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For Washington, Joe Stitz, Cole Phinney, Matt Chalem, Matt Dew and Spencer Johnson have all graduated. Our expected A team for this year is likely to be Jonathan Amlong, Carrie Derner, Ryan Hill and James Collier.
The only other team whose composition I can really comment on is Eureka. As far as I know, Rohan Rai is back, and I believe Derek Demartino is now going to be his main support.
Personally, I'm a little nervous since this is going to be my senior year, and the competition from everyone is going to be tough. However, I look forward to seeing all of my friends again and I hope to make some more. Cheers!
- L-Town Expatriate
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Yours Truly on HSQB Forum wrote:Teams I'd keep an eye on this year, in no particular order:
- Louisiana - this riverside town long known for its apple orchards and the man who bungled a proposed US-Canada Customs Union has a new claim to fame: the Class 2 State Champions who were a win shy of a trophy finish at SSNCT. Don't think Michael Powers is resting on his laurels. He still have two years to go, and the Bulldogs should be quite hungry for more success.
- Hallsville - Sam Lockwood remains one of the most dominant players, and he's just halfway through his career.
However, with the departure of senior leadership from Emily Boyle, the Indians will need some fresh blood to supplement the younger Lockwood's prowl.Emily Boyle returns for her senior year, providing additional leadership to an Indians squad looking to capitalize on last year's fifth-place finish at SSNCT. Last year their fifth consecutive small-school title at the NAQT Missouri Qualifier came after being forced into an advantaged playoff against Louisiana; will they be able to avoid needing one to claim their sixth?
(The original post incorrectly identified Emily as having graduated.)
- Moberly - The Spartans ascended into the higher echelons of calibre programs last year, catching many off guard. They lose their captain Audrey Brandon, but top scorers Eric Thompson and Brennan Sapp are back to defend their district title, eighth-place finish at SSNCT, and possibly avenge their sectionals loss to Hallsville. Moberly could host that rematch, but first they have to get through their always-tough conference rivals Kirksville. And it's Kirksville hosting districts this year.
- St Joseph Central - William Gentry has posted strong numbers throughout his career, but his Indians haven't quite reached the top. It's his senior year, and his last chance to rack up trophies for this newfound powerhouse in Northwest Missouri.
- Lakeland - William Koch has electrified the Western Missouri Conference the past two seasons, leading his Vikings to the Class One championship game last year. With this being his senior year, they'll have to pull out all the stops to not only stop Thomas Jefferson Independent from winning yet another championship, but also avenge their loss in the WEMO finals to archrivals Osceola.
- Washington - The Blue Jays won't rebuild after losing Joe Stitz, Matt Dew, Matt Chalem & Spencer Johnson. They'll reload. They are by no means out of contention for repeating at the qualifier or state.
- Ladue - They don't have to reload. Raj Paul, Moses Schindler, and Akshay Govindan all return for the Rams.
- Fort Osage - It was a senior-heavy lineup that led the Indians to HSNCT this year. Their experiences will certainly be inspiration for junior Alex Hill and her teammates to not only return, but seek their first playoff berth.
- Helias loses a lot of seniors but top player Ben Husting is back for his senior year. Can he keep the Crusaders afloat, especially with them charging into conference affiliation (AAA) for the first time in 15 years?
Some other questions that should be answered soon:
- Exeter made a strong late run in SSNCT, coming up just short of a playoff berth. They bring back almost everyone next year, and they are hungry for more action.
- DeSoto has slowly built their program up, complete with with first trip to nationals. Will the Dragons keep marching up.
- Palmyra has been expanding their playing opportunities, with their young talent looking to get up on the pile in what's been an arms race amongst the members of Clarence Cannon Conference. Could they join Centralia and Louisiana in the top echelons, or will they have to keep fending off Brookfield and South Shelby for that third spot?
- Kirksville is always the great enigma of the north. You know they're going to be good, but because they rarely get out of Northeast Missouri, you have no idea how good until you're face-to-face with the Tigers.
- Who will step up in Lafayette County, Mexico and Wellsville-Middletown with the departure of key seniors? (By extension, Marceline, Paris, Fayette, and so on)
- Ample young talent at Hannibal, North Kansas City and Southern Boone, but can they coalesce and break through?
- Will teams finally realize to not leave tournaments until they know for certain that they have no more games?
- More critically, will more tournaments introduce consolation afternoon rounds in lieu of knockout brackets?
- Will someone in KC (besides Northtown & the Fort) finally get with the rest of the I-70 corridor and not just attend a large number of 20/20 tournaments, but also host?
Yours Truly on HSQB Forum also wrote:A few additions to my previous post:
- Washington also loses Cole Phinney. Again, they're reloading.
- As Raj noted, definitely keep an eye on MICDS, namely if senior Alex Donovan gets any support. He's a one-man wrecking crew, but unless this West County school (whose alumni include Vincent Price and Joe Buck) steps up and support an HSNCT playoff squad, they likely will have plateaued.
- Francis Howell returns senior Ganon Evans, arguably one of the most congenial ambassadors of the sport in the St Louis area if not the entire state.
- Several programs (notably Tuscumbia, Rock Bridge and Scotland County) will have new coaches - will they be able to maintain the momentum their predecessors have put in place?
1. Ladue (young team, lots of talent)
2. MICDS (with Alex, a powerhouse)
3. St. Joseph Central (William just gets better)
4. Louisiana (Michael Powers: just gets better)
5. Hallsville (always a tough team)
6. Washington (Jonathan and Carrie are very good)
7. Hickman (always in the mix)
8. Helias (see above)
9. Moberly (very talented group that got better each time I saw them)
10. Fort Osage (A team is #1, #2, #4, and #6 scorers from last year)
For teams 11-25, there is no particular order (especially with KC-area schools that rarely come east)
11. Eureka (I have heard good things about this team, but haven't read for them yet)
12. Savannah (always has a good team, but doesn't travel much to Columbia or STL)
13. Lakeland (William Koch is a good player)
14. Kirksville (always competitive in tournaments I read at)
15. NKC (lost Ian, but always seems to be in the mix)
16. Rock Bridge (unsteady coaching situation, but has talent)
17. Tuscumbia (Dustin and Preston both get better every time I see them)
18. DeSoto (saw them at HSNCT and was impressed)
19. Park Hill South (always has talent, but never comes to Columbia)
20. St. Pius X (they graduated some talent, but they have more in the pipeline)
21. LS North (talented team, too bad they never go to Columbia or HSNCT)
22. Washington B (I know that there will be talent on this team)
23. Hannibal (Pranati keeps improving)
24. Park Hill (another KC-area team with some talent that never comes east
25. Pilot Grove (always has talent, and always a tough matchup)
Other teams: Centralia (Ryan had a down year, but this team will be back), Pleasant Hill (Steve Moore is a good coach that will make any team better), Palmyra (stats show improvement each year), Mexico (stats continue to show improvement), Sullivan (with Jason taking over, this team will get better!!)
Just my take, so don't be too harsh (sadly, I am not as up to date on STL, so I may have left off some good teams that way, like Eureka, (sorry guys!!)
So ...exactly like the Morlan preseason poll then?FortOsageScholarBowl wrote:Inspired by Fred Morlan (and without any statistical analysis whatsoever...)