A way-too-early fall preview.
At Whitman-Hanson Regional High, fall sports are creeping up, with the cutoff date for signups having just passed.
Here’s your early fall preview:
Boys’ cross country should improve drastically on its 3-5 mark last season. Steve George’s club is returning a heap of talent – led by the fast footed junior, Theo Kamperides, and senior Brandon Hager – both of whom were league all-stars. It doesn’t stop there. The Panthers are returning nine of their top 10 runners. The expectations are high for this group because the talent is there.
Girls’ cross country will return its top runner in senior Tori Boss and its No. 3 runner in senior Niki Kamperides, along with a talent core of underclassmen. The girls should be able to improve on a 3-5 mark last fall.
Field hockey’s emphasis should be on offense, offense, offense. The Panthers pumped in just 14 goals in a tough 2-10-6 campaign last fall. Juniors Delanie MacDonald (five goals last season) and Lauren Clark (three goals last season) are going to have to kick start the offense. Fellow junior Madi Savicke (1.67 GAA last season) returns in net.
Football is setting out to replace almost everyone – its quarterback, running backs, middle linebacker, secondary, two-way linemen, you name it. But, it’s tough to say Mike Driscoll’s squad, still searching for a playoff win, is rebuilding, because how are you supposed to know the talent level of the incoming crop of starters? There are going to be a lot of positions up for grabs.
Boys’ golf can never be counted out. However, Brian Dempsey’s club is going to have its hands full trying to make up for the production of two-time team MVP and two-time league all-star Owen Manning. Junior Aidan Miller and senior captain-elect Matt Korzec key the returnees.
Boys’ soccer is hoping to put a challenging and “unlucky” 4-14-1 campaign last fall behind it. The Panthers have some momentum coming into the year, having won the final game of the season last fall. There’s a bevy of talent on this club, led by senior captains, forward Jason Brodeur (team-high nine goals last season) and defender Stevie Kelly (the team’s lone league all-star). A healthy Adam Milewski and Brandon Nehiley will also be key.
Girls’ soccer hasn’t missed the tournament since 1999 and don’t expect it to this fall either. Yes, the talented duo on defense of Olivia Johnson (headed to play at Endicott) and Sammy Smith (headed to play at Boston College) and goalkeeper Skylar Kuzmich (headed to play at Hofstra) are all gone, but there’s just something about this program that it just doesn’t seem to be affected by graduations. Twenty-seven of the Panthers’ 51 goals last season came off the foot of then-freshmen Olivia Borgen, Nora Manning and Kelsee Wozniak. The trio is primed for a huge season.
Girls’ volleyball is pretty much starting from scratch with W-H alum Samantha Richer taking over the helm. Rising senior captains Olivia Martin (right side hitter), Lexi Connolly (outside hitter), classmate Ella Sweeney (middle hitter) and rising junior Caileen Hurley (setter) key the returnees, but there’s a lot of experience gone.