The University of Saint Mary hosted its second edition of “Coach’s Corner” on campus Thursday.
Two weeks ago, the football coaches at Leavenworth, Lansing and Saint Mary spoke about their programs in the Mead Hall dining room.
This edition was volleyball and cross country.
USM’s director of sports management Jim Zimmerman hosted the event again and told jokes prior to the coaches talking.
Lansing cross country coach Josh Floetke was first to speak. He talked about the success of the Lions’ season so far, especially on the boy’s side, and gave a preview of the conference tournament.
Leavenworth cross country coach Willis Willmeth followed Floetke at the podium. Willmeth recapped the struggles that the team has faced with top runners being out because of sickness and injury and the changes that came from the Pioneers jumping back up to 6A.
USM cross country coach Alstin Benton rounded out the cross country by talking about the successful start for the Spires with both teams being ranked in the polls and high finishes by the men and women at the different events.
Due to weather canceling last week’s Go Cedar Rapids event, which is also the site of nationals, Benton recapped the Spires’ strong performance at Emporia State to make up for the lost event. The coach also brought up the benefits to the cross country course that was built on campus and praised school President Sister Diane Steele for allowing it to happen. He ended his time speaking not knowing the exact plans for the Spires due to the flooding still being an issue for the course in Cedar Rapids.
Next up were the volleyball coaches.
Lansing coach Julie Slater was first and talked about the success that her 30-4 Lions have had this season. She mentioned her three players that are committed to Division I volleyball programs and mentioned recent graduate Lacey Angello and her early success with the Kansas Jayhawks, including the team’s upset over Texas on Wednesday night. Slater also brought up the strong team chemistry and how that has played a factor in the team’s success this year and the success of the freshmen and junior varsity teams should help the team continue to play well in the future.
After Slater, Leavenworth volleyball coach Cassie Rockers spoke about her team’s season. The “Coach’s Corner” was also the same day as senior night for the volleyball team and Rockers talked about some of her seniors, including Missouri Western commit Jessie Sachen. Rockers talked about some of the things that have caused the Pioneers to struggle in the year, but she also talked about how there are a lot of good athletes and that the future looks bright with multiple sophomores currently starting on varsity and a strong freshmen team this season.
After the two high school coaches spoke, Spires’ volleyball coach Amy Refenes took the podium to recap the Spires’ strong start to the year, including the team’s current four-game winning streak. She mentioned the various key leaders for the team and had high praises for one of her assistants at the event with her.
Refenes also talked about how the team could make the NAIA tournament in volleyball with a first-place finish in either the regular season or conference tournament.
Zimmerman closed out the event with a look ahead to the weekend’s sporting events for the three schools and a preview of the next edition of “Coach’s Corner” which will feature the soccer coaches of the schools.