by Harrison Smith
Coming off of a 10-10 season in which they made it to round two of the state playoffs, the boy’s varsity will be looking to get back into winning form and compete with the best. That challenge will be a bit tougher this year, however, as Starr’s Mill has moved into a new region, and with a new region comes new competition. With the competition, there will be a learning curve, but the time to adapt is at a minimum, as the Panthers need to be able to compete for region title and put up a fight for the state championship. With a majority of the team returning as sophomores and juniors along with seniors Mick Pattison and Patrick Bonilla, there is no doubt that the team chemistry is stronger than ever. The Panthers are going to need that chemistry if they are going to be able to find ways to win with a schedule that features St. Pius, McIntosh, and Whitewater, all of which rank in the top 20 in the state, along with the likes of Northgate and East Coweta who are both coming off strong 2016 seasons, and Harrison and Marist that are looking to bounce back from poor seasons. Starr’s Mill did come out of the gates strong last year, as they managed an 8-3 record, but they faltered in the late season as they dropped their next six matches. They bounced back in the final game in the year as they knocked off Stockbridge 10-0. The Panthers made the playoffs and won at Columbus in round one, but fell in round two against Clarke Central. This year, they cannot afford to fall apart late in the year, as they are going to need every win they can get in this new region. Should the varsity team be able to bounce back from last season’s struggles, look for them at the top of the region table as Coach Mike Hanie has to have confidence that his boys can do the job.