What to watch
By KRIS MILLS – firstname.lastname@example.org
Where did summer go? It feels like yesterday we were putting out our “Top Moments” story from the 2017-18 school year.
Well, here we go again. A new school year is here.
Girls golf kicks off the fall sports season this week. The rest will begin on (or around) Aug. 11 with football scheduled to begin on Aug. 17.
The Triton Central and Shelbyville football teams will have scrimmages on Aug. 10. TC travels to Batesville, while Shelbyville hosts Rushville.
That said, here is what to watch in the fall as we enter new campaigns.
A New Era
For the Shelbyville football and volleyball teams, a new era begins.
I know it would be unwise to judge a coach from social media, but in this case, it is positive. With Andrew Fuller in control over the summer, there just seems to be a different vibe around the SHS volleyball program.
After watching his older brother, Travis Fuller, coach at Greenfield-Central, my gut says Andrew has high expectations in his first year. With a handful of experienced players returning, including junior setter Izzy Lewis and senior middle hitter Grace Laker, why not?
I have heard nothing but good things about new Shelbyville football coach Mike Clevenger, too. One player tweeted this summer that the Golden Bears offense will be very different than before. After playing for former SHS coach Pat Parks for so long, how will the Golden Bears respond in a balanced Hoosier Heritage Conference?
Specifically for each football team, I am curious to see the quarterbacks. Senior Aaron Steele (Triton Central) and junior Landon Watson (Shelbyville) have very contrasting styles of play. Both, however, can get the job done.
Steele will sprint past you with sheer athletic ability, while Watson is more of a traditional pocket passer with smooth mechanics. Opposing teams must play them honest, though, as both have shown an ability to make the right play — either with their arm or feet — when needed.
Steele has looked quick and mobile this offseason after an injury cut his junior season short. He had a solid baseball campaign after the injury and should be good to go as TC looks to replace a pair of tough running backs in 2018 seniors Ethan Demaree (1,179 yards) and Mason Durrett (11 touchdowns).
Return to semistate?
Cross country runners Jacob James (Waldron) and Matt Baker (Shelbyville) wrapped up their sophomore seasons at semistate last year. The returning juniors will undoubtedly be aiming for more in a new season.
Running on a course they are very familiar with at Blue River Park numerous times during the year will only help as the season comes to an end.
At the Shelbyville Semistate last season at Blue River Park, James finished 65th overall in 16:38, while Baker was 89th in 16:54.
Can these two, despite running for different programs, help push each other to state?
Will the Triton Central girls’ soccer team return to the Final Four?
The team lost seniors Rachel Dewey (Xavier) and Corissa Horton, but a wealth of youth returns after completing the top finish in school history.
High-scoring junior forward Sarah Hahn returns on offense after playing in four games last season, but the Tigers will have a new keeper as senior Taylor Berry was lost to graduation.
It will be interesting to see how the Shelbyville boys’ soccer team reacts to losing former standout Tyce Taylor, who will play at The University of Indianapolis this fall.
The Shelbyville News’ Boys Soccer Player of the Year in Trae Hassebroek is back, however, as is senior Tim Clark and junior Cory Taylor.
Head coach Ben Purvis found an offensive recipe that worked well last season with T. Taylor in the mix. In a competitive Hoosier Heritage Conference, it will be fun to see how the Golden Bears handle a different lineup.
The Southwestern Spartans lost a deep senior class but freshman Aiden Hartsell should help relieve some of the burden after a high-scoring junior high campaign. Sophomore Anick Hartsell, Aiden’s older brother, is also on the team. How well will those two play together? It could be a dangerous duo.
Young head coaches
I personally enjoy watching new head coaches in any sport. New doesn’t have to be a first-year coach but someone who is relatively fresh to the program.
A few examples would be the volleyball coaches from Southwestern and Waldron. Brittanie Wallace (SW) and Whitney Moore (WA) have both shown dedication in their young coaching careers. Both played the sport in high school and deeply care about the success of the team. It can be difficult to build a program at a small school, but I believe those two are doing just that. The Spartans and Mohawks both have plenty of returning talent, as well, which should be exciting to watch.
Southwestern head soccer coach Taylor Meredith is another young coach to pay attention to. He also played the sport (and basketball) while in high school and appears to be well-liked by his players.
Although it can be difficult to predict what can happen in a new sports season, the aforementioned above is a place to start.
I’ll see you around.
Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.