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