Spring Sports Preview
April 6, 2016
While the snow is slowly melting away, spring sports athletes are revving up their training. Spring sports have already gotten under away with early season captain’s practices and team meetings. No one has begun competing yet and will not for another couple of weeks without preparation.
Boys Tennis: Big 9 contenders
The first sport beginning their pre-season preparation is the Owatonna High School Boys Tennis. Their official start date is March 28. Head coach Curt Matejcek said, “Last season, we finished fourth in the conference and look to finish third in the conference this season. We have a lot of returning letter winners, and we have good expectations for them. We understand that any road to the conference championship will be hard.” The boys are looking to have a filled roster full of experienced players. Senior captain Mark Hanson said, “Our team will be very solid this year. We have lots of talent from the top to the bottom of our lineup.”
Boys Lacrosse: Experience in youth
Another team gearing up for the season is boys lacrosse. With a roster full of returning players, the team will have an experienced group in 2016. Junior co-captain Logan Ringhofer said, “As a team, I feel like we will lead a great season this year. We have a lot of returners that have great skill to apply to the field. We are focusing in the fundamentals and putting everything together.” The future looks very bright for Huskies Lax. Head coach Scott Seykora said, “I am excited about the upcoming season. We will be young again this year, but we have 17 returning sophomores who played some varsity time last year as freshmen and some key returning juniors and seniors, so we will have some experience coming back.” Mankato has officially joined the MSHSL in 2016, creating an official Big 9 Conference for boys’ lacrosse. Coach Seykora said, “We will officially have a Big 9 Conference, and our players are very excited about that!”
Girls Lacrosse: Experience is key
Although the girls lacrosse team lost a lot of talent with the departure of last years senior class, expectations are still high for this spring season. The Huskies return ten experienced varsity players, covering all of the main positions besides goaltender. Senior captain Meghan Rethmeier said, “Everyone’s really excited to get out there and play again; we have been working hard at captains practice in order to hit the ground running once the regular season comes around.” Last year, the girls lacrosse team finished with an 8-4 regular season record and hope to improve on an already successful program. Their official start date is April 1.
Boys Golf: Continued success
With a large senior class of varsity golfers graduating in 2015, the boys golf team is looking to find itself with a roster of younger players and a few returning varsity letter winners to lead the way. Last years top golfer in the state, Peter Jones, graduated, and as such, the Huskies are looking to find new leaders in this year’s upperclassmen. Junior Andrew Wall said, “We’re looking to pick up where we left off last year and keep improving.” The Huskies are in the hunt for another conference championship in 2016.
Girls Golf: Taking the next step
Sharing the course and looking for their own conference chip this season is the girls golf team. Graduating 2015’s varsity golfers, the Huskies have a lineup with returning upperclassmen anchoring them down and a few spots to fill on the outside. Senior captain Maddie Zulk said, “This year, we are looking to fill out our varsity lineup. We expect to be pretty evenly matched with our competitors in the Big 9.” Hopes are high for this year’s girls on the course, and they plan on making their mark in 2016.
Girls Softball: Dominating the diamond
On the diamond, the OHS Softball team is excited to compete at the plate and on the mound. Sophomore Tiana Blazek is one of the top pitchers in the conference, starting for the Huskies since her freshman year. Senior captain Millie Wanous said, “Tiana is a really good pitcher, and we have other girls as well who can hit, run and field very well.” Sophomore Erin Peterson has confidence in the team as well, saying, “I think, with our overall talent, we are going to be a strong team this year. The older girls do a great job making sure us younger players are up to speed and really feel like a part of the team.”
Boys Baseball: High expectations
Last season, the Huskies baseball team was able to overcome a mediocre regular season to ultimately place second in sections, losing to Northfield in the section finals. The team only lost five varsity players to graduation, but many were in key roles. This year’s team is deep, with many players able to play multiple positions. Senior captain Blake Westphal said, “Our team this year is filled with guys who can run and hit; if we can sure up our defense and pitch well I think we can make a run deep into sections.” The Huskies have multiple talented sophomores who will press for varsity time this season, and the competition for starting roles will no doubt make the team stronger as a whole. Expectations are high for the Huskies this year, and they are ready to exceed them for the second year in a row.
Boys’ Track: Title Contenders
Another spring team with state aspirations is the boys track and field team. They boast a Division I hurdler and sprinter- Jacob Johnson, as well as many more of the school’s top athletes. The running events will be the strength of the team, with blazing speed throughout the varsity and JV roster. Senior and sprinter Ryan Guenther said, “Our program is ready to take the next step and finish in the top or near the top of every meet this year. We have talent and experience, and I’m excited to see what this season brings.”
Girls’ Track: Ready to run
The girls track and field team also has high aspirations for the season ahead. They have a perfect combination of senior leadership and experience mixed with underclassmen who can contribute at the varsity level as well. Senior captain Carli Langeland stated, “I’m really excited because of the depth we have this year. We have people trying new events, and I think it will make our team better as a whole.”
Owatonna High School once again boasts multiple premier springs sports teams, so be sure to cheer on these programs once their seasons begin!