Area coaches respond to new district assignments

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News

The MSHSAA released its fall district assignments for the 2021 season on Friday, which will impact about every school going forward to prepare for the postseason.

Boonville teams were no different. In football, the Pirates will have to go up against the Class 3 defending state champions Blair Oaks Falcons in District 5. With the Falcons a contender to win it all again this season, Boonville will be looking to lockdown the No. 2 seed against the likes of Eldon, Fulton, Mexico, Osage and Southern Boone.

The Boonville Lady Pirates softball team will also have a strong district, which consists of five teams from the Missouri River Valley Conference. Making up the Class 3 District 7 Tournament are: Boonville, Clinton, Holden, Knob Noster, Notre Dame de Sion, Oak Grove, Odessa, and Pleasant Hill.

Boonville softball coach Christie Zoeller said the Lady Pirates will be travelling a director that they haven’t gone to in a while. “It is, of course, always more comfortable when you have opponents in district play that you have played before, but this year we will see competition that we haven’t seen for about four years,” Zoeller said. “We’ll have to do a lot of research on the teams we play but we will be prepared.”

The Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball team will head south to play in the Class 3 District 13 Tournament, which consists of three other teams from the Tri-County Conference (California, Eldon and Versailles) and Warsaw High School.

Boonville volleyball coach Dina Herzog said four of the five schools in the district are in the conference, so they know the conference is very tough. “This will give us an opportunity to see our opponents for district before we play them,” Herzog said. “I like this.”

In girl’s tennis, the Boonville Lady Pirates will compete in Class 1 District 9 Tournament against Father Tolton, Fulton, Helias, and Osage.

Boonville tennis coach Melissa Harvey said the new district assignment is going to be interesting. “It certainly will not be an easy district to compete in,” Harvey said. “Last year, we gained wins against Fulton and Osage but we fell to Father Tolton. It’s a new year with new players and I have to say that our girls have worked really hard this summer to prepare, so hopefully that preparation pays off in the end. As far as the top teams, I believe Helias would be the top team, with Father Tolton falling close behind and us right behind Tolton. It is hard to use records to compare teams because we all play different teams with different levels of players to compile that record. What I can say is that each year lineups change and you just never know what level of play that will bring.”

The Boonville Pirates soccer team will also face a mixture of teams from both the west and north in Class 2 District 6. Making up the district are three teams from the MRVC (Excelsior Springs, Odessa and Oak Grove), two from the NCMC (Marshall and Moberly) and Sedalia Sacred Heart.

Boonville first-year soccer coach Alec Adair said the new district assignments made the district a lot tougher. “There are some new teams we’ve never played before,” Adair said.

In girls golf, Boonville coach Rob VanderLinden said it’s going to be tough. Boonville will compete in Class 2 District 2 against Blair Oaks, Fulton, Helias, Kirksville, Marshall, Mexico, Moberly, North Point, Southern Boone, Warrenton, and Wright City.

“Southern Boone is a three-time conference champ and are always good and well coaches, and then you have Helias, who is always a contender,” VanderLinden said. “I think we have a chance to finish anywhere from second to third.”

The Class 1 District 6 Softball Tournament, the New Franklin and Pilot Grove girls will square off against Glasgow, Jamestown and Slater to see who moves on to the postseason.

New Franklin coach Ross Dowell said he’s glad the Lady Bulldogs stayed in Class 1. “I will play everyone in our district a regular season game,” Dowell said. “I think our district is wide open with all five teams being very similar.”

Pilot Grove coach George Monk said he likes the new assignments because of the familiarity and location of the schools involved. “However, having such a powerhouse team as New Franklin in our district will make it difficult to win,” Monk said. “Ross does such a nice job of coaching that I feel the team to beat will be New Franklin. I would like to think that we could be in the mix, but our history would suggest differently. As our season progresses I will be in a better position to say. Right now, we have so many important positions to fill that I cannot say where we will finish. Jamestown will return a strong team and Slater has excellent pitching.”