New Year, New Coaches


Clarion photo Ariel Harmon

Head coach Mekeala Hemming and assistant coach Brookelyn Cole ready their team for PIL play.

By Allie Montgomery and Ariel Harmon

The start of the school year is a hard time for any athlete, but with a new coaching staff, the volleyball team finds itself off to a 5-1 record to start the season.

Mekeala Hemming, a first year assistant last year, returns as the new head coach, taking over for longtime coach Camille Adana. The question for Hemming and the team is, while the fast start is great, will it last?

The volleyball program was run by Adana for 12 years. She earned a total of six coach of the year awards, while maintaining a good relationship with the girls she coached. “I truly miss the crowd, the spirit, the success. There is nothing like athletics, competitiveness, success and the energy,” said Adana about her absence from the team this year.

Although she misses the experience, she’s ready to focus on her teaching at Cleveland, where she’s a health and leadership teacher. She will also continue writing her new book. “I love Cleveland High School and want the best for every team, club and student-athlete!” said Adana.

Last year, Adana and Hemming were the varsity coaches. Hemming has moved up from assistant to become the head coach for the varsity team this season, with her best friend (since elementary school), Brookelynn Cole, as her trusty assistant.

On the junior varsity team, John McIntyre was the girls’ coach, but has been replaced by Jill Spencer. Finally, Sydney Veenker has taken over Sarah Kane’s group on junior varsity two.

“She toughens our team up and helps us improve more and get more disciplined,” Ella Ristvedt, said, a sophomore on the varsity team when asked about her new coach.

Not only has the whole group of coaches changed, but the styles and techniques have changed as well. What the returning players from last year remember most was the positivity the coaches encouraged. This year, the coaches are focusing more on smaller techniques to make their team sharper. Also, laziness doesn’t go without a punishment. This year, as all the girls got a taste of how determined the coaches are to create a team that gives maximum effort.

“It’s a bit stricter than last year. The rules are more defined at the beginning of the year,” Eva Morris, a sophomore on junior varsity added about the newer rules.

With a strong start for the varsity team and with players looking forward to their improvement, it seems like it wasn’t as difficult a start as expected. Players seem to be looking more closely at the consequences for their actions, like taking too long to get started in practice. They are pushed to work harder and exert more effort. “I think our team will definitely improve and we have already shown improvement at the start of the season,” said Linsey Haraldsen, a sophomore on the JV2 team.