FORT WAYNE — With heavy snowfall covering the mound as late as March 25, the spring season is off to a slow start for Fort Wayne area athletes. Anxious to make their debuts on the courts, links, fields and tracks, Bishop Luers and Bishop Dwenger high schools will continue their domination in their Summit Athletic Conference (SAC) and are expected to lead the area with successful showings and deep post season runs.
Returning this year for the Bishop Dwenger tennis team is the state runner-up duo of junior Audrey Rang and senior Elizabeth Maxson, along with varsity players Lynelle Lee, Alex Yoder, Leah Stetzel and Elizabeth O’Daniel.
In his second season, Coach Jeremy Patterson lists five seniors anchoring his team and leading them with the goals of a conference title and returning as a team to state.
Players to watch this season will be Rang and Maxson (doubles) as well as Alex Yoder, Meredith Braun and newcomer Abbie Grace Lee.
Bishop Dwenger is coming off an 8-6 record, third-place conference finish, and a loss in the sectional finals. Patterson explains, “I learned a lot from last season. The dedication and commitment from the girls has improved quite a bit after the shortfall of last season. Our team chemistry and excellent work ethic are going to be the strengths for this team this season. I also have a goal of getting as many of our seniors on the Academic All-State team.”
Coach Dave Scudder may have lost his No. 1 golfer to graduation in Carter Eifert, but the Saints return a talented line-up in senior Casey Cooney, juniors Greg Eifert, Jake Leonard, Spencer Gillig and Mike Filler and sophomore John Hope. Newcomer Callahan Elzey is also expected to have an impact on the 2012 conference champs (7-0) performance this season.
Bishop Dwenger has soundly dominated the SAC the past decade. They went on to finish 10th at the state finals a year ago and have a goal of getting back to state with a little higher finish, according to Scudder.
“We expect a good season. It (returning to the state meet) is a reachable and attainable goal if we play well,” he summarized.
The Saints are looking forward to the Preseason Preview in Franklin at the Legends course, the same course at which they hope to finish strong.
Pitching from Paul Geha, Will Sherlock and Luke Palmer will be the strengths of the Bishop Dwenger baseball team this season. Palmer, the Saints’ leading hitter last year and Holy Cross recruit, Geha, will serve as captains. Ben Kosiarek, Brian Polhamus, Michael Deprez and third basemen Skylar Noll also return for another varsity season. Coach John Tone lists his newcomers as infielders Justin Wagoner, Evan Fenker, Trey Sanfrey, catcher Cody Miller and Jeff Mugg at first base. Ryan Fenker and Jason Garrett will serve as assistant coaches for the Saints.
Long-time Coach Herb Widner returns junior state finalist pole vaulter, Jared Schipper, senior Luke Miller and sophomore Greg Tippmann, who
were part of the 4×800 relay that advanced to state along with the talented Gerald McGee.
Throwers Eric Cagnet and Nathan Niese are also back and the Saints are looking forward to transfer sprinter Marcus Lowe.
Although they are a young team, Widner has 48 on his roster and explains, “We are fairly balanced and hope to come around and have a decent season.”
Bishop Dwenger will compete in the Northside Relays on April 13 where they finished second a year ago.
Along with several new freshman and sophomores, the Bishop Dwenger girls’ track team returns seven seniors on a team of 50: Erika Warner, Stephanie Schenkel, Allison Coffin, Ciara
Feipel, Meri Didier, LeeAnn Moeller and Sarah Coffee. The 2012 400-meter dash regional qualifier Dominique Effinger is also back.
Rachel Gibson in sprints, Greta Winkeljohn in shot and disc and distance runners Megan Brelage and Clare Manning are newcomers to watch for.
In early action this season, the relay team of Erin Kilbane, Brelage, Bella Wiseman, Manning and Didier qualified for the indoor state meet, as did Megan Coffin in the high jump.
Challenged by the weather, Coach Erin Brady explains, “We look forward to starting our outdoor season after spring break.”
Theresa Roberts, Eric Ade, Nancy Yorke, Thomas Crum and Herb Widner are also on the Saints coaching staff.
The Saints softball team has some unfinished business to take care of this season. “We came up just one game short in conference play last season and one game short in the sectional finals,” detailed Coach Dave Moyer, who returns for his 10th season at the helm of a very successful Bishop Dwenger program.
After a 17-7 season a year ago and with no seniors lost to graduation, the Saints plan to pick up right where they left off behind their experienced leaders — Erica Miller, Julie Bazur and Sara Spaulding. All three seniors were part of the 2010 state championship team and have the potential to be the winningest group of girls in the school’s history after season records of 27-2, 22-3 and 17-7.
Bazur has signed with Indiana Tech, while Miller will play for Marian University next season. She and junior pitcher/infielder Jordan Schneider will serve as the 2013 captains.
Schneider and Demetra Burn will provide solid pitching, while juniors Ali Irvine, Sierra Fisher and Alli Dennie, along with sophomores Madi Snyder and Amanda Miller, round out the roster for Bishop Dwenger.
“We always have the same two goals each year — win the SAC and get to state,” explains Coach Jeff Doll. Bishop Luers will be led by their pitcher Darby McFann and catcher Julia Hayes, who are back, along with infielder Kelsey Richards, Maranda Malott and Schrae Hammock. After a championship loss in the sectionals to Adams Central, the Knights will also rely heavily on their strong defense this season.
Senior captains Dan Colvin, Nick Burrell and David Shank return to lead the Bishop Luers Knights’ lacrosse team for 2013. In his rookie season as head coach, Eric Frentz explains, “We have a tight group who have played together for several years now.”
His team has yet to win a game in their first four outings, but Frentz is hopeful. He would like to see his Knights continue to gain more knowledge of the sport and concludes, “Our goal is to finish in the top 12 this season and make the state tournament.”
The Bishop Luers Knights return Joe Korjenek and Joe Leja who have each won an individual SAC title, along with John Fink, Ben Mauch and Conner Nix.
Coach Tom O’Brien whose team went 10-2 last season and 6-1 in conference play lost just one of their top golfers, Parker Watts, to graduation a year ago.
The Knights have goals of advancing from sectionals and getting out of regional. In addition, Bishop Luers plans to battle against Bishop Dwenger, who has dominated the SAC for the past decade, for a conference title.
“We have a talented group and should be one of the best Bishop Luers teams in several years,” O’Brien summarized.
After eight seasons as head coach of the Bishop Luers tennis team, Brady McArdle has turned the reins over to Jerry Rahrig this season. The Knights return four varsity players in Andrea Choka, Courtney Witte, Natalie Rahrig and Maddie Brown from an undefeated 2012 SAC championship team.
Just a junior, Rahrig went 14-4 in 2012 and was an all-district and all-SAC selection. She and Choka were chosen as this year’s team captains. Brown was also an all-conference choice a year ago and finished with an impressive 12-4 record.
Although the Knights lost Samantha Rahrig, their No. 1 singles player and all-state pick, to graduation, Rahrig reports, “We have 12 new freshman and sophomore players that will be competing with the upperclassmen for varsity and JV playing positions. We will need more practices to determine who those players will be that can work their way into the lineup.”
McArdle will continue to help out on the court in the assistant capacity.
Jason Draper will oversee both the boys’ and girls’ track programs once again this season at Bishop Luers. Returning for the boys will be sprinter Charles Gaston, distance specialist Sean McManus and thrower Nick Deiser. Newcomers to watch for this season for the Knights are Noah Johnson, Matt Paris, Madison Busch, Kaitlin Emmett and Jael Jones. Distance runner Robin Schaefer is back for the girls’ team, along with mid-distance runner Corinne Zay, throwers Amanda Rectanus and Anna Bauer and sprinter Audrey Deiser.
Referring to both programs, Draper concludes, “We are excited to have 23 new freshman on the rosters and several more athletes participating for the first time.”
The Knights’ baseball team returns a solid nucleus and a great deal of experience this season. Led by their eight seniors — Matt Williamson, Aaron LaMaster, Cam Gallaway, Jeff Cardenas, David Hamel, Estaban Garcia, Adam Reust and Tyler Green, the Knights are fueled by a 2012 regional championship loss.
“The boys were a young group a year ago and had success together winning 20 games. We have all our starters back but one position and are hungry to take things to the next level,” explained tenured Coach Gary Rogers, who begins his 27th season at Bishop Luers. He continued, “We have a group that enjoys the game of baseball and are looking forward to playing as soon as things dry up.”
The Knights appear to be well equipped to meet their annual goals of “winning 20 games and a state championship.”
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