Little did I know when I took this job that I would get to see some incredible volleyball, cross country, soccer, tennis and football. The Reflector area had two volleyball teams in the Elite 8 of their divisions, an insane number of state cross country runners, a tennis doubles team in state and some memorable soccer tournament upsets. Throw in Edison and St. Paul football and you have quite an impressive fall sports season. And it is still going on through the middle of November with the Chargers and Flyers still rolling along.
The biggest question is, can the winter prep sports season top the fall?
From talking around the area with people who know the basketball scene better than me at the moment, they are saying it is going to be a grim basketball season. As a guy who grew up in Firelands Conference basketball, I have noticed a big of a slump recently. When Plymouth won the boys FC in the 2013-14 season, it was the only team to have a record better than .500. The following season, South Central joined in with a nice 18-6 record and last season, Western Reserve got back to its traditional ways as did New London giving the FC three teams with a winning record along with FC champ South Central.
Progress is slow, but each year the FC has added one more winning team to the mix and with South Central bringing back a talented core, Western Reserve expected to win the FC, New London always making a splash, which team will be the next to join the above-.500 club? My guess would be St. Paul if they can get their football guys transitioned into a hoops state of mind in a hurry. This season could see four teams in the FC above .500 since the 2012-13 season. That spells excitement in the FC again.
On the ladies side, I am not sure if anything could top New London’s run to the regionals last year. Though at 21-5, the Lady Cats probably didn’t surprise themselves and was ready for an even longer run. There were two teams in the FC above .500 with three more right at the half mark. This ladies season may be as close as any in recent memory as the preseason polls indicated.
The Top 4 teams in the preseason voting were separated by 12 points with the Top 3 by just three. New London took the top spot followed by South Central, St. Paul and Crestview. It is going to be a fun race to the finish atop the FC.
The Northern Ohio League and Sandusky Bay Conference should be thrillers as well with Norwalk ready to make noise and its girls dubbed the favorite in the NOL. Edison’s boys team will have to transition from football to basketball quickly but it was able to last year to a nice season.
I am also thrilled for some good wrestling although, I have a lot to learn about the area teams on the mat. Any help the readers can give me on that will be incredibly appreciated. You know the email. As well as swimming and bowling.
I am excited to get started on hardwood coverage and I hope to see you all in the gyms around the area. It should be a good time.
Editor’s note: The girls basketball previews will be in the paper the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the boys basketball previews will be the following Friday.