Winter sports preview

As the weather gets colder, students are gearing up for winter sports: girls and boys basketball, wrestling and girls swimming.

Coach John Sloop is the coach of varsity girls basketball and encourages new students to try out.

“For something like high school basketball, you should only try out if you would really like to be a part of it.  We are very fortunate to have a great group of hard-working kids that seem to attract more people each year,” Sloop said. “If you enjoy basketball, want to be a part of a team, sacrifice your individual goals for the team, are willing to consistently work hard on the court and in the classroom, be a good citizen and have fun doing it, this might be something you want to explore.”

Coaches prepared by offering open gyms, practices and summer camps.

“We had our annual summer basketball camp and played in a summer league during June and July.  We had our best numbers for both this summer.  We strongly encouraged our athletes to participate in fall and spring sports, so most of them are playing a fall sport,” Sloop said.

Coaches have been setting goals for the new seasons.

“Our goals are always simple.  We want to work hard and have fun.  We want to continue to improve throughout the year.  We want to do our best on the court and in the classroom. We had a good year [2013-2014].  I believe we were 16-10, and.  Ranked 9th in the final regular season Large School poll,” Sloop said. “We have such a great group of hard-working young ladies that care about each other that they seem to attract more people each year.”

Along with girls basketball, boys basketball has been preparing for the new season with weight training and open gyms.

“We have two open gyms and three weight training opportunities a week,  two of those days we have open gyms afterwards, and a lot of the guys who don’t play a fall sport will come in and do that. We have a lot of guys who are playing soccer and football, so we have a decent group coming for the most part, and we definitely have opportunities for guys to work on their game,” coach John Wright said.

With the new students trying out, coaches anticipate many players to return for tryouts this November.

“Well our top player from last year, who is a sophomore this year, Wyatt Yess, is returningalong with our seniors Keith Clerk, Austin Sisk, Joey Twellman and Andrew Widowski, but we don’t make any final decisions until tryouts. We will have a number of juniors that played on JV to try out this year as well,” Wright said. “We start off with our tip-off tournament, which is our first tournament of the year and helps us get a feel for where we are.”

Girls swimming has already hosted some  team bonding events to build morale.

“As a team, to prepare for the season, to mesh together better we do team building activities. The first few weeks together are some of the hardest practices of the whole season to prep us for what’s going to come,” junior Kristen Petersen said.

Returning swimming members are encouraging new people to try out for the team.

“It is a lot of work, but is also really fun and you get to make a lot of new friends. “Hopefully we can crack top four again because we got fifth last year and we hope to get as many individuals to state as possible,”Petersen said.

Come and find out what you can do, your opponent is already trying to figure that out.”

— Nathan Karimi

Wrestling has hired a new assistant coach, Humanities Interventionist Nathan Karimi.

“I have been preparing for the new season mostly by begging kids to come and check out wrestling; when they see what it’s all about, the sport itself keeps them interested. Dan Didier, the head coach, has been doing a great job keeping me updated and involved since he has a much more thorough technical background in wrestling than I do. I would like to get as many students to at least come check it out as possible,” Karimi said. “There are a lot of students who have natural talents that would translate well into wrestling and they need to come out; I want to find these folks and bring them in to see what they’re missing.  I would like to see about 30+ students to try out. The more the merrier. Open Mat sessions are Tuesday and Thursday 2:45-4:15 p.m. and Sunday 12:30-2 p.m..”

Karimi encourages students to try out for wrestling because of the many benefits the sport has for each individual.

“Wrestlers know themselves very well, as do all athletes that are asked to test their will daily and push their bodies and minds to the limit; you will find out a lot about yourself by pushing your limits. I always tell students to come and at least, at least, check it out. If you wrestle you will get to see what you can do, what your body can do and what your mind can do. I don’t think there is a better thing in the world than really finding out what your body and mind will let you do. Come and find out what you can do, your opponent is already trying to figure that out,” Karimi said.

Even if students choose not to participate in winter sports, there are games and matches for all winter sports that they can attend to support the teams. Boys basketball hopes to increase their fans base at games.

“Every game is a big game. We just focus on what’s next and take it one day at a time.  We have a month of practice and a jamboree before we even start thinking about games.  We play in three tournaments, including the Gerald Linnemann Memorial Tourney, which features all the Parkway schools, and we host our own tourney, the EPR Classic, which is usually around the end of semester break,” Sloop said.