Head coach Jason Batty returns for another season at Metro East Lutheran. Metro returns five seniors to anchor the squad in Braden Woolsey, A.J. Risavy, Thomas Schroeder, Owen Gusewelle and Stephen Korte.
“Our goal is the same that it is every year,” Batty said. “To grow in the season and be competitive in the postseason.”
The Knights fell in three games to the Edwardsville Tigers in the opening round of the MELHS Regional last season, 25-17, 23-25, 25-21.
MELHS finished last year with a 5-21 mark in Colin McLaughlin’s first season at the helm. McLaughlin returns for his second campaign in 2017.
“Our primary goal is to be leaders in our community,” McLaughlin said. “Our girls know and practice good sportsmanship, and we have made it a goal to exhibit that on the field, in the dugout and away from the diamond. We also expect to keep improving as a team, and that includes our abilities and our record.”
The Knights fell 7-0 to Lebanon in the 1A Lebanon Regional title game in ‘16.
Cierra Frields, Claire Cunningham, Sami Kasting, Sidney Vetter and Amber Keplar are key returners. Frields will anchor the pitching staff.
The Knights won a play-in game over the East Alton-Wood River Oilers, 3-0, last season in the 1A Marquette Regional, but fell 9-0 to the host Explorers in the regional semifinals to end their season at 2-13. The loss to Marquette snapped a two-game winning streak for Metro.
MELHS lost three seniors to graduation — including leading scorers Hannah Landers and Abby Yurchuk. The Knights return three seniors this year in midfielders Katherine Lange and Lexi Frawley and forward Laura Muther.
Head coach Noah Enke returns for his fifth season and he expects this year’s seniors to lead the team and continue to build a foundation for the future.
Former Collinsville High School baseball player Matt Pomerantz will lead the Knights as head coach for the first time this season. He takes over for Joel Rempfer, who stepped down to spend more time with his family, but remains on the staff as an assistant.
Metro finished with a 7-23 mark last year and coach Pomerantz looks for improvement this spring.
Pitcher Jake Jump, who will continue his career at Fontbonne University, a NCAA Division III school in Clayton, Mo., next year, returns for another season. Seniors John Hubbard, Kyle Johnson, Eric O’Connor, Zach Crank, Michael Coulson, Ian Key and Noah Coddington all return from last year also.
MELHS fell 2-1 to Valmeyer in the 1A New Athens Regional finals to end its 2016 season.
Metro found some success last season in winning the Prairie State Conference under coach David Moldenhauer, who returns for another season this spring.
MELHS returns senior Megan Jacobsen, who placed second at conference in both the shot put and the discus. Sophomore Ellen Schulte returns for another season. Last year, Schulte won the 100-meter dash in conference and placed second in the 200-meter dash, while also running on the 4x100-meter and 4x200-meter relays that won conference championships.
Metro East Lutheran placed second in the Prairie State Conference last year. Moldenhauer will coach again this season.
The team returns senior Luke Sengele, who won a conference championship in the discus and was second in the shot put; and junior Eli Harding, who placed second in the 300-meter hurdles and third in the 100-meter hurdles.
Also returning is junior Darion Brooks, who placed second in the 3,200-meter run and third in the 1,600-meter run last season at conference.