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Volleyball to extend to younger girls

By Margie Carter

Tuscola 5th and 6th grade girls will soon have the opportunity to train in volleyball with a new recreational program. Tara Steinart, who will head the administration duties and founded the program, recalls concerns by other parents that the 7th and 8th grade teams at East Prairie spend early practice sessions learning fundamentals and game play, putting them behind in training from the teams they play. Steinart says her love for volleyball was the drive to form the program, along with her experience coaching 5th/6th grade boys basketball. She feels her contacts within local youth sports are helping with the leg work of scheduling with other teams.

Joining her will be Coaches Spencer Dyke (Cleland) and Abby Feagin, though Steinart hopes to step into a coaching role on occasion.

Like the other recreational sports programs, Tuscola Youth Volleyball will operate independent of the school district but will utilize the EP gymnasium for practices and games. The program has received support from the school’s administration and Steinart says community members have stated their excitement as well.

Kicking off the inaugural season, a skills camp will be held on Jan 21th from 9-11am at East Prairie, led by Coach Diane Hearn of Seeger High School of West Lebanon, IN. Practices will begin the following week, with the aim being 2-3 per week until matches begin. Currently, Villa Grove, Oakland, and ALAH (Arthur) have 5th/6th grade volleyball teams to schedule with Tuscola. The season should finish by March 4th.

When asked what the main goals are for the first season, Steinart said they are working on just getting the program off the ground. She thinks the level of interest so far is a good sign, though she stated that they understand that many student athletes may already be committed to sports for winter. In those cases, athletes could expect flexibility in their attendance and it would not be held against them for play time. Steinart also hopes to give the girls the experience they need to raise their competitiveness once playing on the 7th grade team.

A Google Form link was sent through TeacherEase and is due by Thursday, Jan 12th.

Questions can be directed to Tuscola Youth Volleyball on Facebook or to the newly setup email for the program: tuscolayouthvolleyball@gmail.com

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