Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Sports Preview

By Cassidy Kelley

Baseball: Stand Tall, Talk Small, Play Ball
   Baseball is the All-American sport that is also considered to be America’s pastime. Mooresville High School isn’t an exception for the love of the game.
   Coach Eric McGaha has been the MHS boys’ baseball coach for the past two years after coming back from a two year break in order to spend more time with his family. Before then he had been the coach at MHS for eight consecutive seasons.
   “I’ve been blessed to have been the coach here on two separate occasions,” McGaha said.
   McGaha’s expectations for the team this year he says are quite simple: to play the best brand of baseball humanly possible. With 12 seniors on the roster, the boys are not lacking in experience. The only problem they face is getting the seniors focused on the daily task of getting better. When the weather starts to get warmer and the boys can go outside more, McGaha believes they’ll be sharper in their execution.
   Seniors Cole Long and Nathan Gilbert have been on the team for the past four years and have high hopes for the team.
   “We want to win sectionals,” Gilbert said. “And that’s when we face Terre Haute South.”
   “I’m really only concerned about Decatur,” Long said. “They are our biggest rival. But I’m hoping to win State.”
   The MHS baseball team has a lot of experience coming in this year, and is really excited to get outside and see their skill level improve on a daily basis.
   “I really want all of our teams to excel on and off the field this season, McGaha said.

Track: Respect All, Fear None
   The one quality present in every athlete is their individual drive. They’re on a team but there is always something personal pushing them to go on. No sport can show this quality more than track.
   MHS’s Clint Swalls has been coaching the MHS track and field team for six seasons and is excited to see the progress in this year’s team.
   “Our athletes set goals,” Swalls said. “They work hard each day and become quality people.”
   Sophomore Gracie Norton, also an MHS cheerleader, originally became interested in track and field in middle school.
   “I was a cheerleader,” Norton said. “I thought I might be decent at hurdles, so I started training over the summer.”
   The team practices every day after school for an hour and a half. The team is working towards making it to regionals, but hopefully be able to break some personal records along the way. Senior Jon Stapert, who is going into the Marines after he graduates, has been on the team for the past three years.
   “I try to work as hard as I can,” Stapert said. “I just like having to working. And it’s good practice since Marines run a lot.”
   Coach Swalls wants the team to be successful this year, and is proud of the good job they do of not basing success on wins and losses, but rather on completing the goals they wish to accomplish.
   “Our kids want to be coached and get better,” Swalls said.

Softball: Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
   Whoever said “You play ball like a girl!” never met the MHS girls’ softball team. They’re not afraid to get down and dirty and go for the win.
   MHS’s own Traci Ball is going on her ninth year as head coach for the MHS’s girls’ softball team. This year she expects her team to be competitive in every game. They may not win, but she at least wants them to compete.
   “I think our strong point will be pitching,” Ball said. “We have three great pitchers that I believe will keep us in every game. I think the only weak point will be our inexperience. We are a very young team.”
   Senior Jeana Gregory has played for the school since her Paul Hadley days. She played a little of every sport when she was younger, and enjoys being able to be around her friends on the team while playing softball.
   “We practice two to three hours every day after school unless we have a game,” Gregory said. “It would be nice if we could win sectionals.”
   Coach Ball is shooting for sectionals and wants the girls to be aggressive on the field.
   “I want every player to take advantage of their opportunities they are given on the field and be aggressive,” Ball said.
   The MHS girls’ softball team hopes that faculty and students come out to watch them play. It should be a ton of fun.

Girls’ Tennis: Order on the Court
   At MHS, the only love coming from the girls’ tennis team is when they score on the court. Hard-working and determined, their goals are high this year.
   This year’s team has not only worked hard in conditioning due to the cold weather, but also worked during the off season. After making it to sectionals last year for the first time in MHS history, the girls have a lot to work up to.
   “Our sectional win and regional visit last year was amazing,” Coach Michael Teders said. “And the girls have been able to build off of their success.”
   Going on his tenth season as coach, Teders has a lot to look forward to. Since the girls have only been able to go outside only once this season for practice because of the weather, they’ve done a lot of conditioning to keep in shape.
   “We practice from 3:30 to 5:30 after school and do a lot of running,” Junior Michelle Majeski said. “It’s really cold outside.”
   Majeski likes the game not only because of the wins, but also because of her teammates. She says they are the best set of girls and they have no divas or ‘cliques’ within the group. But this sport is not all fun and games.
   “When you’re younger, you get taught the basics of tennis,” Majeski said. “Tennis requires more individual technique.”
   The team hopes to make it past conference and sectionals, then to go on to regionals and come back with a win.
Boys’ Golf: Where Your Most Feared Opponent, is Yourself
   Golf is both the quietest sport and the one that requires full concentration. Crowds of people wait with bated breath, not wanting to disturb the golfers.
   Into his fifth year coaching, Ernie Adams is anticipating this year’s golf season.
   “Our expectations are very high this season,” Adams said. “We have outstanding players who have made the commitment to work hard and improve their skills.”
   Captains Broden Chapmen and Brady Sappenfield are the paragon of that statement. Broden, a senior at MHS, has played for the school all four years and plans to continue playing at Marian University.
   “My dad has encouraged me to play since I was a little kid,” Chapman said.
   Sappenfield is a junior at MHS and has also played the sport as long as he’s been at the school. His father also encouraged him to play. To him, the best part about the game is winning, but he gets nervous at the first tee-shot at sectionals.
   “We want to win the conference tournament and win sectionals,” Sappenfield said.
   The team has shown that they have a great amount of talent this year, and could ultimately reach the State Finals. They also want to place high in other Invitationals that they play. For now though, they want to win the Mid-State Conference tournament and place in the top three in the sectional.
   “I hope the other students at MHS recognize our players and encourage them. Our guys are proud to wear the Blue and Gold,” Coach Adams said.