Tag Archives: featured

Soccer Team hustles into new season

By: Alex Smith/Staff Writer  

Photo Caption: Hunter Stine, #17,  tries to stop #19 on the Pendleton Heights boys varsity soccer team from scoring a goal during a game last season. Photo by John Kennedy

    The boys varsity soccer team, four-peat sectional champs, have gotten off to a bit of a slower start this season with two wins, four losses and two ties so far. This season they are facing tougher teams such as the Lawrence North Bobcats, and the team did not get to have the club soccer experience in the off-season like they usually do due to the pandemic.

    Despite a few struggles, they are seeing some success in leadership and growth. Assistant Coach Micah Gerike said, “The biggest thing that has led to the soccer team’s success is that the players have bought into the program. They listen to the coaching staff and believe in the information that they are being coached.” Gerike said, “We have had several players step up to fill roles of last year’s seniors. Many of these players have not had much experience at the varsity level, but they are able to still have the support from the other players.”

    John Halvorsen, 11, number 15 on the team who plays center midfielder on the team, had several things that he enjoys about the soccer season. He said, “I would say the bond between my teammates that I have is my favorite thing. It brings a certain level of security knowing that I have brothers next to me at all times.” Soccer is often like a family for the coaches and players. Gerike said, “I think that the biggest strength is the “family” mentality. Everyone on the team and in our program is treated as a family member. Family members don’t always get along with each other, but they will always be there for each other when needed. A needed improvement in my opinion is that they need to make this season their own and not try to compare it to previous seasons.” 

 Hunter Stine, 10,  number 17 on the team who plays center back on the team, said there are many benefits to being on the soccer team. Soccer also has a main benefit. Halvorsen said, “The main advantage of playing soccer is just being in shape. It’s really good for your physical health and I think that is a big role in feeling good about yourself.” 

Coaching has some advantages to it. Gerike said, “Networking. Because of coaching soccer: I got my teaching job, I have met friends, I have traveled the country and I have met professional athletes.” 

    Playing soccer also has many challenges at times. Halvorsen said, “I would say the biggest challenge is playing through adversity, meaning a team could be better than us or the refs just are not the best refs out there. You have to have a strong mindset to be able to do so.” Playing soccer has another challenge to it. Stine said, “Being in shape is one of the many challenges in soccer. In high school varsity matches, we play 40 minute halves. You are running up and down the field the entire time, so you have to be in very good shape. Another challenge is being able to keep your head up. Sometimes you could be getting beat 4-0, and you just have got to keep your head up and keep playing, no matter the score.” 

Coaching soccer can also have obstacles to it. Gerike said, “One challenge I have as a coach/teacher is being able to draw the line between being in the classroom and being on the field. Another challenge that I think most coaches face is being able to keep a positive and energetic attitude at practice after a long day at work.”

    Gerike said, “My favorite thing about coaching soccer is being able to share my knowledge and passion for soccer with others.” Stine’s least favorite thing about playing soccer is the constant risk of injury. But it doesn’t slow him down. Halvorsen said, “I focus on getting my mind set on the game and the game only. I listen to music and get pumped up to play. I make sure I am fully stretched out and loose so I know I’m ready to go.”

    Stine said, “I usually focus my mind and listen to some music, and just think of game-like situations in my head to prepare. I also try to keep myself calm because if I’m nervous I make mistakes.” 

Gerike and the other coaches let the players set individual and team goals they would like to achieve. His goal for this season is to have players step up and take vacant roles on their own. 

    Gerike said, “I enjoy watching players develop over time and seeing how their thought  process evolves with their style of play. I also miss playing soccer and for me coaching is the next best way to stay involved.” Gerike said, “My least favorite thing about coaching soccer is handling the paperwork and the more organizational tasks that are required.” 

Stine summed up what makes all the challenges and ups and downs worth it.  “When I play, I forget about all my problems and hardships of the day. It’s my stress reliever.”

Cougars Adjust to Football in a Different World

by Kyler Rhoades/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Lance McKee, 12, looks for an open man in the Homecoming game against Pendleton Heights. Photo by Kye Jocham

Throughout the United States, and the rest of the planet, high school football teams all over have had to adjust to the different world people are living in with the coronavirus pandemic; this is no different for the Greenfield-Central Cougars. The pandemic has brought many challenges and obstacles for the Cougars team, but Coach Nolting and staff are working to prepare the Cougars for success in the upcoming season.

Speaking with some of the players from the team, they discussed how well Nolting and the Cougars staff have done handling the situation. Running back Brayden Herrell, 10, said, “Coach Nolting and all of the staff have handled the pandemic situation better than we all thought it could be handled. Before school started, most people thought we had no chance of playing, but the coaches want to play, and are keeping us safe at the same time. They try their best to keep us all socially distanced on the sidelines and when we are not in drills. Our safety is their number one priority right now.” It’s not just Herrell who feels the Cougars staff has done a wonderful job dealing with the pandemic. Chris O’Connor, 12, said, “The coaches have done everything they possibly can to ensure that we play football. They have done a great job throughout the whole situation.”

When it comes to being on the field, Cougars players are optimistic in the progress they have made throughout the off-season, and their potential in the season ahead. Quarterback Lance McKee, 12, commented on the improvements made throughout the off-season, “The biggest improvements I have seen from our team this off-season is how much bigger, faster, and stronger we are now compared to last season. We have had multiple guys gain as much as 30 pounds of muscle.” Hearing the players talk about the off-season, and the areas in which they have made the biggest efforts in, you quickly get an understanding of just how much progress they feel the team has made from last year to this year.

With the strides they have made during the off-season, and the job the Cougars coaching staff has done to prepare them for the season, optimism among the players for potential success in the upcoming season is high. Brayden Herrell, 10, was among those with optimism going into the new year. “I think this team we have could shock a lot of people. Losing around only 5 seniors last year, we have only gotten bigger, faster, and stronger. Last year we were young and in a first-year offense, which really does make a big difference. We definitely have the potential; we just need to go out there and ball.” Hearing these comments, and other optimistic feedback, the Cougars seem to be in a good place mentally, and on the field going into the 2020-21 season.

It’s not just the players who trust the process the Cougars have gone through during these times. Head Coach Travis Nolting recapped some of the biggest challenges the team has faced due to the pandemic, and stated that he feels he and his staff have done a nice job of handling it. “We lost all of the spring session and most of the summer. Once back in school we were hit with a 14 day quarantine and missed practices as well. We have also had to add lifting into the practice times due to the hybrid schedule. Most players are only in my class 1 day per week on site, which we have had to address by lifting on Thursdays after school to fulfill that need. We have had to be ready and adapt to changes as they come. I think our staff has done a good job overall in handling the new challenges.” Along with this, Nolting is also happy with how his players have progressed over the off-season, saying he was proud of the commitment the players have shown, and that they get better every day.

Profile: Commissiong positively influences students in JAG

by Kalei Griffin/Staff Writer

JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) director and leader Mrs Cherie Commissiong has shared and taught in many different environments throughout her career. She first began to teach at IU Bloomington. After working years with college students, she decided that she would be “more valuable” working with high school students, preparing them for “what’s next” after graduation. She takes her teaching career very seriously and puts the maximum amount of effort into everything she does. So what makes Mrs. Commissiong stand out, and how does she influence so many people?

Commissiong graduated from Ben Davis High School. She furthered her education by attending Indiana University(IU). She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She has always been intrigued by teaching and career readiness. She then began to teach at IU Bloomington for several years. During that time, she realized that she and her skills, along with her knowledge, would better help high school students rather than college students. So, in 2018, she became a high school teacher. 

Within the two years Commissiong has been teaching here at Greenfield-Central, students have grown a strong liking for her and some students have grown a special bond with her that is indescribable. “I am able to connect with Mrs. C in a way that I can’t connect with any other teacher at GC. She is such a wonderful soul and her compassion is outstanding,” says Gracie VanderMeulen, 12. 

“We are able to have ‘real conversations’ about their futures- the fears, expectations, plans, etc,” says Commissiong. Mrs. Commissiong has the ability and opportunity to connect with her students in a meaningful way. Her students are one of her top main priorities and she takes pride in making sure her students are successful and healthy, mentally and physically she said.

Mrs. Commissiong’s goal is to better students, prepare them for the real world, and to leave an impact on her students and she does just that. “Before I started attending the JAG program, I had no clue what I wanted to do after high school nor did I know how to do really anything in the real world. I’ve only been in her class for about a month and I have learned more than I have ever learned,” says Jada Conn, 11. 

Mrs. Commissiong has come a long way and has made her time here valuable. Commissiong has many goals she plans to achieve that will all contribute to one main goal.  “It is my mission to make sure my students are confident about their skills and knowledge to navigate along their journey after graduation,” she says.

Coach Wiley helps girls golf team in another successful year

By: Tyler Young/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Coach Wiley is focused at his desk while doing virtual teaching. Photo by: Tyler Young

Head coach of the varsity girls and boys golf team Russ Wiley is looking for more outstanding seasons to add to his belt of previous successes. Coach Wiley is not only a teacher and golf coach, but also a family man. He lives with his wife and three daughters.

Coach Wiley is from the south side of Indianapolis and graduated in 2001 from Roncalli High School. Coach Wiley attended Indiana University of Bloomington where he had a major in Secondary Education and returned to Ball State in 2011 for his M.A. in Political Science. In his fourteenth year of teaching World History, Wiley has been the head coach of girls’ varsity golf for 11 years now, and in his seventh year of coaching boys’ golf. Coach Wiley has been the head coach of Greenfield Central’s girls’ varsity for 11 years now and in his 7th year for the varsity boys’ golf.

Coach Wiley has had past success and showed coaching skill with both golf teams, including a 16-1 season last year with the girls and a regional appearance with the boys golf team. “The girls have been working really hard and showed me their potential, talents, and love for the game of golf. They  have no doubt that all that hard work is put into practice and off time.” That was Coach Wiley on the topic of the girls’ hard work and hopes for the coming season.

Caroline Gibson, 12, had positive comments to say about Coach Wiley. “Coach Wiley is a wonderful coach; he has put a lot of confidence into my talents and that is what makes him a great coach and person,” Gibson  said.

Coach Wiley said, “This pandemic is new to all of us. The girls are doing their utmost best to get some practice and playing time even if we don’t finish this season.”  The work that this team has put in has shown as Gibson is leading her team in a promising way this fall. They are 13-3 as they head into Sectionals on Monday, Sept. 21.

 Boys’ golf team member Josh Alley, grade 10,  also had positive words to say about Coach Wiley’s leadership. He stated, “Coach Wiley is an amazing person and coach. He has been calm and patient through the pandemic and cancellation of our season last year. He had a really good team and is hoping to go for the state title this year.”

Profile: Voigt balances many drama responsibilities with ease

by Audrey Roberts/Staff Writer

Mrs. Carolyn Voigt is a teacher at GC, going on three years now.  She is teaching Theater Arts, Speech, and Tech Communications.  On the side, Mrs. Voigt is in charge of the Drama Club and the Drama Club’s productions.  She strives to create an atmosphere that is perfect for learning and engaging her students’ creativity.

Having gone to school at GCHS when she was younger, then Ball State for her teaching career, Mrs. Voigt then came back to begin her teaching career.  At Ball State University, she took theatre classes and even joined the Alpha Omicron Pi and Theatre Education Club.  However, she didn’t see herself teaching Tech Communications until she came to GC.  Luckily, she says she loves it.

Having three years of productions she has directed for GC, she says her favorite was GC’s production of High School Musical.  In addition to directing plays and musicals with the Drama Club, she also starts workshops for the Drama Club members.  These workshops can vary from learning how to master the technology side to drama productions to dancing to singing, and so much more.

“She introduced me to a brand new perspective of acting.  The way she influences us by encouraging us and giving small tips is why she has been such a great teacher,” says junior student Leah Olin, 11.  Jeremy Turner, the music department secretary and assistant band director, backs that up when he mentions how he has only known her for a year but feels as if they’ve been friends for a long time or she could be his long lost sister from the way they laugh when together.

Mr. Turner also mentions her many wonderful qualities.  “I would describe Mrs. Voigt as helpful, compassionate, and understanding,” he says.  Mrs. Voigt thinks very highly of all her students, describing them as “…bright, funny, and energetic…”  She says their motivation to learn makes the experience all the more fun.

Getting ready for this year is hard, Mrs Voigt says, because of quarantining and the hybrid schedule.  However, she states she is taking it one stride at a time.  She is trying to include everyone in this new, trying circumstance, so as not to be “unfair” and leave students out when they can’t go to the school, she says.

Olin states, “She is very forgiving and doesn’t get frustrated even when everyone is misbehaving or not listening.”  She also says that Mrs. Voigt is creative, kind, has a big heart, and puts all her heart and effort into what she is doing.  Olin isn’t alone when she makes this statement.  Mr. Turner says, “She’s so stinking wonderful!”

Although Mr. Turner hasn’t seen Mrs. Voigt much when she was in directing mode, he does mention how the cast members always seem to be “itching” to get back to learning how best to put on the play under Mrs. Voigt’s guidance.  He says, “She has this way of giving each member their own responsibilities that they then take pride in completingor accomplishing to the best of their abilities.”  Not only does she put on productions with the Drama Club, she also teaches students how to better act and emote in her Theatre Arts class.

Mrs. Voigt enjoys her job and the students she teaches.  She says, “I love teaching…All of the students are so bright, funny, and energetic that I find myself laughing a lot and enjoying how much they want to learn about the subject and are motivated to do so.”

Profile: Powerhouse Ninestar producer discusses behind-the-scenes work

by Drew Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: John Painter, producer of NineStar Sports as well as the creator of NineStar’s local TV channel, at a recent volleyball match between New Castle and Greenfield, just before filming begins on Sep. 10, 2020. 

In the absolute black of night, only illuminated by the obnoxious shine of automobile lights and the blast of the football field fluorescents, a man emerged from the sea of moving cars and wandering people in the parking lot to greet one man: John Painter. They talked briefly, speaking of the man’s newborn and his hopes to return to broadcasting. There was nothing awfully unique about this occasion; to a wandering eye it may seem as though it was just as simple as small talk. What was really significant about this occasion wasn’t that it happened, but that, in fact, it seemed to happen all the time. From country club bartending to tarring a factory roof, to being a computer technician at General Motors, and even a plant manager for NineStar, it seems as though Painter has been all over the world, and as though all the world knows him. 

“All my life, I have loved to create and have always spent time creating in all types of different forms,” elaborated Painter when asked about the best aspects of his job at NineStar. “The position NineStar has put me in is one that they give me the freedom to be creative in many forms.” While Painter has certainly shuffled around in his career, he now finds himself the producer of NineStar Sports as well as the creator of NineStar’s local TV channel. NineStar Connect is an energy and communications company based in East Central Indiana that provides a number of services including water, electric, and internet, and also as a result of Painter’s work in the company, a local TV channel. Painter has worked with the company for several years, and went onto explain the many positions he had held in the span of time, stating, “Again, I love to be creative. I have held many positions with NineStar, from a telephone lineman, to maintaining the digital headend, and even supervisory roles with outside plant.” 

In the early hours of the day, through sizzling heat and bitter rain, one can find Painter at one of the local high school football stadiums, basketball courts, baseball fields, or even wrestling rooms setting up for a rigorous night of recording. He can be seen running cables out to cameras, setting up laptops for editing and rendering, and more time-consuming, tiresome work. “Growing up on a farm, hard work has always been instilled in me by my upbringing,” he pondered in consideration of the tediousness of it all. “I do enjoy it because once we finish, there is a great sense of accomplishment and much satisfaction. I guess because I am just driven by sort of an obsession with those games that I do not feel any fatigue or pain until the next morning.” But even after all the arduous set-up and labor, when the game begins, whatever it is, Painter runs the show like a trainer runs a well-disciplined mustang on a dirt-ridden horse track. 

“I think John possesses a combination of mental fortitude and experience that is perfect for how stressful and nerve-wracking productions can be most of the time,” illustrated Dave Anderson, camera operator for NineStar Films, the team responsible for the filming of local county sports games. Anderson is an established and consistent member of the team, having worked there for nearly four years. “There have been many times over the years that have solidified my faith in John as a producer. Whenever there are technical difficulties with our equipment or there are outside factors beyond our control, John just deals with it or fixes the problem if he can,” elucidated Anderson, “He never gets mentally flustered or panicked, which is pretty remarkable considering some of the things we have had to deal with over the years.” Painter runs a consistently collected and calm ship and maintains a level of quality that is undeniable. 

As one could surmise, Painter seems to possess the work ethic of an ox, never failing his responsibilities and always moving forward. “John is different from others in that he is a one-man army,” Bill McKenna, Greenfield-Central Radio/TV teacher and director at NineStar Films, attempted to explain, stating, “He is producing, engineering, and doing all the production jobs himself, every other team is full, John has only himself. He teaches himself new technology, he finds a way, [he’s] self-reliant.” McKenna has been working with Painter for six years and even knew him as a child. “We both were kids during the blizzard of 1978, we both had adventures, mine in the city and his in the country,” McKenna mentioned. “[He] and his dad went out in the storm and worked; I just had an awesome snowball fight. He told me about what it was like to work with his Dad tending to the cows as this epic storm engulfed them. His youth made him who he is.” McKenna has worked in the industry for many years, even working under Channel 6 for some time, as well as ABC. Yet he notices something different in Painter as a producer, simply stating, “He stays with what is good in life. I’ve never worked with anybody as good as him.”

Unfortunately, no matter how fantastic a man like Painter is, especially in the industry, the reality is sports are on the decline. According to research firm Ampere Analysis, viewers aged 18 to 24 are the least interested in sports as a genre in broadcasting, and it seems that participation in sports is decreasing, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Talent and hard work can only do so much if the viewer doesn’t care. In considering this, Painter elaborated on his perspective of it: “I watch old sporting broadcasts on YouTube from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. The broadcast was all about the players and the action, period. Total focus was with the game. And it was normally only positive commentary. There was not all the flashy motion graphics and such. It was simple and was all about the game, which is what people have tuned in for. That’s just me. I like the broadcast to be all positive and not overdone with flashy glitz and glamour.” 

Even with all the sweat, blood, and tears Painter puts into his work, he doesn’t complain much nor does he think much needs to change. When asked about changes he would like to make to his current job, he simply retorted, “Well, I guess I would like to see us be able to have permanent cabling at all of our stadiums and gyms, so that we wouldn’t have to set-up and break-down for every broadcast. That would be nice!” McKenna attested to Painter’s absolutely solid mentality, explaining, “He goes well beyond what he has to do in his work. He swings for the fences and never gives up. We have had games in tough weather I would have bailed on, but he stays with it and we get stuff done when it looks impossible.” 

What lies ahead for John could be an innumerable amount of situations, considering his career, but it seems as though for now Painter is planting his feet in broadcasting. Despite the painstaking labor and the decline in popularity, it is where he chooses to stay, even stating, “I hope to be doing pretty much what I am doing now with NineStar until I retire. However, retirement for me will probably be full of video production, photography, or graphic arts. Maybe as freelance even.” So, whatever Painter ends up doing or wherever he ends up working, he’ll keep it cool and work himself like a lawnmower, and plenty of people from all across his career will see him there and won’t be able to refuse saying hi. 

Profile: Mosser highlights challenges of first year teaching during pandemic

Photo Caption: Mosser teaches her German 1 class. Photo by Alex Smith

Ms. Jordan Mosser is in her first year of teaching German at GC, and what a start it has been: a pandemic, a switch to half-in person, half-hybrid learning, and all the responsibilities that come with those factors.   

   Mosser talked about her transition from college to the classroom. “The biggest challenge is I’m on my own and I don’t have another teacher helping  me so being on my own and planning everything is the biggest challenge,” Mosser said. This alone isn’t an easy task but the pressures of being a year one teacher are tremendous especially during a pandemic. For Mosser, it might not be that bad: “Being a first year teacher especially after having another teacher with me for so long is a bit challenging but the pandemic is the saving grace because everyone knows it’s a learning curve,” she said.

Madame Amanda Brown, French teacher, commented on how Mosser was doing in the new environment.  “I think she’s doing a fantastic job. I’ve enjoyed talking to her about GC as a whole and the virtual experience. I really enjoy getting and sharing ideas with her,” Brown said. 

   When choosing the school where she wanted to teach, Mosser looked for something close to friends, Greenfield-Central being a good option: “I was looking for a school to teach in Indiana and I liked how (Greenfield) was near Indianapolis but not in the city,” Mosser stated. 

Mosser usually has high expectations for herself but this year has made things difficult: “I have high expectations for myself because that’s just me as a person. I want to get you guys (the students) to where you need to be but this year I may not being able to do that so it’s all about setting reasonable expectations,” Mosser said, understanding this year’s circumstances with the pandemic.

“I would love for her to work at GCHS for a long time. I expect that she makes everyone accountable and responsible for her work. I expect her to motivate others and to be the best teacher she can possibly be,” said Michael Runions,10, who enjoys Mosser’s class. 

Brown talked about having a younger teacher like Mosser in the department “Having a younger teacher is always a benefit because they’re more aware of what the kids are into and the slang,”  Brown said. 

Runions said having a younger teacher has some advantages. “ I definitely think it will be easier. I think she’s been through just as much as we have. Since she’s so young, she can understand us a lot better.”

It seems all three of them are on the same page: “I think so because I get what’s going through your head unlike some of your other teachers. I told my students that if they needed to talk about anything they could come to me,” Mosser said. 

This year presented the challenge of the hybrid schedule, half in person, half virtual. This is new to Mosser.  Mosser said there were personal struggles in teaching virtually: “Yes (there are), because when you guys went virtual in the spring I was student teaching so I wasn’t able to teach virtually so everything I’m learning is from the other teachers.”

         “She does very well with helping students. If we make mistakes she goes back and explains how we could’ve found the correct answers,” Runions said. It seems as though Mosser has crushed this challenge: “She makes sure to challenge us and makes class more fun,” he continued to say. 

     Meeting new people can be rough for some people; in this situation it’s not the case for Mosser. Mosser discussed how it was meeting the other language teachers. “It was nice because they’ve been so welcoming and they are everything I want in a language department.” 

Mosser is the new face in the department and it is sad one chapter is ending but happy another is beginning. “It’s both happy and sad. I was very close with Frau Cathy Clements (the previous German teacher) but Frau Mosser is fantastic and I’m thrilled to work with her,” Madame Brown said. It’s good to leave a good first impression and that’s exactly what Mosser did. “Gosh, she’s tall, I’m jealous but she’s very nice, confident, and easy to talk to,” Brown said. Mosser is leaving good impressions on her students as well. “She is a nice person. She doesn’t assign homework unless we need it and she does not get off topic very much,” said Ian Gross, 10. He’s not the only one: “She’s a good teacher and good at explaining stuff and she’s super understanding when we don’t understand things,” said Kensleigh Fairley, 10.

Girls track team sets, meets high goals

by Zoey Starks/ Staff writer

Photo Caption: Kenzie Polster, 12, performs the high jump. 

The GC girls track team is ready for their season.  Coach Reuben McCracken talked about how he thinks the season is going to go.  He said, “I am thinking based on who we have competing this year, we will have a good year. The meets we want to do well in are the county and conference meets and we should have an improved place over what we did last year.

McCracken also discussed what he thinks his team needs to work on the most this season, and he says,  “One thing I would like them to work on is doing the little things correctly. Every little thing we can do right, that is a little bit we are going to get better. It all adds up in the end.”

McCracken commented on what he is looking forward to in the season, and he said, “I am looking forward to us being better than we were last year. Several of the girls have some high goals and I am excited to see them accomplish their goals.”

Audrey Brinkruff, 10,  is one of those girls. “The one thing I want to work on the most for the season is increasing speed. I need to be able to run at a faster pace for the shorter races,” she said. “By the end of the season,  I want to have broken both the 1 mile and 2 mile records.”

On March 2, Brinkruff ran the fastest 3200 meter (2 mile) time in school history with an 11:49.03. It is an indoor record and is faster than the outdoor record by almost 10 seconds.

Brinkruff then broke the GC 1600 meter run, the mile, with a time of 5:22 on April 9.

Hannah Burkhart, 12, talked about her goals as well. “I would like to work on bettering my distances in discus this year in preparation for county, conference, and the state events such as sectionals, regionals, and, hopefully, state,” she said. “By the end of the season, my only goal is to make it to the state meet and compete there.”

McCracken talked about their team’s biggest competition. “In both county and conference, our biggest competition will be New Pal and Mt. Vernon. New Pal is a great team and we will challenge them in spots. I think we are more on a level with Mt. Vernon and it will be very competitive between us and them for second place in county and conference,” he said.

McCracken also commented on the challenges they will face during the season. “We will travel to a few meets where will be competing with some of the top teams in the state. We have to take the right approach into those meets that we can compete with them and it will make us better doing so,” he said.

Burkhart commented on the team’s attitude going into the meets. “I am looking forward to the atmosphere meet day brings to the team; it’s very energetic and the anticipation of results is contagious. I believe that the team just simply needs to work on the cocky vs. confidence debate. We can’t walk into a meet cocky or else we will fail; we must just be confident in our abilities, not obnoxious about our successes.

Brinkruff  shared what she was looking forward to this season. “I’m looking forward to warmer weather without rain or wind. One thing I think our team needs to work on is learning how to pace ourselves and finding the extent to which we can push ourselves,” she said.

McCracken talked about his coaching style. “I try to keep my coaching style relaxed. I don’t want to be the type of coach that has to scream and cuss at the kids to get them to respond. I’m not perfect. I do get upset and yell. But in my mind I know that is not the most effective way to coach. My goal is for them to trust in what I am saying and respect me enough that they just do it.”

He continued, “The girls usually have a good mental focus. So long as they keep in their mind that they can’t be happy with what place they get, but continue to get better each time they compete.”

 

Students Compete in Book Contest

By Adam Bright/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Riley Phelps, Lucas Horsman, Mackenzie Willett, Lauren Silcox, and Lilly Ward, all 9, pose after they won third place at the Battle of the Books competition.

Emily Dickinson once said, “There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away.” Battle of the Books is team competition to get students into reading. The annual Battle of the Books competition is coming up on April 17 and the team is ready.

Battle of the Books is a team competition where students read a list of books and answer questions about those books. Mackenzie Willett, 9, said, “Battle of the Books is a voluntary reading competition for grades 3-12; our library only hosts the contest for grades 8-9. The reason for Battle of the Books is to get kids to read and enjoy the books. After they read the books, they are quizzed on it; and if your team wins you get a prize. The prize for winning is a gift card and a free book.”

There are variety of books in the ten book list. Willett said, “What I like about Battle of the Books is the variety of books that are given. All of the books are from a different categories and selected for a reason, because of this you know that none of the books are going to be awful. It is so hard to pick out a good book that you  know will be interesting, but with Battle of the Books all the books are unique and interesting. As I said the books are chosen for a reason.”

Battle of the Books is very great way to get students to work to together in a group and read stories they would otherwise not read. Kelly Swain-Leswing, the Battle of the Books sponsor, said “My main objective for Battle of the Books participants is to read for enjoyment. Students are so busy with schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and jobs that there is little time left for them to just sit and relax with a good book. I hope the lure of competition is an incentive for kids to set aside time to read.”

Being a five person team can cause issues for the team, though. Riley Phelps, 9, said “We have to make sure all the books have been read at least twice and within the past two months to make sure people remember it. It’s a bit challenging with only five people but I think we’re up to the challenge!”

Swain-Leswing said, “The main preparation is a lot of reading. Participants have been reading the selected books for several months and are now cramming in as much reading before the competition as they can. We do meet every Blue Friday morning during second semester to touch base as a group to see who has read which books and where our weaknesses as a team might be. However, 99% of preparing for this competition is just reading and trying to remember as many details about the books as possible. The questions posed at the competition are usually extremely detailed.”

The Battle of the Books team is very excited for their competition and are doing as much as they can to prepare. Swain-Leswing said, “My favorite part of the program is watching groups of students come together to discuss literature. There are many opportunities for kids with athletic ability to compete and show off their skills, but those who are strong academically don’t often get that opportunity. Battle of the Books allows kids to show off their academic strengths in a collaborative and fun environment.”

 

Wrestlers wrap up season at state

by Schyler Slunaker/Staff Writer

The Cougar Wrestling Team has had two wrestlers Scott Stanley, 10, and Cooper Noehre, 11, make it all the way to Semi-State. With Stanley winning 5th place in his weight class of 182 lbs, he was not able to move on to state but Noehre made the cut, and on he went to state winning second place out of his weight division at 152 lbs, with a score of 9-7.

Noehre defeated a Bloomington South opponent, a Prairie Heights wrestler, and a Mater Dei grappler at state. He lost in overtime to a Cathedral opponent.

Coach Josh Holden spoke about the season.Our team is very young, 29 freshman and sophomores.  The transition from junior high wrestling to high school wrestling is very difficult.  We demand so much more time at this level. However, I think those young wrestlers did an outstanding job of coming to work every day with a goal, being coachable, and following the process.  Now, we will see if they follow the offseason process.”

Holden went on about how the team is like a second family to him. “I love them!  When I first got into coaching I thought I was going to change the world. I thought I would be the one that made my athletes better people.  But that’s not how it worked out. The program makes them better people and they make me a better man.”

Jacob Blevens, 10, spoke about the team spirit and why he joined this year. “My three brothers are involved in wrestling and I spent most of my time watching the sport or being their drill partner and it seemed a lot of fun so I thought I would try it for myself. After going through a season with them I can honestly say that I have grown to respect and love all of the wrestlers and coaches. ”

The team is all about getting better everyday and is more like a family. “No matter if you are the best wrestler on the team or the worst, you earn respect because of what you go through every day.  Sweating and bleeding together creates a special bond,” Holden said.

The players are all encouraged to help out in the community. For example, as a team they all helped out the local soup kitchen by moving boxes of clothes and toys being donated to the soup kitchen by a local citizen.

Addie Coil, 11, a  trainer for the team, explained why she chose to be a part of it. “My brother, Tyler, wrestled all through junior high and high school. While being dragged to wrestling meets when I was younger, I guess I just started to love it. It was a family back then that I felt a part of and now it’s a family that I am a part of.”