FORT WAYNE — As if the temperatures were not hot enough outside, Fort Wayne area high schools turned up the heat a few extra degrees, as the calendar turned August and official practices began for the 2011 fall sports season. With the drills and conditioning well underway, both Bishop Dwenger and Bishop Luers High School teams across the board seek to take top honors in the Summit Athletic Conference and make strong post-season runs for trips to the Indiana High School Athletic Association state finals on the field, court and courses.
Two-time defending Class 2A state champions hit the gridiron this fall in quest of yet another title. Led by quarterback and Bowling Green commit, senior James Knapke, the Knights continue their multiple formation attack and stingy multiple front defense.
Knapke, who is chasing many career school records, is joined by an all-star lineup of senior Casey Baker and juniors Jaylon Smith, Michael Rogers, Tyvell Jamison, Dan Beckman and Kendrick Mullen. Bishop Luers boasts experience in the skill positions and size up front. The 2011 season also marks Coach Matt Lindsay’s 25th year as head coach for the Knights. With a coaching record of 214-96, Lindsay and the Knights are seeking their first state championship three-peat for Luers football.
Coach Tom O’Brien expects 2011 to be a rebuilding year. However, he admitted, “These neat kids could surprise me! Either way it will be a fun season with these great young ladies.”
Although seniors Libby Devlin and Michaela O’Shaughnessey are the only varsity veterans, many other upperclassmen participated in golf tournaments throughout the summer and are vying for varsity spots early in the season.
Also battling for a varsity position will be Allison Leja, who leads a solid group of incoming freshman. Devlin, who competed in the Fort Wayne Women’s City golf meet and spent countless hours on the golf course this summer, is predicted to be one of the area’s top golfers for 2011.
The Knights finished second in the SAC last year with a 5-1 conference record.
With no seniors listed on their 2011 roster, the young Luers boys’ tennis team is challenged to focus on developing talent and building towards the future. In his first year as head coach, longtime assistant Joel Pyle looks to maintain solid fundamentals, have fun and beat the 2010 season record.
“Our strengths are mental toughness, positive attitude and willingness to learn,” said the father of three from Huntington. Returning members for the Knights include juniors Collin Hire, Sam Scheer and Canyon Zwick and sophomores Paul Buta, Mark Hellinger and Mathieu Helmick.
Last October marked an exciting and historic season for the Knights as Billy McManus competed in the 2010 IHSAA boys’ cross-country state meet. McManus became the first in Luers’ history to make a state appearance for the boys’ cross-country team.
Though the Knights lost McManus to graduation, a new front runner, with a familiar name, has emerged from the ranks. Junior and younger brother Sean McManus now leads the pack and looks to pick up where his brother left off.
Coach Mendy Web predicts that McManus will make his mark on the family legacy this season as he sets his sights on placing well in the SAC and advancing to the Regional meet.
The team also is paced by returning seniors Paul Lohmuller –– a four-year runner who earned an Academic All-State honorable mention as a junior –– Sam Johnson, Josh Ware and Corey Leffers and newcomers senior Mason Coy and junior Brian Teeters.
For the girls, senior Rachel Crouch, Luers’ all-time record holder, returns with a goal of advancing to Regoinals her final season, while senior Katie Griebel captains the Knights’ for 2011.
Along with Lohmuller, Griebel also earned an Academic All-State honorable mention her junior year. Senior Marianne Oxley and junior Robin Schafer are both back and expected to contribute while freshman Corrine Zay is listed as an excited, strong newcomer.
In his third season with the Knights, Lewis plans to build on last year’s 13-5-1 record.
Returning key players for the Knights are juniors Mason Whitman and Addie Reimbold. Whitman, a forward, was an all-state selection for 2010 and has scored over 40 goals during her first two years at Luers.
The versatile and talented Reimbold was also chosen as a first team all-around player as a freshman last season.
“We have a really good core in our midfield,” said Lewis about the upcoming season. The Knights have a goal to win a Sectional title for 2011 and advance in the post-season from there.
Losing five seniors from the 2010 sectional championship team, the Luers volleyball team will have a very young group this fall according to Coach Scott Shipman.
“We have a good core of volleyball savvy kids, it will just take some time,” said Shipman.
Leading the Knights with their sectional-winning experience are seniors Laura Welling, Ave Stout, Maria Zaremba and juniors Nancy McNamera and Emily Scheiber.
“We have girls that can hit the ball,” said Shipman. “We have good ball control and we will have to have good defense.”
Playing five games in eight days to start their 2011 season, the Luers boys’ soccer team has set lofty goals to win their conference and take a sectional title this fall.
“We had a great season in 2010 and finished with the best record (9-6-1) in the last decade,” explained Coach John Myers.
Leading the Knights this season are senior captains Greg Strack and Will Johnson. The Knights also list Brian Nichter, Eric Schannep and Matt Rupright as returning seniors. Rounding out the veteran upperclassman are juniors Jacob Murphy, Adam Perolio and Brendan Gonzalez. Key sophomores to watch for at Bishop Luers are Nick Strack, Riley Bubb, Jeff Justice and Eian Connelly.
With Strack in goal and having a strong backfield, Myers feels this year’s group is more spread out as a team after the loss of all-state selection Alex Stronczek to graduation.
“We plan to step up and be better than average,” said Myers.
Coach Chris Svarczkopf’s success the past decade speaks volumes of Bishop Dwenger High School’s football program. The Saints’ coach takes a 103-19 record into his 10th season, coming off a 13-1 record from 2010.
Dwenger, which finished first the SAC (8-0) last season, graduated a significant chunk of college-bound players, but will build around senior captains Evan Feichter, Luke Tippmann and Dalton Wheeler. Other returning starters include seniors Steven Espinoza, Ben Evans and Connor Friesner and junior Connor McCann to carry out the split veer offense and anchor the 4-3 defensive scheme.
Svarczkopf listed both the offensive and defensive lines as relatively inexperienced, as well as the punter position.
“Our team strengths are at the receiver, running back and quarterback spots,” Svarckopf said.
Also in his 10th season this fall is volleyball coach John Minnick. He and the Saints hope to build on a very successful 2010 season, finishing 25-8 after losing to Concordia in the sectional finals.
Dwenger is expected to be a very offensive group led by their experienced seniors Maddie Mayers and Katie Rosswurm.
Mayers, a talented middle hitter is committed to Illinois for her collegiate career.
Juniors Brie Rahrig, middle hitter, and Leah Stetzel, defensive specialist, are key players in the Dwenger starting offense. Sophomore outside/middle hitter Olivia Current also is one to watch this season.
With a number of starting spots being filled by freshman for 2011, Coach Jason Wisnienski explained, “The Bishop Dwenger girls’ soccer team will be in a rebuilding stage this season.”
“We have some great leadership from senior captains Adrienne Korson, Mary Beier and Aubrey Schrader,” he added. “Seniors Melinda Earnest, Sarah Kleber and Melanie Heiny have also been helpful in preparing the freshmen for the high school season.”
The Saints continue to play a tough schedule with opponents that include South Bend Saint Joseph’s, Evansville Memorial, Penn, Carmel and Cathedral.
“Our focus is to mature and grow throughout the season in order to make it as far as possible in the post-season,” said Wisnienski.
Bishop Dwenger graduated five seniors from their 2010 semi-state cross country championship team, but seniors Andrew Eckrich and James Myers and junior Luke Miller return to lead a very young Saints group on and off the course under the direction of Coach Eric Aide.
Aide has led four teams to the state finals in his six years coaching at Dwenger and hopes to improve on team finishes week by week during the regular season and advance to the state finals once again this fall.
“Our strengths are solid leadership up front and a youthful group,” Aide said.
Senior Luke Offerle and junior Mark Berghoff are other returning varsity runners, while Jack Obergfell, Kevin Wuest, Tyler Adganalis, Scotty Jauch, Tyler Johnson, Derek Gloudemans and Zach McIntyre are among the newcomers expected to contribute this fall.
Just prior to their official start, Coach Jessica Hayes listed five returning senior Saints to lead the girls’ cross country team for the 2011 season: Amelia Erlandson, Emily Hentz, Sarah Colligan, Michelle Marqueling and Meghan Gloudemans. Also returning are juniors LeeAnn Moeller, Sarah Coffee and Merier Didier and sophomores Rachel Hentz and Shannon Kochanski.
The Saints welcome newcomers Gretchen Childers, Karen Eckrich, Erin Kilbane and Mary Momper who have been training with the group since mid-June.
Early outings for Bishop Dwenger include a camping trip to Pokagen for good trail running and team bonding, the Hokem-Karem relay and Bishop Luers invitational.
They will join 21 other Catholic high schools for the Guerin Invitational in mid-September where runners enjoy a race, lunch and Mass together.
The Saints finished sixth, by one point, at the 2010 sectionals. This season, the team’s goals include placing in the top five at sectionals and advancing to regionals.
Bishop Dwenger returns four solid starters from a year ago to the golf course this fall. Sophomore Nellie Lee, junior Julie Mueller and incoming freshman Katie Giant finished 1-2-3 for the Saints in an early invitational at Northrop where the Coach Kurt Leffers’ team finished third out of nine schools.
“We are off to a strong start and these girls are willing to work very hard,” Leffers said.
The Saints hope to win the conference and break 350 as a team for 2011.
In a preseason interview, Coach Tim Koehl is pleased with what he has seen over the summer months in open tennis sessions.
The talented, Bertram Najev returns for his sophomore season after a state appearance as a freshman singles player, along with senior varsity letter winners Michael Sordelet and Keenan Fuller and juniors Dillon Oswald, Matt Woodrum and Jacob Eifrid. Bishop Dwenger also looks for good things from sophomore transfer Charlie Scott and seniors Chris McGraw and Tyler Landers.
The Saints finished second in the SAC in 2010, losing their first four matches before winning nine straight. In his second season with the Saints and 19th season as a head coach, Koehl feels one of the keys to success for 2011 will be how well the Saints’ doubles teams stack up.
The boys’ soccer team at Bishop Dwenger hope to build on last season’s 14-3 record. Leading the Saints are varsity veterans seniors Cameron Schenkel, Casey Zimmerman, Dalton Shutt and Michael Nix, and junior Ian Deiser.
Schenkel, a strong versatile player, is a Division I prospect and was a major component of the Saints’ defense, which allowed only seven goals and contributed to 11 shutouts in 2010. Zimmerman’s urgency to attack the goal still is a key component to the Saints’ midfield, which yielded 60 goals last season.
Nix, a 2010 All-SAC first-team selection, is expected to lead the Saints’ defense.
With his sharp technical skills and vision, combined with a very good shot, Shutt will be expected to do big things for the Saints along with Deiser who earned a starting position late in the 2010 season.
Clifford Steiglitz is expected to fill forward duties while the other upperclassmen gel with a strong sophomore group.
In his second season as head coach, Carlos Cruz explained the team’s strengths, “We have experience on defense and an ability to possess.”
Cruz hopes the Saints “play beautiful soccer,” win the SAC and advance out of a very tough sectional this season.
Marian High School
MISHAWAKA — The fall staff at Marian High School is all back and carryover from a triumphant spring campaign looks to catapult the Knights into a season of great expectations.
“Our spring season boasted a runner in the state finals, our softball team was ranked No. 1 and the baseball team was runner-up in the tournament,” said Reggie Glon, athletic director. “Our fall athletes and coaches have all worked hard in the off-season; we are looking to make some runs at more state honors.”
“Some other big news is that Marian will be hosting the sectional and regional rounds of the State Girls Soccer tournament,” Glon said. “That coupled with our continuous facility renovations and our 17 new classrooms will keep us current athletically and educationally.”
“I would like to add that my family and I appreciated the outpouring of prayers and support during my spring illness,” Glon said. “Thanks to Carl Loesch and the Marian community and all their support we were able to battle the illness, and now continue to serve the school cancer free.”
The Marian football team is again looking for another successful campaign under Coach Glon, after posting his 100th victory as the Knights’ skipper.
“The kids have had a great off season and the experience level (16 starters and 29 letter winners back) has expectations high,” Glon said. “We have played a lot of football and it is their time to shine.”
“I think that our strength will be our balance, our eight offensive returning starters — Anthony Rice, Vince Campiti, Coley Schultheis, Zach Zehender, Riley Jeffers, Dylan Henlsey, Michael Whitfield and quarterback Robert Mischler — give us kids that know how to run our system and know how to work together,” Glon said.
“Our defense boasts the same accolades with eight starters back — Michael McNamara, Eric Plude, Tommy Stachowiak, Mike Taelman, Robert Deering, Jimmy Hardig, Vince Ravotto and our punter, Kyle Kemp,” he said.
“We will be tested early and then face some of the best teams in the state,” Glon added. “We need to stay healthy, feed off our senior leadership and do the little things right to reach the goals these guys are capable of.”
Marian volleyball has been on the regional and state map as a power for the 19 years that Dan Anderson has skippered the squad and this year should be no different.
“At times when the girls play the way they know how to play, we can’t be beat,” Anderson said. “When we are locked into our system we can be very good.”
“Our front row will be bigger than last season and we are still working on learning a couple of new wrinkles on defense and we will get better,” added Anderson. “The team is anchored by our three senior captains that have played an awful lot of volleyball and are leaders — Mary Chelminiak, Kelly Powell and Sophie Wilk.”
“We also have last season’s kill leader back in second team all-state player, Jordan Bueter,” Anderson said. “We will play some of the top programs early in our schedule, but the competition should make us a better team.”
Marian boys’ soccer is trying to build on last season’s success when the Knights raced all the way to the semi-state before being eliminated.
“I try not to compare teams. They each have their own personality and develop an identity,” said longtime Coach Ben Householter. “It doesn’t look like we have the goal-scoring chops as we did last year, but the kids are working hard to get us there.”
“The defense is back with Michael Henry. Dylan Gainey will anchor the zone. And keeper Connor Camp is solid in net,” Householter said.
“We have some experience at the midfield area and as the season progresses, we should grow together,” he added.
“We are not a big team and depth is probably our shortcoming,” explained Householter. “Our success will depend on our seniors stepping up and a desire to be competitive in practice.”
The girls’ soccer program has a great opportunity this season — home field advantage through the sectional and regional rounds of the state tournament, and they hope to take it and run with it.
“We are blessed with some good players. Our defense is solid. Our keepers are solid, we have experience at midfield, overall we have some nice depth,” said Coach Djamel Charmat.
“The girls have worked hard and have come into the season in great shape; it will be getting the first game under our belt,” added Charmat.
“We have two goal keepers that we are expecting good things from in Makaela Douglas and Devon Smith,” continued Charmat.
“Gabby Veldman is such a key scorer. She really knows how to put the ball in the net,” added Charmat.
“We have a freshman, Shannon Hendricks, who is very promising and will be able to compete at this level right away,” Charmat said. “As with every team early in the season, we will have to mesh the old and the new players to become the best team we can be.”
In the second year as head coach of the Knights, Andrew Grey is seeing progress in building a solid program at Logan and Dragoon Trail.
“The boys have dramatically improved since last season, the guys have run a lot and have taken initiative to be ready for the upcoming season” Grey said. “I’m excited as are the kids to see what strides they have made when we start racing.”
“Our leadership comes from our senior captain and one of our top runners, Tony Spaulding,” Grey added. “Matt Rozycki and Adam Duvall have been working hard and are expected to be very competitive this season.”
The Lady Knights started last season off rocky but with year-end results and improvement.
“I’m really eager to see the leadership come out during the competition at the meets this season,” Coach Grey said. “We will mix some veterans with a couple of freshmen and see what they can do.”
“Gabby Skwarcan, Maggie Pendergast and Ashley Taylor bring the poise, confidence and experience to our squad,” Grey noted. “Freshmen Jenny Waltman and Megan Duvall look like they will bring a fresh competitive spirit to round out the team.”
The girls’ golf team has not only a coach but also a spiritual leader with school chaplain, Father Jacob Runyon, at the helm.
“We return all of our players from last year, a season where we placed fifth at the regional and were 12 strokes from the state tournament,” Father Runyon noted. “We have three seniors captains that have played all four years and are very accomplished — Ellen Makris, Selena Staun and Ruth Liddell.”
“Nicole Bourgeois, Paige Weber and Jocelyn Rozycki will round out the team and give us additional quality golfers,” Father Runyon added. “The girls have definitely the talent and experience to advance to the state tournament rounds.”
Saint Joseph’s High School
SOUTH BEND — The Saint Joseph’s High School athletic teams had a banner fall campaign in 2010 with boys’ soccer and tennis teams each winning sectionals, the boys’ cross-country squad being a state finalist, the Indian Football team reaching the state title game and the girls’ soccer being crowned state champions. Expectations are again high.
“Look to have another good fall season, we had more than 180 students come out for athletics,” said Eric Gohlke, athletic director. “We have some exceptional veteran coaches that have bought in and taken ownership of the Saint Joseph’s traditions and student athlete focus.”
“We have a couple of new faces with Kathy Mossey heading up volleyball and Ron Wilcoxson taking over the reins of the girls’ golf program,” Golhke said. “Both coaches have roots in the sports as well as a commitment to Saint Joseph’s High School.
“One may think that our facilities are on hold during the construction of the new high school, but we are actively working on the north fields,” Gohlke added. “Along with minor projects we are in the process of funding and building two new softball fields at the Laurel Road site.”
Making it to the state title game last season was a tremendous accomplishment for the Indians, but this year’s squad wants to continue growing and improving.
“Hopefully we aren’t going to learn the same lessons we painfully endured during our wins and losses last season,” Head Coach Ben Downey said. “I would like our squad to continue to excel at the good habits we developed last year and during the off season.”
“I think that over the course of the last year we have gotten bigger, stronger and faster but more importantly, we have become leaders and teachers for our younger kids,” Downey said. “I think that the team unity and leadership are our strengths and that is important for this football team to succeed.”
“We have three offensive linemen that are the panicle of that leadership dynamic — Jason Mulligan, Matt Kletka and John Godfrey,” continued Downey. “We have a new quarterback in Nick Carmola, and he has already shown the physical attributes as well as the leadership skills to be an effective leader right away.”
“We are striving for a balance of offense, defense and special teams, no one unit has stood out so far,” Downey added. “I believe that if one of the units falters during a game that the other two can step up and carry us to victory.”
After winning the sectional last season the Indians have experience returning and are set to make another run deep into the tournament.
“We were young last season and we return 16 with some varsity experience and they have been working hard,” said Coach Alberto Verteramo. “There are no preseason expectations or pressure on this team, but I believe we will end up doing very well.”
“We lost our keeper to graduation and his shoes will be hard to fill,” commented Verteramo. “Like every year we will take it one day, one game at a time and see who’s going to step up and fill in holes.”
“I think that our biggest strength will be our balance and depth,” Verteramo said. “Pulling the team together will fall on senior captains Connor Verteramo and Evan Witsken, and they both have that internal passion to win.”
The defending state champion Indians seem to be poised and ready to make another run at the title with a combination of talent, hard work and experience.
“We lost just four to graduation and one to a transfer from last season’s championship team,” said Coach Johan Kuitse, who has been at the helm for 25 years. “I think we have the potential for a fine season.”
“Our strength is our balance,” said Kuitse. “Our four senior captains have led by example — Melisa Kuitse, Maggie Doslak, Ryan Durham and Lindsey Koe-Daughtry.”
“We need to get a little stronger on defense, but the girls definitely have the ability to be competitive,” added Kuitse. “This is a nice group to manage with a chance to go deep into the tournament.”
The first year at the helm of the Saint Joseph’s Indians, Coach Kathy Mossey and her squad will face traditionally some of the best volleyball teams in the state.
“I am pretty excited about this team and their potential,” Mossey said. “I think that offensively we will be pretty good and our leadership has been great.”
“Seniors Michelle Potter and Sarah Neeser have been providing fantastic leadership as well as Katie Hecklinski, our No. 1 ‘go-to’ girl as an outside hitter,” explained Mossey. “Junior Lauren Gillis is expected to help our defense as a middle blocker.”
“We are probably going to have to put some young girls in some spots they aren’t quite used to,” added Mossey. “We have gotten off to a good start by working hard and preparing for the season.
Last season the boys’ cross-country team placed eighth in the state meet taking on all of schools, sometimes four times the size of Saint Joseph’s, and this year’s squad has five of their top seven back.
“Our returning runners have lead by example year round,” said Jerry Hoffman, longtime skipper. “The kids got hooked on the competition and are extremely dedicated.”
“The quintet of very talented returning runners are Joey Zielinski, Josh Obrien, Connor Method, Jordan Holloman and Dylan Dominello,” Hoffman noted. “It will be our job to find replacements for the other two slots.”
“Our expectations are high, we have continued to improve on last years times,” Hoffman said. “Barring injuries, we should be pretty good.”
The girls’ cross-country team looks to be the best in several years as they try to measure up with the boys’ squad.
“We are expecting to perform and achieve our goals to compete at the City Meet and sectionals,” said Hoffman in his 24th season. “We had good attendance in the off-season and we have an influx of young talent.”
“Four seasoned runners that we are relying on are seniors Darby Mountford (all-state), Elisa Revak, Elizabeth Anthony and junior Elizabeth Taylor to be our base,” Hoffman said. “We have some freshman prospects that will be challenging for spots.”
With the help of parents and an “espree de corps,” the Indian golf team has gotten off to a blistering start, 7-0 and 4-0 in the Northern Indiana Conference.
“I have just been managing the team and having some great experiences working with the girls so far,” said first-year Coach Ron Wilcoxson. “The girls are coming around and we can have a very good season.”
“We have some good leadership and competition seems to be driving us to do well,” added Wilcoxson. “Our captains, Anna Wilcoxson and Skylar Stasney, are very strong competitors and that attitude seems to carry over.”
“Right now, Allison Miller, Lydia Lorenc and Aimee Peickert are filling out the team and making fantastic contributions,” Wilcoxson added. “I can’t tell you how much appreciated help we have received from local golfers in regards to instruction of this team.”
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