JOPLIN, Mo. — After last year’s trip to the state quarterfinals, College Heights softball is going to look a little different.

The squad will be operating without Layne Jackson, Sarah Painter, and Avery Good-, who were each All-Conference and All-District players. There will be some rearranging involved to fill those gaps; sophomore Kloee Williamson will be moving to second base, while Jayli Johnson will move from shortstop to catcher.

Of course, one piece of the puzzle hasn’t changed: sophomore pitcher Maddy Colin, who was so dominant last season she was named the Ozark 7 Player of the Year. So while the team is younger, they definitely aren’t devoid of talent.

“We do have some fresh faces that are coming in here every day, working hard, trying to catch up, trying to get to speed, ” says Mike Howard, College Heights head softball coach. “But I think as the season goes along, we’ll continue to grow, continue to succeed, and I think that we’ll be just fine. Especially towards the end of the year, as the season goes along, we’ll be right there.”

Colin says, “We’re gonna try to win as many games as possible, get to districts, hopefully win districts, then keep going. Because we’re so young, it’ll be kind of difficult, but we get better every day and I have a lot of confidence in this team. I think we’ll do very well.”

The team will also be welcoming John Blankenship, who is also the head girls’ basketball coach, on as an assistant coach.

The Cougars open their season on Monday at home against Galena.