Captain selection process varies by sport
January 23, 2014
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by Anna Bauman, photos by Hannah Bredar
Many sports teams at STA have some form of leadership, whether it is based on formal team captain elections or seniority. Either way, captains are usually teammates who are relatable to others, offer encouragement and enthusiasm and are dedicated to their sport and their team, according to junior softball player Grace Sly. While the main idea of team captains is the same for all sports, each team has a slightly different process of selecting their captains and different duties involved with being a captain.
The cross country team chooses its captains through a formal election process. At the beginning of the season, the runners each fill out a ballot with the names of two third or fourth year runners who they believe would embody the characteristics of a leader, according to senior cross country runner Heather Cigas.
“They don’t have to be an outgoing person, just someone who could lead the team through their hard work ethic or by giving others encouragement at races,” Cigas said.
The captains this year included seniors Cecilia Butler, Michelle Dierks and Lindsay Valdiviez. The captains are responsible for leading warm-ups at races, giving the freshman a pep-talk before their first race, helping organize fun practices and themes and bringing the tent to the meet, according to Cigas.
The golf team at STA does not have official team captains. Instead, the senior on the team acts as the unofficial leader, according to varsity golfer Ellie Shorter.
“[Senior varsity golfer] Frankie Neunuebel was the leader because it just comes with seniority,” Shorter said. “She knows everything better and knows how things work.”
As a leader, Neunuebel helped out by driving underclassmen to practice and giving advice to the rest of the team.
“She was good at giving advice about tournaments and courses that new players haven’t played yet that she has played in the past,” Shorter said.
The softball team does not have official team captains. However, the seniors are considered the team leaders, according to JV softball player Grace Sly. The seniors display leadership by leading drills and giving advice to other players.
“[The seniors] motivate us if we’re feeling sluggish one day,” Sly said. “They give us a pep talk to get us going and encourage us.”
The volleyball team captains are chosen by the coach. This year’s captains were senior varsity players Emily Wemhoff and Anna Kropf. According to Wemhoff, the duties of being a captain included doing the coin toss at the beginning of games, leading the team during games and practice and uniting them as a team.
“I think its important for the team to have something to strive to be,” Wemhoff said. “Team captains keep the team a team and unite everybody.”
The dance team has one captain, senior Katie Daniels, and two co-captains, seniors Katherine Viviano and Camille Porterfield. These captains were voted on by the team, according to Daniels. The duties of the captains include leading stretch at the beginning of practice, choreographing the Rockhurst High School football game halftime routine and making sure everyone stays motivated during practice, according to Daniels.
“Team captains should be a good role model that the team can look up to and someone that pushes the team to work harder,” Daniels said.
The seniors on the tennis team act as the team captains of the team. These three seniors, Gabby Ferro, Kathleen Connor and Emily Hafner, were chosen by the coach.
“Our coach selected us and she said that she would’ve picked us anyway if there were more [seniors on the team], but [she] probably [chose us] because of seniority,” Ferro said.
According to Ferro, the duties of a team captain include making sure everyone on the team is ready to practice and warm up, being welcoming to the team and providing spirit and motivation.
“The purpose of team captains is to help bond the team, make sure there are leaders that can help motivate the team, and just to make it more of a family,” Ferro said.
The swim team chooses captains at the end of the season for the next year by each voting for two girls. This year’s captains, chosen at the end of last season, are senior varsity swimmers Katie Hornbeck, Maggie Allen and Claire Fisher. According to Hornbeck, their duties include attending every morning and after-school practice, helping get everyone in the pool, and keeping everyone motivated.
“I think a captain should be hardworking, motivated and enthusiastic about swimming,” Hornbeck said.