Although the Colfax boy’s basketball team lost four players via graduation from a team that won back to back conference championships, a regional and sectional championship and a trip to the state tournament last year, they return three starters to build around this season.
Gone are starting point guard Greg Christoffel, starting forward Hayden Fehr, defensive specialist Josh Shipman and a top reserve Clay Olson. In addition, five players from last year’s junior varsity team who are all seniors this year chose not to go out for the team, leaving underclassmen to fill some holes on the team.
But returning for the Vikings are 6’6 senior post player Lane Olson, a first team All State, first team All District and first team All Conference selection as a junior, 6’4 senior forward Austin Huss who was a third team All Northwest pick and second team All Conference last year, along with junior Ethin Kiekhafer, a 6’2 junior who was a fourth team All Northwest and first team All Conference player as a sophomore and honorable mention as a freshman. Olson averaged 13.3 points per game and 9.7 rebounds as a junior, Huss averaged 14.4 ppg and 4.3 rebounds and Kiekhafer added a 9.9 ppg average while averaging 5.3 rebounds a game.
Other seniors expected to help out this season are 6’2 Cody Zivcic who came off the bench and saw plenty of playing time as a junior, and 6’3 forward Joe Wahl, while 6’2 sophomore Sawyer DeMoe, Olson’s backup last year, returns with varsity experience.
Looking for playing time will be sophomores Jeremiah Wait, Grant Phillips and Ben Kragness along with freshman Jarrod Rudi.
In his 19th season (off and on) leading the Vikings, coach Andy Meade believes his team should be competitive with the experienced players they have with good size under the basket, but they will need a point guard to replace Christoffel.
“We have a lot of the parts back from last year, but we have to find a solution to the point guard spot,” he said. “We had a great season last year but this is a totally new year. If we stay healthy and play well, we should be one of the top teams in the conference but we will have to have some newcomers grow up fast. We want to get better every day,” he added.
Meade expects several teams to be tough in conference play this season.
“Elmwood has good size, experienced players and great guards,” he said. “And Mondovi has great athletes who have experience and Elk Mound has a great program with good athletes,” he said.
The Vikings begin defending their conference crown Thursday, Nov. 15 at home against Plum City.
Assistant coaches for the team are Ryan Krall and Garrett Maas.