Iola athletics back in action


Nic Zimmerman

Members of the boys basketball team pose for a photo.

Nic Zimmerman, Staff Writer

As the cold begins to set in, IHS athletes find themselves eager to compete with their new teams and coaches. Hopes and dreams of a state title will be enough to drive these teams through the elongated winter season. First, let’s take a look at each individual team as they prepare for their journey.

The boys basketball team will be looking to bounce back after a heartbreaking loss in sub-state last year. Plenty of excitement has surrounded this team, even with the loss of many influential seniors.

“We have some good guards coming up, and some solid new role players coming in, so I think we’ll be pretty good even without them this year,” said senior Ethan Holloway. When asked about the central goal of the year, Holloway simply replied with “win state.”

The Mustangs will be going in a brand new direction this year behind head coach Luke Bycroft.

We have the ability to be a great defensive team. That will be the biggest change this season, in that we will have a defensive focus instead of an offensive one. Our defense will drive our offense. We may not be a flashy team, but we won’t be outworked,” Bycroft said. “I am excited about building on the success from last year. We finished the year on a tough note, losing to Parsons, but we made progress all season long. There are many of our players returning from a strong season in which they got a lot of experience.”

It seems the squad is eager to get on the floor and prove something, and the only thing left for fans to do is sit back and enjoy the process.

The Iola Fillies have some rather big shoes to fill after losing a shootout to Burlington last year in the sub-state finals. There’s no doubt that the Fillies lost one of their best senior classes in a decade, led by Sydney Wade.

“Our seniors from last year brought a ton of experience. Two of them consistently led us in scoring last year,” said head coach Becky Carlson. So one may wonder: Who will take the reins and become the core of the team?

“We will be looking to Colbi [Riley] for leadership on the court, along with the whole senior class,” Carlson says. Those seniors were key in many hotly contested matchups throughout the year.

“I’m looking forward to the Chanute game because we beat them last year and I’m ready to do it again, but I’m also looking forward to the Burlington game cause they beat us in everything and it’s time to turn that around,” says senior Colbi Riley.

On the other side of winter sports, Iola Wrestling has seen a significant dropoff in participation over the last few years, but looks as if they are finally seeing that turn around.

“We have a lot of new guys out this year that are great athletes already,” says head coach, Jason Bates. Now that Bates has a few years under his belt, he has had time to develop a consistent message to all his wrestlers.

“In practice, he emphasizes using the right technique, because people say practice makes perfect… no, practice makes permanent,” stated senior wrestler Drake Sell proudly. Many see wrestling as an individual sport, and it is to a certain extent, but with coach Bates’s help, we could be seeing a team of truly unified individuals.