One thing you have to love about young coaching staffs is their bubbling optimism about the future. That is certainly the case with the fall sports coaches at Schuyler Central High School.
On the surface, you look at a softball team that won one game, a football team that won one game, a volleyball team that finished the regular season below the .500 mark, a cross country team that failed to place a runner in the top 30 at the state meet and a girls golf team that often didn’t have enough players to qualify for a team score and you wonder what there is to be optimistic about.
In all of the aforementioned sports there was improvement in each program during the 2017 season.
The softball team, with all of its youth, played more competitively this past season and is primed to see even more improvement during the next couple of years. Coach Clarissa Dunn is one of the most positive coaches I have ever had the pleasure of meeting at SCHS and it is only a matter of time until the young ladies capture some of that spirit and turn it into more victories.
The football team ended the long losing streak with an exciting and emotional victory over South Sioux City to end the season and build hope and enthusiasm when looking ahead to the 2018 season. The mental aspect of winning the last game and not having to sit around all winter and spring with the losing streak hanging around their necks is huge. With many key players returning and a new offensive philosophy in place, coach Aaron Thumann has his squad in prime position to show major improvement next season.
The cross country team had a fantastic regular season. Coach Rick Carter continued to lead his team in the right direction throughout each meet. Even though they lost a very good runner in Nesrudin Yusuf, they still return a couple of state qualifiers next season in Cristobal Gonzalez and Miguel Carrasco and there are some other strong runners waiting in the wings. If a couple of the younger runners can step up by next season there is a good chance Schuyler will be able to send an entire team of four runners to the state meet. The potential is there and the coaching is second to none. This will be an exciting group to watch in 2018.
The volleyball team got off to a fantastic start this season. The Lady Warriors were 6-5 and riding a four-match win streak on Sept. 16 after a 2-1 victory over Homer. They did struggle down the stretch, but Jenna Saalfeld, in her first season as head coach of the Lady Warriors, did a great job of holding her team together heading into district play. With Rachel Shonka, Reagan Folda and Maria Semerad returning next season, there is plenty to be excited about for the 2018 campaign.
Coach Jeff Droge has done a great job with the SCHS girls golf team. The biggest hurdle he has faced in recent seasons is finding enough girls who want to go out for the sport to field a complete team of four. Despite the small numbers, Droge is always positive about his team and excited to see how well they will do in their next event. The potential is unknown for 2018, but we do know that no matter how many young ladies head to the links, they will be coached by one of the best in the business.
It’s easy to get lost in the numbers and not see the big picture. The culture of the athletic landscape continues to change in Schuyler as do most of its logistical elements. That is a good thing. It just takes time and patience to pick up all of the bricks and assemble them back into a strong and powerful wall. One has the feeling that more of those bricks will be in place a year from now.