Tyler Pacak starts his last season on the team before college career
PHOTO COURTESY OF MELANIE BENNETT
BY MELANIE BENNETT Sports Editor With the winter season over and tryouts complete, the baseball team prepares for their upcoming season. The team has been holding green days since mid Jan. in order to get a jumpstart on the season preparation. “We have been hitting a lot inside the gym, lifting and doing conditioning in order to prepare for the season,” sophomore Aaron Boyd said. Senior Tyler Pacak is especially excited for the season because it is
his final season before attending Randolph-Macon College on a scholarship to play baseball. He recalls what he had to overcome to achieve his success. “I was injured my sophomore and junior year so it was difficult to deal with not playing,” Pacak said. “Lots of people said I would not be able to do it but that just added fuel to my fire to come back and prove everyone wrong.” “The AHS baseball experience has taught me that hard work, dedication and determination to always do your best will help you achieve success,” Pacak said. The team has had a few setbacks in reference to the weather however. The unusual amount of snow this season has caused the team to do most of their practicing indoors. But, when the snow completely melts, the team looks forward to practicing on the field .
17 PHOTO COURTESY OF MELANIE BENNETT
SPORTS Baseball prepares for season March 11, 2014
Girls softball has good hopes for the season, even with the inclement weather setbacks BY MELANIE BENNETT Sports Editor
Senior Tyler Pakak practices hitting at baseball practice in preparation for his last season on the team.
Boys and girls tennis starts fresh this spring with many new players and new teams BY CYNTHIA WEINER Staff Writer The boys and girls tennis teams have started their season off promptly after selecting their teams at tryouts. With their new teams in place, the tennis teams are already beginning practices to prepare for a successful season. “Our co-captains are our top seeds. We have six freshmen and several of them have a shot at extensive playing time,” boys head ...coach Steven Zaret said about his new team. The composition of the girls team is very different this season. “We have a mix of experienced and beginners this year,” senior Hannah Coulter said. With these new teams in place and fresh players on the court, both teams look towards specific practices to build their team to succeed at meets.
“I am hoping that we compete well and each player improves their game,” girls head coach Hassan Mims said. With this specificity, the girls team is focusing on mentality and match skills to beat their competitors. “Preparing for our first tennis matches includes working on mental toughness and match situations,” Mims said. “This year we want to focus on hitting more winners while becoming more consistent,’ Coulter said. On the boys team, the focus is more on the fundamental skills of the players and this translating into better meets. “For practice I think we’re going to try and make sure everyone has a good foundation,” junior cocaptain Todd Lee said. “I think if everyone has a good handle on basics we’ll be okay.” “With all the snow, we still need more opportunities to work on fundamentals and match play,” boys coach Steven Zaret said. “Fortunately, we have two scrimmages coming up.” With these focused practices for both teams, they hope to be prepared for their first match .against Boys tennis team practices returning the ball over the net at Lake Braddock on March 17. practice.
Boys soccer team starts meeting goals Boys soccer is excited for the amount of chemistry and skill on their team
BY ZEKE YONAS Staff Writer Soccer tryouts for boys took place last week and the team has already been assembled. Players and coaches reflect on tryouts and try to meet expectations for the upcoming season. “Tryouts were difficult because there were a lot of good people,” Mario Veca said. “I was nervous in the beginning, but once I started to calm down, I just did my thing.” “I’m pretty confident we’re going to have a great year as long as we can find a net,” boys varsity soccer coach Ryan Mrowka said. “We got a great group of guys, I think we can take down some big teams.”
The Atoms soccer teams believe they can have a great season as well. They have a lot of players returning from last year. Players on both sides are also very confident about the upcoming soccer season. “We have a very skillful set of guys on the team and I think we can go very far this season” junior Mario Veca said. The soccer coaches are pleased with the things they saw at tryouts and hope to use their strengths to their advantage. “A lot of these guys have been playing for years and have also played together,” Mrowka said. “We also have a few strong, young guys moving up, so there are a lot of positives.” Based on tryouts, coaches have set goals for their team this season and hope they will achieve them. “[Our goal is] to have a better record than last year, and finish in the top two or three in the district,” Mrowka said.
The boys soccer team practices dribbling around opponents at one of their practices.
Girls soccer has high hopes this year Girls soccer is confident with the fact that they have many returning players this season
BY ZEKE YONAS Staff Writer
Jenny McCann (left) works on her headers in a drill with Daniela Salinas (right) at practice.
Soccer tryouts for girls took place last week and teams have already been assembled. Players and coaches reflect on tryouts and try to meet expectations for the upcoming season. “[Tryouts] went really well, I showed off my skills and talents to the coaches”, sophomore Savannah Ross said. “I wasn’t as nervous as last year.” The Atoms girl’s soccer teams believe they can have a great season as well. They have a lot of players returning from last year. “The varsity team is looking very strong,“ girls varsity soccer coach Janeen Westphal said. “We only lost two seniors from last year, so we have nine returning starting players.” Players on both sides are also very confident about the upcoming soccer season. “I think the team is going to do really good this year, we have a lot of talented players on the team this year” Ross said. The soccer coaches are pleased with the things they saw at tryouts and hope to use their strengths to their advantage. “I saw a better fitness level than we had in the past” said coach Westphal. Based on tryouts, coaches have set goals for their team this season and hope they will achieve them. “[Our goal is] to win the conference and to advance farther in the district.”
COURTESY OF KURTIS NEAL
Tennis hits the court for a new year
Although the weather has not been reflecting the time of year, the girls softball team has been getting ready for this year’s season. “I’m excited for this season,” head coach Cragin Winkler said. “We have a good group of girls that want to work hard and a great new head coach.” As the season begins, the softball team is coming equipped with a new pitching coach and many key senior players. “Last year we were missing a pitcher so this year we have a pitching coach to help the girls,” Winkler said. The softball team is adding a pitching coach to help their girls because they were missing a pitcher the previous year. Winkler admitted that the end of the season would become a bit emotional for her because she would have to let go of many seniors on the team. “This is the first group of girls I’ve coached with for four years,” Winkler said. “It’s going to be tough at the end of the season letting it go because I’ve been with them all four years.” With the winter weather refusing to let go, however, the team has been unable to go out on their field as of yet. “We’re looking forward to actual spring weather,” Winkler said. The softball team is energized and looking forward to going out there and playing some ball.
Alumni Postcard Kurtis Neal Q. What is your favorite memory of AHS soccer? A. “My favorite memory would have to be have fun with the team mates on a ride home on the bus after a win.” Q. What advice would you give a current soccer player this season? A. “My best advice would be to play to the best of your ability and to honestly believe in your abilities.” Q. Why did you choose soccer in general? A. “I enjoyed playing soccer my entire life, and playing for high school was another thing to advance playing soccer and to make friends.” Q. What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome playing AHS soccer? A. “My biggest challenge would have to be keeping up with the game schedule throughout the season.”
Compiled by: Melanie Bennett
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