Searching for goalkeeper
A strong group of sophomores to go with four upperclassman - most of whom are strong swimmers - has the Madras boys water polo team thinking playoffs.
The boys team missed the state playoffs last season, but a more balanced group could be the difference this season.
"This group is willing to learn," DeRoest said. "They're very coachable and working hard to improve."
Madras graduated two Central Oregon first-team players in Kyle Palmer and Aaron St. John, but seniors Dustin Henderson and junior Ian Goodwin both return and both garnered honorable mention honors one year ago.
"Like the girls, speed will be a big strength for these guys," DeRoest said. "We have six very strong swimmers in the water, and I really like what the sophomore group has to offer."
Senior Jordan Gemelas and junior Larry Armitage return, giving the team experience. Sophomores Tony Holliday, Mateo Smith, Frank Reed, Bryce Williams, Brady Tucker, Brandon Hunt and Cade Boston figure to be the future of the program, and all will be key pieces to the team's success, according to DeRoest.
"We're going to start a lot of sophomores," DeRoest said. "It's a talented group, and most are strong swimmers."
Freshmen Josh Hocker and Keaton Hartman will also play a role for Madras.
Last year, Madras had high expectations, but missed the playoffs.
"The Central Oregon League is a very competitive league," DeRoest said. "Parkrose and Summit should be very strong, so we will see."
The top four teams advance to the state playoffs.
Madras will host Mountain View Sept. 4 and Summit Sept. 6 at the Madras Aquatic Center.
"I think as we learn to play together, we have the potential to be strong," DeRoest said.