Fall success could be just start for PC

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By Larry Goffinet

Different schools have different definitions for sports success, but most high schools with fewer than 400 students would consider a fall season successful when the worst record any of its teams had was 7-4.
That was the case at Perry Central this fall, where the Commodores won Patoka Lake Athletic Conference titles in all four sports in which they competed.
They also won sectionals in boys and girls cross country and a regional in boys cross country.
It took team ranked No. 2 and No. 6 in the state, respectively, to eliminate their football and volleyball teams from the sectional.
That great fall season may just be the start for the Commodores, though.
More than one person connected with their athletic program has told me that this entire school year could be the best ever for Perry Central sports.
A rival coach who could generally be counted on to express honest opinions told me after his team played Perry Central in boys basketball last summer that the Commodores probably won’t lose more than three games all season in that sport.
Injuries, slumps, etc., can adversely affect a team’s record. But the Commodores do return seven of their top eight players from a team that went 17-6 and finished in a three-way tie for the PLAC title last year.
Three of the returnees are third-year starters and two of them, Tanner Cassidy and Derek Thomas, have already made All-PLAC twice.
Perry Central’s girls basketball team also has a two-time all-conference player, 6-foot-1 center Ashley Graves, and returns two quick starting guards who can both handle the ball and shoot, Morgan Richardson and Brittany Parker.
If all the athletes who play volleyball also played girls basketball, the Commodores could feature a roster with a 6-foot-3 player, two who are 6-1, and ones that are 5-11 and 5-10.
Even without that much height, they should still be able to compete for their conference title.
Looking ahead to the spring, Perry Central is the defending champion in the Jasper boys track sectional. The Commodores won that title last year despite never having both of their top sprinters, Austin LeClere and Dacota Schaad, healthy at the same time, and both return this year.
Their main loss to graduation from that team was hurdler Ivan Bland, but Andrew Huber could help fill the void there.
Perry Central’s girls track team should be heavily favored to win its 27th PLAC title. And if the Commodores can develop a star sprinter to replace graduated Lindsey Gengelbach, they could compete for sectional honors as well.
Perry Central’s baseball team returns five starters, including two of its top pitchers, from a team that placed second in the PLAC last year, losing 1-0 to conference champion Crawford County.
Small schools don’t often have so many good athletes in that many sports at one time, so Perry Central fans should enjoy the ride this school year.