We’re better now than we were at the beginning of last year. Our first measuring stick will be the Rocky Mountain Classic. – Lehi coach Jamie Ingersoll said.

It’s hard to predict how months of competition will shape a team, but Lehi’s Jamie Ingersoll is about as optimistic as a coach can be just two weeks into the season.

“We’re better now than we were at the beginning of last year,” said Ingersoll. “Our first measuring stick will be the Rocky Mountain Classic.”

If Lehi is indeed better than they were last season, it’s going to be a great year to cheer for the Pioneers. The team was impressive last season, finishing second at the 5A state tournament to region rival Pleasant Grove.

The Vikings are the preseason No. 1 team, but early injuries have made their quest for a fourth-straight title much more difficult. The most significant blow was when last year’s 5A MVP Bailey Nixon suffered a season-ending knee injury.

However, if any team can find a way through the injuries, it’s the Vikings. The team returns junior middle hitter Sara Hamson, right side Brooklyn Dahl and setter Jeniel Biggs.

Lehi returns a core of talented veterans who are hungry for a second shot at a title.

The Pioneers lost three starters, but they return some of the state’s best in seniors Rylin Roberts (outside hitter) and Syd White (libero). Also returning for Lehi are key contributors Amber Lamborn, Mikayla Upham and Marta Ellsworth.

Ingersoll said that while this team is talented, they also enjoy great camaraderie.

“I think they have great chemistry,” she said. “They’re friends on the court; they’re friends off the court. …They expect to be told when they’re not performing. They have a really good relationship and have high expectations.”

Ingersoll added that they're committed to a common goal and they hold each other accountable.

“They have to push each other, and that has to be OK,” Ingersoll said. “They work really hard, do everything we ask. They’re just a really fun group to coach. It’ll be fun to see how far they can push themselves this season.”

One thing that will help both Pleasant Grove and Lehi is the fact that they play in a competitive region. Region 4 includes three of the top five teams in Pleasant Grove, Lehi and Lone Peak, but also teams that could easily crack the top five in Riverton, Herriman and American Fork.

Bingham, Fremont, Riverton, Northridge, Davis, Brighton and Taylorsville should all be in the mix this season for 5A contenders.

Bingham returns Utah commit Torre Glasker while Lone Peak is led by setter Jaysa Funk. Dani Barton leads a promising Brighton squad and Madeline Vigil leads Fremont.

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