Ankeny is a favorite to repeat as the class 4A state baseball champions this season. The Hawks have a large core of players back from last season and they open top ranked in the Radio Iowa/Coaches poll.
This season will also bring the end of an era as a second high school opens in the community in the fall. Current Ankeny coach Mark Hey will be the head coach at Centennial High School.
Hey says he is good at ignoring things he doesn’t want to deal with and knows it will be very hard to not be a part of the old Ankeny school. He says the players are not even looking at the future and instead are focused on this season.
“What happens next year happens next year, and I think we have a good system in place,” Hey says. He says the have two J-V teams play now with 41 juniors and seniors out with 23 J-V games. “Next year will take care of itself, right now we are just focused on this team and being good teammates to each other and enjoying this year,” according to Hey.
One player the Hawks do not have back is All State centerfielder Joe Lanning. The future Iowa State University quarterback is not playing baseball this season so he can prepare for the football season.
“Joel and I talked and he’s doing it for all the right reasons and he has all my support. He is a wonderful young man and he’s going to be such a benefit to that Iowa State program, I’m really excited for his future,” Hey says.