Winter Sports Preview
The leaves have fallen off and the weather is getting colder, which means that the winter sports season is about to get underway! Cortland student-athletes are in the gym and started practicing over the past few weeks to get prepared for the rapidly approaching year. We sat down with all of our varsity head coaches to discuss the upcoming winter season. The following will give you a preview of what is to come this winter sports season!
Boys Basketball - Jeremy Milligan, Head Coach
The 2018-19 squad is returning seven players from last year. Coach Milligan is optimistic of the senior leadership and returning talent. Coming off a 10-11 record from last year, the Tigers are looking to return to sectional play and hopefully make a deeper incursion into the post-season this year.
“This is a special collection of players, a group that is a lot of fun to be around,” head coach Jeremy Milligan said. “I believe we have all the tools for a very successful year. Our foundation is solid with a strong point guard that has great court vision, but is also able to score, as well as a shooting guard with range, a small forward that is capable of scoring multiple ways, and a forward and center that can score with their backs to the basket and beyond the arc.”
The squad also has some significant depth, which will prove to be very beneficial to the team this year.
“Coming off the bench, we have nice complimentary pieces to make positive contributions,” Milligan continued. “Staying healthy and focused all year long will be our task.”
Girls Basketball - Nolan Sinclair, Head Coach
The 2018-19 season should be an exciting one for the Girls Basketball program, as the team has high expectations coming into the year. The Tigers are expected to field one of its deepest and most experienced rosters in several seasons.
“We are excited to begin the 2018-2019 season as we have some high expectations for this year’s team,” head coach Nolan Sinclair said. “We return many players from last year’s team, including our top four leading scorers. We are led by junior captain Lyndsie Babcock and senior captain Tsai Lewis. We are fortunate enough to also return significant players in Shyanne Lewis, Ashley Shortsleeve, Elyssa Yonta, Kaitlyn Pratt, Reilly Record, and Emilie Sherwood. Our newcomers this year are Gabriella Fowler, Paige Ludwig, and Marissa Gilmore.”
Coach Sinclair has shaken up the tactics a bit this season, which figures to allow the team play an up-tempo style that certainly will be exciting to spectators and fans. The team has really embraced this style of play during the preseason and is looking forward to employing it in competition.
“We are going to play a much more exciting style of basketball this year, which has motivated the girls,” Sinclair continued. “We are going to push the tempo, which will enable us to score more points, and play a more aggressive style of defense.”
The Tigers get the season started on November 29th against Groton, followed by another home game on December 1st against Watertown. Headlining the schedule is also a big cross-town rivalry game on Friday, December 7th, against Homer, which the team hopes will have a huge supporting fan base to cheer on the team.
Girls Volleyball - Cheri Olson
Cheri Olson is in her 11th year at the reigns of the volleyball team. The team's MVP, Kayci Olson, is back for another year with the team and will play a vital leadership role.
“With only two returning seniors, we have a very young team. I think that we have potential to do very well this season. We have been working hard and our bench is deeper this year. I have a lot more strong hitters this year than I had in the past. Chittenango and Tully are the top teams that we are going to face this year. We are ready to start the season and continue to improve.”
Indoor Track - Paul Drexler, Head Coach
Cortland’s Indoor Track program will be under new leadership in 2018-19, as Paul Drexler takes the reins for the first time. With a strong group of returners, he is hoping to continue to build on the success of the past few years.
“This year as a new coach for indoor, I've got some goals for the returning cross country runners,” Drexler said. “As far as the rest of the team is concerned they have some personal goals which vary. Some are staying in shape for a spring sport, while others are pursuing improvements on last year's season. We have quite a few returning athletes who are eager to make their mark on Cortland Indoor Track and Field. We hope to build on the successes of the Cross Country team from the fall, as well as be competitive as a track and field team overall. As a Small-A school this year, our competition will be tough but with the dedication of the returning athletes it will be exciting to watch the season unfold.”
Wrestling - Mike Tenkate
This year the Cortland wrestling team is looking to rebuild the program. Coach Mike Tenkate said, “This is my first year coaching wrestling at Cortland High School. Sadly, we only have eleven student-athletes this year, so we will be unable to fill the full complement of fifteen weight classes. In order to try to fill the void, we combined Junior Varsity and Varsity wrestling together to be one team.”
The returning group will be led by Josh Rowland and Noah Wurst who have taken up leadership roles this preseason. The duo will look to set the tone for the program this winter.
“Josh Rowland and Noah Wurst, will lead the team as they are both the most experienced,” Tenkate continued. “Both Rowland and Wurst are juniors and we have no seniors currently on the team. The main goal of this year is to focus on being the best eleven wrestlers we can be. The team is working on eating right, practicing hard, and becoming stronger wrestlers overall.”
The Tigers next dual meet competition is December 5th vs. Homer.
Ice Hockey - Chad Totman
Last year, the ice hockey team placed first in the league with a record of 10-2-1 and ranked as high as second in the state. This year, the team will be led by captains Josh Cargen, Jake Prunier as well as assistant captains Michael Jewett and Jed Brazo.
Coach Chad Totman said, “You never know where you are going to stand in the league because teams can change from season to season. However, we should be able to compete in the league this year as we have a lot of talent on this year’s roster. Our goal as a team is to come together and play disciplined hockey. If we do that we can certainly finish at the top of the league.”
Bowling - Annette McMahon
Varsity Boys has fourteen bowlers returning. The seniors are Dylan Luther (Captain), Ben Pace, as well as brothers Alex and Ben Warholic. The juniors are Mason Belrose and Cody Wilk. New to the team are Jordan Shortsleeve, Joseph Kane, Jake Keep, Kian O'Connell, Tyler Gavitt, Michael Frederick and Bradyn Schmidt.
The Varsity Girls team has five returning athletes this season: Taylor Cullip, Holly Vallese, Neve O'Connell, Calista Van Epps, Autum Wells. New to the team are Alvana Schmidt, Tara-Rain McMahon, Makayla Cotterill, Victoria Strobeck, Emily Stoughton and eighth grader Jillian Riccardi.
“With our returning bowlers and new bowlers with youth league experience we are looking forward to a record year,” head coach Annette McMahon said. “Ken Smith and Nadeane Minnard are the volunteer coaches also with years of experience to assist our bowlers in a regrowth year.”
The Cortland Varsity Basketball Cheerleading Team has nineteen members this season including returning seniors Allison Bishop, Ashley Peterson and Lindsey Smith. We will be attending three competitions this season. Our first competition will be on January 12th.
Coach Nikki O'Donnell said, “we hope to improve our stunting skills this season. Each year we get better and I am happy to be working with a group of talented ladies.”