By Kinsley Wilson
Fourteen-year-old freshman Kate Manor is on the court anticipating the next play. An 18-year-old outside hitter is set up across the net. Kate transitions, filling the seam.
The block misses the ball and in an instant the ball is coming straight at her. Kate sticks the dig to Addie Phillippe, who sets up the middle Olivia Morris, and boom, the ball is sent straight to the ground.
The Delta varsity volleyball team is rewarded with the kill, all because of Kate’s dig.
Kate is one of a handful of freshmen who started at the varsity level in fall sports.
These starters also included Brody Adams and Cole Mynett in football and Waylen Stewart and Draydon Swanson in boys’ soccer and Grace Jarrells in girls soccer.
Kate plays volleyball for the school team and Munciana Volleyball Club.
She has been putting a lot of work in to get to where she is. She played all three years in middle school and now that she’s in high school she’s playing with a whole new team. She is used to this sort of thing since in Munciana you make a different team each year.
Kate went from playing against other 14-year-olds to playing against girls as old as 18.
“It makes me sad that I can’t play with the people in my grade, but I like varsity,”’ Kate says.
She has made several connections on the team and said it was a great experience overall.
“The biggest leader is Camaya (Murray), and when I mess up she says I’m fine and makes it better,” Kate says.
She also says she has gotten close with Kendra Keesling, Mabrey Stebbins and Braelyn Fleck.
Another varsity starter is Brody Adams, who plays fullback for the football team . He said senior running back Palmer Samuels has been helpful to him.
“Palmer always gets us hype for the game and if you mess up he helps make you feel better,” Adams says. “I want to be a leader like him.”
Having an example like Palmer on the team was helpful for Brody and inspired him to be a leader when he is gone. “[Fullback] is a hard position on the team, especially for a freshman,” Samuels said. “[Adams] makes what I do possible.”
Playing basketball, lifting in his free time, and never taking a day off helped Brody stand out from others. Having an end goal helped him get to where he is now.
“I want to go [NCAA] D1 wherever it will take me,” he says. “I’ve just got to stay focused.”
Cole Mynett is another freshman who started on the varsity level in football. He plays defensive end. He is there to contain the edge, which basically means to make sure that no one gets through. It is an important position on the team and essentially can make or break a play.
“It feels pretty good to be on varsity,” he says. “I worked really hard to get there.”
Cole also looks up to Palmer.
“He always tries to keep hopes high and puts the team first,” Cole says.
Cole lifts in his free time, plays basketball and hopes to go to Indiana University in the future.
“The team is in good hands with [Brody and Cole] in the future,” Palmer says.
Freshmen Waylen Stewart and Drayton Swanson are both starters on the varsity soccer team. Waylen has been playing for eight years and Drayton for six years.
“I would like to go to play in the MLS (major league soccer),” Drayton says. He runs in his free time, wrestles and watches games to better his playing skills.
He said the person he looks up to the most on the team is Mason Lynn.
“I look up to him because he is a good leader and pushes me,” Drayton says.
Waylen, who wants to play in college at IU, does club soccer out of school.
“The older guys on the team really motivated me and made me want to do better,” he says.
He is excited for his next season and doesn’t know what is coming.
“There has always been competition between me and Drayton because we are held to a higher standard,” Waylen explains.
He also offers the fact that they really help each other because they are in the same situation as freshmen on varsity.