Leading the Pack

Captains share insight on leadership, experience

Leading+the+Pack

Megan Hegarty, Lydia Hsu & Tatum Sanders

Spring sports are in full swing at Blue Valley, and with so many students participating in these outside activities, senior athletes are responsible to guide the team alongside the coaches.

Boys Tennis — senior Tyler Elmendorf

Question: How long have you played?

Answer: “I’ve played for about six years now. I played all three years in school plus this year, but I also have played club outside of that.”

Q: What are you looking forward to for the season?

A: “Just qualifying again [for State] and getting more guys to go with us. We finished really well last year. We got third as a team, which is really good for how our team traditionally does.”

Q: What do you expect from the team this year?

A: “A lot of guys have been training off-season, so I expect to see a lot more guys qualifying just to get us more points. Overall, our team is going to be better, so I expect a better record.”

Q: What legacy do you plan on leaving behind?

A: “I just hope to be a part in changing the culture of the team. Traditionally we haven’t really been good and [didn’t] have a lot of pride. I hope this year with everyone getting better and with this being my senior year, we can do better as a team overall and just change the culture and the outlook that our players have on being a part of the tennis team.”

Q: What are your responsibilities for being captain?

A: “I’m responsible for leading warm-ups, setting an example to my teammates, helping the coach lead the team and promoting a productive competitive culture.”

Q: Why do you think you were chosen to be captain?

A: “I’m pretty good, so that kind of helped, but also [probably] because I feel like people can look up to me. I’ve played for a while, so I’ve had experience, and I feel like that played a big role.”

Q: What do you think your impact is on the team?

A: “I feel like they know that I’ll be able to help them and that I’m willing to help them. If they have any questions, I’m pretty knowledgeable on the sport, so I can help them out.”

Q: How did the team impact you?

A: “They’ve helped me become a better leader because I was captain last year. Also through the camaraderie in working together as a team made me more conscious of my teammates and how to work well with a group. Although it’s an individual sport, you are a team and how you perform does impact that team, so just working with the guys and playing with them has really taught me you got to look at things with a bigger perspective.”

Q: How has the coach encouraged you throughout high school?

A: “I had a different coach my freshman and sophomore year. Our new coach, who I had last year, is a lot more encouraging and a more positive figure. She also has experience playing, so that’s helped a lot. I know just through her coaching last year, she was able to help me and Min [Moon] qualify for State and eventually do well enough to get third [at State].”

Q: Do you plan to play in college?

A: “I was thinking about it, but I decided it wasn’t a good fit for me, and I want to pursue my other passions.”

Softball — senior Hannah Styczykowski

Question: How long have you been playing softball?

Answer: “I’ve played at BV all four years and before that, since I was in fourth grade.”

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?

A: “I’m looking forward to meeting all the underclassmen and getting to know all my other teammates better.”

Q: What do you expect of your team this year?

A: “I expect us to give 100 percent and communicate with each other throughout the season to help make us individually and as a group better.”

Q: What legacy do you plan on leaving behind?

A: “I hope to be a leader and someone that the younger [players] look up to. I want to be someone for them that they can come to when they need something, have a question about how something works or [need] any advice in general.”

Q: What are your responsibilities of being a captain?

A:
“You have to be a good role model for everyone on the team and be someone that’s approachable and a good leader. You have to be able to lead stretching, throwing and running and be sure everyone is having fun but is staying focused at the same time.”

Q: Why do you think you were chosen to be the captain?

A: “I think the coaches see me as a good leader. Plus I’m the only senior and have been in the program the longest.”

Q: What do you think your impact has been on the team?

A: “I hope to impact our team by doing my personal best and taking advantage of the coaches and my teammates by asking them if I need clarification. [I’m] using what I’m learning every day to better myself and give our team a good record and keep the momentum going into State.”

Q: How did the team impact you?

A: “I have made so many amazing friends through softball and don’t know what I would do without all of them. They’re all so positive and are great people to be around. They make me happy.”

Q: How have the coaches encouraged you through high school?

A: “All five of the coaches have been so helpful to me not only as a softball player but as a person, too. They do all that they can every day to better each and every one of us. They all are very fair and are great people to talk to. They also make practices really fun by taking it seriously just the right amount. They make sure we’re all engaged but are really good at making sure we’re all having fun, too.”

Q: Do you plan to play in college?

A: “No I do not. I’m trying to do the best I can to take advantage of these last times that I’ll get to play softball at this level. I know how much I’m going to miss the program, the people and the sport, of course.”

Boys Golf — senior Paul Feighner

Question: How long have you been playing golf?

Answer:
“I’ve been playing for seven or eight years now.”

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?

A: “Probably just playing with my friends. I enjoy it because it’s very relaxed, and we have a lot of fun. I really like the group of guys that play golf.”

Q: What you do expect of your team this year?

A: “Last year we had four people go to State. We’re hoping to qualify more or the whole varsity team this season.”

Q: What legacy do you plan on leaving behind?

A: “I want people to enjoy golf. I want people to know they don’t have to be upset after a bad round. There are a lot more stressful and boring things you could be doing besides golf.”

Q: What are the responsibilities of being a captain?

A: “There’s not too many for golf. We just have to make sure everyone knows where to be and when. We keep things organized. Most importantly, we encourage our other teammates.”

Q: Why do you think you were chosen to be the captain?

A: “For golf, the captains are the returning senior golfers. There isn’t an election process or anything.”

Q: What do you think your impact has been on the team?

A: “We’re always trying to help each other even though golf is an individual sport. We aren’t all playing together, but we have to help each other to do well as a team in the long run.”

Q: How did the team impact you?

A: “They have provided me with a lot of good memories and fun times. Playing golf has made high school a lot more enjoyable.”

Q: How have the coaches encouraged you throughout high school?

A:“They always want me to do my best and put effort into everything I do.”

Q: Do you plan to play in college?

A: “No. It’s a huge time commitment. You have to practice every day and miss Monday and Tuesday classes for tournaments. I’d rather focus on my academics in college.”