Volleyball Team Reflects And Celebrates At Annual Banquet (12/07/2017)
(By CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub) The Clarion Volleyball team held their annual season ending banquet this past Sunday (Dec. 3) at the Trinity Point Church of God’s Fellowship Hall. As Deanna Sintobin noted in her welcoming remarks, this event was used as a time to reflect on and celebrate the accomplishments of the 2017 season. This past season saw the Bobcat Volleyball team reach the state semifinals and finish their campaign ranked #2 in Class A by the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association (PVCA).
Mrs. Sintobin thanked a variety of groups and individuals during her opening comments. She began by acknowledging the role of the booster organization and parents throughout the season, with President Bridget Thornton, Secretary Anita McMaster, and Treasurer Jan Troese singled out for recognition. Clarion Area Superintendent Michael Stahlman and High School Principal John Kimmel were thanked for their support and traveling to see the team play as they participated in the postseason. Mrs. Sintobin also expressed gratitude for the contributions of Nancy Mills, Athletic Director, Rich Herron, Athletic Trainer, and Duane Schmader, Strength and Conditioning Coach, leading into and during the season. Head Coach Shari Campbell and her assistants Sammi Beichner, Kiersten Kiser, and Matti Thornton received special mention for their tireless efforts. The 21 players on the team were thanked for the “ride of memories”, as Mrs. Sintobin noted being excited to see what the future held for the seniors. Mrs. Sintobin concluded by thanking Clarion Sports Zone for covering the team and Kim Constantino for the pictures she took of the players during the year.
Following a dinner catered by Daddy’s Main Street, Coach Campbell took the podium and reiterated the banquet’s theme of reflection and celebration. She thanked many of the same people as Mrs. Sintobin, with Boosters’ President Bridget Thornton and the team’s coaches each receiving special mention. Coach Campbell thanked Mrs. Thornton for her support over the years, noting that with the graduation of Maya it will be “odd” not having her around (Maci and Matti Thornton previously played for Campbell). The assistant coaches, all former Bobcat players and alumnae of Clarion Area High School, were described by Coach Campbell as examples of reasons for coaching, not only providing instruction in a sport they love but also helping young female athletes succeed both on and off the court. Coach Beichner was commended for being so giving to the athletes and program, serving as an example for the players. Coach Kiser was cited for demonstrating what it means to be competitive, often taking a spot on the floor during practice scrimmages. Coach Thornton, a college student only a few months ago, was praised for her level of knowledge and maturity in helping the team develop their skills and mindset.
Coach Campbell reported that dating back to the preseason she challenged her team to define their story and why they play, with the theme of “how do we become selfless and [each] give in our own unique way” emerging. Per Coach Campbell, despite a great practice atmosphere, the results of team’s early efforts did not immediately translate to competition. This required, according to Coach Campbell, learning to let go of what can’t be controlled and focusing on those factors such as effort, attitude, and work rate which could be managed. Though this team did not win the conference or the district, Coach Campbell appreciated the team’s perseverance and not allowing these setbacks to become road blocks, with her charges learning to focus on the moment and using failures as opportunities to improve. This focus on the moment also precluded looking ahead and at possible outcomes. Coach Campbell commented that this attitude resulted the gathering celebrating in December what turned out to be a successful season that culminated in a run at the state championship.
After her marks Coach Campbell called the freshmen (Brenna Campbell, Ava Kiser) and sophomores (Kaitlyn Constantino, Kyara Girvan, Madison Schill) before the gathering. She commended them for their knowledge of the game and noted that she looks forward to them becoming leaders on the court. Next the juniors (Lexi Lauer, Kaylie Lutz, Hailey Sintobin, Ali Troese) joined their fellow underclassmen before the audience. Coach Campbell reminded the juniors that they would shortly assume leadership of the team and that she can’t wait to see what they become in 2018. The team’s seniors (Alexis Constantino, Sydney Kiser, Maya Miller, Maya Thornton) then took center stage. Coach Campbell applauded the seniors for doing a great job of leading this year’s team, as well as for embracing the ideas of grit and perseverance. She stated that she enjoyed watching these consummate optimists work together and embrace the moment. Coach Campbell expressed the belief that the seniors put the program on a path their younger teammates can now confidently follow to go after a state championship. She also told the seniors that they have much to be proud of, telling them that they would someday be called upon to share their words of wisdom and experience with future teams. Coach Campbell finished her portion of the program by addressing the team, telling them that though they may not have medals and trophies from this season, they will take this journey with them forever.
Coach Thornton then took the podium, calling the junior varsity team forward (Kaylie Lutz, Julia Hullinger, Alana McMasters, Abbie Slagle, Brennah Copenhaver, Bella Klein, Gabby Klein, Ali Stivanson, Audessa Woolam). As the team assembled, Coach Thornton thanked the parents and boosters for supporting the junior varsity and helping to make their season great. Though many of her charges played somewhat out of position during the season, Coach Thornton noted as part of her expression of appreciation that no matter what, they were playing a game they love and being together. She also thanked the junior varsity for the work they do in support of the varsity.
The program ended with the seniors talking briefly about their coaches. Alexis Constantino thanked Coach Beichner for being the calm during practices, as well as for keeping the best stats. Maya Thornton noted that it was weird having her sister, Matti, as a coach, but that they did eventually find the in between. Maya expressed appreciation to Matti for pushing both her and the team. Sydney Kiser told her sister Kiersten, who is also a coach, that she wouldn’t have wanted to spend her senior season with anyone else. Maya Miller concluded by thanking Coach Campbell for helping each member of the team grow as a person and not just a player.
(photographs courtesy of Kim Constantino)
(Congratulations Bobcats on Memorable Season!!)