With five seniors heading up leadership of Summit's boys' basketball team, head coach Phil Tronsrue has high hopes for the season.
"This is the first time we've had good, vocal senior leadership," Tronsrue said of his three years coaching the team.
Unlike previous years, he feels comfortable announcing training drills and leaving the seniors to lead the team through them. In other years, the coach might wonder if they were goofing off instead of training while he chats with the press.
This year's team is "head and shoulders above what the program has seen in the past five years or so," Tronsrue said.
No pun intended, though the team has good height (some sophomores are pushing 6'5") as well as speed. They're working on strength conditioning in the early season as well as precision shooting - Tronsrue wants his players to attack the rim.
As a new entrant to the Western Slope League, Summit will be the new kid on the block amidst opponents fairly familiar with each others' strengths and weaknesses. Tronsrue is anticipating the need for a strong press combined with an up-tempo game that will tire out other teams' stars and keep them at the far end of the court.
What senior Coy Coker sees in the new league is, despite still strong competition, a chance to get above a .500 record.
"We're a fast, athletic team," he said. "I want to lead the team as best I can. ... Our leadership is strong. (The seniors) have been starting on the team since freshman year. ... We're really strong."
Tronsrue said there's no clear leader in the league. He expects three or four teams to be battling for the league championship and a league playoff spot, with Steamboat and Eagle Valley bringing tough guard play and Glenwood always ready to compete.
"Everyone is going to get after each other," he said.
So far, Tronsrue sees strength in transitions, moving the ball and layups.
As for shooting, "Some days we look really good and some days we look average. The good news is, we have never looked poor," Tronsrue said, adding that 30 minutes of each practice is dedicated to guard and post shooting.
Through it all, Tronsrue and his senior leaders are recognizing the sophomore class is bringing hope not just for the future, but for the 2012-13 season.
If they work together to develop the youngsters' skill sets and get weight on them, "They will be a factor in the future," Tronsrue said, adding that he expects sophomores Noah Glasco and Thomas DeBonnville to be strong competition for starting slots.
Senior Cayman Lee said he, too has high hopes for the two sophomores this season - and looks forward to leading them.
As the underclassmen develop, Tronsrue will be looking toward point guard Coker for leadership from the floor while Markeith McDonald heads up perimeter shooting and Lee takes up the post.
McDonald says he expects the team's drive to carry it through what will hopefully be a winning season marked by strong teamwork.
"We have competitiveness in practice," he said. "Everyone goes hard."
No. Name Class
3 Max Ortiz Jr.
5 Coy Coker Sr.
15 Thomas DeBonnville So.
20 Garrett Tousey Sr.
21 Markeith McDonald Sr.
23 Luke Wells Sr.
24 Noah Glasco So.
44 Sean Jones Jr.
45 Cayman Lee Sr.
50 Merrick Crispell So.