CAPTION: Leah Nash is one of several Lady Mustangs who have been playing during the June Summer League hosted by Marble Falls each Wednesday at Marble Falls Middle School. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro
The Marble Falls middle school and high school female athletes are making their way to the high school four mornings each week for summer strength and conditioning. While assistant athletic director and girls head basketball coach John Berkman is content with the number of athletes in attendance, he noted the program still has room for more.
“Any coach anywhere will tell you they always want more kids,” he said. “We have a good number of girls this year. We have a good continuum of our younger kids, seventh through the ninth grades. We’re trying to balance the idea of kids being kids. We tell them we’d like for you to show up and be apart of what’s going on, build relationships with your teammates who are there. It’s about training together and growing as individuals.”
It’s easier for the younger athletes to attend because their parents drop them off and pick them up. Meanwhile, coaches are emphasizing the importance of attendance to the rising 10th through 12th graders, the director said.
“We’re trying to get a solid grasp on those things,” he said. “We’re trying to instill in them the importance of work ethic, it’s still important for them to work.”
The Lady Mustangs also have shown solid numbers in the summer leagues for soccer and volleyball, respectively. He has been especially pleased with the number of volleyball athletes who are playing since their season begins in August. Berkman noted the Lady Mustangs have enough players to form two squads for the varsity division and enough incoming freshmen to have a team with reserves.
“Summer is extremely important,” he said of the volleyball program. “Every single one of those girls are buying in. That’s extremely important. That’s a big deal. I think it says a lot. I think it shows the buy-in into what our program is building. They’re moving in the right direction.”
Berkman credited volleyball head coach Kait Goertz for examining the program from the inside out and made some changes the players like. The evidence, he pointed out, is in the number of athletes playing in the summer league.
“She made some changes to help improve the program dynamics,” he said. “It shows by what her players are doing. That’s a sign of good things to come.”
While senior Sadie Harris is the focal point of the offense, she wasn’t in attendance for Wednesday’s league play. That allowed others to step in and contribute. Contributions from other Lady Mustangs will help the team as the players are building rapport and learning they can be successful without Harris in the line-up, Berkman said.
“They don’t panic without Sadie,” he said. “Somebody has to step up in a less-pressure situation. Other players may be more willing to take on a bigger role. They build confidence in themselves. Others see that. You’re able to build that with each other.”
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