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Mount Ayr starts the 22-23 season with expectations of a returning roster being the focus of numerous preseason accolades. A loaded senior class of Jaixen Frost, Braydon Pierson, Riley Stark, Trey Fooken, Drew Ehlen, Aidan Albaugh, and Austin Byrd will lead the program into Head Coach Bret Ruggles’ 16th year and the goals will be set high for a conference title and a postseason run. Mount Ayr returns an entire varsity roster that only has two losses in Cody Larsen and Raines Sackett. Jaixen Frost (22.4 points per game) and Braydon Pierson (11.7 points per game) will be leading the senior charge with Riley Stark, who had a really good contributing season last year in his junior season. The Raider’s experience will be through its senior class as well as two returnees in Ryce Reynolds and Tyler Martin. Reynolds (7.8 points per game) was named KMA Sports All-Sophomore team last year, while Martin managed 5.2 points off the bench in his freshman campaign. Martin will fill the vacant starting position this season and opens up a very inexperienced athletic bench that will have four seniors, four sophomores, and two freshmen seeing time for the first time in their careers.
The Raider defense, which was ranked in the Top 10 in the state of Iowa in Class 1A will be the “backbone” of their attack.
“We live on our defense, we have to get stops, we have to rebound and we are going to have to find our toughness this year with Larsen and Sackett out of our lineup,” said coach Ruggles. “We need to make some adjustments to how we attack and what we use for personnel but we are excited about the changes. This team has a bunch of players, we are going to have a lot of firepower on offense, but we have to get stops for us to complete the goals that we have set. We understand the expectations and we have some pretty lofty goals within our locker room, but this team accepts those expectations and wants that opportunity.”
The Raiders return a strong nucleus this season in ALL-POI and ALL-KMALAND player of the year Jaixen Frost (22.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg), ALL POI Braydon Pierson (11.7 ppg, 6.5 rpb), ALL-POI and KMALAND ALL-Sophomore Ryce Reynolds (7.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Riley Stark (6 ppg, 2.5 apg) and Tyler Martin (5.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
Top newcomers to the Raider squad are seniors Drew Ehlen, Trey Fooken, Austin Byrd, Aidan Albaugh, sophomores Jaize Frost, Louden Main, Adan Trujillo, Trevin Victor and freshmen Jackson Ruggles and Tate Dugan.
Coach Ruggles is assisted by longtime assistant coach Jeff Levine (16-years) and new assistant coach Jim Murphy.