The Big 9 was a young conference last year, evidenced by the fact that more than half its 36 All-Conference or Honorable Mention players are back this year.
With so many players back, it seems easy to say the conference will stack up much like it did last year, when Owatonna ran the table to finish ahead of Winona and Rochester Mayo.
As a whole, the conference’s coaches are in line with that thinking, although they dropped the Winhawks down a little after the squad lost a four All-Conference or honorable mention players, tied for the most of any school. Others felt the conference as a whole was too close to determine a favorite.
“I don’t really think there is a conference favorite or one team that stands out this year, it is really up for grabs,” one coach said. “It will be fun to see what happens.”
Still, the vast majority of coaches felt the Huskies, who haven’t lost a regular season Big 9 game since the 2009 season, are the team to beat once again. Owatonna was picked to finish first or second on every returned ballot and had all but two first-place votes.
“Perennial favorites, strong feeder program with high expectations,” one opposing coach wrote of the Huskies. “Have won the conference/section titles more often than any other team in the Big 9 over the last 20 years.”...