Players and coaches from four of Tunkhannock Area high school’s spoke about their upcoming seasons to the Tunkhannock Kiwanis at a meeting held at the Warren Hotel on Thursday night.
The annual event treated teams to dinner and allowed Kiwanians a chance to meet representatives from each team for a better sense of what to expect come spring.
Kiwanian Bob Parkison introduced each team to address the crowd and suggested a talking point of what the biggest challenge would be in 2017.
First up was the Tunkhannock boys lacrosse team, led by first-year head coach Dan Davidson.
Davidson served as assistant coach for last year’s team, which he noted graduated several of its top players.
“We had a good season, but we graduated a lot of good players,” Davidson said. “We’re looking to work hard, play hard, and hoping to put a new stamp on the program. The future is bright, and I’m very excited for the season.”
One of Tunkhannock’s top scorers from last season — senior Christian Scotti — was on hand for the meeting, but unfortunately won’t be taking the field for the Tigers this year while recovering from ACL surgery.
However, Scotti will serve as an assistant of sorts for Tunkhannock and hopes that his experience will help the younger players this upcoming season.
“My goal is to help the team and the younger players learn the game better,” he said.
Fellow seniors Hunter Grow and Joe Elias and junior Bradley Martin also spoke to those gathered.
Next up was the Tunkhannock softball team, represented by assistant coach Ron Hampsey and seniors Paige Mokychic, Jenn Bulford, Rachel Johnson and Sam Stephens.
Hampsey recalled the success of last season and added that the girls continue to remain a tight-knit group, while Mokychic quoted the great Yogi Berra to describe this year’s outlook.
“As Yogi Berra said, baseball — or softball in this case — is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical,” Mokychic said. “We’re definitely physically ready, so the mental aspect will be really important this season.”
The Tunkhannock boys volleyball team then spoke, with head coach Jeff Howell and assistant coach Francis Marshall joined by seniors Logan Dickson and Hunter Bowman and sophomore Avery Billings.
Howell noted that this year’s goal is to reach the district playoffs with a younger squad taking the court this season.
Marshall, who volunteered as coach last year, added that many players have improved leaps and bounds from last season and will look to bring back some of the older methods of play that helped past Tunkhannock programs find success.
Head coach Jana Hopfer and six players from the Tunkhannock Area girls lacrosse team spoke next and all showed optimism for the upcoming season.
“They have a lot of potential,” Hopfer said. “We’re returning all of our players except for two and have been playing in the winter. They’re a very close knit group and we’re very excited for the season.”
Last but not least were players from the Tunkhannock boys and girls track and field teams in senior Connor Helsel, sophomore Leighf Brown, senior Sarah Ross and junior Emily Grow, along with coach Kenny Young.
After serving as an assistant last year, Young will be the head girls coach for this season and noted that the team will be looking to find its footing in the early going.
“We have a young team, but fortunately have some upperclassmen who have stepped in to help us with some coaching,” Young said. “The kids are smart and confident enough to do that, and we should benefit from it.”
The Tunkhannock baseball team, led by Gary Custer, and boys tennis team, led by Justin Muthler, were not in attendance.