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Hockessin Community News
  • Back to School: Coaches and athletes prepare for a new high school sports season

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  • Going back to school is about more than books and homework. It also means home games and homecomings.
    Coaches and players are busy getting ready for the upcoming season. We talked with St. Mark’s Head Football Coach John Wilson about the season ahead and what fans can expect.
    The Spartans posted a 7-3 record last season, winning their last three games of the season to catapult themselves into the post season. This season they hope to once again qualify for the playoffs, and that journey begins on Saturday, September 6 at William Penn.
    Hockessin Community News: How do you get your team prepared for a new season?
    Coach Wilson. We have a summer conditioning program that takes place for two and a half hours, three times a week. We work on improving speed, agility, conditioning, explosiveness; we even introduced Pilates this year. We are also a part of the high school 7 on 7 New Castle County Passing League that takes place once a week in July.  
     
    HCN. Any new changes in players, strategy?
    JW. There are things we like to do because they are a part of our philosophy, but we will tweak some things in order to match our personnel with our offensive and defensive strategies to put our players in the best position to help them be successful. St. Mark’s will continue to play its football games under the lights at home – the one high school football game where you can take your lawn chair and get a terrific view of the game.
     
    HCN. How do you motivate your student athletes to achieve both on the field in the classroom?
    JW. We make sure as coaches to mentor our players to be the best student-athletes they can be on and off the field. We emphasize strong senior leadership, sacrifice for the team, and a strong work ethic. We make our players accountable in these areas, which enables the players to want to give their very best to their teammates and coaches. The majority of our kids love football, so it is pretty easy to motivate them in other areas beyond the field.
    St. Mark’s senior running back/linebacker Markquise Normand weighed in with his thoughts on the new football season and what he hopes to accomplish with the Spartans this year.
    Hockessin Community News: What’s the hardest thing about preparing for a new season?
    Markquise Normand: Cracking down on all the plays, we have a lot of new plays this year and it can be kind of hard.
     
    HCN: What do you want to accomplish this year?
    Page 2 of 3 - MN: My number one goal, I only have one, and that’s to win this championship for these guys.
     
    HCN: What do you look forward to the most at the start of a new sports season?
    MN: Getting out here with all the guys. We just had our first day of hitting so it’s been exciting to be out here with everyone.
     
    For another perspective, we spoke with Charter School of Wilmington Head Volleyball Coach David Stover about how he prepares his team for the upcoming season.
    The Force went 13-2 in 2013 and advanced to the second round of the DIAA State Tournament. They start their 2014 campaign on Friday, September 5 at Caravel Academy.
     
    Hockessin Community News. How do you get your team prepared for a new season?
    Coach Stover. We spend the majority of practice time the first week working on individual skills of serving, serve receive, and floor defense. Of the three, server receive and serving are the highest priority. Without the ability to consistently set the ball to the hitters one cannot run an effective offense even if you have great hitters. Also, you need tough servers and great floor defense to neutralize the other team’s offense.  
     
    HCN. Any new changes in players, strategy?
    DS. Charter graduated only one player, Jordan Schoenberger, who was our First Team All-State middle hitter. She was a dominating blocker and our best passer and defender. Otherwise the entire starting team returns. Our gym has been completely renovated this summer from a complete paint job to a newly refinished floor so the facility in appearance will be the best in the history of the Charter School of Wilmington volleyball program.
     
    HCN. How do you motivate your student athletes to achieve both on the field in the classroom?
    DS. The players love volleyball and they love to compete. The most intense times at practice is when there is some sort of score being kept, even in drills. Charter is one of the top ten STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) charter high schools in the United States and the students are highly motivated to succeed. There is very little need for external motivation from me. I just try to make sure that they are having fun while still competing at the highest level possible on the court.
    We spoke with Charter Volleyball Setter and Senior Captain Kelsey Mayhew about the season ahead and what some of the challenges of preparing for a new season are for her.
    Hockessin Community News: What’s the hardest thing about preparing for a new season?
    Page 3 of 3 - Kelsey Mayhew: Getting back in shape. You don’t do a whole lot during the summer, and we have to run a mile here in eight minutes so that’s the hardest part.
     
    HCN: What do you want to accomplish this year besides winning?
    KM: I really want to get closer with this group of girls, we have eight seniors and most of us have played varsity since we were freshman or sophomores. We have some new freshman who are pretty good so I’m hoping some of them come up to varsity so we can all get closer as a team.
     
    HCN: What do you look forward to the most at the start of a new sports season?
    KM: I really look forward to having home games. Everyone comes out, fans and students, and it’s really exciting.
     

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