* Coach: Courtney Reif (2nd season)
* Last year: 13-9, lost to Colchester in Division I quarterfinal
* The team: The Patriots graduated one of the top athletes in program history with 1,000-point scorer Abby Iannotti but return 10 players from last year's squad. "We're another year stronger with more experience ... the girls are really motivated," Reif said. The second and third-leading scorers are back in junior Kate Goodell and junior MaKayla Farrara. Brinkley Legacy, a good post player and rebounder, is also back for her third varsity season. "They are definitely ready to be stars and step up into the leadership roles," said Reif, who will have her first full season as coach after taking over for Leo Reynolds midway through last year. "We have a team vibe, we don't expect just one player to do the scoring." Sophomore Maddy Main could make a big impact after a decent freshman season. "It's her second year on varsity and she played a lot during the summer," Reif said. With sophomores Morgan Hewitt, Keira Goodell and Nikki Harrington moving up from JV, the Patriot bench is deep. "I have no problems playing any of the 13; I'm confident in their abilities," Reif said.
* First game: Monday at Lee, 7:30 p.m.
-- Adam Samrov
* Coach: Scott Legacy (27th season)
* Last year: 24th straight Vt. championship; 3rd at New Englands
* The team: Looking solely at the roster, there's a young team in the Mount Anthony wrestling room, but don't let that fool anyone.
* Next meet: Wednesday at Fair Haven, 5:30 p.m.
-- Adam Samrov
-- Coach: Bruce Smith (8th season)
-- Last year: Boys: 2nd at states; Girls: 2nd at states
-- The team: Looking ahead to the final day of the Nordic season is at once motivation and maybe even an omen for the Patriots, who swept the state crowns when they last hosted the championships in 2010. Smith's 38 skiers include a dozen seniors who are eager to defend their home turf at Prospect Mountain. "The seniors are esctatic. That's the kind of event that makes you want to ski well," Smith said. The girls -- without regional championship skiers Cassidy Lang and Lauren Casey -- have key returners in Erin Anderson, Abigail Malmborg, Rebecca Romac, Lauren Driscoll, Kinsey Boudreau and Emily Smith. The boys miss last year's top scorer Travis Mattison but return Luke Johnas, a regional racer, as well as Luke Keenan, Caleb Cohen, Will Buckley and Jeremiah Colbath, who figure to fight for the top four scoring places. Smith said CVU and Mount Mansfield will likely provide top competition.
-- First race (tentative): Dec. 15 at Prospect Mountain, 10 a.m.
-- Austin Danforth
-- Coach: Kathleen Newton (12th season)
-- Last year: Boys: 7th at states; Girls: 3rd at states
-- The team: Out of the 25 boys on the roster, only six are sophomores or freshmen. "We have a very veteran team for sure," Newton said. Marc Brandmeyer, the school record-holder in the 3,200 returns to take one more shot at breaking his own mark and do in indoor what he did during cross-country -- win a state championship. "There's a lot more competition, so he'll be pressed," Newton said. "He's looking forward to the competition." Last year's outdoor 110-meter hurdle champion, senior Jon Polen, has traded hockey skates for running shoes. "He wanted to get himself in more shape for the outdoor season," Newton said. Experienced relays and strong throwers such as senior captain Tucker Nicklien and senior Rudy Vadakin and sophomores Ben Hulett and Ben Prandini should help the Patriots rack up the points in the field events.
On the girls side, all four members from the state-winning outdoor 4x100-meter relay -- Shelby McLenithan, Leniesha Williams, Raheemah Madany and Taylor Hockemeier -- return to take a crack at the 4x200 indoors. Senior captain Shelby Whitman will focus on the 600 and relays, while the other senior captain, McKenzie Krawczyk, will try to improve on the 1,000-meters, a race she competed in at New Englands. Three freshmen, Grace Page, Cheyenne Guetti and Asuka Kosaki, are expected to have an immediate impact.
-- First meet: Today at Williams College
-- Adam Samrov
-- Coach: Anna Swierad (11th season)
-- Last year: Boys: 6-5; Girls: 9-1-1
-- The team: On the boys side, there are 19 boys on the roster, one of the highest in team history. It's a boon for Swierad, who for the first time can have two full relays. "I can move kids around in different events," she said. "The new kids are real athletic, so we'll see how they do." Six return, include senior Robert Murphy and sophomores Brian Steinhoff and Ryan Spencer. Two first-year swimmers, seventh-graders Zach LaForest and Morgan Flynn, are only rookies because of their grade level. "They have raced competitively before and have experience." The girls have a ton of experience, only graduating two swimmers from last year's 9-1-1 record. But it was the first time not winning the Berkshire League. "We are ready to take back the crown," Swierad said. Seniors Kate Montague and Heather Foley enter their sixth season in the pool and are poised to take aim at the MAU record board. Foley already owns the Individual Medley and butterfly records. "Heather is the best fly time in the league," Swierad said. "I'm looking forward to seeing how they do." Juniors Kate Ahearn (sprints) and Emily Barlow (100 breaststroke, 200 freestyle) are heading into their fifth season. "We have a really strong team and experienced swimmers," Swierad said.
-- Next meet: Monday vs. Hoosac Valley, 4:30 p.m.
-- Adam Samrov
* Coaches: Amy Thivierge/Erica Cummings (6th season/4th season)
* Last year: 4th in pom, 5th in hip-hop at states
* The team: Numbers are strong for the MAU Dance squad, with 15 varsity competitors. Eleven are back from last year's team. "We're moving more quickly because we aren't having to start from square one," Thivierge said. Junior captains Gabby Loomis, Keara Sternberg and Cheyenne Woodward have danced for three years and are the leaders and good role models for the younger athletes, Thivierge said. Two other "practice captains" are juniors Bridget Evans and Alexandra Dufresne. The team uses performances during halftime of basketball games almost weekly to get ready for the four competitions this season -- the first of which is at home on January 5. There are also events at Colchester and Arlington before the state tournament in February. "It's wonderful to have a meet here and it's grown every year," Thivierge said. "People come and see the nuances of the event and that it's athletic and they appreciate it more."
* First competition: January 5 at MAU
-- Adam Samrov