Spring Sports Get Warmed Up at South
J. C. Tilton
There is still a feel of winter in the air but the South Spring Sports teams are working out the kinks and getting their teams ready for upcoming competitions. I went to TVS on Thursday, March 11 and visited with all the teams and their coaches. The only ones outdoors were the girls and boys track teams. But to be fair, the diamonds were too damp and the weather too cold for the baseball players - who were indoors busy as nascar pit crews getting ready for the season to begin.
The first coach approached was Glenn Mabry who has done girls track at TVS for a long time. He is pleased to have 3 state qualifiers coming back: Megan Maleski and Molly DuChemin in the pole vault and Kari Summers in the long jump. He is "Counting on big things from those three." They also score points in other events - Kari in sprints, Megan in hurdles, and Molly in the long jump. "Those three can do a lot", conceded Coach Mabry, "But for the team to do well we need some other people to contribute." He is looking for help from McMurray in distance, Geisweit in shotput, Katie McCollum in the high jump. When asked if any new athletes would be able to score points he noted that, "Jennifer Bambeck and Amber Maggard may contribute, they are looking strong early." This year there are 18 girls on the team. Last season South was runnerup in the CCC, and third at the district meet. At the league meet he is looking for Franklin Monroe to be strong - "they have a lot back.", as well as Covington, Arcanum, and Bethel.
The Boys side also has a long time coach back - Coach Farenholtz. He was also asked who he had coming back for the season.
Returning are Drew Rivers in the mile and 800 meters. Caleb Betzner both the 110 and 300 meter hurdles, Dan Donaldson should be strong in the sprints. Newsome in polevault and Tyler Loxly is expected to do well the in high jump The team has some depth and should be strong in the relays. In the strength events he looking at Buchanon, Brubaker, and Simpson to score some points. Chad Wentlender is looking strong in the long jump. An achilles heel could be in distance events. Coach Farenholtz could use some points in this area. He lost both the district and league meets last year by 3 points. And he believes that this team should contend again, as long as their achilles heel doesn't let them down.
Next up to bat was Varsity boys coach Frank Wright. He was asked to comment on the strengths of his team for the spring. Leading returners are Kyle Rhemert at catcher, Cain Branden at the mound, Dustin Bassler at shortstop. Coach Wright remarked "We have a good nucleus, we lost 4 starters, but most of team is back". Still he is looking "for some young players to step up". Last years team won the CCC and was ranking 4th in the state before falling in the sectional finals. South will have a bullseye on its back this season. As defending champs, TVS is expecting competition from Arcanum, National Trail, North - "they have everyone back", Covingtion - "has a good pitcher" and Bethel "is competitive." So defending the title will not be easy.
Coach Robinson was asked to comment on her fastpitch team - "We have a bunch of freshman and a bunch of experienced players". The team has a blend of youth and experience. However the extra youth may allow the team to schedule some JV games this season for the strong in numbers freshman class. The team is returning Amanda Moore at catcher, Tesina Jackson at pitcher , Jennifer Davis at 1st , Durkle, Egner,McMurray, and Lipps in the outfield. Wiegand and Gabors round out the infield. Coach Robinson was in a bit of a quandrey she had just lost her assistant coach last night. With the team practicing indoors across two gyms, she had to trust the seniors to keep drills going in one gym while she focused on the infielders in the other gym. TVS losses to graduation were few - Jess McCoy lost on mound as well as Hobbs and White. However, the loss on the mound looms large. Tesina Jackson will be back to pitch, but her backup will likely be an untried freshman. When asked who will contend for league, Robinson mentioned, "Covington, Newton, Arcanum - Maybe us if our pitching comes thru." After the formal interview, I found out from the coach that there is some movement on putting together fastpitch in the girls youth leagues. I agreed with the coach that this makes a lot of sense. As a spectator there is nothing more boring than slowpitch - and the young girls will adapt and as a fans view this will help feed girls to the high school who have solid baseball skills, making for a more competitive highschool fastpitch team. Already in many locations, girls play fastpitch only - they don't even offer slowpitch to girls anymore. Comments: email: Chris Tilton