ALTA - Alta-Aurelia boys basketball coach Dean Lietz sees a cupboard full with the return of all five starters from last year's Alta Cyclone team that has now merged with neighboring Aurelia to form the A-A Warriors.
Those five returning starters include Ryan Friedrich, Jaden Holton, A.J. Lange, Jalen Henningson, and Neil Marshall.
In addition to that talented nucleus, Austin Delp and Austin Glawe will pay immediate dividends for the Warriors this season, along with two other returning lettermen in Christian Weiland and Karl Kennedy.
Also on hand for the A-A club are promising underclassmen Jason Van Haaften, Colton Ballantyne, Kaleb Howey, Jose Ramirez, Tyler Larsen, and Nathan Flaherty, who could also see varsity action as the year unwinds, according to coach Lietz.
Friedrich was a first team All-Northwest Conference selection last season and Holton was second team All-NWC, and Lange Honorable Mention.
Lietz sees quickness, depth, experience, and the ability to run the floor as among his team's strengths, and lists physical size and toughness as team shortcomings that will need to be addressed.
Lietz is assisted this year by Chris Reinert and Will Dible.
ALTA - Eight skilled senior letter winners with ample varsity experience will keep the Alta-Aurelia girls in the thick of things throughout the 2010-2011 basketball season.
Veteran Warrior coach Jeannie Henningsen greeted three first team All-Northwest Conference players back as part of that stellar cast of letter winners, including her daughter Jordan, a first team All-State and All-District selection last season. Meghan Glawe was also a first team All-NWC and All-District performer last season, and Emily Grieme was a first team All-NWC pick.
Among the other returning letter winners who will impact the varsity are Courtney Van Haaften, Haley Payne, Audrey Winterhof, Meagan Phipps, and Shaina Thevenin.
Among promising newcomers Coach Henningsen can weave into her potent line-up are seniors Emily Maharry and Lesa Turnquist, and sophomore Gracie Winterhof.
Learning to play together with different line-ups will be a challenge for Henningsen in the first-year merger between the former Alta and Aurelia teams.
The Alta girls were 12-7 last season, and Aurelia posted a 3-19 record in the tough NWC.
Veteran coach Rory Payne will assist Henningsen this season.
ALTA - The first year of the shared Alta-Aurelia wrestling program is a little short on numbers, starting with the coaches.
Head coaches Mike Fry and Louie DeRoos will both be absent during this first season, as both are deployed to the Middle East with their National Guard units. B.J. Stevicks, Bradley Gustafson, and Clay Drenth will be taking up the coaching slack for the Warriors this season, but the trio will only have seven wrestlers with which to work.
One obvious problem with this lack of numbers is that, as Coach Stevicks states, "We aren't going to win many duals (with that many forfeited matches)."
Despite the lack of numbers, Coach Stevicks said that this "Magnificent Seven" is "the hardest-working group of athletes that I've ever worked with. They have a great work ethic and great attitude."