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August 29, 2023

Ames High Fall Sports Preview

Anticipation and excitement fill the air as we gear up for another thrilling season of Ames High School fall sports. The Little Cyclones promise a season of exhilarating moments and unforgettable memories as our athletes across many sports showcase their dedication, talent, and sportsmanship. Get ready to rally behind our athletes as they strive for greatness, leaving their all on the field and representing the spirit of “Ames Hi Aiming High” with unwavering pride.

Girls Cross Country

The 2023 girls cross country team bid farewell to six outstanding seniors who left their mark on the program. Head Coach Cole Anderson is full of Ames High pride as he talks about the returning letterwinners who are set to amplify their presence this year. Junior athletes Claire Helmers and Marley Turk stand out, having secured 7th and 9th positions respectively at the state meet last year.

Lauren Risdal, according to coach Anderson, “has really put in the work in the last three years and she is focused and ready to have a great season this year.”  

Additionally, the young talent of sophomore Meredith Frandsen is set to flourish further, as her impressive debut season indicated with a personal record of 20:57.44 at the Iowa High School Cross Country Championships in Fort Dodge.

The team’s future shines bright with a fresh influx of talent. Coach Anderson introduces us to the new prospects who have been putting in the work to prepare for this fall. Emma Stanley, a freshman, holds the promise of a bright future, while senior Charley Bleyle, sophomore Katelyn Campbell, and junior Caraline Hertz are all primed to make their presence felt.

The team’s conference outlook is nothing short of ambitious.

“This year is really shaping up to be another great year for us,” coach Anderson said. “We have our eyes set on winning another conference championship and taking that momentum into districts and state!”

With a team brimming with talent, determination, and a palpable hunger for victory, the path to district and state competitions seems to be paved with potential success.

“As always, I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to coach,” coach Anderson shares. “They work hard, in the classroom and on the cross country courses, and they are lots of fun to be around! And everyone encourages everyone else! It’s a great atmosphere to be a part of!”

Girls Swimming & Diving

With a swim and dive team that’s no stranger to success, Head Coach Joe Fisher can barely contain his excitement about the returning letter winners. 

After a strong performance at the state meet, the team welcomes back its entire scoring squad, losing just one senior. Juniors Andra Robertson and Suri Hanson, who’ve put in significant work over the summer, are priming themselves for an outstanding year. A trio of swimmers from Gilbert, including Liz Powers, Alex Powers, and Reese Winer, bolsters the team’s prowess.

But that’s not all – the influx of fresh faces brings a new dynamic to the mix. Coach Fisher expresses great enthusiasm for the impressive group of freshmen who’ve already shown promise in the early weeks of training.

Coach Fisher’s eyes are set on the conference championship, driven by the intense dedication the girls have demonstrated since day one.

“We look forward to our conference matchups this year,” coach Fisher said. “We will have some great meets. It is always our goal to work toward a conference championship. With how hard these girls have been working in the first couple of weeks, I feel like they want to make a statement this season and try and bring home a second Iowa Alliance Championship.”

Fisher would love to see the Dan Flannery Pool filled with people wearing orange and black at every home meet.

“We are very excited for the season and hope to pack the pool with students supporting our girls,” he said.

Boys Cross Country

Graduating two key seniors along with a cohort of 16 other dedicated seniors, the boys cross country team bids adieu to seasoned members while welcoming fresh faces.

Despite the departure of the former number one runner who moved to Cedar Falls, Charlie Bennett, a resilient senior, takes the lead. Bennett triumphed as an individual cross country state qualifier in 2021, and his resilience is evident as he rebounds from a challenging 2022 season. Senior Erik Anderson is also a force to be reckoned with, following an impressive breakthrough year and a successful appearance in the state meet. Junior Brennen Bhave’s consistent improvement makes him a valuable asset, while junior Zach Lenkaitis, despite battling injuries, is determined to make his presence felt once he’s back in optimal shape.

A couple of new faces are potentially shaking up the 2023 Little Cyclones roster, such as junior Isaiah Knight, a basketball player new to cross country, who has already shown his mettle. He impressed everyone with his performance during the Festival of Two Miles time trials. His unexpected success hints at a potential varsity role. His younger brother, sophomore Andrew Anderson, has made remarkable strides since his freshman year, positioning him as a contender for a varsity spot.

Turning to the conference outlook, Head Coach Ravi Bhave exudes confidence.

“Last season we nearly swept the top spots in the IAC North division at the conference meet,” he said. “We have the potential to bring a similar performance again this year.”

Boys Golf

While there aren’t any significant new prospects to highlight, one standout is sophomore Riley Becker, who is on the varsity golf team.

As the team gears up for the conference competition, the outlook seems promising yet competitive. The conference race appears to be a two-team showdown between the Little Cyclones and Marshalltown. Marshalltown holds the role of favorites, with Ames’ team closely trailing. Head Coach RJ Voss believes that with a strong performance aligned with their potential, they have a legitimate chance to outshine Marshalltown and secure victory in the conference meet.

The players are set to face off against formidable foes, such as the match at Waukee Northwest’s invite on Thursday. The schedule will show if Ames truly can obtain their goal of a conference championship.


The following are excerpts from Joe Randleman’s (Ames Tribune) season preview.

The Little Cyclones went 13-20 a year ago. They have not had a winning season since 2013, but with the return of some key players and a strong offseason, they are hoping to change that this fall.

Ames will run out of a 6-2 rotation.

Senior D’Niaya Settles will move over from middle hitter to outside hitter, senior Nadia Tulp will be at middle hitter and senior Jude Spillers will be either a defensive specialist or the libero. Sophomore Morgan Stagg will help out at middle or right-side hitter, sophomore Lizzie Greenfield will be either a setter or outside hitter, junior Sydney Smalley an outside hitter or right-side hitter and senior Mary Greenfield either at middle or right-side hitter.

Senior Paulena Kamau, junior Josie Theilen, junior Kenzie Bristow and sophomore Josey Hill will be the other varsity contributors for Ames.

Settles and Tulp are the top returning weapons at the net for Ames. Settles had 130 kills and 53 blocks a year ago. Tulp finished with 138 kills and 46 blocks.

Despite a lack of height, Tulp is listed at 5-foot-11 and Settles at 5-foot-9, Ames is looking strong on offense, according to Head Coach Meg Williams.

The top returning servers for the Little Cyclones are Jude Spillers and Lizzie Greenfield. Spillers was 211 of 232 with 36 aces and Greenfield had 24 aces in 2022.


After losing record setting signal caller Dallas Sauser and elite wide receiver Jalen Lueth, the Little Cyclones have a partial rebuilding season in front of them this fall. One of the familiar faces, however, is junior running back Jamison Poe, who tallied 870 yards on the ground and scored 13 rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns.

“One of the nice things we do is that we do everything 9-12 together,” head coach 

Brian Sauser said. “This is his third year starting, so having that is huge.”

Lane Kenny is seen as a jack of all trades to Sauser. 

Offensively, unlike last year when Ames “played fast and threw 50 times a game,” this season looks to be more methodical.

“High school football is all about adjusting to the kids you have,” Sauser said. “We’ll be much more run game oriented. Our kids have bought into trying to get four yards every play and every time we get a first down that’s 2.5 minutes off the clock.”

Defensively, the Little Cyclones will play in a 3-3-5 base formation. Additionally, like offense, the defense is “extremely unconventional”.

“We will bring a lot of different pressure from a lot of different people,” Sauser said. “We get lined up and then read everything from the sideline. We don’t huddle on defense, we’ve made that switch too.”

Our Little Cyclones have their first home game of the season on September 8 against Ankeny Centennial.