By TYLER HENRY
Salina Post contributor
After taking a step in the right direction in an 8-13 campaign, the Chapman girl’s basketball team will look to take another in 2022-23 with several key faces returning to the lineup.
The Lady Irish will once again be under the direction of head coach Michael Wahlmeier, who enters his second season at the helm.
While last year’s team did graduate four seniors over the offseason, Chapman returns a trio of critical starters, who will fill out a starting five that should look like this come tip-off.
PG- Maya Kirkpatrick (Sr)
PG- Elyssa Frieze (Jr)
G- Grace Merritt (Sr)
G- Ava Locke (Jr)
F- Kiera Jones (Jr)
The Lady Irish will also look for big minutes off the bench from Allison Abeldt (Sr), Avery Baer (Fr), and Tanith Elliott (Jr) throughout the year.
Ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season, we had a chance to catch up with Coach Wahlmeier to get his thoughts on this year’s Lady Irish team.
Q: What were your overall thoughts on the 2021-22 campaign?
A: I was really proud of the girls and their efforts last year. We made some great strides together and hopefully built a solid foundation for many seasons to come.
Q: How excited is everyone to get back on the floor and back to playing real games after a long offseason?
A: Everyone is ready for the season. We have several girls that qualified for state track last year as well as three state tennis qualifiers. I think they are learning what it takes to compete at a high level and that is exciting for us as coaches.
Q: Coming into the year what would you say is the biggest strength of this team?
A: We are as athletic as anyone. We are going to challenge these girls to play fast. If we can really focus on transition offense and defense, I think we will be an exciting team to watch.
Q: What are the biggest question marks about this team as we head into the first few weeks?
A: Can we take care of the ball? Playing fast comes with a certain amount of turnovers and you learn to live with that but if we can limit those and learn to be efficient in the half-court I like our chances.
Q: What are the goals and expectations of this team for this 2022-23 campaign?
A: We won eight games last year. I definitely think we are capable of more than that this year. A winning record is a huge goal for us. 'The race to 11' we call it. We also had three games that got away from us last year and resulted in running clocks. That will be a goal for us as well, to stay competitive in every game.
The Lady Irish will open their season on Friday, December 2nd when Chapman hosts the Irish Classic on their home floor.
For continuing coverage of Chapman girls' basketball all season long, stay tuned to the Salina Post.