A capsule look at Wooster High winter sports teams

A capsule look at Wooster High winter sports teams

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The following is a preview of Wooster High’s varsity winter sports teams:

Boys basketball

Coach: Michael Snowbarger entering eighth season at Wooster (107-49, 192-79 overall).

2021-22 record: 12-11.

Letter winners returning: seniors Caleb Scott (6-foot-4 forward) and Blake Bowen (6-2 guard) and junior Luke Snowbarger (6-5 F).

Key newcomers: seniors Bronson Morgan, Tyler Bonner, Braden Haumesser and Jaymin Walker; juniors Anthony Sines, Aidan Holford and Ethan Shetler; and sophomore Brady Bowen.

Coach’s comments: “This year we have a lot of inexperience at the varsity level, but with the kids being around the program now for several years, they understand what it takes to compete at that level,” said Snowbarger, whose team lost to Medina in a Div. I Sectional final last winter. “I have been really happy with how hard the kids have been working. It is a great group to coach. They get along and play together extremely well. We have a very challenging schedule this year. Not only is the league deep, we also play Jackson, Dover, Solon and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, just to name a few.”

Scouting report: Wooster suffered heavy graduation losses but should be strong in the front court with Scott and Snowbarger. Bowen, a Kentucky baseball signee, will step into a much bigger role as a shooting guard. The newcomers, especially the guards, must develop quickly for the Generals to compete against a tough schedule.

Girls basketball

Coach: Alex Kacere, entering second season.

2021-22 record: 12-11 (9-3 OCC, second).

Letter winners returning: seniors Nora Levy (5-6 G), Eily Badertscher (6-0 F) and Grace Grey (5-10 F); juniors Tori Pettorini (5-4 G) and Grace Kostohryz (5-10 F); and sophomore Haylee Braden (5-11 F).

Key newcomer: Freshman Brooke Ritchie (5-6 G).

Coach’s comments: “We have a group of six players returning who all played big minutes in the previous season,” Kacere said. “We will look to improve on our past season’s success. We would like to compete for the conference and the district.”

Scouting report: Kacere brought a run and gun style to the Generals, who thrived in year one under his leadership. The Generals play fast and have the green light to shoot lots of 3-pointers. Levy (17.3 ppg, 5.1 assists, 4.6 rebounds) is a fourth-year starter while Badertscher (13.8 ppg, 6 rpg, 60-134 three-pointers) and Pettorini (11.3 ppg, 56-174 three-pointers) also are proven scorers.

Wrestling

Coach: Brian Teter, entering second season.

2021-22 record: 5-5 (fifth in OCC).

Letter winners returning: seniors Michael Howman-Williams (215) and Tevin Turner (175); juniors Jayson Deeds (285), CJ Furlong (126), Grant Hoffman (165), Dylan Hudson (157), Travis Legg (190) and Daniel Rouse (150); and sophomore Simon Yount (165).

Key newcomers: Junior Evan Patton (285) and sophomore Julian Franklin (190).

Coach’s comments: “Last season in my first year as head coach, we had a young team with limited varsity wrestling experience,” Teter said. “This year we are returning nine of our 11 letter winners. Junior Jayson Deeds is a returning district qualifier and looks to improve upon his 31-13 record from last year. He hopes to push his fellow teammates to join him at the district tournament this season.”

Scouting report: In addition to Deeds, Hudson (22-17) also had a winning record last season. Teter has the Wooster wrestling program on the rise, but even with nine letter winners back, it’s still a young team. There are only three seniors. Having gained valuable experience and confidence last year, look for Wooster to continue to improve this season.

Boys bowling

Coach: Tracie Leiendecker, 14th year, and Suzanne Donley, fifth year.

2021-22 record: 2-9 (0-6 OCC), won OCC tourney.

Letter winners returning: senior Dawson Gaynor and sophomores Sam Fleming and Isaac Eble.

Key newcomers: seniors Mark Blough, Trey Cichello and Jason Legg; junior Andrew Sanders; and freshman Gavin Ennis.

Coach’s comments: “Our boys were unable to win a match in the OCC last year but took the OCC Championship down to a final game and final frame for the win,” Leiendecker said. “The OCC will be determined a different way this season: The season stats combined with the tournament winner will determine the overall OCC Championship. That was determined prior to our victory.”

Scouting report: The Generals are working to build off of last season’s OCC title to post a better overall record in 2021-22. The boys team has three leaders back in Fleming (201 average), Gaynor (191) and Eble (186).

Girls bowling

Coach: Tracie Leiendecker, 14th year.

2021-22 record: 8-3 (4-2 OCC).

Letter winners returning: juniors Abbie Leiendecker, Abby Coleman and Chloe Bennett.

Key newcomers: senior Emma Thompson, junior Nadine Hyder, sophomore Linnea Savage and freshman Ainsley Shetler.

Coach’s comments: “Both the boys and girls teams are returning three letter winners,” Leiendecker said. “With that being said, we are rebuilding both teams and have some added young talent this season.

“As always we will use the season matches to grow stronger as a team to prepare for the postseason. The OCC has grown to seven of the eight having varsity bowling. We added New Philadelphia — an established bowling program — and West Holmes as their inaugural season this year. We are excited for the season.”

Scouting report: Tracie Leiendecker was one of the first OCC bowling coaches and continues to help grow the sport, both in Wooster and throughout the area. After finishing as OCC runner-up to Ashland, the girls team should once again challenge for the league title. Abbie Leiendecker is the returning OCC Bowler of the Year after averaging 219 a game, with a high of 278.

Gymnastics

Coach: Debbie Knapic, entering 14th year as coach.

2021-22 record: 5-2 (third place in NEGC).

Letter winners returning: seniors Alana Taylor, Brenna Huffmann, Madi Sommer, Megan Piper, Molly Byrne and Owen McConnell; junior Madi Jennings; and sophomore Mara French.

Key newcomers: Freshmen Danielle Hendrix and Kira Lehman.

Coach’s comments: “We’re looking forward to having a strong all-around team again this year,” Knapic said. “Our strengths come from having athletes who are talented as well as participate in gymnastics throughout the whole year. Weaknesses fall mostly on bars, where strength as well as an element of bravery can make or break that event. I’m looking forward to having Owen compete alongside us again this year to finish out his high school career — also the talent of incoming freshmen Danielle and Kira to see what they will add to the team.”

Scouting report: Sommer earned first-team All-League for her floor routine last season while Huffman garnered second-team honors on the beam. The seven seniors all came up together through the YMCA program and are working to make this a memorable final season.

Wheelchair basketball

Coach: Bret Followay, 47-1 entering fourth year.

2021-22 record: 16-1, state champions.

Letter winners returning: seniors Ryan Hannan, Colin Harig and Madyson Followay.

Key newcomers: sixth-grader Ella Wirth.

Coach’s comments: “One of our biggest strengths is our experience,” Followay said. “My seniors have been playing together for a long time and work well together. Our speed and defense would be another key to all our success. A weakness is roster depth. As of now we only have one sub. We could definitely use a few more players.”

Scouting report: Wooster’s wheelchair basketball program is second to none in Ohio. The Generals are fun to watch and should continue to bring pride to the school. With a lack of depth, team health will be a key.

Boys swimming

Coach: Chris Matthew.

2021-22 record: OCC champion.

Letter winners returning: Seniors Trent Kuzma, David Weeman, Pierce Duong, Coursen Kauffman, Eric Snider, Owen McConnell, Vince Neyhart, Ethan Lee 12; juniors Andrei Dordea, Steven Fox, Caleb Kostohryz, Cole Walenciak, Cooper Udell; sophomores Michael Buchholz, Cole Kuzma and Santi Salazar.

Key newcomers: Junior Luke Boucher (injured last year); sophomore Thomas Foster (diver); freshmen Gabe Bosler-Kilmer, Archie Mealey, Landon Wolf and Kellen Smith.

Coach’s comments: “This team will lean on the talent of returning 2022 state qualifier junior Andrei Dordea, as well as junior Cole Walenciak, junior Michael Buchholz, all of whom were district qualifiers last season, and freshman Gabe Bosler-Kilmer, who is phenomenal and a veteran USA and Y swimmer,” Matthew said. “We have four divers this year, which will be huge as we battle Lexington and Ashland for the OCC Championship.”

Scouting report: Graduating three outstanding seniors in Andrew Glasgow, John Sibilia and Aiden Strand-Fox will be tough to replace, but several talented returnees and a strong freshmen class give the Generals reason to believe they can have another memorable season.

Girls swimming

Coach: Chris Matthew, 29th year.

2021-22 record: 12-3-1, OCC champs.

Letter winners returning: Seniors Lillian Green, Gretchen Chelf, Sophia Baxstrom, Paonia Campbell; junior Lizzie Altland; sophomores Lauren Hershberger, Colleen Frantz (diver), Abigail Grimwood, Margret McBride and Miley Green.

Key newcomers: Senior Maddi Sommer (Diver); junior Kyia Wolf; freshmen Piper Udell, Hailey Padden, Leticia Halene, Molly Hendershot and Abi Strand-Fox.

Coach’s comments: “This team has a similar feel to last year’s team, but we have lost six varsity letterwinners,” Matthew said. “To lose a Gracie Chelf is huge. However, this is an amazing group of very hard-working, motivated young women and are very motivated to get to the state level in some relays and events. We also have a solid class of freshmen girls, who are experienced YMCA swimmers.”

Scouting report: Seniors Gretchen Chelf and Lillian Green are expected to be the top-scoring seniors, along with sophomores Miley Green and diving sensation Frantz. All of them were district qualifiers and Udell is a highly touted freshman.

Note: Triway winter sports preview capsuls will run in the Dec. 3 Wooster Weekly News.