Chart toppers: Teams to watch in spring 2012
Centennial girls' soccer
If you think the Chargers are salty this year, just wait. Only two starters will graduate from the team that won the Class 2A sectional championship on Saturday. Plus, one can reasonably expect the Chargers will get a full season from a healthy Dagny Olson, which didn't happen in 2011.
St. Joseph-Ogden softball
OK, maybe the Spartans could be on this list every spring. They're good every year. But while SJ-O loses a handful of important contributors, there are some mighty fine returnees, headed by all-everything junior Elizabeth Everingham. Look out, Olympia. Next season might be the one in which SJ-O slays its dragon.
Champaign Central boys' tennis
Bad news for opponents: Of the three entries (two in singles, one in doubles) that the Maroons sent to the state tournament, all have at least two more years of eligibility. Sectional singles champ Austin Aten is a freshman, as is qualifier Kenneth Yun, and the doubles tandem of Sam Wampler and Ryan Smith.
St. Joseph-Ogden baseball
Coach Brad Allen is stepping aside, but the Spartans — who surprised many by winning a tough Class 2A Unity regional as the No. 4 seed — welcome back a wealth of experienced talent, including junior Blake Hoveln.
St. Thomas More baseball
It's hard not to like the future of a team that had only two seniors and still enjoyed one of the most productive seasons in the school's history. A skilled freshman class, led by Austin Tabeling, Storm Joop and Mike Plecki, only figures to improve.