Five Mahomet-Seymour athletes to watch this fall

Mahomet-Seymour’s Lauren Minick hits through a pair of Unity blockers last season.

MAHOMET — It might be time for fireworks and days on the lake, but the fall sports season is right around the corner and expectations are high for many Mahomet-Seymour programs. Football and volleyball both have new coaches, and optimism surrounds both programs. Girls’ and boys’ cross-country both return plenty of top competitors, and the boys’ soccer program is one of the best in the area. The golf teams could be on the rise as well.

Here are five standouts to watch out for this fall.

Lauren Minick, volleyball

She was the No. 2 offensive weapon for M-S volleyball last year. As a junior, Minick finished with 171 kills in 78 sets. She also added 133 digs, 23 blocks, 19 assists and 13 aces. Minick was named second-team All-Apollo Conference and was a big reason why the Bulldogs won 20 matches. Minick is poised for a big senior season and will be one of the top outside hitters in the Apollo Conference.

Clay Hubble, football

Clay Hubble was terrific as a sophomore, totaling 544 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Hubble might be short and slight, but he wasn’t afraid of the big stage, and he certainly wasn’t scared of the competition. Hubble averaged 8 yards per carry. Hubble’s big numbers are even more impressive with the fact that he only got double-digit touches in three games this year.

Hubble got 73 touches and scored seven touchdowns. That’s one touchdown every 9.6 carries. Top running backs Jordan Veldman and Dylan Gates both graduated, which means Hubble will get plenty of touches. He can also make a big impact in the passing game, and in Jon Adkins’ scheme, Hubble could thrive. There’s a good chance he could be an All-Conference performer for M-S football.

Elizabeth Sims, girls’ cross-country

Elizabeth Sims finished eighth at the Class 2A state meet last fall to help the M-S girls’ cross-country team place 10th as a team. “Sims is a superstar,” M-S coach Kristin Allen told the Mahomet Citizen last November. “She’s an athlete. I think it helps she’s a multi-sport athlete. She’s got the competitive composure, and it’s helped her. She approaches each race with that strategy. She told me, ‘Coach, at the one-mile mark, they called out 5:20, and I was like, wow that’s fast, but I kept going!’ She might be a little freshman, but she’s never scared.” Sims will be the top runner on the team this fall and will absolutely be in the mix to win a state title. The M-S girls’ cross-country team only had one senior on the team last year, and with so many key contributors returning, they are absolutely a program on the rise.

Kyle Nofziger, boys’ cross-country

He was just five seconds away from qualifying for the Class 2A state meet last fall as a freshman. If Nofziger can avoid injury and use this summer as a time to improve, he could definitely make a name for himself this fall. “Some believe he has the greatest potential to be the best runner we’ve ever had,” M-S boys’ cross-country coach Neal Garrison told the Mahomet Citizen last November. “Even Mathias Powell will mention that he thinks he’ll be the record-breaker. That’s not to take anything away from Joseph Scheele, Jonah Singer or the other guys because they all have an amazing amount of potential and the work ethic.”

Kadyn Jones, boys’ soccer

He will be tasked with taking over the lead role for Mahomet-Seymour boys’ soccer this fall. Jones broke out as a junior, leading the Bulldogs in assists (19) and he was third on the team with nine goals. Jones had five games this year with multiple assists, including three-assist performances against Charleston and Effingham. Ethan Mansfield and Austin Carr were the two top offensive weapons last year, but they’ve graduated and are both playing college soccer. Now, Jones will get a chance to shine on the pitch for head coach Jeremy Davis.