The 2023-24 high school basketball season will feature several new area coaches. And there is a big rule change starting this winter, too.
The PCM boys basketball team will be under new direction as Tony Ford takes over for long-time coach Fred Lorensen.
The Newton girls basketball team will have a new head coach in Cardinal alum Jake Bennett. The boys’ swim team also fields a new head coach as Lucas Warner moves into the top spot after serving as an assistant coach last season.
“Being able to be back in Newton as a coach is a blessing,” Bennett said. “I’m especially excited to coach the girls’ team as it is a team full of hard-working girls who are striving to become better and hold themselves accountable every day.”
Over at Colfax-Mingo, the boys and girls hoops programs will have new direction.
Phil Grant slides over to the girls’ program after guiding the Tigerhawk boys the past few seasons.
That opens up a job for C-M alum Mike Hunsberger as he takes over the Tigerhawk boys.
“Some of my best memories were when I played high school basketball,” said Hunsberger, who was a 1999 graduate of Colfax-Mingo. “To be able to come back and coach the boys and lead them and build the program up, is exciting.
“I’m ready to get on the court and get to work because we have a lot of work to do.”
There also will be a pair of new boys’ wrestling coaches in the county. Taking over at Lynnville-Sully is Hawk alum Cayden Johnson and Baxter will be guided by Dwight Gliem, who served as an assistant coach last season.
“I’m very excited to take on this young group of guys who I have watched wrestle since they were young,” Johnson said. “I’m also excited to be able to coach my brother from the side of the mat instead of up in the stands.”
Basketball will have a few changes moving forward. There are no longer 1-and-1 free throws.
“The rules committee studied data that showed higher injury rates on rebounding situations and saw this as an opportunity to reduce opportunities for rough play during rebounds,” said Lindsey Atkinson, National Federation of High School Associations Director of Sports and liaison to the Basketball Rules Committee. “Additionally, resetting the fouls each quarter will improve game flow and allow teams to adjust their play by not carrying foul totals to quarters two and four.”
The foul bonus changes from being a 1-and-1 at seven fouls to two shots after five fouls. And the fouls reset after each quarter.
There will not be any area changes to basketball classifications this winter.
In boys’ hoops, Newton will be the third largest Class 3A program. PCM and Colfax-Mingo will play their postseasons in 2A and Baxter and Lynnville-Sully are back in 1A.
The Newton girls will be the 12th largest 4A school, while PCM will play its regional tournament in 3A. Colfax-Mingo, which returns to the court after not fielding a team last season, will be in 2A and Baxter and Lynnville-Sully both will be 1A programs.
Wrestling assignments for boys wrestling have been released, too.
There are 3A district sites at Marshalltown, Carlisle and Norwalk, but the Iowa High School Athletic Association sends the Cardinals to Cedar Rapids Prairie.
PCM stays in 2A this season and will go to Atlantic despite other sites being in Roland-Story and Williamsburg.
Lynnville-Sully, Baxter and Colfax-Mingo all are in 1A. The Hawks will compete at Interstate 35, while both the Bolts and Tigerhawks head to Pleasantville.
The IAWrestle preseason wrestling rankings are out.
The Cardinals will start the season with one ranked wrestler. Senior Wyatt Weter, a state qualifier from last season, is ranked No. 8 at 215 pounds in 3A.
PCM sophomore Tucker Wheeler also advanced to state last season. He opens the season ranked ninth at 150 in 2A.
Colfax-Mingo senior John McGill and sophomore Cason Fitch also wrestled in the state tournament last winter. McGill begins the season ranked 2nd at 165 in 1A and Fitch starts 12th at 113.
Baxter senior Callyn Bishop opens 12th at 175 in 1A and senior Aiden McFadden starts No. 7 at 285. Both Bishop and McFadden join the other area ranked wrestlers as 2023 state qualifiers.
Three Tigerhawks start the girls’ wrestling season in the rankings. Junior Emma Cook is third at 235, junior Lily Webster begins eighth at 100 and senior Arlo Steck starts No. 9 at 130.