Athlete Spotlight: Colleen Smith and Jack Galkowski

Teams empower freshmen talent

Defending the net, freshman Colleen Smith blocks her opponents spike in a game against Lindbergh.

Sarah Booth

Defending the net, freshman Colleen Smith blocks her opponents spike in a game against Lindbergh.

Freshmen Colleen Smith and Jack Galkowski are young, skilled and their talent earned them spots on varsity volleyball and soccer.

“It was my goal to make varsity freshman year, and I knew that I would have to work my hardest,” Smith said.

Smith has been playing volleyball since she was in third grade and currently plays for a select team, the Rockwood Thunder, to prepare for the season.

“I also went to all of the school’s summer workouts and the summer camp,” Smith said.

Smith hoped that her training would secure a position on varsity.

“I wanted to play during high school because I saw the team play last year. I was really excited when I found out I was on varsity because I get to play on a high level,” Smith said.

Smith is the middle hitter.

“Since I am tall, I play in the front row and block the most. Also, if the defense pass it to me, I hit it,” Smith said.

Varsity coach Susan Dean and teammates have taught her how to stay positive when they are down points in a game.

“It’s hard when we are down, and we have to get the momentum back. I have learned that we should never settle for good. Be great,” Smith said.

The entire varsity team serves as “big sisters” to Smith.

“We do everything as a team, buddies on the bus, breakfast, team sleep over, camp video and deciding which of the many t-shirts to wear on any given day. The team loves her and respects her. She fits right in to the “sister” philosophy,” Dean said.

Playing in the varsity game against Westminster, freshman Jack Galkowski shoots the ball towards the goal.

Galkowski is the youngest member on the boys varsity soccer team.

“I felt nervous at first being the youngest player, but I like being with the older guys, and I love to play soccer because you can always pick up a ball and play,” Galkowski said.

Galkowski ran two miles daily to land a position on varsity.

“I wanted to be on varsity because I knew some of the kids and coaches. It’s a great program that would make me a better player,” Galkowski said.

Galkowski is a forward and is mentored by senior Tucker Watts.

“Jack works closely with Tucker. Tucker was once in Jack’s position as the lone freshman on varsity. He has done an excellent job guiding him in runs, lay offs and positioning,” Assistant Coach Annie Wayland said.

The varsity team has made Galkowski feel welcomed.

“I think all of the boys have done an excellent job making Jack feel like an integral member of this squad. As the lone freshman, he’s is a rare position, and there are many young men on our team who have gone out of their way to welcome him and have fun with him to let him know that they value and respect him as a person and player,” Wayland said.