Stars shoot for State
Spring sports coaches and captains outline their goals for the 2016 season.
April 25, 2016
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
story by Mary Hilliard
Last year, the soccer team won the 5A State Championship. This year, before the season started, the soccer team was ranked second in the nation. They returned all but two starters, and picked up two strong freshmen, according to captain Alyssa Seitzer. Their goal is to win State again.
“Winning state last year is my favorite memory from St Teresa’s,” Seitzer said. “Going out with another state championship would be the perfect end to my time at St. Teresa’s.”
According to head coach Jeremy McElduff, winning State last year adds pressure this year.
“Winning last year puts more pressure on the team, pressure that comes from outside especially,” McElduff said. “As coaches, we try not to put that pressure on the team.”
Expectations are another challenge the team will have to face this year, according to McElduff.
“You run the risk of expectations that are too high and you run the risk of complacency,” he said. “It takes very special leaders on the team to get a team ready to win two titles in a row…There are a lot of people around now who just expect that we will get back to the Final Four every year.”
Replacing last year’s senior class, which included two-time Gatorade Player of the Year Dorian Bailey, will be another challenge.
“We have to find a way to replace players that graduated who really aren’t replaceable,” McElduff said. “This team, like every year, has to discover the player or players that they will rely on. The team hasn’t figured that out yet, though I think I know who they will be.”
Leadership will be an important component to the team’s success this year, Seitzer said.
“Now that I’m a senior, our class is going to have to be the leaders and role models for the younger girls,” she said.
Achieving their goal of winning State again will be difficult, according to McElduff.
“There are even more very good teams on our side of the state that we will have to fight very hard against if we want to get back [to State] again this year,” he said. “We have a large target on our backs in every game we play this season.”
photos by Maggie Knox and Kat Mediavilla
Last year’s results serve as motivation for the lacrosse team in two different ways, according to head lacrosse coach Jessie Hanna. The team was more successful than ever before in the State tournament, finishing in second place. However, they fell short of expectations in the Metro tournament, losing in the finals after going undefeated in the regular season.
“Both of these experiences should drive the players to be better and work harder,” Hanna said. “The team now knows what they are capable of and what hard work can bring.”
According to senior and captain Kristina Coppinger, the team’s goal is to play to their full potential every game so they can make it back to State.
“Getting second in state last year was great, but it only makes the team want to get back and win even more,” she said.
The team is more experienced this year. Many girls played on off-season teams, and the returning varsity players have now faced the level of teams they will have to beat in order to win State. This is an “advantage” according to Hanna. However, the team also has some challenges to overcome. Last year, seven seniors graduated, three of whom went on to play lacrosse in college. A few varsity players decided not to return, and “there was a much smaller freshman class than ever before” according to Hanna.
“Everyone will have to step up their game to be equal to the strong attacking team we had last year,” Coppinger said.
According to Hanna, the coaches have had to be “creative” and placed players in different positions. Her goals for the season include developing the younger players for the future, and using the senior leaders to motivate the team.
To face these challenges, Coppinger says the team needs to rise above what they know they are already capable of.
“[We need to push] ourselves to the brink because that’s what it’s going to take to win.”
Track and Field
Last year, the track team finished 16th out of 42 teams at the Missouri 5A State Championship track meet.
“This year we are hungry for a state title and to break our record from my sophomore year,” senior and captain Machella Dunlea said. Dunlea is a sprinter and runs the 100, 200, 4×100 relay, and 4×200 relay.
One of the biggest changes for the track team this year is Coach David Green transitioning from assistant coach to head coach.
“[The transition] enables me to instill even more competitive drive and contribute more to the Star Track and Field program,” Green said.
According to Dunlea, he is knowledgeable about all areas of track.
“We have already began focusing on changing our form and becoming a closer and more skilled team of girls in all events,” Dunlea said.
Green wants to “make major improvements” in the STA athletes’ progression throughout the season. Ultimately, his goal is to win districts and sectionals, and eventually State.
Finding relay teams that work well together will be a challenge for the team to overcome, according to Dunlea.
“We have some very promising freshmen and it will be difficult to pick just four girls to run the relays, which is not a bad thing at all,” she said.
Green is confident in the returning members and freshmen.
“Even though we lost the exceptional talent of [STA alumna] Ann Campbell due to graduating, this year we have several returners and freshman that gives STA Track and Field optimism for great success this season,” Green said.
Dunlea is “impressed” by the freshman class and believes this is the year the team will make it to Sectionals and State.
“I want every STA athlete to step on the track in practice and at a meet and have an ‘I’m going to win’ mentality,” Green said.