By The Telegram

For the Cimarron Lady Bluejays to compete this season, coach David Ediger believes his team will have to rely on speed and athletic ability.

That will have to overcome an overall lack of height after losing 6-foot center All-Hi Plains League performer Alicia Owens to graduation. The Bluejays were 13-8 overall last year and tied for third in the HPL with a 7-3 mark.

"We will be young, but return a lot of experience," Ediger said. "We must improve our toughness, rebounding and consistency on both ends of the floor."

Guard play will be critical to the success, and the Bluejays two lone returning starters are from the backcourt senior Janae Helfrich and sophomore Avery Burns. Both are 5-5 and Helfrich was an honorable mention all-league selection as a junior.

Underclassmen who gained valuable experience in reserve roles that will be counted on this year include 5-3 senior guard Katelyn Ridenour and sophomore guards 5-4 Taylor Siek and 5-4 Emily Payne. Up front, Ediger will be looking for contributions from 5-9 sophomore forward Lindsay Wehkamp and 5-9 junior forward Kate Lock. Breanna Bryant, another returning letter winner, will play center despite her size at 5-7.

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With three returning starters and seven seniors on his roster, Bluejays' head boys coach Doug Minneman is looking for improvement on last year's 6-15 record.

Charles Blattner, Ryan Bryant and Matt Wehkamp were all in the starting lineup last year. Blattner, a 6-foot forward, averaged six points and five rebounds, Bryant, a 5-10 guard, averaged six points and three rebounds while Wehkamp, a 6-1 forward, averaged four points and six rebounds. Two other letter winners will be counted on 5-8 senior guard Saige Martinez and 5-10 sophomore Wyatt Slaven.

"We will count on the seniors for leadership," Minneman said. "Bryant is a three-year starter and Blattner and Wehkamp are two year starters."

Cimarron will also be looking for help from newcomers Travis Sharp (5-10, Sr.), Tommie Timmons (5-10, Sr.), Erasmo Rueda (5-8, Sr.), Pedro Trevino (5-10, Jr.), Derek Hoskinson (5-9, Jr.), Tyler Siek (5-8, So.) and Joey Franzitta (So.).

Minneman, entering his fourth year at the CHS helm, said his team will have to rely on strong defense and rebounding to make up for a lack of height.

"We need to find a couple of players to step up and become scorers for us," Minneman said. "With a lack of size, the defense and rebounding will be key."

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Cimarron

Boys coach: Doug Minneman, 4th season

2008-2009 Boys Record: 6-15

Returning starters: Charles Blattner (6-0, Sr.); Ryan Bryant (5-10, Sr.); Matt Wehkamp (6-1, Sr.)

Returning lettermen: Saige Martinez (5-8, Sr.); Wyatt Slaven (5-10, So.)

Newcomers: Travis Sharp (5-10, Sr.); Tommie Timmons (5-10, Sr.); Erasmo Rueda (5-8, Sr.); Pedro Trevino (5-10, Jr.); Derek Hoskinson (5-9, Jr.); Tyler Siek (5-8, So.) and Joey Franzitta (So.)

Girls coach: David Ediger, 5th season

2008-2009 Girls Record: 13-8

Returning starters: Janae Helfrich (5-5, Sr.); Avery Burns (5-5, So.)

Top returners: Katelyn Ridenour (5-3, Sr.); Taylor Siek (5-4, So.); Emily Payne (5-4, So.); Lindsay Wehkamp (5-9, So.); Kate Lock (5-9, Jr.); Breanna Bryant (5-7)