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By DYLAN MALONE
This year’s fall sports preview hits shelves and living rooms tomorrow evening and after completing it, I have to say, I’m stoked about fall sports!
There are so many unanswered questions that I just can’t wait to see the answers to as the season progresses.
Will year two of the Larry Getts project be just as successful for Bellmont football as the first? Will winning a sectional championship actually become a norm for Bellmont? With a fresh crop of Braves and a lot of graduated heroes, there are a lot of skeptics, that’s for sure.
I’m not one of them.
I’ve seen the work ethic that Bellmont sports teams seem to have by the gallon. Where do they get it from? I’ll call it pride. There seems to be something about wearing the Bellmont jersey that just turns athletes from BHS into work horses on the field or gym. I can’t wait to see the results come October because no matter what the record, Bellmont will be the team no one wants to see in the sectionals perennially because of a newly-found notion of pride and work ethic that I give partial credit to coach Getts for as well as the rest to the athletes at Bellmont.
Adams Central is another success story that left Jet fans teeming for more last season. Sheridan is a tough school to see at the regional level, but the Jets returning for coach Michael Mosser this year are sure to still have a bad taste in their mouth about the spanking they put on AC last season. Adding insult to injury is that South Adams was a two-point conversion away from upsetting Sheridan in the sectional final. A good transition to...
South Adams football. After a magical 10-win season that ended on the players’ decision to go for two points in the sectional final against Sheridan in overtime, coach Jason Arnold is bound to be searching for a way back to October football for another shot. The problem could be losing 19 seniors in the program, however. Can coach Arnold find the perfect combination of players to make this season a “great run” story instead of the dreaded “rebuilding year” label that most critics are calling it already? Stay tuned.
Switching sports, how about the return of Nathan Barger. For those of you tennis fans who know that Barger is already the all-time leader in singles wins at AC, here’s something you may not know...he still has his senior year to play. After getting to state his sophomore year, then experiencing a disappointing finish to his junior campaign, Barger has an open door to return to state with the two major roadblocks leaving for graduation (Norwell’s Reid Imel and Leo’s foreign-exchange student Vasquez). It will be an interesting year for Jets’ fans.
Bellmont volleyball has been synonymous with success for over a decade and that does not seem in danger of changing this season. Some key pieces moved on from last year and senior Sarah Norder is out with a season-ending injury. Can coach Craig Krull find the combination he’s looking for this season? Or has Bellmont’s dominance run dry? My vote is on the former, but it will be interesting to see, nonetheless. What to watch for? The match with NHC rival Carroll.
Adams Central gets a new look with 2006 Jet-grad coach Ashley Beard taking the helm. With former head Jeremi Schortgen taking a leave to focus on family, Beard inherits a program that was headed back to dominance after a few years of what AC fans would call “down seasons”. It seems hard not to look at .500 records and think they are mediocre after 2008’s 28-3 campaign. AC lost some solid pieces from last season but were moderately young also. This season, Bess Fiechter stands as the lone senior on a squad of talented young players, some of whom had successful playing time for the Jets last season as frosh. It will be exciting to see how they react to big time games with such a young core. What to watch for? Bellmont comes to town on Saturday night. Don’t miss it.
South Adams gets a make-over as well with Amie Sprunger taking the helm from former coach Ashley Buckingham. Similar to AC’s scenario, Buckingham also left the program for family reasons. Also similar to AC’s coach Beard, Sprunger graduated a Jet in 2006 inadvertently setting up a cross-county rivalry that did not need too much help. Like AC, the Lady Stars have a young core that returns to wreck havoc at the net. What they lack in size they will make up with fire power. The Stars are on the rise.
There are several other great stories in fall sports this season but only so much room in this column. Check out the fall preview coming out tomorrow, compliments of the DDD.