Senior athletes take the lead


Jack Lambert

Miles King, Staff Reporter

Senior leadership can often be an overlooked aspect of a team sport. The coaches cannot be on the field or court with the players; they must depend on the experience and wisdom of senior athletes for the success of the team.

For the men’s basketball team, a senior player such as Marc Rodgers is vital to team success and act as an extension of the coaches, according to assistant coach Drew Harris. Even though Rodgers is hurt, he is still one of the most vocal players on the team.

In some situations, the coaches cannot call a timeout. When this happens, the seniors on the court are a tremendous help to the coaches.

“Being in the program for multiple years, [seniors] know exactly what we want and what we’re looking for,” Harris said. “Seniors on the floor go pass that message on into what we would expect in that moment.”

Other seniors like Fuquan Niles lead through their play both in practice and on the court. Niles is good about leading by example, and always tries to play hard, according to Harris. Other seniors do a good job of this as well, he added.
Freshman forward Coleman Sparling believes a combination of the two senior leadership styles is most effective.

“The best leadership is [a player] that is going to go out there and work hard every single day,” Sparling said. “You know, going to speak up if you’re not working as hard and tell if you need to figure something out or do something different.”

Sparling said the seniors have taught him how to handle the road trips, the practices and the daily process throughout the season. Senior forwards Jerome Bryant and Fuquan Niles, who Sparling said he has a strong bond with, have helped Sparling tremendously in his freshman season.

“Jerome and Fuquan are the ones that are going to pick you up at the end of the day and be real with you and just always know that you have more in you,” Sparling said. “I really appreciate those two for all they do for me keeping my confidence up.”

For the CWU women’s soccer team, the freshman rely heavily on the seniors for guidance and help with the transition from club and high school teams to the collegiate level, according to junior forward Kennedy Anson.

“Everything is completely different and completely more intense,” Anson said. “Having the experience of knowing what [the coach] expects so that we can portray that to them helps. A lot of times they just don’t even know what he’s asking.”

When junior forward KK Wallace was a freshman. She definitely felt the difficulties of the transition into college soccer. Both Wallace and Anson have been in a position of uncertainty and needing to learn quickly, and are ready to lead the incoming players.

“We know the coach just wants the best out of all of us,” Wallace said. “We want you to succeed, but you just have to get up to here; be up to our level.”