LAINGSBURG – Doug Hurst has been a little shorthanded the last week while beginning preparations to help the Laingsburg girls basketball program build off its historic run to the state semifinals.
And the Wolfpack coach has been just fine with that because it has meant another deep tournament run for a girls team at Laingsburg.
It’s the volleyball team now making the historic run for Laingsburg, which will make its first-ever quarterfinal appearance at 7 p.m. Tuesday when it takes on Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central at Manchester in the Class C state tournament.
“It’s a very good problem to have,” Hurst said. “Sure would I love for them to be there? Absolutely. But this is great for our school, great for our community.
“Whatever volleyball does from this point on, (we’re hoping) we can help take that success and try to continue it over into basketball.”
Laingsburg volleyball coach Tennille Whitmore has noticed a carry over from the school’s success in other girls sports playing a role in the success of her team, which has a school-record 43 wins and CMAC, district and regional titles this fall. The softball team, which has thrived under Jeff Cheadle, joined in the success of the volleyball and basketball programs last school year by winning more than 30 games and capturing CMAC and district championships.
Whitmore said the exposure beyond district play has made a tremendous impact and better prepared her volleyball team for the bigger stage of the postseason.
And it also helps having four players on the volleyball team – Lindsey Smith, Kenedy Franks, Alex Randall and Sophie Strieff – that were part of the record basketball run last winter.
“I do believe what we did only made those girls in volleyball that much hungrier because they are a talented team and they knew they were going to have a talented team (this year),” Hurst said. “I’m sure that really motivated them and they wanted to have the opportunity to have the same success that that basketball team had.”
Laingsburg also reached the regional stage in volleyball last season, but has had things come together this fall to reach new heights.
“I think we’ve been working for this for quite awhile and each year we’ve made progress and steps forward in different areas,” Whitmore said. “It’s really great to have a team that’s not only talented athletically, but has really come together as a group and that supports each other.”
That support and team chemistry has been a valuable part of the this year’s volleyball success for Laingsburg, which ended the regular season among the teams receiving votes just outside the top 10 in Class C in the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association rankings.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” Laingsburg junior Erin Cooper said. “None of us butt heads. We’re a really close-knit team and I think that’s a good thing. We work really hard together
“This (success) was our plan. We knew we were going to go far and we knew that together as a group that we’d be able to do this. It’s not just one person. We all knew that we were going to do it.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.