Saints players graduate this year, leaving with great memories
PHOTO CAPTION: Four seniors will leave the Flagler volleyball team this year after another successful season.
By Kathy Novak | firstname.lastname@example.org
As the volleyball season comes to a close, it is the last for some of our fellow Saints. With only five more contests left prior to the Div. II post-season contests, four seniors — Jessica Wedemyer, Sarah Spraggins, Kelly Boese and Leah Melton, with a combination of 36 years of experience — are pushing to finish out their last season as their best.
Although they have been pushed through a tough season, the ladies still have full confidence in themselves, and their fellow teammates to pull through.
Coach Taylor Mott prepares to say goodbye to four of her best saying, “They are leaving big shoes behind to fill. We are losing four very dominant personalities, a whole lot of experience — they have been great role models for our underclassman.”
Graduation is an extremely important time for any college student, as it pushes you to determine what you will be doing after those college days are over, and for most of us brings about the same personal feelings.
Wedemyer, a three-varsity letter blocker, said, “I am excited — I am ready — not nervous. I am ready for the next chapter of my life.”
Spraggins, a business major with an accounting minor and three-varsity-letter libero (defense), expresses the same, saying “I am excited — not nervous at all.”
Boese, a three-varsity-letter right side said, “I have been here all four years, I am ready to move on — sad to leave — but very excited.”
Melton, a two varsity letter middle blocker, is a senior in terms of volleyball, but will be at Flagler one additional year.
“I am not graduating yet, but I am a senior on the team. It’s my last year of eligibility. I am still going to miss playing.”
Mott, in her 10th season at Flagler, has high hopes for her five seniors the rest of season.
“I want them to play with intensity — finish strong,” she said. “We play hard. For the seniors sake I hope that we can hold it together.”
When asked what she hopes they got out of the season, Mott said, “A sense of what a privilege it was to play here at Flagler College. This team genuinely works hard for each other — not just for themselves. I hope that they leave here feeling as though they were able to get the whole college experience, not just leave feeling they played volleyball the whole time. I want them to feel as though they made good friends; received a great education. I wanted it all for them.”
As the Lady Saints step off the Flagler campus, and into their next opportunity, they all have intentions of continuing to stay active with the sport.
Spraggins plans to combine both her love of the game and the knowledge of business she’s gained by “ultimately opening a travelling volleyball association, along with eventually coaching.”
Wedemyer said, “Yes eventually I would like to coach later. I plan on definitely playing as a hobby, on a club team if possible.”
Melton said, “I will still be able to stay involved through student assisting.”
Boese also has intentions of continuing to play: “I thought about potentially playing overseas in Europe, but the more I look into it, the harder it seems to become to do. But I will never stop playing.”
If you are an athlete you know how important sports are for your growth as a person. There is something to be said about athletics — about how just as much as you give, the benefits you receive give back to you just as strong.
When asked what they got out of the sport, Wedemyer said, “I have made strong amazing friendships.” Spraggins added, “good communication and time management skills.”
It didn’t just involve the personal components, but the level of education as well.
“I got a great college education — it has determined my life up to this point, friends, college, health everything,” said Melton.
To which Boese added, “Every year I grew to love the sport more and more and realized how much I am going to miss it without the competitive play. I’ve learned values on the court that I apply in real life as well. It sounds clichÃ©, but it’s true.”
The Lady Saints are leaving with high expectations for their fellow teammates, with an over-all hope that they make it to post-season play, that some real leaders appear, and excel beyond anything ever seen at Flagler.
Spraggins is looking for that kind of success. “I hope Ciara (her position replacement) breaks my record. I want them to be better than we were — enjoy the sport to the fullest.”
Wedemyer would like for the team to “keep getting better every year — go to the post-season and win in the new conference. Take advantage of opportunity which lies in front of them.”
Now that Flagler College Athletics is in NCAA Div. II competition, there is a huge push for stronger support of the athletic teams here at Flagler.
Boese feels as though that “now we are in Div. II, there’s a huge push to support the athletic department. We, as a team, love to see huge crowds. It really pumps us up. We feel as though the Flagler’s athletic program has a huge push to support.”
“In the past 10 years I have been here, it has grown immensely,” Mott said about support for Flagler Athletics and volleyball.
“It has been extremely encouraging as a coach, and a member of the athletic department here, to have Dr. Abare as the president of our institution.
“He has done a great job with support in means for competition programs with us now in D-II. We function more like an athletic department now thanks to his support.”
Spraggins also speaks highly of the program saying, “It has allowed me to push myself in ways that I couldn’t have on my own.”
After four years of pushing and hard workouts, Mott definitely has not only the departing seniors best interests at heart, but her whole team.
When asked what she wanted to send the ladies off with — what words of wisdom she had for the girls — she said she hopes they “seize the moment — take every opportunity presented to you and make the best of it. I hope they’ll learn to live in the moment — appreciate it while you have it.”