Updated: Aug 20, 2022
The Ankeny Centennial Volleyball team is one of the youngest programs in the Des Moines metro area. Despite its youth (the 2022 season will be the 10th season), in nine seasons ACHS has appeared at state eight times, whilst claiming four state championships. Looking to extend the legacy, the 2022 ACHS volleyball team is more determined and driven than ever. Hannah Kurth, a senior exclaimed that, “it is an honor to play for a program that has had so much success within the past because it only drives our team to work harder to be able to carry on the legacy.” The ACHS Volleyball team has developed a culture of being all in, all season, for one another. The team has found themselves all focused on achieving a common goal for the teammate next to them.
Reagan Angus speaks on the mindset for daily training sessions, “we treat every practice as if it were the state championship, giving no excuses and giving all possible effort every day.” What does a training schedule to create a top tier high school volleyball program look like? During the offseason, the girls train four times a week working on conditioning in the form of sprints, as well as heavy lifting. Following the off season, the girls grind for roughly two and a half hours a day; focusing on a plethora of skillsets such as: defense, blocking, offense, hitting, serving, coverage, and more. Delainey Winkel gives us a look inside of the reason for such demanding training: “We always work on getting to your base fast, because it is important to stay disciplined. Without being disciplined, long rallies would be tough and harder to continue to keep playing.” Winkel exclaims that of course they “always end with some conditioning to keep us in shape for those long rallies.” A team that has generated the success that the ACHS Volleyball team has done deserves a crowd packed to the brim equivalent to the men’s football and basketball games, right? Statistically, the ACHS Volleyball team has emitted more success than both the men’s football and basketball teams. Regardless, the crowds have been small.
Jaeden Pratt, a sophomore exclaims, “to be honest, our crowds are small. Nobody stands for us or cheers/chants in the student stands.” Kurth adds that, “student support doesn’t compare to the men’s sports during the fall season.” The team wants to show the city their talent and growth throughout the season. “Having a supportive crowd with lots of energy gives the team a huge confidence boost and makes every game much more fun!” Explains Kendra Kasperbauer. The team is looking break records, and break the stigma around low attendance surrounding female athlete teams. These women are motivated to generate a change not only on the court this upcoming season, but on a larger scale- one that inspires and empowers high school female athletes at ACHS, but all around the country as well. Taylor Bechen illustrates the challenges of being a female athlete: “On top of working hard to be the best athlete we can be, we have to work ten times harder to get the recognition we deserve.” Delaney Miller describes being a female athlete as “incredibly frustrating and amazing at the same time. You get to break the barriers and prove to society that females in sports can be absolute studs.” The ACHS Volleyball team finds that competing against amazing female athletes of all teams is empowering in its own way; overall, depicting the importance of women earning and deserving their spots within the sports world. While competitors on the courts, they hope to come together with other strong women to shine light on the disparities among female athlete teams in high school. With an important season ahead of the team, it’s imperative that the team continues to carry forward with their successes. Mya Rodgers accredits their successes to the teams tight knit bond and their ability to “strive for the best and cheer others on regardless of the play… Of course getting to play with such great and talented individuals is a bonus, but we always have something to work on. Everyone on the team is open to listening from the coaches and improving on themselves.” The ACHS Volleyball team hopes to set an example for the future generation of female athletes. The team expresses that it is vital to always have positive energy. Never be afraid to be the loudest on the court, or have super crazy celebrations. This positive energy will create a lively, and competitive game. Additionally, it is important to be proud of who you are, what you represent, and the work that you put in as a female athlete! The season begins August 23rd with a tournament at DCG. Their home opener against Urbandale is August 30th, and the girls are hoping to see a large crowd filled with the energy and excitement they deserve. While chasing another state championship title is in the eyes of the team, they look to leave the program in an even better place than they found it. Jada Schmidt provides an insight on the legacy that the 2022 ACHS Volleyball team hopes to leave: “We want to be known as the team where there was not an MVP because we all were. We want to be the team that was the hardest working in and out of the gym. We want to be the team that was never satisfied and continuously fought to be unbreakable.”
Want to support the ACHS Volleyball Team at their games this year? Click the link below to see their team shirts! Fill up the crowds and cheer loud for them as they attack a record breaking year!