The West Nodaway Rockets girls teams faced a similar predicament across all sports last season with only one returning senior.
That senior was a talented one with it being All-Conference basketball and volleyball player Alissa Nelson. The returning depth should only help first-year coach Skyler Zimmerman though.
“They have been a big help,” Zimmerman said of his senior class this season. “They have been helpful to all the underclassmen and I’ve let them take one drill at the end of practice each drill to run and try to give them more leadership.”
Zimmerman is taking over both the volleyball and basketball programs.
In volleyball, he also must deal with the departure of three North Nodaway athletes as the Mustangs started their own program, but a bulk of the team’s experience returns.
One of those returners is senior Brittany McIntyre, who was thrust into a leadership role last season with Nelson due to the team’s lack of seniors. This season, she seems poised to accept even more of that responsibility.
“I hope that we can win more games and work together well as a team,” McIntyre said.
Another veteran that Zimmerman will be counting on is senior Mackenzie Finney. Finney finished her junior year strong as one of the best high jumpers in the area during track and field season, now she hopes to translate that athleticism into a big volleyball season.
“I’m really excited,” Finney said. “I’ve been waiting for volleyball season again since it ended last year.”
After a 4-19-1 season last year, the goal for the Rockets is simply to improve in Zimmerman’s debut season, but the new coach would also like to add some hardware to the team’s trophy case this season.
“Our first goal, that we want to win a trophy at a tournament, so we break down practice every day with that,” Zimmerman said.
The Rockets will get their first chance to accomplish that goal when they open the season with the East Atchison Tournament on Saturday.