt as if the coaching shift didn’t cause much of a change in the team’s abilities.

“The style has changed but not much,” she said. “The coaching staff now stick to their word when it comes to people getting in trouble and punishment. It has impacted the team and they realize they don’t play about what they say so when they say something, it’s very believable.”

With the loss of last year’s point guard and many other key players, many underclassmen had to step up to fill these positions.

“A lot of us had to step up and play a bigger role,” sophomore Ajah Orr said. “Instead of having two main scorers, we were more divided and we looked for more scoring from everyone. We were a more balanced team. Being the guard as a sophomore, they looked to me for scoring and leadership and it was difficult changing my playing style as a young player. I had to change a lot of things to be able to benefit my team.”

Despite the different problems that the team has faced within the last year, they continued to put their all into every game that was played.

“Our overall strength was effort and perseverance,” Orr said. “No matter how good a team was, we walked on the floor and we left everything we had on the floor every single game. We never gave up in a game and we battled every single minute. This helped us top a very good 2A team.”

The girls’ record ended with a record of 6-19 and 3-6 in the conference. The girls lost their first sectional game facing Greenfield Central. Orr mentions different approaches the team should take regarding next season.

“Our weaknesses were consistency and attitudes,” she said. “Next year we need to work on setting a goal for every game and making sure we reach that goal so that we’re consistent every game. We also need to work on listening and taking it in, instead of talking back.”

Pierian photo by Scout Wampler
Practicing spare pin shooting, senior Dylan Muse attempts to better his game before a match. Muse bowled this season for the first time. “In singles, I didn’t make it past the sectional but I did really well because this was my first year and I improved a lot.”

BOWLING:

With the addition of a second coach and the loss of last year’s seniors, both teams faced differing cultural and educational obstacles when it came to excelling in their game. Though these obstacles occurred, both the girls and the boys made it to their regional competition.

Although the boys introduced many new members, each of them seemed to contribute a large part for the team overall.

“It started out to be rebuilding because of everybody who joined this year, most of them were freshmen so it was more of a learning experience for them and showing them how we run things,” senior Owen Shaw said.

The girls maintained a similar line up to last season, allowing them to focus more on details rather than big-picture situations.

“Our best thing was spare shooting,” senior Ciara York said. “We would practice them over and over and maybe even all practice. We only had two new members this season. They both were really new to the game and didn’t have much experience under their belt, so that made us all have to help them while still improving ourselves.”

Another overall influence portrayed onto the team was the new addition to their coaching staff.

“The way the coaches taught us helped our team do very well this season,” senior Dylan Muse said. “Mike and Jeff helped us become closer and make more of a team bond. They helped connect us and make team chemistry.”

Shaw also mentioned an impact distributed from the coaches.

“We weren’t used to two coaches, we were only used to having one go with us to matches,” he said. “We had the younger one who was more into our thought process and then the older who helped with the fundamentals and how to actually bowl and train. It was cool to have someone who actually understood us.”

SWIMMING:

As much didn’t change this previous season for the swimmers, it seemed their relationships and their hair colors (once again) did.

The swim teams each have had successful seasons within previous years and continued this trend this past winter. Though the teams did not make it past their sectional finals, they did improve many skills from their relationships with one another to how they perform as a team.

“Our strengths are our relationships,” junior Dustin Wilson said. “For the boys’ team specifically, we spend so much time together we develop a brotherhood, almost. So, we always have each other to push ourselves harder toward improvement. Harder than we would alone.”

Wilson also mentioned one of the major challenges that each team faces in their competitions.

“We’re all very skilled,” he said. “But, there’s a large sum of people out there who have been doing what we’re doing for much longer than we have. We never grovel from a challenge. But, when the odds aren’t in our favor, or we’re not out there doing our best, it’s hard to stay positive.”

The girls also maintain healthy bonding within their team.

“I think as a team we just have a great family like dynamic and we all get along very naturally,” senior Megan Quinn said. “We had 8 or 9 girls make it to finals at the sectional and no one made it past.”

Another challenge faced was the loss of key seniors, much like many other teams.

“We lost a lot of strong seniors and two of the relays this year had to be completely made up of underclassmen,” sophomore Ben Quinn said. “But we placed the same as we did last year so, in my opinion, we made it work with what we have.”

Along with their continuation of success came the continuation of a tradition.

“It’s a mixture of both, it’s a tradition [bleaching their hair] that brings us together,” Wilson said. “It started off as a joke since swimmers hair naturally turns yellow from the chlorine. But, it’s a way we’re able to identify as swimmers. Sort of like how the basketball team wears their warm-ups on game day. It just lets people know who we are.”

Pierian photo by Courtney Mcnew
Freshman Lizzy Ruger leads gymnasts to State for the first time in 39 years.

GYMNASTICS:

For the first time in 39 years, the gymnastics team found their place at the state competition. The girls ended their season at State where they placed 9th overall. The girls found much success this season which came from the overall work ethic of returning members and freshmen, and the support that they all shared.

Senior Eva Bosell mentioned the support within the team and how this impacted their success.

“A huge strength this season is that we all want to progress together,” she said. “So yes we are working hard in the gym for ourselves but more for our team. Not only that, we all are super supportive of each other which provides us a safe environment to be ourselves and give our all’s.”

Along with the returning members’ impact, there was a large role fulfilled through freshmen.

“The freshmen have such a bright future full of so much potential and so many opportunities,” Bosell said. “Kinsey Bosell and Liz Ruger are two of our leading scorers and some of the most consistent on the team. Aubrey Uhte and Ashley Madill are making a lot of progress on bars which is going to really benefit our team score. And we have Dezi Rivas who is the hardest worker on the team and really brings everyone together. These freshmen are leading our program in the right direction for sure.”

Though the freshmen are new to the environment of competing at the high school level, they continued to impact the team greatly.

“I have been involved in gymnastics for about five years now, and I love it,” freshman Lizzy Ruger said. “I think that I have done pretty well as a freshman this season. I won all-around at the sectional, and got first on vault and second all-around at NCC. I’ve had a lot of fun this season.”

Though the team found much success this season, they still have greater goals in sight.

“Next year the goal is for everyone to get the skills and full bonus that will give them a 10.0 start value on every event,” Bosell said. “Everyone is so close to that goal and it is definitely a reachable one.”

WRESTLING:

Many new faces joined the wrestling team this year, allowing for advancement in skill and also in competitions. The team pinned their way through to their regional competition where nine wrestlers competed, and two advanced to semi-state, junior Blaine Pierce and freshman Jake Necessary.

With this introduction of new members ranging from freshmen to seniors, the team placed a lot of focus on those individuals.

“We have a younger team and we all got along well so practices and meets went well and everyone worked hard every day to get better,” Pierce said.

Though Necessary may have been a new face to the team, he was familiar to the sport for years before.

“This was my fourth year wrestling,” he said. “It was more intense, I had to work harder than I did in middle school. There were more people and I actually had to wrestle off to get a varsity spot. The competition was better than in previous years, we went to some tough duels and tournaments. I also had to cut a good amount of weight this year, which was new for me because I’ve always just wrestled at what I naturally weigh.”

Necessary also mentioned his differing role that followed him into high school.

“I wrestled at two different weight classes,” he said. “The 113 weight class was pretty tough, there were guys that were way bigger than I was and it made it hard to compete with stronger wrestlers who were cutting from 130. I went down to 106, and I really excelled there. The competition was harder than last year at both weight classes. The other guys were all pretty good, and it made me try even harder.”

With this training practiced and the hard work put in, the team made it to their regional competition as a group, but aspire to advance further within the coming season.

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Shylah Gibson, Editor-in-Chief

I am a senior and I play softball. I plan to attend college at either University of Indianapolis or Miami University and study forensic science or human...

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Winter sport season comes to an end