White River athletes ready for fall season | 2015 Fall Sports Previews

CROSS COUNTRY

The White River High girls will make a run at duplicating last season’s success, but with a few missing faces.

A season ago, the Hornet girls placed second at the district meet, earning a trip to Pasco and the Class 2A state championships. Running the Sun Willows course, the White River crew placed 12th overall. While a few were lost to graduation, a strong nucleus of state veterans return, including senior Maddie Moser, junior Courtney Gelmini and sophomores Camryn Berryhill and Hannah Swettenam.

The Hornet boys ran at last year’s district meet, but didn’t see any runners advancing to state. The leading returnees are seniors Konnor Sokalski and Matthew McKinley and junior AJ Aspelund.

In all, veteran coach Dameon Marlow has welcomes a relatively young crew. His combined boys and girls teams consist of six seniors, 13 juniors, 17 sophomores and six freshmen.

GOLF

Last year’s Hornet squads compiled something of a dream season, setting the bar mighty high for the current crop of players. But the golf program has plenty to be excited about.

A season ago, Hornet golfers combined to go 26-0. Many of the competitors who made that happen are back for another season on the links.

The White River girls roster has 14 golfers and eight of those return from a squad that placed 10th at last season’s state 2A tourney. The returnees include four seniors – Maci Goethals, Dani Barbee, Sydnee Scott and Jordanne Fray – plus sophomores Sofia Lavinder, Georgia Lavinder, Taylor Spooner and Taylee Goethals.

Rounding out the roster are two sophomores, a junior and a trio of freshmen.

Scott and Maci Goethals were all-league performers a year ago. Fray and Georgia Lavinder were second-team picks and Sofia Lavinder and Barbee received honorable mention.

For coach Todd Miller, who was honored as the league’s Coach of the Year last season, the expectation for the coming campaign is relatively simple: “To keep getting better.”

So far, Miller likes what he sees. “We have some very athletic kids that have never played golf that are really improving quickly,” he said.

The White River boys are coming off a season in which they won the league tournament after claiming a third-straight SPSL 2A title.

Four golfers from last year’s squad advanced to the state tourney, but only sophomore Cooper Franklin returns. He was a first-team all-league performer a year ago and shapes up as the squad’s No. 1 player this fall.

Rounding out the varsity squad will be seniors Sawyer Mills and Josh Murdock; sophomores Tyler Vallala and Mckay Penrose; and freshman Joe Flanigan.

The junior varsity includes Blake Coogan, Trevor Budinich, Cole Richey, Cody Morris, Zakare Rivera, Andrew Hill, Brock Keller and Drew Thompson.

“The kids played a lot this spring and summer so we have high hopes for success,” first-year coach Terry Vallala said. “I would expect to be on the upper tier of our league.

“We have a young team with a lot of potential.”

BOYS TENNIS

Coach Brandon Walker opened the season with a roster of 13, headed by seniors Logan Geehan and Hayden Grimm.

Geehan was a first-team, all-league selection last season and Grimm received honorable mention when league coaches handed out postseason honors. Additionally, Grimm was part of a Hornet doubles team that was an alternate to the state Class 2A tournament.

The roster includes eight seniors, two sophomores and three freshmen.

VOLLEYBALL

Coach Lina Randall has welcomed a core group of players that took last year’s Hornet squad to the 16-team state Class 2A tournament.

Among the returning faces are senior Mahealini Stone, a first-team, all-league setter a season ago; fellow seniors Taylor Keating and Kelsie Williams, both second-team outside hitters; and junior Abbie Eppard, who gained honorable mention when league honors were handed out a year ago.

Making things even better is the return of 6-foot-2 middle hitter Kendall Bird. She started as a freshman but had to sit out her sophomore season due to a knee injury.

The rest of Randall’s varsity roster includes seniors Emily Kunst and Shaylee Thompson, junior Isabelle Wesner and sophomores Megan Vandegrift and Keegan Strobeck.

Last year’s squad won 10 league matches and went 3-1 in district play to qualify for state – and Randall sees the potential for a repeat trip. The squad had a great summer, she said, and her seniors have taken their leadership responsibilities seriously. As long as the crew stays injury-free, Randall said, great things could happen.

SOCCER

Veteran coach Charlie Carlier might have lost a league MVP to graduation – goalkeeper Sam Kelley – but he still has plenty of talent returning to the turf.

Heading the list of returnees are seniors Mack Breeden, a midfielder, and defender Maddie Morris; both were first-team, all-SPSL 2A players a season ago and four-year members of the Hornet varsity. Also back are a pair of sophomores, forward Annabelle Hall and defender Ariel Saylor, who were second-team picks last year.

Carlier reports that Breeden “will be a controlling force in the central midfield.”

Others returning from last season’s varsity roster are Taylor Billingsley, Grace Clapshaw, Kristin England, Haylee Gunter, Madison Mueller and Jayden Rogers. In addition, Carlier said he is expecting positive contributions from a pair of newcomers, sophomore goalkeeper Ally Glebe and freshman midfielder Chloe Narolski.

Last year’s backup goalkeeper, Autumn Nation, is injured, but Carlier expects she will compete for the starting job when she returns.