This year's coach of the year is Melanie Thurmond, head coach of the girl’s varsity basketball team. Overall the girls had a great season. This is incredible considering how young this year's team was. This year's varsity team had a total of twelve players, two of them seniors, four of them juniors, and the remainder sophomores.
Thurmond implemented new techniques to prepare the new girls on varsity and to further the skills of returning members. Macy DeLong, a new varsity player, shares her feelings about the new season and the changes from JV to varsity.
“It’s overwhelming but it’s a good experience,” said Macy Delong. “Varsity is a big change from JV. It is a lot more intense and a lot more learning to it. Everyone is working better and harder together so we can win our games. We are all about winning our games so we can make it to zone and state.
With their coach behind them the girls continued to do just that, with an overall 16-11 and a league record of 13-5. They started off the season with great wins as well. On December 6 the varsity girls traveled to Reno for their first games of the season, they played against Galena and brought home a win 52-33, they played Bishop Manogue and lost 62-43. They finished strong and triumphed over Spanish Springs 59-22.
Coach Thurmond faced some difficulties throughout the season but with the help of her strong coaching abilities as well as many others, the varsity girls prevailed.
“This year we had a new challenge as our daughter, Jada, was born right after Christmas,” explained Thurmond. “I was hospitalized for three weeks with complications and she was in the NICU for 27 days since she was so small when she was born. We made it through with a lot of help from our JV coach, Lynnsey Johnson, administration, and other coaching staff.”
Carly Capellen, one of the two seniors, appreciates Thurmond as a coach and all the motivation she brought the team.
“Melanie is a great coach because she always went above and beyond,” said Capellen. “She would come to practice every day with a plan written out and we were constantly doing new drills. She would always watch films and keep an eye on other teams to see what we could work on in order to be successful in our upcoming games. I’m going to miss how she would push me to do my best and all of the motivational talks she would give us that I still remember today.”
Thurmond loves the sport and that's what makes her such a great coach.
“I love the interactions with the girls and the relationships you build with each of them,” said Thurmond. “I also truly enjoy coaching with my husband, Dwayne. The game of basketball is extremely special to us and to be able to run this program together is special.”
Coach Thurmond also recognizes the difficulties that come with coaching but is grateful for the title this year.
“Typically the most challenging part of coaching is trying to teach a certain part of the game that is not measurable: attitude, motivation, hard work, and mental toughness,” said Thurmond. “It's exciting to be recognized as coach of the year. We work hard on our summer programs, watching and analyzing videos, and improving the program.”