BHS spring sports back in action

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Senior McKenna Morris pitches for the Bucs soft ball team.

Maison Mulcahy, Staff Writer

As winter sports come to a close, spring sports are just around the corner. All sports except boys’ volleyball are to hold their first official practices on Feb. 28, and with the new season almost here, spring athletes will get their chance to shine.

Softball: Athletes have been working hard in open gyms and in the weight room since October, and right around the corner is the start of the Lady Bucs season. The team’s first game is scheduled for March 14 at home against DeKalb. BHS finished last season with a record of 16-5 and placed second in the conference. Although the girls have plenty of new talent, four players will be coming back for their final season at BHS: Sophia Hulsey, McKenna Morris, Kennedy Coryell, and Jadyn Vail.

“We had a good season last year, but this is a new year and if we want to go farther than we did last year, we need to work hard for it,” head coach Amy Douglas said. “I expect us to rise to that challenge, compete every day, and enjoy being part of a team playing the sport that we love.”

Baseball: Coming off a 7-14 record from last season, the Bucs will take on the Genoa-Kingston Cogs on March 14 for their first game of the year. They will be at a slight disadvantage this game because the Cogs will have home-field advantage. The team acquired a new head coach during the offseason. Taylor Rogers has been coaching baseball for 13 years, with North Boone and Marengo among his stops.

“Expectations for this year are to hopefully be above .500 in conference play and overall games,” Rogers said. “I’d like to see us make a strong push to try to win a regional championship – if not this year, then set the tone for winning one next year.

“I expect my juniors and seniors to lead and have an open mindset and want to learn what our coaching staff has to teach them.”

Girls’ Track: These athletes have been working hard in the weight room and training for the season ahead of them since December and are ready to start their season with a meet at Auburn High School on March 5. This will be the first indoor meet of the season. The first outdoor meet will take place on March 30 at Boylan High School. This season will be the first normal season since 2019 due to the pandemic.

Head coach Hugh Stewart is ecstatic for the season to come.

“I am really lucky to coach such a great group of girls and am excited for all of their hard work to showcase itself this year,” he said.

Boys’ Track: The boys have been getting prepared for the new season since January. The boys’ first meet will be on March 2 at Sycamore followed by a March 12 indoor meet at Hononegah. The boys finished 8th in the NIC-10 last season.

“I am excited for our season to start,” head coach Tyler Erwin said. “We have a good group of guys coming out for track this year, and I think all of the work we have put into our preseason workouts and our in-season practices put us in an excellent position to continue the growth that we started last year.

“The main expectation for the team this year is for us to be intentional and to see every practice or meet as an opportunity to get better.”

Girls’ Soccer: The Lady Bucs are to open the season against the Harlem Huskies at home in Funderburg Stadium. The team finished last season with a record of 1-12.

With some changes to the coachin staff and management, Bucs head coach Simon Stevens is hopeful that this season will impact all of the girls on the team.

“I expect that the team will make it a great experience to be part of this family,” Stevens said. “I am hopeful that we can continue to improve as a team and find success in multiple areas of the game.”

Boys’ Volleyball: The co-op boys’ volleyball program is the one exception to the Feb. 28 start date, as it will be holding tryouts on March 7-9. If any athletes are interested in joining, they need to make sure that they have an updated physical turned into the athletic office. If needed, a concussion test must be done before tryouts start.

Last season was a short one due to COVID-19. New coaches joined the team, and the boys ended the season with a 2-12 record. The Bucs look to improve that with the offseason and the arrival of new players. The Buccaneers will travel to Hononegah on March 22 for the first game of the season. One player to watch this season will be senior Gavin Mcclenthen.

“I am looking forward to this season because we have returning players who will help us succeed in this conference and seniors who can lead on and off the court,” head coach Storm Britt said. “We are looking to make a positive impact on the new culture we are building with the boys’ volleyball program.”

Boys’ Tennis: The boys’ tennis program will have its first practice on Feb. 28. The boys’ first non-conference match is scheduled for March 15 at home against Marian Central Catholic, and the first conference match is scheduled for April 5 against Rockford East at home. The team did not win any matches last season.

During the offseason, the Bucs acquired a new head coach, Annalisa Schindler. Although she has never been a head coach, she served as an assistant girls’ tennis coach for her first four years at BHS.

Although she hasn’t coached boys’ tennis, she did raise two boys who both played high school tennis for four years. She also helped run a co-ed tennis program at BHS for three summers.

Players to watch out for are Jacob (Jack) Larson and Jonathan Myscki. Larson, a senior leader, is the only returning player from last season. Myszka, a freshman, plays tennis year-round and was the girls’ tennis team manager this past fall.

Coach Schindler realizes that this season is about building a foundation.

“I realize this year will be a growing year as we only have one returning player from last year’s team of four,” she said. “The expectation for this year’s team is to get as many players out as possible, learn the fundamentals of the game, improve match to match, and have fun.

“I am hopeful that this year can be used as a building block to future success.”