Columbus North will have to replace a few key players from its Conference Indiana champion baseball team, but the Bull Dogs appear to be solid up the middle for next season.
Sophomore Devin Mann, who started in left field as a freshman and played shortstop when the graduated Hunter McIntosh was on the mound, recently was named the state’s fifth-best prospect in the Class of 2015 by Prep Baseball Report. He figures to move to shortstop full time in 2013.
Meanwhile, senior second baseman Coledon Hoeltke played for Team Indiana in the 2012 Crossroads Showcase Series.
“It shows how much work that we have put into our program and how hard the kids have worked on their baseball skills,” said North coach Brian Muckerheide. “It’s a good thing to reload next year with Devin being at shortstop and Coledon at second.”
Muckerheide was Team Indiana’s head coach in the event, which featured 20 top prospects in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. Indiana beat Ohio 5-1 and Illinois 18-2 to win the championship.
“It went really well,” Muckerheide said. “It was a great atmosphere. It was awesome.”
O’s hope to repeat
Defending sectional tennis champion Columbus East opens the season today at home against Greenwood. The Olympians went 20-3 last season and fell to Bloomington South in the regional finals.
Sophomore Seth Myers returns at No. 1 singles, while senior Jonathan James moves up to No. 2 singles and freshman Jo Jo Woolwine is set to step in at No. 3 singles. Juniors Matt Fuehne and Alex Pegram are back at No. 1 doubles, and Naveen Menon, Will Voils, Caleb Hack and Connor Jensen are battling for the No. 2 doubles positions.
“The season is really going to come down to how the freshmen play,” East coach Jim Stone said. “Skill-wise, everybody is just as good, but I don’t know how they’ll compete.”
North opens Friday and Saturday at the Jeffersonville Invitational.
Junior Luke Red, sophomore Anthony Sanders and senior Christian Narsinghani played singles last season, and senior Ernest Xi, junior Kamal Maharjan and senior Pascal Lee played doubles. But Red at No. 1 singles and Xi at No. 1 doubles are the only ones certain to be in the same positions this season.
“We have about 12 guys who could play varsity for us this year,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “They’ve all been playing a lot of tennis and have improved. It’s really up in the air.”
Greiner’s debut tonight
Former East volleyball star Caitlin (Watts) Greiner will make her high school coaching debut tonight when she leads North against Shelbyville.
The facility manager and head trainer for Acceleration Indiana played two years at Miami (Ohio) and one year at Indiana University and coached at Hoosierland Volleyball Club in Bloomington until taking over as director of the Columbus North Volleyball Club last winter.
“The girls have worked really hard all summer,” Greiner said. “We scrimmaged Bloomington South last week, and we got the jitters out, and we’re ready for our first match. We are an extremely young team. We’re very athletic; but in the ways of varsity and junior varsity experience, we don’t have a whole lot of it.”
East girls ranked No. 13
The Olympians earned their first-ever girls soccer ranking late last season when they slipped into the polls at No. 20. This year, East is No. 13 in the preseason rankings.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized among the coaching staff around the state,” East coach Ilya Schwartzman said. “The players have put in a lot of hard work, and it’s paying off. Obviously, we still need to prove it on the field, but I think we’re capable of doing that.This is a very, very good team that’s capable of doing a lot of good things this year.”
Soccer moves to IUPUI
The IHSAA announced last week that it is moving the boys and girls soccer state finals from Kuntz Stadium to IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium. A Field Turf Revolution surface recently was installed in the stadium.
“I think it’s a welcome change,” North boys coach Andy Glover said. “They have a beautiful new facility in downtown Indianapolis that has a quality surface. I think it’s a very kind gesture for the coaching staff and officials at IUPUI to allow the teams that quality for the state finals to make use of their fine facility. I think it’s a great thing.”
The Bull Dog boys have played at Kuntz two of the past three years and lost to Crown Point on penalty kicks in last year’s title game. North controlled play throughout most of the regulation and overtime but couldn’t score on a slick field.
“In the event of inclement weather, the integrity of the surface is maintained (at IUPUI),” Glover said. “If you’re going to run four games on grass, you’re going to shred it. I think that certainly played into the equation last year for our game.”
Ted Schultz writes the Prep Sports Report for The Republic. He can be reached at 379-5628.
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