A plethora of new faces will greet those attending a Swanton girls basketball game this season. Along with losing six letter winners, the Bulldogs also move on without longtime coach Frank Onweller, who stepped down after last season.
Guiding the Bulldogs this year will be Eric Oakes. This is his first varsity basketball head coaching position, but he has been in the system nine years and is also the varsity golf coach for Swanton.
The Bulldogs do have one key piece back from last year’s NWOAL runner-up squad. Kyleigh Ramlow, a three-year letter winner, returns for her senior season.
Ramlow averaged 14.1 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game last year for Swanton. She was seventh in the NWOAL in scoring and was named second team all-league.
Ramlow was injured in the fall but has been cleared to play.
The only other returning letter winner is sophomore Haley Nelson. Nelson averaged 1.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game as a freshman.
That lack of experience will be a weakness for the Bulldogs, particularly early in the season.
The bulk of scoring from last season’s 16-7 squad was lost to graduation. Gone are second team All-NWOAL performer Maicie Wheeler (11.8 ppg), who is now playing at Defiance College; Megyn Christensen (9.2 ppg), who was honorable mention all-league and is playing at Lake Erie College; honorable mention all-league performer Emily Callicotte (7.4 ppg); Hailee Roeder (6.5 ppg); Alaura Fetterman; and Kortney Solly.
Newcomers that could fill the void include seniors Claire Leidigh, Karah Kohlman, and Taylor Pelland, and sophomores Sidney Taylor, Cydney Christensen, and Ally Hendricks.
Oakes said the team should be physical and hard working. He also noted quickness and athleticism as strengths for the 2015-16 Bulldogs.
The coach sees Evergreen, Archbold and Delta as the top three in the NWOAL this season.
Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010