East-Alton Wood River experienced some success in cross country last year and coach Russ Colona returns his same team from last year on the boys’ side.
Colona starts his 27th year this season. Senior Brenden Springman, the team’s No. 1 runner and only senior, returns for his final go-around. Last season, the team placed second in the small-school division of the Madison County Meet and experienced postseason success with a third-place finish in the New Athens Class A Regional.
“I’ve always had a good group of kids,” Colona said. “They run in all types of weather, even when it’s wet and cold.”
On the girls’ side, the Oilers have just two runners out this year — seniors Karissa Gilreath and Kaylee Dailey. Both have run on the team for four years.
Colona said Gilreath performed well in the postseason last year and has a chance of being a sectional qualifier this season.
The boys’ golf team compiled a 19-16 mark last season and just two years ago, the Oilers placed 11th at the Class A state tournament.
The team returns two seniors to lead the way — Drew Sobol, son of Oilers coach Dave Sobol, and Brendon Allen — both state qualifiers. Coach Sobol said he would like to finish with 20 wins this season. When it comes to expectations from his state qualifiers, he feels confident they can write a positive story.
“I don’t really expect anything out of them,” Dave Sobol said. “We get them to the course and I have a positive attitude. They’re very schooled in what they do.”
Head coach Garry Herron returns for his second season at his alma mater. The Oilers finished last year with an 1-8 mark overall and 1-6 in the Prairie State Conference.
Junior quarterback Justin Englar returns, as well as leading rusher and junior Zach Womack, leading receiver and junior Lukas Westbrook and defensive stalwarts, junior Zach Kincaide and senior Jacob Vassos.
Mike Lawson returns for his ninth season as boys’ soccer coach. The team finished the 2016 campaign with a 16-5-1 mark.
The Oilers will have to replace the Barrett twins this year. Goalie Nick and leading scorer David graduated from the program, along with some other talented seniors.
Lawson will look to seniors like Jordan Schmigdall and Zac Lafferty to lead the charge this year.
The Oilers went 10-16 last season under head coach Patti Scott.
They have five seniors returning this season: Lauren Robinson, Sierra Henry, Kaleigh Young, Emily Sabatino and Kenzie King.
Mary Broadway returns for a 13th season as the Oilers’ head coach.
The team will be rebuilding this season after losing seven seniors from last year.
EA-WR hopes an expansion to a two-class tennis system will help the program. The Oilers had no wins at the Alton Sectional in 2015.
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