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Let's look ahead to the fall (sports)

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By Josh Cook

Last fall was a fabulous one for high school sports in Shelby County.

Three state championships were won, along with four regional titles and three district crowns.

And although golf season has already teed off for teams at Collins and Shelby County, most of the other fall sports squads representing the Titans and Rockets will burst out of the starting blocks next week, when The Sentinel-News will publish its annual fall sports preview section. To help tide you over until then, though, here’s a quick look at some of the storylines to follow:

  • The Collins football team pulled off the victory of all victories, beating traditional powerhouse Fort Thomas Highlands 37-34 in the Class AAAA state championship game on reserve quarterback Browning Becherer’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Sames with 7 seconds left. It was an incredible ending to an incredible season by the Titans, who had lost to the Bluebirds 47-0 in the previous year’s state final. Collins lost a bevy of players to graduation, but Coach Jerry Lucas returns quite a bit – especially on the lines – for Season Five. Expectations remain high. “Win it all again, that’s the only thing that will satisfy us,” Becherer said.
  • The Shelby County football team, meanwhile, wasn’t satisfied with its 6-5 finish last season. The Rockets have their sights set on reclaiming the district title that they won two years ago in their final season in Class 5A.
  • Collins cross country runners Gabby Karas and Jay Solinger captured individual titles at last year’s Class AA State Championships. It was the third straight for Karas, who is on the fast track to becoming the most dominant female distance runner in state history, and the first for Solinger. Karas, only a sophomore, is a virtual shoe-in for her fourth title in a row while Solinger, a senior, is aiming for his second straight. “I’ve been working hard, you will see big results this season,” he told me last month. Led by those two the Titans’ boys’ and girls’ teams will be aiming for Top 10 finishes again at the state meet in early November.
  • The Shelby County boys’ and girls’ cross country teams, meanwhile, are looking to build off successful seasons last fall. The Rockets boys’ squad returned to the state meet for the first time since 2009 last year while their girls’ team sent four runners there, too. Both teams should be in the running for regional hardware this fall.
  • The Collins boys’ soccer team captured its second straight district title last year and despite heavy graduation losses the Titans will be trying hard for a three-peat.
  • The Shelby County volleyball team lost three seniors starters, and its coach, but new coach Kristen Worthington has a young squad that will try to capture the Rockets’ third district title in a row.
  • The Collins volleyball team, with its third coach in three years, has a senior-laden squad and appears primed to fight for the district title, which it won in its first two seasons.
  • The Shelby County boys’ soccer team hopes to carry over the momentum that it ended last season with into this fall. The Rockets, who were 3-10-1 in late September, rallied to win five of its next six matches, including a 3-0 triumph over Anderson County in the 30th District Tournament semifinals. Shelby County lost to Collins in the district final then pushed Simon Kenton to the brink before losing on penalty kicks in the first round of the 8th Region Tournament.
  • The Collins girls’ soccer team will try to bounce back from its first losing season – although it wasn’t by much, the Titans went 7-8-1 last year.
  • The Shelby County girls’ soccer team looks to build off its solid finish to last year. The Rockets, who started 2-9, went 5-2-3 over their final 10 matches of the regular season, including their first-ever victory over crosstown-rival Collins.
  • The Collins boys’ and girls’ golf teams will both be young, especially the boys’ team after losing all five of its starters from last year to graduation, but they’ll still try to send their first golfer to state.

All in all it should be another great fall. Let’s get the balls rolling.