Who's the best in basketball and wrestling?
|Mark Owen and the Imlay City Spartans open their 2007-08 campaign this Tuesday with a road trip to North Branch. photo by Kevin Kissane.|
November 28, 2007It is hard to believe it but the winter sports season is already upon us.
Girls' basketball got the avalanche of action underway on Monday, while wrestling starts today (Wednesday) and boys' basketball hits the courts this Tuesday.
Here is a rundown on who our area teams have coming back and their outlooks for their respective 2007-08 campaigns.
As far as the battle for the distinction of Blue Water Area Conference champions are concerned, Almont has the best chance of our Tri-City schools of earning that honor.
Imlay City has the next best area team, then Capac.
Chanahl Putnam, Lindsay Yaklin, Brandy Ullom, Nikki Heim, Jolie Wycinski and Chelsea Bijansky are the top Almont returnees.
Lindsey Van Dyk and Alizabeth Caldwell are Imlay City's headliners, while Capac will look to Sara Tomeo, Taylor Sinda, Brandy Bly and Gloria Polzin for leadership.
When all is said and done, Almont is my pick to win it all. Algonac probably finishes second, followed by Imlay City.
Capac fields a better team than the previous season, but falls outside of the league's best squads.
In the North Central Thumb League, Dryden figures to be in the title hunt.
Memphis stands in their path of bringing home a South Division championship.
Dryden is led by Sarah DeCeuninck, Lynsey Marchwinski and April Warner.
The Blue Water Area title hunt is a tough one to forecast.
Any one of a number of league schools could hoist the trophy when all is said and done.
My guess is Capac should pace our Tri-City teams, followed by Almont and then Imlay City.
Capac will count on a plethora of talent (including Kevin Bollaert, Jon Carroll, Dan Jackson, John Botwin, Tino Siewert, Chris Schroeder and Joe Johnson) to make their title bid.
Almont also could contend. Zack Lowell, Andy Schoen, Josh Walker and Joe Miller will lead the Raiders in that pursuit.
Imlay City, meanwhile, looks to be a year or two away from battling it out for league honors.
Mark Owen and Darren Saunders are the top Imlay City players coming back.
When the final standings are tallied, I have Capac winning it tall. Armada is the likely runnerup, while Almont pulls up third. Cros-Lex, Richmond, Imlay City, Algonac and Yale should follow.
In the NCTL, Dryden will probably wind up fourth.
Kingston, followed by Memphis, are the likely frontrunners. Carsonville-Port Sanilac finishes third; Dryden winds up fourth; and Peck claims fifth.
Tom Ferrett is the top Dryden returnee.
Capac and Imlay City will once again battle it out for the distinction of the Tri-City's top wrestling team, with Capac likely to claim area bragging rights again.
Almont, meanwhile, figures to field our third best lineup.
Capac, which lost several talented grapplers (Scott Kulman, Bryan Forton, Jake Nemecek, Matt Walker, Chris Sass, Brian Pietrzak and Brian Sass) due to graduation, lists heavyweight Alex Wegner as their top returnee. Darren Hunsucker, Andrew Bollaert, Eric Bollaert and Tom Tobian also figure to contribute.
Kevin Ahrens and Mike Guerrero are the top Imlay City grapplers back. Dane Walker, Mike Galanos, Tim Keillor, Kevin Shene, Ryan Baker and Mason Day should also prove key performers for the Spartans.
Almont, meanwhile, will pin their hopes on a group featuring Taylor Lawrence, Steven Mack and Mike Owen.
When the final league standings are posted, Capac leads our area teams with a fourth. Imlay City takes fifth and Almont winds up eighth.
And, oh by the way, Richmond wins the title, Yale claims second and Algonac occupies third. Also, Armada is on track for a sixth and Cros-Lex places seventh.