MARCUS - Three returning starters are among five lettermen back this season to bolster the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn boys basketball team, again under the direction of head coach Pat Bird.
That trio of starters - all seniors - brings skill and leadership to the Eagles, who battled to a 5-17 record last season while featuring several underclassmen playing pivotal roles in the rugged War Eagle Conference. The returning starters are Neal Bunt, John Hoefling, and Jesse Kunzweiler.
The other two returning lettermen are junior Zach Specht and sophomore Tyler Prunty who, along with promising newcomers Nate Rassel, Tanner Utesch, Jared Gross, and Dylan Spieler, will form the varsity nucleus for the Eagles. Of those promising newcomers, all are sophomores, with the exception of freshman Spieler.
Coach Bird lists guard strength as among the Eagles' team strengths, with Specht and Bunt leading the way. Kunzweiler will provide leadership and scoring from his forward position, and Hoefling will man the post when he heals fully from a broken foot sustained in football, possibly by Christmas time, according to Bird. Rassel and Spieler will fill in for Hoefling at the post position.
Bird also cites a lack of depth on the inside as a team shortcoming, with MMC forced to fight the fight with a decided height disadvantage against most opponents. The bench also has little varsity experience, also a shortcoming that will need to be addressed through practice and game repetitions as the season progresses.
Former Eagle standout Don Cave is assisting Bird this year after serving last year as a volunteer assistant.
MARCUS - First-year head coach Tim Dreckman greeted four very talented returning letter winners with ample varsity experience for the 2010-2011 Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn girls basketball team.
Dreckman served as an assistant before taking the reins this season for the Eagles.
Back to lead the MMC gals are senior four-year varsity regulars Erica Dreckman and Kayla Foresman, and two skilled juniors with varsity experience in Jalyn Doeden and reagan McDaniel.
Coach Dreckman also will be counting heavily on two more juniors with great potential to impact the varsity and they are Carly Lehnhoff and Anna Wilcox.
Erica Dreckman as second team All-War Eagle Conference last season and Foresman an honorable mention pick.
Coach Dreckman lists quickness, that experienced nucleus, and depth as overall team strengths this season, and cites shooting percentage and free throw shootijng as areas that need to be worked on as the season progresses.
Dreckman will be assisted this year by veteran Eagles coach Ric Collins.
The Eagles return state qualifier Jake Pearson, along with Tyler Pearson, Mitch Brady, Tayler Coombs, Dylan Rolfes, Ben Phillips, Jake Meehan, Nathan Zubrod, Levi Letsche and Dillon Mugge. Promising nwcomers include Nathan Crouch, Michael Wetherell, Jacob Letsche, Mark Peters and Justin Theisen. Coach Steve Phillips says that the team is "young, but with some pretty coachable kids."
Phillips, who is assisted by Nick Dreckman and James Mayer, says that MMC will not be able to fill all weight classes at this year's matches.