Photo by Bill Roseberry
Hannah Macias of Alton
After two weeks of practice, Nick Funk is excited about his first season as Alton head coach.
“I think we’ll be pretty good,” Funk said. “We’ll be able to come out and shock some people and show them what we got.”
Funk replaces Jay Robertson as the Redbirds’ head coach after working as an assistant the last three years.
The Redbirds have 17 seniors on their team, including last year’s all-conference selections, C.J. Nasello and Skylar Funk. Skylar is the coach’s younger brother.
“It’s awesome to have such a good core back,” Nick Funk said. “The kids have been in the program for a while and they kind of know how things go. My first year coaching in the Alton coaching district was their freshman year, so I have gone through the system with them and have been able to spend all four years with those particular guys.”
Skylar Funk, Nasello and senior Logan Clark will share captain duties. Seniors Brandon Wilson and Braden Flannagan will share goalkeeping duties.
Alton finished 9-10- 3 last year.
Due to illness, Robert Logan has taken a leave of absence as Alton head coach.
Jesse Macias will serve as the Redbirds’ interim coach. He takes over a team that returns three all-conference players from last year — juniors Abby Fischer and Sam Clayton and sophomore Hannah Macias.
“We always have expectations to be good enough to compete with the top teams in the conference,” Macias said. “We want to play in the top half. We haven’t been there in a while. We haven’t been able to get past Belleville East, Belleville West, Edwardsville and O’Fallon, but that’s always been a goal to finish in that top half.”
Macias said Fischer, who earned second-team all-league honors in doubles last year, will be the Redbirds’ No. 1 player.
“She’s been hitting well in a lot of tournaments this summer,” Macias said. “She’s going to be a solid No. 1. She had a good year at No. 2 last year.”
Hannah Macias will play No. 2 singles and Clayton will play No. 3 singles.
Clayton and Macias also earned all-conference honors in doubles last year. Alton had three doubles teams on the 2015 all-conference team.
With six returning varsity players, the Redbirds look to finish with their seventh straight winning season this fall.
Seniors Savannah Fisher, Annie Evans and Kassidy Funke, juniors Sydney Schmidt and Gwen Hunter and sophomore Calista Cox are returning from last year’s team that finished at 21-13-1.
Juniors Emily Stahl, Saddi Brands and Katie Mans also will be playing varsity for the Redbirds.
Stacey Ferguson returns for her eighth season as Alton head coach.
The Redbirds play host to the Alton Redbird Classic on Sept. 2-3 and the Alton Invitational Tournament on Sept. 9-10. Last year, Alton won both tournaments.
Last year, Alton finished 6-13 overall and 1-5 in conference play. The Redbirds graduated five players from the 2014 team that won a sectional championship.
Morgan Bemis is Alton’s top returning player. She qualified for sectionals. She also was the Redbirds’ lone representative on the all-conference team.
Bemis is joined by senior Annie Maynard, juniors Paige Whitman and Aliana Kottabi and sophomores Mariah Bolling, Allison Gregory and Jenna Fleming.
Carey Cappel returns for her ninth season as Alton coach. The Redbirds are 83-70 during her tenure.
The Redbirds will field a young team this fall.
Out of the 18 players on the team, seven of them are freshmen. Alton has just four seniors — James Alford, Dylan Lahue, Ryan Boyd and Tysen Barton.
Junior Matt Moore was the Redbirds’ top performer in all of their first three tournaments. He shot a 93 in the Alton Tee-Off Classic, an 86 in the Madison County tournament and a 96 in the Quincy Invitational.
Zach Deeder returns to coach the Redbirds for a third season.
Last year, Alton finished seventh in conference play and placed eighth in the regional tournament.
Arie Macias was the Redbirds’ No. 1 boys’ runner last fall. He earned all-SWC honors and competed at sectionals for the second year in a row.
Sam Gentelin also ran at sectionals for the second straight year in 2015.
Seniors Alex Davis and Evan Rathgeb and junior Kelvin Cummings also are returning runners for the Redbirds, who have 19 boys.
Senior Tayton Kuebli is the top returning runner for the Alton girls’ team. Last year, she was the Redbirds’ lone sectional qualifier.
Last year, the Redbirds finished 1-8 overall and 1-6 in Southwestern Conference play in Eric Dickerson’s rookie season as coach.
The Redbirds lost 22 players to graduation, including all-conference performers Asa Collins and Zach Llewellyn.
Alton has just seven seniors this year, including running back Kalen Samelton, tight end Morris Adams and linemen Cody Markle and Ben Rakoski.
Juniors Taylor Price and Dyllon Proudie will share quarterback duties for the Redbirds. Juniors Kevin Caldwell (wide receiver), Jonathan Bumpers (wide receiver/defensive back) and Darrell Smith (tight end) and sophomores Donovan Porter (offensive lineman), Mike Green (offensive lineman), Izeal Terrell (linebacker/running back) and Keondre Samuelson (running back) also will see varsity time for the Redbirds.
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