Winter sports: like fall sports but better

As the leaves fall and the cold hands of winter grasp the Midwest, athletes are forced indoors, away from the sun. The welcoming warmth of the outdoors is exchanged with the crisp cold of the winter months. The athletes of Ames High migrate from grassy fields to courts and mats. But just because their sports take place inside doesn’t make them easier or less entertaining. Basketball is to winter as football is to fall in the eyes of students. During the last couple of seasons, students have enjoyed an amazing boys’ basketball program, and this season is no different. Seniors Jesse Pritchard and Bu Bu Paulo look to lead their team to the long-coveted state tournament. Returning juniors Michael Weber and Harrison Barnes look to shine even brighter in the spotlight that is Ames High basketball. "The team is looking good this year," Barnes said, "We’ve got a lot of pieces that are being put together this year in order to win state." After a spectacular season last year which ended in heartbreak for all present, the boys’ state chances are as real as they get. The girls’ basketball team returns from a strong season as well. Nearly missing the state tournament last season, the girls return with four starters; seniors Trisha Nesbitt and Maura Owings along with juniors Kionna Kellogg and Ellen Hansen. Recently signed to the University of Iowa, Nesbitt will lead the girls to a fantastic season with a finish at Wells Fargo Arena. The boys swim team is diving headfirst into the pool just as early and staying just as late as they always do. The varsity squad has gone undefeated in dual meets for two years. The boys return from a disappointing 7th place finish at last year’s state meet. A strong senior class led by Scott Strehlow, Ben Utesch and Steve Stark look to lead the team to another conference and district win. The cap to a great season would be the state title, which hasn’t belonged to Ames since 1982. The team has the potential this year to bring home the title. "The team is looking strong both in depth and in numbers," said Strehlow. The wrestling team hits the mats hard this year with a new coach. Coach Drew Kelly, fresh to Ames from Fort Dodge, took the job of strengthening and conditioning the boys. "He was good in high school and college and he is in great shape," sophomore Luke Swalla said. Kelly takes charge of Ames stars like Ben and Luke Swalla, Quentin Ring, Scott Klinkel and Stefan Breitling. Although the Ames Flyers hockey team is not sponsored by Ames High, students still play and watch. Seniors Jake Scebold, Ryan Marrs and Austin Parle take to the rink commanding their team. Their games usually consume their precious weekends. With a lack of Iowa hockey teams, the boys have to travel as far as Kansas City for games. The drill teams are training hard for their state performance on Dec. 5th. The rejuvenated all-male team is not only great in numbers, but also rich in talent. The girls’ gold and silver squads, led by coach Sarah Buss, do not intend to disappoint. This winter extravaganza of sports will not leave you bored in your seats. When Iowa is blanketed with snow, athletes train as hard and perform as well.