Polk middle school teams cap off stellar seasons

Published 11:22 pm Thursday, October 24, 2013

Polk County Middle School's championship volleyball team. (photo by Virginia Walker)

Polk County Middle School’s championship volleyball team. (photo by Virginia Walker)

Call it a pipeline to high school athletics, or simply savor the successes of Polk County Middle School athletic teams for what they represent on their own. Regardless, the school’s volleyball, soccer and football teams recently completed excellent campaigns.

Polk County Middle School's boys soccer team on the field earlier this season. (photo submitted)

Polk County Middle School’s boys soccer team on the field earlier this season. (photo submitted)

Volleyball coach Brandy Alm’s middle school Wolverines not only capped a 15 win season with a conference championship, but never lost a game. Matches are best of three, but the team never needed to play a third game. After winning the conference’s eastern division, Alm’s players swept western division champion Rugby, 25-14, 25-8, to claim the conference crown.

An overall team effort won the conference title, said Alm.

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“Every day, they came into practice, and were ready to go. They were always focused and ready to play,” she said.

Alm said the players’ goals were to win the (eastern) division, the conference and be undefeated. Statewide competition does not exist at the middle school level.

Team captains were Kendall Hall, Reagan Waddell, Sara McCown and Cameron Capozzi.

Four Wolverines will return to next year’s team – Morgan Stott, Ansley Lynch, Reese Ally and Izzy Jackson.

Experienced players provided a boost, said Alm.

“With our recreation program (at the elementary school level), we start at a young age,” Alm said, adding that some of the middle school players also play travel ball. “They’re really interested in playing more and learning more.”

Some of the recreation program players attended the conference finals, which were held at PCMS, to support the older players. Some even dyed their hair, a sort of take-off on the high school’s Blue Crew, said Alm.

“It’s awesome for our girls to have that support,” she said.

Soccer coach Travis Aldred, meanwhile, has played soccer all his life. That experience helped the team finish the season 7-4-1, in Aldred’s first year of coaching. That, he said, represents the Wolverines’ best season in some time.

“We started out great,” Aldred said. (As the season progressed, and in post-season play), “the teams were getting better.” The Wolverines were seeded third in conference championship play, but lost to Flat Rock in the first round.

“We had plenty of opportunities,” said Aldred. “We couldn’t find the back of the net.”

Aldred coached “a great group of kids,” all of whom got along well, and “played hard, with lots of enthusiasm.”

Next year might be more of a coaching challenge, as all of Aldred’s starters were eighth graders. Six players, all of whom saw playing time, will return.

“They were a blast to coach,” Aldred said of his players, who gave him a “great first-year experience.”

PCMS football coach Billy Alm’s squad finished the regular season at 7-1, capturing the division championship. The Wolverines lost to Waynesville in the conference championship.