We hope to be competitive by the end of the year," said Marshall. "2A should be very competitive this year.
Richfield did something special in girls athletics during the school year of 2008-2009.
That was the year the Wildcats earned state titles in both volleyball and basketball — with perfect records. The perfect record isn't possible this year, but after the Wildcats won the 2A title in volleyball behind most of the same athletes who play basketball for the school, a basketball title is looking like a realistic possibility.
Last year, the Wildcats were in 3A and the team exited the tournament in the first round. But back in 2A thanks to a realignment that also brings Emery and Manti into 2A, Richfield earned the No. 1 ranking from coaches in a preseason poll.
"This team only has one senior with two returning starters (junior guard Sloane Roundy and junior center Meagan Bean, the 2A volleyball MVP)," said Richfield coach Marc Peterson. "The junior class is very athletic and many of them gained varsity playing time last year as sophomores. We should have an all-around game, inside and outside."
Winning a state title will be difficult as the classification is deeper and more competitive than ever.
After a couple of decades in high school coaching, Beaver's Jon Marshall knows it's not where you start, but how you finish that matters.
"We hope to be competitive by the end of the year," said Marshall. "2A should be very competitive this year."
Region 13 has always been extremely competitive from top to bottom, and this year is no different. All of the coaches believe in playing tough preseason schedules, including some ranked 3A schools.
The Beavers, last year's second-place team, have the best record (8-2) and are led by junior Hattie Snyder and sophomore Macail Wood, both of whom average more than 10 points per game.
"We are very young with only one senior, Brittney Blackner," said Marshall. "Blackner and Rachel Roberts are our two returning starters. However, all of our projected starters saw significant playing time last season. We hope to be competitive by the end of the year."
Kanab has the second best record in the region at 6-2. The Cowboys have played a tough preseason and it gets tougher next Tuesday when they head to top-ranked Richfield. The team is led by senior Calli Jackson, who averages 16.4 points per game, and senior Kaytee Glover, who averages almost 13 points per game.
The team is looking to improve on last year's third-place finish.
"With four returning starters and a great group of underclassmen, we are looking forward to being highly competitive within our region," said coach Gary Glover. "Our expectations are high."
The defending 2A champion, Enterprise, returns a lot of experience and has one of the deepest teams with 11 veteran varsity players. The squad is led by Taylor Phelps, Anden Lyman, Summer Terry and Riley Lyman.
In Region 15, San Juan has the second-best record so far at 7-2, while South Sevier and Emery have losing records that can be attributed somewhat to tough preseason schedules.
The Broncos are led by Jolene Kirk, who averages just over 11 points per game, and Teal Palmer who averages just over 10 points.
One of the surprises of the season has been the great start Rowland Hall has enjoyed. The Winged Lions sit atop the Region 14 standings with a 5-2 record.
"Returning four starters from last year, the Lady Winged Lions hope to have their best season in years," said head coach Bill Tatomer. "Never having topped six wins in the past decade-plus, Rowland Hall hopes to use their team speed and strong fundamental skills to compete in Region 14 this year."
The team relies on a very balanced offensive attack that includes Marisa Eng, averaging 6.5 points, Anna Smith, averaging 8 points, Candice Nkoy, averaging five points and Cari Sayner, averaging five points.
North Summit is also off to a great start (6-3) and is led by Kasidee Evans, who averages 8.6 points, Samantha Nicholes, who averages 8.3 points, and Dentry McQueen, who averages almost eight points.
Manti is off to the best start in Region 16. The squad is led by Mandee Christensen, who averages about 10 points per game, Jessica Lund and Elizabeth Palmer, both of whom average five points per game.
Note: Projections were picked by Deseret News staff, with input from coaches.
1. South Summit
2. North Summit
3. Rowland Hall
5. Maeser Prep
3. San Juan
4. South Sevier
2. North Sevier
5. Wasatch Academy