New coaches hit field for Landrum spring season

Published 8:30 pm Thursday, March 13, 2014

by Morgan McLellan
As the 2014 spring sport season begins at Landrum High School, every team starts with a fresh combination of new and old players. Five of these teams will run head first into this season with a new coach.
Varsity girls soccer coach Cathy Riordan sees familiar faces as she moves up to coach varsity this year. Riordan coached JV girls soccer at LHS for the past two years. Riordan is not new to coaching, though, having coached two years of 12 and under recreation league soccer in Polk County and 10 and under recreational league soccer in her hometown, Tonawanda, NY, while she was in high school and college. Riordan started playing soccer when she was in the seventh grade when her father helped to create a girls’ travel soccer league in her community.
“I played for eight years consistently for school each fall, indoor recreation teams in the winter and travel soccer every summer,” Riordan said.
Riordan went on to play for two years at St. Bonaventure University, a Division One school in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
“My best memories and experiences were of the four years I played in high school,” Riordan said. Riordan feels good about her veteran and rookie mix.
“We’ve focused on ball handling, passing and communicating effectively on the field,” Riordan said. In the past, the girls’ team has been an underdog but Riordan is “hoping to surprise the competition this season.”
As Riordan moved up, coach Jennifer Phillips eagerly stepped in to coach the JV girls soccer team. This is Phillips’ first year coaching at the high school level, but she has coached four years of AYSO soccer. Phillips did not play soccer in high school but played softball. This won’t hold her back as Phillips is extremely positive for the 2014 season.
“It doesn’t matter whether we win or lose. I want my girls to become a team. It takes a whole team to win a soccer game. As long as they have confidence to win, play as a team and have fun, we will have a good soccer season,” Phillips said.
Varsity baseball starts this season with coach Daniel Little. Little has been coaching baseball for six years, including at Latta High School and Calhoun Falls High School. Little played baseball throughout school and continued to play baseball at Erskine College.
Little has been working his team hard so far this season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how good we can be at the end of the season,” Little said.
The JV softball team will also take the field with a new coach this season. Kaylie Howard had been the varsity assistant coach for the previous six years prior but this season moved down to JV. Howard played at LHS and graduated in 2004. Howard went on to pitch at Southern Wesleyan University until 2008.
“Our goal is to grow as a team and develop our fundamental skills in fielding and hitting,” Howard said.  James Newell extends his first year at LHS from a JV and varsity football coach to a track and field throwing coach as well.
Newell ran track at Boiling Springs High School before going to the University of South Carolina Upstate. Newell threw the shot put and discus as well as ran the 200m and 400m sprints while in high school.
Newell has been working with his new athletes and feels very good about the coming season. “I think the girls have a legitimate chance at winning region in shot put and discus this year, and the boys team has shown a lot of potential,” Newell said.

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