Cedaredge High School softball coach Matt Hall has high expectations once again as a new season of softball gets underway.
Last year's Bruins posted a record of 13-9, including a league championship and a trip to state.
The Bruins, who moved from 2A to Class 3A this season, will return a solid core of talented players who will be up for a challenge and another state quailifying appearance should the opportunity arise.
One of the things that could present a bump in the road is the addition of Delta High School to the list of 3A WSL teams. The Panthers dropped from Class 4A and are poised to challenge for a league title as well. "Delta moved down from 4A where they have been very successful," stated Hall.
Other teams Hall sees as being tough opponents include Cortez, "A very up and down team historically. I don't expect them to be putting together a strong overall season, but they always seem to pull off an upset at some point."
Gunnison and Meeker are also on Hall's list of potential strong competition due the fact they have proven to be competitive.
Hall's assistants for the 2016 campaign is much the same as last season. Ray Smith, Angie Morgan, Dick Hamilton, Lonnie Stroud, Taylor Buchheim and Raylee VanderLinde will be available to help guide the Bruins through the season.
The Bruins have a strong core of five seniors. Shayna Dale (SS), Lacey Rodriguez (P), Brittany Kendall (P), Brittney Thliveris (1B) and Kelsey Stroud (3B) will provide a good leadership nucleus for the Bruins. "We also have a slew of juniors who are going to make some huge jumps," noted Hall.
Hall, based on past performances, figures his Bruins will be a team to reckon with this season and feels confident the season will be a successful one. "We are planning on being league champions again and hosting the regional tournament. We feel our close loss to Eaton at the state tournament last year proves we can compete with anyone in the state. Our goal this year is to bring home the state title."
Cedaredge opened its season Aug. 23 at home against Aspen with a 19-0 win. See related story in today's paper.