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GIRLS

Helena High

Coach: Mike Meloy, 11th season

Last year: State champions (second in three years), sixth consecutive Western AA title, 11-1-3

Top returns: Melina Hammer, Maddie Mariegard, Ellie Stock

Key newcomers: N/A

Outlook: “We graduated nine seniors from last season’s AA champions,” Meloy said. “We have three returning starters, but Melina Hammer and Maddie Mariegard have both been out with injuries and unable to go full time. And Ellie Stock sustained what appears to be a season ending injury, but she’s still being evaluated. The good news is we have a talented group of underclasswomen who’ve been waiting their turn to lead the Bengals. And, we have a great class of six talented freshmen. As we have new players at virtually every position, so the challenge has been to get them familiar with our high energy game and to build a team with players competing together for the first time.”

Capital High

Coach: Lindsey Gilstrap, third season

Last year: Western AA runners-up, 0-2 at State, 8-4-2

Top returns: Cassie Brisko, Sr.; Kinzi Adams, Sr.; Tyler Cummings, Sr.; Ellie Stiffler, Jr.

Key newcomers: Rachel Kosena, Sr.; Paris Prissel, Fr.

Outlook: “We’re excited to have a strong core of experienced varsity players returning this season, as well as some talented new additions to the team,” Gilstrap said. “With three out of four defenders returning, our defensive strength will rely upon the leadership, communication and physical play. On the offensive front, we will need to utilize the versatility, creativity and athleticism of our midfield to build a strong, successful attack. Our success as a team this season will largely depend on a team-first approach and how hard we are willing to work for one another to achieve our goals.”

Boys

Helena High

Coach: Carl Straub, 12th season

Last year: Fifth at State, 11-3-2

Top returns: Cameron Wilcox, Sr.; Ben Ries-Roncalli, Sr.; Treven Maharg, Sr.; Aiden Morris, Sr.; Wyatt Johnson, Sr.; Luke Schmitz, Jr.

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Key newcomers: Cole Ehli, Sr.; Austin Dengel, Jr.; Cavin Wade, Jr.; Jay Johnston, Jr.

Outlook: “We’re really looking forward to playing with this group of players,” Straub said. “They have a foundation of great technical abilities and tactical awareness. They play well together, have confident leadership and bring joy to each practice. We look to have a great season with a focus on 'TEAM' and expect a high level of play each and every moment.”

Capital High

Coach: Paul Patterson, third season

Last year: 2-10-2

Top returners: Conner Bartleson, Sr.; Gage LaRue, Sr.; Zach Snyder, Sr.; Jonah Bibeau, Sr.; Caleb Hoxie, Jr.; Aidan Adamek, Jr.

Key newcomers: Ryan Quinn, Jr.; Chris Meza, Jr.; Marston Carpenter, Jr.

Outlook: “We have mostly juniors and seniors who will make up the varsity roster, which should pay dividends,” Patterson said. “But we’ll definitely have our work cut out for us, all you have to do is look at last season’s record.”

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Curt Synness is on Twitter @curtsynness_IR and can be reached at curt.synness@lee.net or curt52synness@gmail.com

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Sports Reporter

Sports Reporter for the Independent Record

Associate Sports Editor

Associate Sports Editor for The Independent Record

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