Teams adapt to loss of veteran athletes
Woodmen sports were stacked with talented seniors for the 2017/2018 season, and teams are recovering from losing those leaders to graduation.
The football team is coming off an 11-3 record and an appearance at the Semi-State game. With that starting lineup comprised of mostly seniors, the team is finding ways to fill those spots with athletes who will play significant roles.
“Losing all of the seniors that we had last year will really hurt us. Each one was a good asset to the team, and we really learned how to work together,” senior Jackson Griesemer, safety, said.
Though the team might hurt without experienced players, they are finding players to rise to the occasion.
“Seth Gallman was our starting quarterback for three years, so it was hard losing him, but Oliver Rau has taken over and done a really good job. He has stepped up, and we really trust him to lead our team this year now that Seth is gone,” Griesemer said.
The girls soccer team’s roster was also filled with seniors last season, many of which went on to play soccer at the collegiate level. Athletes agreed that they worked well together last year because the players were also best friends off the field. This year, the team is taking strides to compensate for their losses.
“Every senior that we lost was a tough player to lose, but two key players were Kayla Rance and Maddy Moan. So far, our team has taken the losses well, and we are taking it in stride. We are working really hard in practices and games to prove that we are going to stand on our own especially coming off of a great past few seasons,” senior Veda Crag, midfielder, said.
The boys basketball team lost key seniors from the 2017-2018 season. Four of the players — Jeffery Reynolds, Braydon Kincaid, Eric Moenkhause, and Max Raker — had been starters since their freshman year.
“Those four will be tough to replace. We lost a lot of experience and talent in those guys. Jeff was a solid big man that could score, and Braydon was a great point guard that could get to the rim with ease, Max was a lock down defender that gave his all on every single play, and Eric was an offensive talent that will be hard to compensate for,” senior Devin Lester, guard, said.
The team is looking for replacements who will perform well, and they, as a team, are working hard to figure out what type of play will enhance their performances.
“Losing those seniors will hurt our experience because now we really only have Isaiah Drew and Bryce Hoffman who had true varsity minutes last year. During the summer, we figured out we are a pretty quick team, so this will be an interesting year to see how our defense improves and how our quickness and chemistry execute on the court,” Lester said.
The 2017-2018 athletes made a mark on the school in every sport, but each team expects to use that as inspiration.
“Coming off of a record year will be difficult, but we are fired up,” Griesemer said.