Kodiak, though, is not one of the three NLC teams in the Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network’s poll, released Monday.
Topping the Mid-small schools rankings is Soldotna. Being No. 1 is a familiar spot for the Stars, as the Peninsula school appeared in the top spot in all eight polls last season.
Soldotna won the NLC title a year ago, but it was bounced in the semifinals of the state playoffs.
The Stars open the season at home against large school No. 3 Palmer.
Homer, coming off a surprise trip to last year’s medium-school state championship game, begins the season ranked second.
The Mariners open at Mid-small schools No. 3 Eielson.
Kenai, last year’s medium-school state champion, comes in at No. 4, while Barrow is fifth.
Kenai begins with large schools No. 4 East Anchorage, while Barrow opens at Monroe.
Skyview, Kodiak and Nikiski all received at least one vote.
First-year Kodiak head coach Jim Schnick said all three NLC teams will contend for a conference title and isn’t counting out the Bears as they prepare for Saturday’s season-opener against West Anchorage’s junior varsity at Woody Way Field.
“Soldotna is always right there,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what Kenai has coming back after AJ (Hull) graduated. They have a well-coached team up there; I’m sure they will be a contender again.
“I’m hoping for us to be in the mix,” he added. “There is no reason we can not be right there for a conference championship.”
Kodiak finished last year 4-3.
Defending large schools state champion Service begins the season No. 1, while West Anchorage is No. 2.
Both Service and West open the season in Hawaii.
Juneau-Douglas rounds out the top 5.
The Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network Poll is released every Monday and is voted on by broadcasters and media statewide.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.