Fifth-year head coach Pat Moore has what appears to be a powerhouse boys’ team returning after the Explorers finished seventh in the Class 2A state finals last season.
Michael Holtz, a senior, leads the parade of talent. He was the regional champion and finished 25th at state. Teammate Nick Messinger, another senior, placed 18th at state in 2015.
Sophomore Kolten Bauer, senior Duncan McLain, junior Jack Patterson and sophomore Sam Cogan also add to the mix.
“We definitely could be at state again this year,” Bauer said.
Holtz added, “We really like playing against good competition.”
Marquette won the Alton Tee-Off Classic at Spencer T. Olin and defended its small-school Madison County Tournament title at Belk Park to open the season.
“The players have a lot of dedication and it’s fun to watch the way they are playing,” said Moore, owner of an 88-6 record in four seasons. “It’s pretty awesome.”
Sixth-year coach Deb Walsh intends to continue the Explorers’ improving ways.
They registered a 19-5 record last season, won the county small-school championship and advanced to state. She sports a 71-18 career record.
Marquette, which is playing host to its annual Blast-Off Tourney on Saturday at Spencer T. Olin, graduated top player Carlee Cronin, a state qualifier last season. Yet senior captain Maddie Connors, juniors Ellie Kane and Lauren Walsh all return. Newcomers to watch include senior Claire Chappee, junior Sarah Grafton and freshman Annie Kane.
More good things seem to be on the way for the Explorers, 14-7-3 last year and Class 2A Jacksonville Regional champs. Marquette made it all to the way to the sectional finals before bowing to Waterloo, the eventual 2A state champion.
“I feel pretty good about our team,” said seventh-year head coach Jeremy Sanfilippo, who guided the Explorers to a 1A state championship in 2012.
The return of top scorer Zach Weinman will fuel them. Sophomore Chris Hartrich also returns after being the team’s second leading scorer a year ago.
“Zach is one of the top scorers in the area,” Sanfilippo said. “We will be young on defense, but overall, we are in good shape. I could see us going to state this year.”
Goalie Brandon Sanfilippo was the key graduation loss. Brandon logged 14 wins and had a 1.45 goals against average in 2015. Sophomore Nick Hemann will take over as the Explorers’ goalie.
Seniors Jon Stewart, Brendan Nickloy, Alex Cousley and Ryan Ely, juniors Noah Fahnestock and Riley Velloff, sophomore Kwame Ngwa plus freshmen Joe Guehlstorf, Aaron Boulch and Trent Dietiker also could figure in the fun.
The Explorers reached the playoffs last season as first-year coach Darrell Angleton guided them to a 6-4 record, including a runner-up spot in the Prairie State Conference. It marked the 9th time in the last 10 years they made it to postseason play.
Seniors Brady McAfee and Liam Maher, plus junior D’Avion Peebles, expect to ignite the offense that showcases experience — nearly 30 seniors and juniors. Linemen Sam Stemm, Marshall Youngblood and Xavior Jones, among others, figure to be factors.
The trio of McAfee, Maher and Peebles rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last season.
Key linemen return, making Marquette a threat to win the conference championship.
The Explorers’ home opener is Saturday, Sept. 3, against Breese Mater Dei, when they will honor former standout Craig Hentrich.
There figures to be a blend of experience and youth for the Explorers, directed by third-year coach Sue Heinz. They were 16-11 last year after sitting at 5-6 early in the season.
Andria and Brittany Pace are among the graduated players from that squad, but the Explorers feature four seniors: Michelle Cameron, Kate Cogan, Laura Hamilton and Karoline Lauritzen.
Juniors Marissa Nosco, Jennifer Copeland, Carly Creel, Grace Frost, Regina Guehlstorf, Lauren Heinz, Peyton Kline, Amanda Murray and Jenna Zacha, along with sophomore Brooklyn Taylor, add to the mix.
After experiencing a successful season last fall, the Explorers are looking to do it again. And there’s ample reason they can be just as prosperous for coach Jim Claywell.
Junior Shelby Jones, a two-time state qualifier, is back to guide them.
She should get plenty of assistance from seniors Abby Simonds, Annie Tassinari, Andrianna Ventimiglia, Allison Peuterbaugh, Mary Wilton and Megan Bell, plus sophomores Eleonore Scroggins, Katie Ventimiglia and Maria Wendle.
The IHSA has split tennis into a two-class system for the first time in 2016, leaving the Explorers in 1A and optimistic for a sectional title.
Head coach Michael Brooks is counting on senior Adam Sanders and junior Chris Hellrung to pace the guys. Junior Sam Cox is a first-year runner to watch.
Sanders will serve as team captain.
Sectional qualifier Natalie Halliday, eighth in last year’s Class 1A New Athens Regional, has graduated. So sophomore Kennedi Koetzle and freshman Riley Vickrey aim to lead the girls.
Dan Folkerts replaces Sara Ulrich as the Explorers head coach going into their second season. Marquette finished 3-13-1 during its inaugural campaign.
Seniors Emma Taylor, Megan Bunce, Danielle Folkerts, Merric Meehan, Bri Klatch, Alex Nagy, Hannah Schultz, Sabrina Tran and Audrey Zigrang could lead the way this fall for Marquette, which will play its home matches at Gordon Moore Park. Juniors Kaitlin Fitzgerald, Addy Fleming, Katie Hart, Melisa Lurkins, Cayli Shinstock, Keelie Stork and sophomore Kelsey Sulin add to the team’s depth.
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