Scott Carlson – Football
“I’ve got your six, it’s a military term. If you look at the hands of a clock, 12 is in the front, 9 is on the left, 3 is on the right and 6 [is in the back]. That’s your back,” boys football Coach Carlson says as he describes the mentality and motivation for this football season. “We got your back,” he vocalizes. This season, the football team is working on becoming a “close-knit team,” Carlson emphasizes. To make a difference on and off the field, the six-unit groups participate in bonding activities such as bowling and getting food together. Carlson aims to get the team to “be as good as [they] can be,” and to get there, he encourages the players to become their “best [selves], playing the best [that] we can.” To do this, coaches work on ‘greasing the machine’ that is the team. By being able to communicate and understand others around you, the team becomes an engine that runs smoothly. “All the parts have to be functioning together, if one thing is not quite clicking, then it throws the whole thing off,” Carlson says insightfully. Although the team has gotten off to a rough start, Coach Carlson uses the loss as an opportunity for growth and refinement. He analyzes the plays and uses the outcome as fuel to keep the engine running smoothly. Using these techniques, the boys’ football team hopes to return victorious.
John Kotz – Boys Golf
The boys’ golf team this season has been “a learning experience,” Coach Kotz says about the mentality for the season. Four meets in, the team has been going strong. They just came off the Fort Dodge Invitational as winners, and plan to go to state. “We want to get to state, and we want to win state,” Kotz replies enthusiastically. “We are trending the right way, and that’s something that we can achieve,” Kotz mentions regarding the previous successes of the team. To improve the player’s abilities, Kotz and his assistant coaches “take observations from tournaments, practices… and the data and statistics we use to try and curtail our practices to the need areas,” he explains. Differentiating these practices and skills for individual players helps augment the talent of the team and creates proficiency all over the course. Although the middle of the season tends to become repetitive, the varying meet times keep the weeks interesting. Kotz explains, “You’re at the mercy of the golf courses,” so meet times will vary week to week. Kotz strives to keep players motivated by switching up practices. He keeps inspirational content at the ready, whether it be “[speakers], articles, YouTube videos,” Kotz says. With a strong varsity made up of five seniors and one junior, the team has been working hard throughout the offseason to keep their game strong. Since golf is such a unique sport, “every day is… an opportunity to improve,” Kotz emphasizes. This year is dedicated, disciplined players will be playing their hardest and working towards a state title.
Shelley Twigg – Girls Swimming
“I think we have one of the best teams we’ve had in many many years,” girls swim coach Shelley Twigg says enthusiastically. “We just want to capitalize on the talent we have,” Twigg says regarding the state of the team this year. Compiling the varsity squad to include new freshmen talent, returning state qualifiers, and dedicated girls will help carry the team to state again. “We are hoping for some versatility this year,” Twigg says. It is important to train swimmers to be proficient in many events, giving depth to the team. “[We are] hoping to be in the top five,” Twigg says, and emphasizes the importance of dedicated individual athletes as well as a hard-working team to make it to the top. Being one of the top schools in Iowa, Waukee wants to be the best. This season, the team has won two out of three meets, and the expectation is high to regain that streak. Currently, in the “power rankings, we are third,” Twigg says. So far, the team is on track to stay in the top five, and Twigg is working hard to keep the wins consistent. Another aspect important to improving the team is goal setting. “If you set individual goals as a team, and put each one together, it ends up helping the team goal.”
Danielle Kohut – Girls Volleyball
Girls’ volleyball has started on a great start this year. “ We’ve beat Ankeny Centennial for the first time ever,” Coach Lynch says eagerly. Playing their best on the court against big winning teams, they never let anything get in the way of winning. The team focuses on “Learning how to win, learning how to win together and learning how to be strong,” Lynch says. They still have losses, but will continue to walk off the court positive and knowing what to improve when it’s over. Coach Lynch says, “The team still needs to gel in order to work like a well-oiled machine,” and work together to bring great wins. “The big goal is to make it to state,” Coach Lynch says. The girls’ volleyball team has a lot of goals, but it’s not that easy to accomplish those goals. It takes effort, communication and time to get there, it does not happen overnight. Coach Lynch works with the girls to be able to play with aggression and energy every game. Coach Lynch says, “Be where your feet are, don’t be thinking about the next play, or what happened yesterday, be in the moment.. take everything in that moment, don’t take it for granted.”
Abby Schmitz – Girls Cross Country
For this year’s cross country season, the expectation is high. Coach Schmitz says, “This season we return many of our top runners from last year.” Keeping the girls motivated and strong this season is very important to Schmitz. To stay in the best shape physically and mentally, Schmitz encourages the girls to “continue to do the ‘little’ things correctly such as having proper nutrition, appropriate sleep, and stay injury-free.” The team also works on visualization and setting realistic goals for improvement. “We do a lot of work with growth mindset and positive attitudes,” Schmitz states. This provides a team mentality that brings the girls together. Schmitz and the other coaches are excited to see how the season turns out. The team is “dedicated and train very well together,” Schmitz admits. The big goal is to place high in the state meet this year, and with the energy and talent on this team.
Terry Nielsen – Boys Cross Country
The boys cross country team has started strong this season with two wins. Their objective is to have “a long term goal or vision… to learn something from every race,” Coach Nielsen says. With every meet, the runners always learn something and take it into perspective for their next race. Nielsen works with the runners and focuses on “pack running… our guys finding each other in the race and running together,” Nielsen replies. This tactic is important to keep the boys together so their finishes are closer together, and in turn, faster. Improvement throughout every meet is important too, and Nielsen focuses on “long term perspective,” he says. Visualization and goal setting are both important aspects of preparing the team for bringing out their best times. The “main goal and how we define success in cross country is how we improve from meet to meet,” Nielsen says insightfully. He focuses on laying “the groundwork, or the foundation [gives] us a place to build from.” Nielsen replies. Using these tactics and keeping up the energy will ensure a strong and successful season.