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  • Keith Hjelle

Over One Hundred ACGC Students Out for Fall Sports! Coaches Optimistic

As the fall sports scene is about to burst upon us, let's take a look at the previews for the ACGC fall sports teams. All four teams--football, volleyball, and girls' and boys' cross country--began official practices on Monday, August 6 with over a hundred participants reporting for practice. This writer spoke with each of the head coaches last week about their upcoming seasons.

Trevor Irwin begins his tenure as the head volleyball coach, replacing Lindsey Moe who resigned after a successful 21win season in 2017. Irwin, an assistant coach for several years, inherits a team that has a strong senior class and several underclassmen who could contribute early. Irwin indicated that there are twenty nine girls who began practice with seven seniors leading the team. The seniors include setter Chelsea Larsen, middle blockers Jadeyn Carrick and Savana Fuller, defensive specialist Georgia Hoover. Sierra O'Brien, Sam Sloss, and Sara Pauley round out the senior class. Junior Olivia Laabs figures to be a strong outside hitter. Hailey Kintz joins her as the only other junior on the team. Underclassmen who Irwin thinks can help immediately include freshman Cloe Largent in the front row, and sophomore setter and hitter Audrey Stowe.

When asked about team goals for the season, Irwin said he thinks the team can contend for the conference title, with Des Moines Christian and Van Meter also being strong contenders. "To challenge for the conference title we have to communicate, play together, play smart and play within ourselves.

"We will have to increase our offensive tempo and improve our number of potential kill attempts to achieve our goals," he added. Assisting Irwin this season are Tara Largent and Alexa Groff.

The team will start competition with a jamboree at Woodward tonight, August 16, and will begin conference play at West Central Valley on Tuesday, August 21.

The Charger football program has a new head coach as well, as Cody Matthewson takes the reins from Mark McDermott who resigned last winter after heading up the Guthrie Center and ACGC programs for four years.

When asked what the keys to success are for this year's team, Matthewson said that there are three points of emphasis this season--conditioning, discipline, and perseverance. He calls them part of the "Charger Way."

Numbers are up from previous years, as forty three boys began fall practice. Matthewson indicated that the biggest challenge is for the players to believe in themselves. "We are starting over with a new offense, so there is a lot of learning to do through repetitions. The boys also need to develop the mental toughness to know that they can win."

When asked about strengths of the team, the Charger mentor said that the senior class is providing good leadership, and that the team has good size to go along with its physicality.

Matthewson sees Van Meter, Panorama, and Mount Ayr as the top contenders in the district. "Van Mater won the state championship last year," Matthewson commented, "and until someone unseats them, they are the team to beat."

The Chargers will begin the season on Friday, August 24 when they will entertain IKM-Manning in a non-district game. The first four games will be non-district games, with the last five making up the district schedule.

Matthewson has a large coaching staff as he is assisted by his father, Kurt Matthewson, Mike Underwood, Taylor Morris, Taylor Christensen, Ethan Lensch, and Shawn Danker.

Cross country coach Colin Shawgo is the eternal optimist, and he has reason to be this season. The veteran coach has set some lofty goals for both his girls' and boys' teams. "Our goals are to win both the girls' and boys' conference championships and to qualify both teams for their respective state meets, and to finish in the top ten at those meets." In addition, Shawgo believes that their is the potential to have individual state champions in both meets. Although he did not mention their names, he was no doubt referring to Kate Crawford (2016 state champion) and Noah Nelson, consistently a top runner for the Chargers' boys team.

At the time of this interview fourteen boys and fifteen girls are practicing, although the coach expects additional runners when school begins.

When asked who he expects to be the top teams in the conference, Shawgo said that Panorama will be strong in the girls' conference and Madrid and Earlham will field solid boys teams.

Shawgo believes that experience and pack running are strengths for this years teams, while he is still looking for more consistency from his harriers. "We have been up and down so far and we aren't getting consistent efforts."

The season gets under way on Thursday, August 23 when the Chargers will participate in a meet hosted by Gilbert High School on the Iowa State cross country course.

Following are the rosters for each sport, with a total of one hundred and four athletes participating in the ACGC fall sports programs!

Volleyball Football Cross Country: Boys Girls

Seniors Seniors Seniors Seniors

Sam Sloss Ben Kingery Clay Bilheimer Aubrey Chmelar

Savana Fuller Gabe Rowley Blaine Beeler Lauryn Embelton

Sierra O'Brien Avery Wheatley Noah Benson Malena Rumelhart

Jadeyn Carrick Mike Ure Matt Hanner Juniors

Chelsea Larsen Flavio Gonzalez Noah Nelson Kendra Campbell

Genevieve Hoover Will Byars Easton Sargent Kate Crawford

Sara Pauley Spencer Grove Juniors Taylor Lemke

Juniors Easton Benson Ben Young Kenzie Reinhart

Olivia Laabs Dylan Soper Sophomores Reagan Rumelhart

Hailey Kintz Juniors Nash Ayers Jackie Trujillo-Garcia

Sophomores Quynton Younker Eli Kading Keely Vasey

Jorja Hoover Kolby Jacobe Zach Moon Kennedy Young

Audrey Stowe Colby Morehouse Donnie Swanson Sophomores

Reese Coffman Sam Madsen Freshmen Alyson Embleton

Kylie Young Bryce Littler Miles Kading Belle Policky

Jenna Anderson Cole Plowman Zander Kenyon Rylee Sloss

Breanna Vra Hayden Knutter Lane Sheeder Emma Vogl

Sophie Danker Sophomores

Kalie Kinney Clayton Wardyn

Olivia Van Meter Gage Buttler

Tori Fuller Lucas Marsh

Mady Kelsey Noah Wheatley

Ali McDermott Carter Hansen

Freshman Cale Rowley

Alyssa Byars Christian Nolte

Britni Hayes Seth Danker

Alaina Bunde Gunner Larsen

Megan Lemke Freshmen

Chloe Largent Cael Hoing

Jenna Grubbs Victor Gonzalez

Abby Hansen Griffen Ayers

Kailey Eivins Hunter Pauley

Myah Defruscio Charlie Crawford

Jenna Wheatley Logan Brokaw

Morgan Lemke Cayden Jensen

Manager Preston Zimmerline

Katelyn Thompson Gavin Cornelison

Gage Keutzer

Hayden Tunink

Dallas Jacobe

Reid Rumelhart

Trevin Suhr

Bryce Rockholz

Jacob Fox

Dawson Muller

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