It is time to move on to the winter sports of basketball and wrestling.
The boys’ varsity basketball team, being senior dominated last year, begins the season with nearly a whole new team with very few seniors.
“We are just going to be young and inexperienced. Our goal is to get better as the year goes on and hopefully have a shot in the end,” said Coach Bob Lenz. “For some of these kids their time is coming a year or two down the road.”
“We, as coaches, will coach the talent we have,” said Lenz. “We hope to build them up and try to put together another good run like we’ve had over the last five or six years.”
The new team has played several times over the summer and played very well together, according to Lenz. Melba will be looking at teams like Cole Valley, North Star, and Marsing as the strong teams to beat this year.
“We have to play very well together and play very hard,” said Lenz.
The Melba girls’ basketball will have several players returning from the district champs team from last year. They will take a hit, however, with losing two all-conference players from last year, Jodie Hoagland and Stephanie Hylton.
“We ran a lot through those girls,” said Coach Darrin Shindle.
The varsity team gains a couple new players from Kuna, Anysja and Sierra Manzer, as well as Suzi Stirm, filling the spot of her older sister Riley, and Ashli Hunter will be helping the team.
“I think we are a completely different team,” said Shindle. “We have all the parts we need to be successful. I’m really excited.”
On the mats, Coach Ron Johnshoy is looking at a quality team of wrestlers for this year.
He has 19 kids on the roster to start the year but that number generally drops as the season gets going.
This year’s team may not fill each weight class but, loaded with seniors, Johnshoy believes they will have quality wrestlers in the classes they fill. Last season resulted in seven wrestlers going to state and five of those placing, with two as state champs.
“The theme this year is quality,” said Johnshoy. “Quality over quantity, this is the year to get it done.”
Cody Svedin and Levi Perry, freshmen, join the team at 113 and 132 pounds, respectively. Blake Perry, senior, is a three time state placer and is expected move up a weight class this year to 138 pounds.
Jared Johnshoy, senior, at 145 pounds is a three time state champion and one off the three team captains.
If Jared Johnshoy takes the title again this year, he will be the first wrestler in Melba’s history as a four time state champ and only about 17 in the state of Idaho, including all districts, to achieve the feat, according to Coach Johnshoy.
DJ Todd is back this year, at 152, after wrestling in Oregon last year.
“I think he can make some noise and compete well,” said Coach Johnshoy.
In the 170 pound weight class sits Troy Richardson, senior and team captain, as three time state placer and state champion last year.
“A good neck and neck match was when you saw Troy wrestle Zach Lowen, from McCall,” said Coach Johnshoy. “Even though Troy beat him two out of three times, they could both be at 170 this year and that is a good match up.”
Another senior, Fabian Medrano, the third team captain, will weight in for the 183 pound weight class.
“I am a little excited about Fabian,” said Coach Johnshoy. “He is a really serious wrestler.”
Medrano, despite all efforts, has only wrestled a little over one season due to injuries he sustained towards the end of his sophomore year and again his junior year.
Anthony Herrera, senior, returns as a state placer at 220 pounds. Heavyweight Riley Crossley, senior, is a two time state placer with being runner up last year.
“One thing we would like to see as a team is to win the Magic Valley Classic Tournament in Wendell,” said Coach Johnshoy. “It is a pretty good indicator of how we are as a team.”
Wendell could be the first look at several matchups between wrestlers that likely will see each other again at the state tournament, according to Coach Johnshoy.
The girls kicked off the season with their jamboree on Nov. 6 and the boys will hold their jamboree Monday Nov 19 at Melba high school at 6 p.m.
Wrestling begins its season at the Bucks Bags Duals on Dec. 7 and 8 at Capital High School in Boise at 3 p.m.