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Wirt volleyball preparing for state title defense

Photo by Jay W. Bennett Wirt County High School first-year head volleyball coach Katie Frazier tosses a ball into play during a practice Thursday evening.

ELIZABETH — Not quite locked in or loaded just yet, the beat is trying to go on for the Wirt County High School volleyball team.

The defending Class A state champion Tigers have continued workouts during the three-week summer coaching period for new leader Katie Frazier.

“As far as it being my first season, it’s definitely been a little more challenging due to the circumstances,” expressed Frazier, who like other coaches is doing daily temperature checks of her players as well as spending a plethora of time becoming a sanitation expert. “We try to social distance the best we can, run drills within our designated pods, take breaks to wash hands and clean all equipment after each use.”

For the second straight season, the orange and black will have a new leader.

“I’ve spent every fall in this gym for the last 20 years and I always knew I wanted to coach but I didn’t expect it to be quite so soon,” Frazier admitted.

“Regardless though, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to spend all this time with these girls to teach then and also learn from them.”

Frazier has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach and took the reins from Miriam Beall.

“While everything this summer so far has been an adjustment, the girls are willing to do whatever they can to try to have a season,” added the coach, who will be assisted by Courtney Burns and mother Janet.

“The girls are definitely excited to be back in the gym with a ball in their hands after doing practically nothing since school shut down in March.”

With plenty of work needed before the hopeful start of the season in less than six weeks, Frazier is trying to make the most of each day in the gym.

She’s attempting to impress upon them continued cohesive teamwork is the key to get to where they want to go.

“Trying to make each other better in every drill is what makes the difference,” Frazier continued. “A coach can’t watch every single rep so as a player holding each other accountable is really what makes our girls better in the end.”

Despite being an assistant coach, there has been an adjustment period.

“Really different,” Frazier chimed of being the one in charge now. “I’m beginning to understand that head coach definitely takes so much more time than anyone realizes. It already seems like a never ending job.

“Having good assistants is what makes being a head coach easier. I wouldn’t be able to run a successful practice without my mom, Courtney and Erica (Whipkey). For us, it is always a team effort in terms of coaching.”

Even with key graduation losses from 2019, the Tigers are in solid shape heading into the season.

“The returning players especially just want a chance to have a season,” Frazier added. “We are returning five starters including four seniors, Adeline Sims, Sam Burns, Maddy Richards and Emma Wyer along with sophomore Jordan Hickman.

“The possibility of not having a season is in the back of all their heads but at this point no one knows what is going to happen. The only thing you can do is try to stay the course just like a regular year and hope it all pans out.”

As it currently stands, the Tigers are going to continue working on all facets of the game as they integrate new players into their roles.

“We get in the gym and start playing and we honestly forget that anything like COVID is even going on outside,” said Frazier, who was 6 months old when the Tigers won their first state championship.

“We’ve just been pushing forward like nothing with this year is different and hoping for the best. These seniors have worked so hard these last four years to get to where they are. All they want is a chance to play that second weekend in November.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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