Centennial entered the season as the two-time defending state champion. But perennial power BOISE always looms.
The Braves have not only qualified for every state tournament since the Idaho High School Activities Association began sponsoring it in 2000 — they’ve won a trophy from every tournament.
With five returning starters and nine contributors from a nationally ranked team last fall — including Idaho commit Kate Blickenstaff and Boise State commit Julia Lewis — Boise was voted no lower than fourth on every coach’s ballot. The balanced voting allowed the Braves to overtake the Patriots as preseason favorite for a third straight district title.
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CENTENNIAL fields a loaded lineup to gun for the Braves again with eight returning starters, including three of its top four defenders. And their striker pair of juniors Makayla Christensen (Utah commit) and Josie Bush (BYU) makes the Patriots one of the most frightening clubs going forward.
The graduation of the Grizzlies’ all-time leading scorer and league player of the year Raimee Sherle will force ROCKY MOUNTAIN to search for new scoring options. But central midfielder Lily Schlake, a first-team all-conference pick, central defender AJ Reed and goalkeeper Annika Rademacher will prove difficult for opposing teams to penetrate.
The nontraditional power posing the largest threat resides at BORAH, where the Lions have amassed a bounty of young, Division I talent.
Just as sure as the sun rises in the east, BISHOP KELLY is the clear favorite in the 4A SIC after winning seven straight district titles and nine of the last 10.
The Knights return 10 players from last year’s squad, including three of their top scoring options in Aubree Chatterton, Sam Webster and Cameron Coyle. But after failing to win a state trophy for the first time since 2005, the Knights are starting to appear mortal and will break in a first-year coach in Madison Collins.
The Knights’ top threat in recent years, Kuna, moved up to 5A. MOUNTAIN HOME, with eight returning starters and a talented senior class, poses the largest threat. And MIDDLETON, with first-team all-conference forward Mikee Furrow returning, can’t be overlooked.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Lauren Bouvia, Weiser
The UC Davis-bound senior set a national record last year with 127 goals in 21 games — including 16 at state — to lead the Wolverines to the 3A state title.
Emma Bailey, Eagle
The first-team all-5A SIC forward as a freshman and sophomore was limited as a junior by an ACL injury. But the BYU commit is back to full speed.
Zoe Transtrum, Borah
The junior attacking midfielder is already lighting up the scoreboard, with a pair of hat tricks in her first five games and eight goals in total.
Kate Blickenstaff, Boise
The Idaho commit and senior is the centerpiece of the Braves’ attack. She’s also a defensive stalwart and can play every position in the midfield.
Aubree Chatterton, Bishop Kelly
The senior forward/midfielder earned co-4A SIC Player of the Year honors last season. The Gonzaga commit is the heavy favorite for the outright award in ’16.
Team (1st-place votes)
1. Boise (3)
2. Centennial (7)
3. Rocky Mountain
4. Borah (1)
5. Timberline (1)
6. Mountain View
Team (1st-place votes)
1. Bishop Kelly (7)
2. Mountain Home
Note: One 4A coach did not vote