Washington High School’s new track and turf field will be put to good use this spring.
The girls soccer team along with the boys and girls track and field squads will compete at their new and improved facility for the first time.
The baseball and golf teams also are preparing for the spring season.
Scott Bray’s Blue Jays tuned up for the baseball season with a recent jamboree against Rolla and Northwest.
“We played pretty well against Rolla and let down a bit against Northwest. Overall, I’m pleased with where we are at this point,” Bray said. “Our pitchers all threw the ball well at the jamboree. Our hitters had decent plate coverage and put the ball in play.”
Bray will lean on his senior leaders, especially during the early part of the season.
“I expect seniors Aaron Meyer, Brian Trigg and Sam Katzung to lead us, but we have other seniors who should contribute as the season progresses,” Bray said.
Washington also has a solid junior class on the team.
“Our top juniors should play quite a bit,” Bray said. “Those kids are Austin Finder, Camron Shipley, Seth Bollmann and Ryan Becszlko, with a couple of others also getting shots at places during the season.”
Bray said that sophomores Ryan Jones and Will Davis also figure in the varsity plans.
“Ryan and Will have done a decent job adjusting to the varsity speed of play and should see some time if they keep progressing,” Bray said. “Freshman Matt McGilvray played in the jamboree and did very well for being young.”
Washington opens its baseball season in the Four Rivers Classic. The Blue Jays play Friday at Hermann and host Rolla Monday at 4:30 p.m. The finals are scheduled for Saturday, March 29.
“We have a long way to go and it seems as if the kids are pushing each other for spots, which is always a good thing,” Bray said. “We just need to keep working and trying to get better each day.”
With many varsity returners back in the mix, Chris Lanemann’s girls soccer squad has high hopes.
“I’m really excited about the upcoming soccer season. I have 11 returning players from last year’s team and some very good players from last year’s junior varsity team,” Lanemann said. “Practices have been going very well. Having a turf field to practice on helps a lot. I expect us to challenge for the GAC Central crown.”
Washington has senior players who will lead the offensive attack.
“We have our top scorer from last year’s team back in Halee Nurnberger. I expect her to increase her scoring output,” Lanemann said. “We also have two dynamic center mids returning in Brianna Pagan and Arika Elliott. I expect those two young ladies to be heavily involved in our goal scoring this year.”
Overall team depth should be a strength for the Lady Jays.
“We have Salena Pottebuam returning at the forward position, and I fully expect her to play a bigger role in our scoring,” Lanemann said. “Defensively, we have some very solid performers in sweeper Ashton Leslie, stopper Savannah Thibault and wing backs Sierra Thibault and Jenna Barnhart.
“At wing mid, Martha Noelker returns and will definitely figure prominently in scoring. We’ve added a very dynamic player in wing mid Cassidy Nurnberger, who is a freshman. I also will be counting on major contributions in the midfield from Bailey Carico and Megan Kalish, both are returning varsity players.”
Senior goalie Mary McGilvray also is a varsity returner.
Washington opens its soccer season Friday at home against Ft. Zumwalt North. The Lady Jays host Pacific Thursday, March 27, at 5 p.m.
Tim Buschmann’s Blue Jays hope to continue the success they’ve enjoyed on the golf course over recent seasons.
“The season is off and running. We’ve missed only one day due to weather and spent one day in the weight room due to course conditions,” said Buschmann. “All other days have been spent at Wolf Hollow either on the range or playing on the course.”
The Blue Jays’ top returner is senior Brad Carpenter, a two-time all-state performer who has signed to play golf at Missouri State University in Springfield.
Carpenter earned Class 4 all-state honors with a tie for 10th place last season and tied for third place as a sophomore.
“Brad will continue to be our team’s No. 1 golfer and is looking to win state this season,” Buschmann said. “Strong competition in the new format of the GAC will be good for Brad to compete with other golfers at his caliber.”
Joining Carpenter as a returning senior is Sebastian Hommes. Juniors Hunter Mahon and Eric Hasenjeager also saw varsity time last season.
Buschmann said freshman Matt Hoemann is competing for a varsity spot.
“We had a large turnout with 22 players, including three girls who showed interest,” Buschmann said. “Aubree Kitchell made the junior varsity team for the second year. Doug Warden at Wolf Hollow allows us to basically keep all of the players, placing some on the practice squad.”
Washington opens its golf season Wednesday, March 26, at Franklin County Country Club against Borgia, St. Clair and Cuba at 3:30 p.m.
Track and Field
Numbers are down a bit for the Washington track and field team, but anticipation for the season is high.
“We’re really excited. We have one of the best track facilities in the state,” said Washington Head Coach Mike Olszowka. “We have a strong, albeit small group of returning athletes. We have a good group of young kids who are working hard in big part due to the great attitude and leadership of the upperclassmen.”
Olszowka said the top returners from last season are Travis Elbert, Caleb Curran and Tate Kitchell for the boys team and MC Landolt, Jenna Haas, Megan Bauche, Josie Plowman, Abi Brown and Abby Stricker for the girls team.
“The weather has been cooperating so far, so we’ve been getting in some good practices,” Olszowka said. “Our numbers are way down compared to normal. We had a large number of kids who did not come out, including eight seniors who would have been in their fourth year of track. This will put us in tight situations when setting up for meets, but it has also motivated the kids we have to work harder and maintain a great attitude through some very tough workouts. All in all, we are very happy with the kids who have been with us gutting it out every day.”
Washington opens its track and field season at the Washington University Invitational Saturday at 9 a.m. The team competes at a Pacific quad meet Tuesday at 4:15 p.m.
The first home meet is the Washington Pentathlon Saturday, April 5, at 9 a.m.