With just three players lost to graduation and a big chip on its shoulder, the Blue Springs South boys soccer team has full intentions of improving last year’s winning record and avoiding a quick exit in district play.
Among the 15 letter winners back for the Jaguars are leading goal scorer Jacob Gowan and Kyle Findley, who was third in goals and second in assists last season. Both also were captains last season.
Coach Jonathan Grice said he knows opposing coaches will assume South should be good, given all the returning players, so his players need to avoid that same mindset.
“We will have a target on our backs this year,” Grice said. “Teams will play their best games against us, and we need to use the lessons of the past couple seasons to get over these formidable opponents.
“I still believe strongly that our conference is the toughest in Missouri and we are playing tough games every night.”
Here's a look at the Jaguars and South's other fall sports teams:
Coach: Jonathan Grice (eighth season, 63-82-2)
Assistant coaches: Todd Findley, Dave Sheridan, Scott Poertner
Last year’s record: 13-11-7 (7-3, second place Suburban Big Six)
Returning letter winners: Clayton Anderson, sr., G; Bryce Childers, sr., M/D; Kyle Findley, sr., M; Jason Ingram, sr., M; Jacob Gowan, sr., F/D; Brett Hill, sr., D; Austin Lower, sr., D; Coby Roark, sr., F; Matthew Rockwell, sr., M; Jake Shireman, sr., M; Tyler Waisner, sr., D; Teddy White, sr., D; Cameron Cook, jr., M/F; Sam Derksen, jr., F; Sam Leech, jr., M/F;
Others to watch: Patrick Elliott, sr., D/G; Chadwick Krahenbuhl, sr., M/D; Jared Ray, sr., M; Michael Soendker, sr., D/M; Tyson Cushman, jr., G; Luke Vaughn, jr., D/M
Coach’s comments: “I know the players on this year’s team remember how much it hurt to underachieve in districts like we feel we did last year, and they have been working hard that day to make sure we do our absolute best this year. This season’s team is ready to hit the ground running. Returning almost all of the varsity team is a luxury we haven’t had in some time.”
Coach: Kristi Williams
Assistant coaches: Kory Lower, Ryan Messick, Tracie Terry
Last year’s record: 15-11 (6-4, tied second place Suburban Big Six)
Returning letter winners: Mariah Bierman, sr., 3B/C; Chelsey Tipton, sr., 1B; Hannah Tolliver, sr., OF; Josie White, sr., C; Erin Griesbauer, jr., P/OF; Skyler Robinson, jr., P/UT; Julia Woelbel, jr., 2B;
Others to watch: Sydney Gooch, jr., OF; Bailey Righi, jr., OF; Makenzie Musgrove, soph., SS; Madison Crosslin, fresh., OF
Coach’s comments: “This group is very close and wants to win and have fun. They also know what it takes to win, as most of them were with us during our state tournament (quarterfinal) run in 2012. They all have the desire to get back to that experience and finish it off with a trip to the state tournament.”
Coach: Dave MacLean
Assistant coaches: Amy Campbell, Ron Goins, Marla Goins, Sarah McInerney
Last year’s record: 19-13-1 (6-4, second place Suburban Big Six)
Returning letter winners: Erica Mason, sr., DS; Breeanna O’Sullivan, 5-6, sr., S; Jenna Rau, 6-0, sr., MH; Syndey Sinclair, 5-7, sr., OH; K.K. Stoudemire, 5-8, sr., OH; Camryn Gregston, 5-7, soph., S
Others to watch: Genna Berg, 5-7, soph., OH; Courtney Foudree, 5-7, soph., OH; Shanice Horn, 5-11, soph., MH; Paige Reiter, 5-10, soph., MH
Coach’s comments: “This team has potential to be competitive, but it all depends on blending and growing in skill areas. There is a mix of experience with youth. There isn’t one all-star on the team, but there are many solid, athletic kids who together could form a great team. In past year we’ve had numerous all-state athletes but lacked team depth and balance. This year we should be more balanced and therefore pose a threat – pending the team buys in to team goals and strategies.”
BOYS SWIMMING & DIVING
Coach: Errich Oberlander
Assistant coaches: Andrew Enlow, Melanie Reece, Missy Jackson
Last year’s finish: Suburban Big Six, state runner-up
Returning letter winners: Dom Baber, sr.; Hayden Bradley, sr.; Garrett Edwards, sr.; Noah Hardin, sr.; Marcell Harris, sr.; Alex Kramer, sr.; Kaleb Rupe, sr.; Jake Workman, sr.; Aaron Brewer, jr.; Rey Camareno, jr., Josh Gouldsmith, soph.; Nick Keller, soph.; Trey Lawlor, soph., Ben Morgan, soph.; Kevin Schlenger, soph.
Others to watch: Blake Kerschner, soph.; Joseph George, fresh.; Adam Ryan, fresh.
Coach’s comments: “We graduated almost all our points from our second-place state team, so we will be looking for some younger guys to step up this year and fill some big holes in relays and individual events. I still think we have a chance to contend for a conference title. Our first is Aug. 23, and that will be a good sign to see where we are at going forward.”
Coach: Jake Estep
Assistant coach: Nathan Mooney
Last year’s record: 6-10 (3-2, third place Suburban Big Six), district runner-up
Returning letter winner: Tiffany Davenport, soph.
Others to watch: Emily Allgeyer, sr.; Taylor Freund, sr.; Lauren Voyles, sr.; Ashley Brennan, jr.; Savana Martin, soph.; Sierra Mann, fresh.
Coach’s comments: “We essentially have an entirely new varsity team. Only one of our girls has any experience. That being said, they’re a talented and a hungry new group. We have girls who have put it a ton of work this offseason and are ready to get out there and prove themselves in our conference and district. It should be a fun year and should produce some fun tennis to watch.”
Coach: Ted Linke
Assistant coach: Logan Thorp
Last year’s finish: Suburban Big Six champion, third place district
Returning letter winners: Brooke Howe, sr.; Tara Thorp, sr.; (state qualifier); Hadley Wells, sr.; Alex Eblen, jr.
Others to watch: Sydney Dykhouse; Lexi Hart
Coach’s comments: “We lost two of the area’s best players, Madison Frerking and Jordan Rehkow, to graduation. Tara Thorp will be leading the Lady Jags, hoping to make her third trip to the state tournament. Brooke Howe competed in every varsity event the past season and will be relying on that experience to improve her play. Hadley Wells and Alex Eblen are the other two returners, and they will be pushed by a number of girls. The (girls) will have to work hard and gain some quick experience in order to defend their conference crown.”
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Coach: Troy Harding
Assistant coach: Kyle Plummer
Last year’s finish: Fifth place Suburban Big Six, sixth place district
Returning letter winners: Zach Kelsay, sr.; Dalton Smith, sr.; Dominic Dempsey, jr.; Mason Smith, soph. (state qualifier)
Others to watch: Liam Durkin, soph.; Henry Bahr, fresh.
Coach’s comments: “I think we will be a very competitive team this year. We are trying to replace a few individuals to moved out of the district this year. If we can do this, we should have a fairly tight top seven. We need to continue to develop our front-runners. That will be our biggest challenge if we are going to go be able to advance a team past the district meet.”
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Coach: Ryan Unruh
Assistant coach: Jenn Ewan
Last year’s finish: Fourth place Suburban Big Six, fifth place district
Returning letter winners: Riley Dovel, sr.; Grace Klausen, sr. (all-state); Kara Zweerink, sr.; Ashton Henson, sr. (state qualifier); Jessie Halla, jr.; Jansynn Radford, jr.; Cassie Brown, soph.; Betsy Klausen, soph., Sage McCrary, soph.
Others to watch: Jordan Adee, soph.; Katie Marinan, soph.; Tori Findley, fresh.; Taylor Gardner, fresh.; Danielle Hotalling, fresh.
Coach’s comments: “We are excited to get the season started. Our depth and experience should be a strength, as well as the addition of some talented freshmen. We had an outstanding track season on the distance side and followed that up with a strong summer of training. This has been a very committed group, and it should pay off this season.
“Grace Klausen is one of the top distance runners in the state; she should be even better this season. Ashton Henson is one of the best No. 2 runners in the area, and having her near the front gives us a nice advantage over some other teams. How far we go depends on the development of our younger runners and the health and fitness of our Nos. 3-7 runners. If they are good, I think it can be a great year. Keeping kids is healthy is a key in cross country. We did not do a very good job with that last year; I am optimistic that will change in 2014."