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Packers sports in for an interesting year

West Fargo's Jason Moch battles Fargo South's Matt Wawers for a loose ball at the South gym Friday, December 19. David Samson/The Forum

Call them Christmas wishes, predictions or New Year's resolutions, but what could be in store for Packer fans in 2009 should be interesting.

There will be plenty of storylines to keep followers of high school sports in their seats and keep Packer Backers watching Larry Lubben's generous broadcasts. There's not one Packer winter sports team that doesn't have a chance to do something special this new year.

The boys basketball team has always been a great source of pride for West Fargo High. It seems there's always been a Birrenkott, a Torgrimson or a Farkas to help lead the Packers to countless successes over the years.

When the Packers graduated seven seniors last spring, it looked as though the Packer boys were in trouble. Yet here the Packers are at press time with a perfect 4-0 record (Dec. 28-29 results were not available in time). Can senior leading scorers Mike Benson and Jason Moch lead West Fargo to another EDC title? Stay tuned.

And how about that Packer girls basketball team? Last year's 6-15 record hardly spelled success for West Fargo going into this season. But here's new head coach Barb Metcalf leading the Packers to more wins. Her up-tempo style of play has the Packer girls sporting a solid 3-1 record at press time.

We're just barely into the season, and West Fargo already has half as many wins as last season. It's early, but suddenly the Packers are looking like real contenders to make it to their first state tournament since 2006. With proven upperclassmen and a future star of a sophomore point guard in Katelyn Holland, West Fargo's chances are looking good.

Even the wrestling team with a 2-5 dual record will get in on the action this year. A repeat EDC title will be far fetched, but the development of plenty of young, unproven varsity wrestlers will be worth a trip to the gym to watch the Packers.

If not for that, then for Packer junior Scott Schiller, a defending state champion with a perfect 12-0 record this season. There's also senior Austin Cassezza, who is getting a late start to the year after taking second at last year's state tournament. Both are talented grapplers who are fun to watch.

The girls hockey team has itself to thank for high expectations after last year's second place finish at the state tournament. Coach Pat Johnson led the Packers to a 20-4 record, and his team is on track for another big year with a 6-2 mark to start this year. Sophomore Kacie Johnson, last season's top scorer, is warming up, and a young defense is getting going. If the Packers can beat the Spartan jinx, they will be considered the state's elite.

With a pair of new head coaches and some young talent, the boys hockey team got off to a solid start but has struggled as of late against some of the EDC's top teams. Results from this week's Fergus Falls Tournament were unavailable before press time, but holiday tournaments have traditionally given the Packers a boost going into the rest of the conference season.

The Packers will face hockey powers Fargo South and Grafton back-to-back to open the new year. Making the state for the second time in school history will be a challenge but not an impossibility.

Last, but most certainly not least, there's the West Fargo boys swimming team, probably the school's best shot at a team state championship this winter season. Ten-time defending state champion Minot isn't as powerful as past years, and the Packers - second at last season's state meet - are peaking. This could be their year when the green and white brings home its first boys swimming state title ever.

In the end it's never the results that are fun - it's the journey. High school sports are about far more than just wins and losses, but this winter the Packers will have more of the former.