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10/06/2008 - Striving For Excellence on and Off the Court

- submitted by Jamie Avey ~ Write Design

Photo courtesy of Mark Jewell Photography
Sitting: Beth Ragland & Kayla Roberts; kneeling: Lydia Holmes & Kara Cruickshank; standing: Cassie Berry & Katie Johnson

The Sidney Cowgirls are led by 6 seniors who hold themselves to a high standard on and off the court.  They provide leadership on the court each serving a vital roll. The girls have played together for 6 years and have formed a close bond that is very evident when you watch them play. When asked about their roles the girls replied: “Beth is our comic relief, she makes sure that we have fun”, “Kayla keeps us pumped up, and is our quarterback along with Kara who keeps the team calm under pressure” “Cassie is really good at giving us motivational speeches during time-outs” and “Katie is the mom of the group and holds us together” while “Lydia has a very calming tone to her, that helps us relax on the court”.

The respect they have for each other is echoed by their underclassmen teammates and the girls do not take this lightly. “We hold high expectations for ourselves and know that we are considered leaders, we want the underclassmen to come to us if they need help on or off the court”, says Berry.

In addition to their on the court leadership these girls are leaders in the class room.  All six of the girls scored an average of 25.5 on their ACTs and 3 of them currently hold a 4.0 GPA.

The girls' season highlight was defeating Essex in 3 games. “We had been working really hard and just had 2 matches go to 5 games for losses. Essex was the breakthrough for us” said Berry. “We still need to talk more, we are doing better at this, but we could still improve” adds Roberts. “Any disagreements we have in our personal lives are left off the court. Once we walk out on the court we are a TEAM” says Johnson.

The Cowgirls’ coaching staff is proud of these six girls and their successes.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to watch the success these girls have enjoyed so far.  Not only are they talented on the volleyball court and in the classroom but they get along really well and are a joy to be around.” Assistant Coach Larson.

Head Coach Lynda Cruickshank said “I got to coach this group of seniors when they were in junior high and realized they were a special group of ladies.  I thought, “Now there is a group of athletes that should be playing together in a state tournament some day.”  They are not just good athletes; they are great kids who have always competed for top grades and who have volunteered in school and community leadership roles.  It is fun to watch the way they help coach the underclassmen and encourage their teammates to work harder.  They have made this season a lot of fun for the other girls and for the coaches.”

As for future plans Berry, Cruickshank and Roberts are all going to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, while Holmes, Johnson and Ragland are heading to the University of Iowa. Majors range from Music to Education to the Medical fields.

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