Larry Leeds

After doing the previews for the area fall sports teams, I have come to the conclusion that fans from Chester, Colman-Egan, Howard, Madison and Oldham-Ramona-Rutland will be in store for a great season that will lead to many memories.

Let's talk cross country first. The Madison Bulldogs should have a decent team with a little stronger girls' team this season. The Lady Bulldogs have many seniors on the team with one of the better runners in the state

returning: Hailey Streff. She will lead a balanced attack for Madison.

The boys will be a very young team with great desire to get better throughout the season. They may still be a year or two away from being a solid contender.

Watch the Oldham-Ramona-Rutland boys' cross country team in the Dakota Valley Conference. They placed second last year, and all of the runners are returning plus a couple more. There are no girls on the team at O-R-R.

Howard should be strong in the girls' division with several runners returning. However, the boys may not have enough runners to field a team.

Chester and Colman-Egan coaches did not return their questionnaires.

Now football: The defending Class 11A champion Madison Bulldogs should be in the thick of things throughout the season. Watch the defense carry the team early; the offense will and should improve each and every game.

Chester, with a ton of experience coming back, should make another serious run at going to the Dome. There are several athletic seniors out for the team who should help the Flyers be set for a deep run in the playoffs.

Colman-Egan returns several key players off a team that went 5-4 and lost in the first round of the playoffs last year. They need to replace a workhorse in Riley Voelker, and they should be able to do that.

Howard is a very young team once again, however, with most players having one year of varsity experience under their belts. Several players were on the field as freshmen and sophomores gaining valuable playing time. They still might be a year away from making noise in the playoffs.

O-R-R coaches did not send in the questionnaire. However, the Raiders could be much improved as they should have one of the biggest offensive and defensive lines in the area.

For golf: There is only one school that plays golf in the fall. The Madison Bulldogs are the only fall boys' golf team. With only one senior, the Bulldogs will be extremely young. There will be several peaks and valleys, but as the season draws to a close, don't count the Bulldogs out of anything. They could be decent as the region tournament rolls around.

In my next blog, I will touch on volleyball and girls tennis.


ABOUT LARRY LEEDS

Larry Leeds was born and raised in South Dakota, graduating from Colman High School in 1974. He continued his education at USD/Springfield and Dakota State University and received a bachelor's degree in physical education and history in 1979. He later obtained a journalism degree from South Dakota State University.

Before coming to Madison, Leeds worked at weekly papers in Flandreau, St. James, Minn., Redfield and Hayti (Hamlin County Publishing with Castlewood and Estelline).

He has a passion for all sports, especially high school sports and amateur baseball, because these teams are filled with players who want to be playing the game.

His favorite teams are the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Twins and Timberwolves, and New York Yankees.

Leeds is also a NASCAR fan whose favorite drivers are Dave Blaney and his son Ryan.