Building a team for the future now

Each sports season starts by filling in the spots left by graduating seniors, but this year. The class of 2022 was one of the biggest graduating classes, leaving behind more spots that need to be filled. This week, as tryouts are happening, coaches and athletes are starting to work to fill those spots and have the team ready for games that begin in a month. 

Some of the bigger sports teams, such as swim and football, lost more than 20 seniors, but even the smaller teams, such as girls golf, are still concerned about their loss of three players. It does not seem like a lot compared to other sports, but when it is only a team of 10, it makes it a little more complicated. “I would say we are a little bit nervous about losing our seniors because they were really good, but I think we will be okay,” said sophomore golfer Harper Mowry. Like golf, badminton only has six varsity starters at a time; last year, five of those players graduated, but according to head coach Lerina Johnson, the JV girls have been working to fill those spots. “I try to build up the JV girls and the exhibition girls, so it’s not a constant rebuilding year. It’s a reloading year…It’s a lot of off-season work for the next year. You can’t build a championship team from August to October; our team is being built in the off season,” said Johnson. 

Head girls volleyball coach Fred Mann has a similar approach during tryouts, when he is assembling a team. “You want to account for who will play in a match, but more importantly, you want to account for your team this year and in the future. This year during tryouts, you are kinda guessing who is going to be our starters next year. We need to keep them on the team… we are not only thinking about this year but next year,” said Mann. The volleyball team also has the advantage of having lots of girls try out for the team. Still, according to Mann, it is not truly an advantage. “For us, it’s about the skill, not the amount of people. Let’s say we had 200 girls out there that have never played volleyball that would not be good for us. We are not looking for high numbers but high skill,” said Mann. 

As coaches are putting teams together, players on the team are working on bonding and creating a positive environment. “I want to try and bring everyone together, and at meets I want to cheer on everyone and make sure everyone is having a good time and make sure it is a positive experience for everyone,” said senior Swimmer Kiara Terry. Players are also working themselves to try and fill the missing spots. “We have pretty good players this year, I believe, so filling in those spots aren’t too hard. We have a lot of returners that have played before, so it’s not super hard,” said senior football player CJ Snowden. 

Fall Sports officially start on Monday Aug.15th and teams are ready to work hard and be prepared for the season.  “The goal is to win, we need to make sure our team is prepared,” said Snowden. Even with five starting positions that need to be filled, Johnson is confident in the work her players have put in, “I feel pretty good about it, they are some dedicated girls. They came on their own. They’re self-motivated.” said

Johnson. Despite the spots left open by seniors teams are ready to start a new season and start building their new team.