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The Raiderettes are entering another season under longtime head coach Thad Streit, while being joined by assistant coaches Tiffany Bolles and Randy Gregg.
Last year, Streit coached the team to a 15-7 record, falling to a state qualifying Central Decatur team in mid February.
The Mount Ayr girls lost Keirston Klommhaus and Tiril Sjøberg to graduation and returned a strong core of girls for the 2019-20 campaign.
Sam Stewart and Jaycee Knight return to the team as the senior leadership while MaKayla Jones, Maddie Stewart, Channler Henle, Hope Whittington, Alexa Anderson, Rachel Sobotka, Payten Lambert and Halsie Barnes return.
New to the team is freshman Tegan Streit.
Central Decatur is always in the running for favorite to win the Pride of Iowa and after a 23-1 season and multiple trips to “The Well”, the team is in talks to repeat, however, the Cardinals lost Alli Masters, Abbie Ridgway, Alliey Boswell, Tiana Black, Erica Kauzlarich and Emma Atwood.
The Raiderettes are looking to dethrone the Cardinals and take that number one spot and make a return trip to Wells Fargo in March, a trip they have not made since the 2015-16 season.
The Raider wrestling team is entering a new season under co-head coaches John Ford and Eric Ehlen. Kevin Trullinger, a Mount Ayr graduate, is assisting.
Coaches Ford and Ehlen look to improve upon a 6th place conference record with a 10-12 record from a year ago.
The Raiders will fill 11 of 14 weights this season.
Joining the Raider squad this season is Drew Ehlen (106), Jarrett Webb (113), Bryce Shaha (120), Payton Fleharty (126), Trey Fooken (132), Trae Ehlen (138), Jaydon Knight (145), Keaton White (152), Talal Tahahlehl (160), Andi Gonzalez (170) and Donavon Morales (220).
“The numbers game continues to haunt us but we have some outstanding wrestlers to go with some very good underclassmen,” said coach Ford. “I believe we can compete with almost anyone around. Wayne and Southeast Warren look to be tough again but this area was hit hard by graduation, so the conference could be wide open this year.”
The Raiders start their season on December 5 in OSceola at 5:30 p.m.The Raiders will host the Ron Scott Duals on January 17 and 18 in Mount Ayr.
As another season arises in Mount Ayr, so does the expectation of another successful season for the Raiders. Mount Ayr returns seven seniors that saw varsity playing time last season as well as a junior standout. Their defense broke the single-season record of least points given up as well as scoring average, while their offense provided many great moments with huge wins on the road and memorable plays at home. The promise of experience and talent has led to some major expectations this season once again.
“Expectations are the hardest parts of teams sometimes, said coach Bret Ruggles. “We, as a team, don’t have those expectations but we know people are talking about us and what we are and who we are. It’s great to be at the top of the conference outlook again and it’s great to have that kind of recognition, but we always talk to our guys about keeping everything in check and just focusing on improving one percent every single day!”
While the Raiders showcase a lot of experience on the floor, they will be missing two great Raider players in Myles Greene and John Shields. Myles was the single game, season and career assist leader during his four-year career, while John Shields finished in the Top five in rebounding, shooting percentage, and free throw makes. Returning for the Raiders are three all-conference players in Dawson Frost (First Team) Isaac Grose (Second Team), and Payton Weehler (Honorable Mention). The Raider offense is stacked this year with over 80 percent of the scoring offense, however, with the absences of Myles Greene and John Shields, the Raiders will be looking to fill a major void at the point guard and post-playing positions. The Raiders have seen some bright moments from the summer workouts with Cayden Lambert and Cole Clymer being two viable options to fill the empty spots. Other standout seniors who are ready to make their mark are Dalton Elwood, Zach Doster and Kolben Klommhaus.
“We are extremely excited about this senior class. Obviously, its led by some of our main scorers, Frost has been outstanding this offseason and has put in a ton of work,” said coach Ruggles. “Grose has been developing his offhand and being able to put the ball on the floor and change his dynamic. Weehler is completely healthy after a great football season and is looking forward to taking over the point guard position. However, there are so many great players that have a different role on our team. Dalton Elwood has done a tremendous job of getting himself ready for a great senior season as well as Cayden Lambert! Both of those two have developed their games into huge roles for this season. Cole Clymer has really developed into a really good athlete and Kolben Klommhaus is starting to find his role within our offense. We are excited to see what this senior class has left in them for one last run!”
Although the Raiders have a lot of experience returning to the hardwood, there are some major newcomers that will be pushing the future of Mount Ayr basketball. Juniors Payton Weehler, Erik Trujillo, and Rhett Larsen, Sophomores Cody Larsen, and freshmen Jaixson Frost have all shown that they are ready to make the next charge for the Raiders.
“There is a really good nucleus of kids coming back from a tough JV schedule and are ready to improve their own season as well as help at the Varsity level when they can.” said coach Ruggles.
When looking at the conference, coach Ruggles points to the usual suspects for the last few years.
“Obviously Martensdale-St. Mary’s is the favorite as they are the champion returning all starters. Nodaway Valley and Bedford are extremely good again this year with some tremendous senior leadership, while Central Decatur could be a dark horse in the east with returning Cole Pederson and Michael Evertson,” said Ruggles. “The Pride of Iowa is always fun and there are just so many great games being played all of the time. This isn’t like past history where maybe one or two teams are loaded, we are all very good and we love the matchups we get each week.”
Drake, Harley Haley, Christan Hanson, Traivyn Holmes, Michael McDaniel, Michael Sluyrer and Scout Suplinger.
Coach Zarr is enjoying the increased numbers out for bowling.
“It has been a long time for Mount Ayr teams to have to work to get their starting place on varsity.” said Zarr. “Our teams should be solid with the letter winners we have coming back and the number of new faces we have on the team.”
The Raiderettes finished last season 16-13 and lost senior Kyan Wise to graduation.
Returning this year are Hanna Ackley, Laurie Belzer, Kaitlyn Dolecheck, Stephanie Post and Andrea Sickels.
New do the team are Kayla Adkisson, Sadia Berger, Shem Gordom, Lilly Main, Eva Sobotka and Abby Woodruff.
The Pride of Iowa is going to be a tossup this year with graduation hitting the area hard with high level bowlers moving on, with new bowlers filling spots on varsity rosters.
Both Mount Ayr teams won their first contest with Lamoni/Central Decatur and Southeast Warren.
They face Clarinda on Thursday, December 5 at 2 p.m. in Mount Ayr.