Coming Soon: High School fall sports season approaching – The Daily Reporter

HANCOCK COUNTY — It will start at local golf clubs at the end of this week.

Pitches, courts, fields, and courses will join in next week.

High school fall sports season is here.

Hancock County’s girls golf teams begin official practice Friday. Football, volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls cross country and boys tennis start Monday, July 31.

It’s the time of year where everyone’s expectations are high.

For all four county schools, Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and New Palestine, there are good reasons to be optimistic. Six of 11 2022 fall sports athletes of the year return.

Here’s a look at the eight sports played in the fall and some of the things to look for when games, matches and meets get started.


All three county Class 4A programs spent much of last season ranked among the Top 10 in the state. Graduation took away some great players, but the talent well is seldom dry in Hancock County stadiums on a Friday night.

New Palestine is a defending sectional champion and spent the majority of last season ranked No. 1 in the state. The Dragons return one of the country’s top offensive lineman in Ian Moore, who has committed to Ohio State. Defensive lineman Michael Thacker was co-Hancock County Defensive Player of the Year last year and is a junior.

After winning the Class 4A state title in 2021 and graduating the majority of its starters, Mt. Vernon finished 2022 with a 6-4 record. Two of the losses came to the No. 1-ranked Dragons. They also lost to Class 6A Noblesville and Class 5A Franklin. Quarterback Luke Ertel is a sophomore with a year of experience as the team’s starter.

Greenfield-Central continues its climb with head coach Travis Nolting, who begins his fifth season with the Cougars. They were 7-4 last season with two losses to the Dragons and one to the Marauders. Like Mt. Vernon, the Cougars are youthful but experienced at the quarterback position with junior Dallas Freeman, and have experienced playmakers in D-I tight end recruit Lane Wadle and linebacker Jake Hinton.

Eastern Hancock follows a trend of others with youth and experience with its signal-caller. Elijah Edon is a sophomore back for his second season as the Royals starter.


Greenfield-Central will have a different head coach for the sixth time since 2018. Candice Wyatt is in her first season and has the luxury of taking over a team that played its best volleyball toward the end of 2022, which included an upset of New Palestine in the Yorktown Sectional. The Cougars return the county’s player of the year in outside hitter Mya Grigsby.

New Palestine finished 25-5, but lost to the Cougars in last year’s sectional opener. Graduation took away some of the team’s top players, but they do return a pair of top hitters in Rachel Burke and Bella Brownfield.

Mt. Vernon was in rebuilding mode in 2022 with then-first-year head coach Samantha Grider. They’ll miss defensive specialists Libby Gee-Weiler, now at Arkansas State, and Abby Herman, now at Butler, but have the majority of last year’s lineup returning in setter Ava Whitmore and leading hitters Sierra Holverson and Sophia Damer.

Eastern Hancock has high hopes coming off a winning season (17-14) in 2022. The Royals return a number of veterans and still have just three seniors on the roster. Junior Ellie Meyer was an all-county middle hitter a year ago.

Boys soccer

Chances are you won’t be able to recognize the Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon teams without a roster.

Both teams were heavy on seniors in 2022. The good news for the Cougars is school-record setting goalkeeper Jordin Jones, county co-player of the year, is a junior. He had 13 shutouts as a sophomore.

Mt. Vernon went 9-6 last year. Charlie Cole and Nick Heitman are the top returning goal scorers.

While the other two county soccer programs were senior-dominated, New Palestine had a solid season with a good mix of youth and vets. Elliot Canova is the county’s top returning goal scorer. He had 15 last season.

Girls soccer

If the 2023 county soccer season is anything like last year, prepare for some long nights and games decided by penalty kicks.

Two of last year’s three head-to-head regular-season matchups between Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and New Palestine ended regulation and overtime tied. Mt. Vernon defeated New Palestine and the Dragons were able to outlast the Cougars in 2022.

The Marauders are expected to be the team to beat again in 2023. Mt. Vernon has won six of the last seven Hoosier Heritage Conference titles and 47 of its last 49 league games. Of 54 goals scored last year only three were made by seniors. County girls soccer player of the year Kylie Brandes returns for her junior season.

New Palestine was runner-up to Mt. Vernon in the HHC and return top goal scorer Tylar Whitaker (11 goals). Greenfield-Central was a .500 team in 2022 and was led in scoring by a freshman, Paige McCarley (15 goals).

Boys cross country

We’ll miss the battles between Tristan Trevino (Mt. Vernon) and Griffen Wheeler (Greenfield-Central), but both programs have more than enough returning talent to get back in the state’s Top 25, where they spent most all of last season.

Mt. Vernon will miss Trevino, a two-time state qualifier, but have a lot of returning depth led by Ahmed Saleh and Colin Strachman. Greenfield-Central returns a state qualifier in Liam Brinkruff.

Eastern Hancock’s Preston Markley has proven he is one of the county’s top runners, too.

New Palestine looks to work its way back up to finishing in the top half of the HHC.

Girls cross country

The county’s girls cross country athlete of the year, Hannah Hauser, was just a freshman in 2022. She led a group of young runners that included Emma Gale, Kenydi Russell, Julie Iserloth and others.

The Marauders have a new coach in 2023, Madison Roeder.

Greenfield-Central had some strong finishes late last season led by junior Lexie Copeland.

New Palestine’s Courtney Study has consistently been one of the county’s top runners throughout her high school career. The 2023 campaign is her senior season.

Boys tennis

Mt. Vernon shared the county tournament title with Greenfield-Central last year, but bounced back in the postseason to claim another sectional crown.

The Marauders have the county’s top player in all-stater Adam Koon.

Greenfield-Central could be strong again with the loss of only one senior. The Cougars are led by Chris Long, who played both No. 1 and No. 2 singles.

Eastern Hancock is coming off another Mid-Eastern Conference title. The Royals will miss graduated No. 1 singles player Zeke Dixon and one-half of the sectional championship doubles team of brothers Bryce Wennen and Myles Wennen. Myles is back for his junior year.

New Palestine welcomes back No. 1 singles player Moses Haynes.

Girls golf

New Palestine won the sectional title and missed qualifying for the state meet by only four strokes.

Coach Sarah O’Brien graduated just one senior, No. 1 Zoe Nelson, but has a number of returning players that carded team-low scores in various duals and tournaments. Lauren Appleby was low Dragon at the regional.

Greenfield-Central has a new coach, Jeremy Spencer, and will have a new No. 1 golfer. County golfer of the year Sydnie Wherry, who won county, conference and sectional tournaments in 2022, graduated.

Mt. Vernon returns its top two players, Izzy VanHeel and Natalie Miner.

Eastern Hancock’s roster had just three players in 2022, all were underclassmen.

2023 Fall Sports Key Dates

First practice (girls golf): July 28

First practice (all fall sports except girls golf): July 31

First girls golf contests: Mt. Vernon at HSE Invitational (Aug. 1); Wapahani at Eastern Hancock (Aug. 3); Greenfield-Central at Columbus East (Aug. 3); New Palestine at Greensburg Invitational (Aug. 5)

First boys and girls cross country contests: Greenfield-Central in Valley Kickoff at Bloomington North (Aug. 12); Mt. Vernon in Valley Cross Kickoff at Harrison (Aug. 12); Eastern Hancock at Monroe Central Invitational (Aug. 19); New Palestine in John Cleland Invitational at Carmel Northview Church (Aug. 19)

First volleyball contests: Eastern Hancock at Morristown Classic (Aug. 12); Greenfield-Central at Waldron (Aug. 12); Greenwood at Mt. Vernon (Aug. 12); Scecina at New Palestine (Aug. 12).

First boys soccer contests: Lawrence North at Greenfield-Central (Aug. 12); Mt. Vernon at Hamilton Southeastern (Aug. 12); Mooresville at New Palestine (Aug. 15)

First girls soccer contests: Mt. Vernon at Chatard (Aug. 14); Mooresville at New Palestine (Aug. 14); Roncalli at Greenfield-Central (Aug. 16)

First boys tennis contests: Eastern Hancock at Randolph Southern (Aug. 14); Greensburg at New Palestine (Aug. 14); Mt. Vernon at Franklin Central (Aug. 16); Greenfield-Central at Lawrence Central (Aug. 17)

First football contests: Eastern Hancock at Frankton (7 p.m., Aug. 18); Madison at Greenfield-Central (8 p.m., Aug. 18); Mt. Vernon vs. Noblesville at Lucas Oil Stadium (8:30 p.m., Aug. 18); New Palestine at Westfield (7 p.m., Aug. 18).