Being a senior on a high school sports team is no easy task. The seniors are often looked upon to be a role model, leader and even a mentor. Seniors are the ones who have been perfecting their skill for four years, and they are the ones who know how routines, schedules and different team procedures go. The role of senior athletes is more challenging when there is only one on a team. Anna Hutcheson knows all about that struggle.
Hutcheson has been playing volleyball since she was in sixth grade. Throughout the past four years, Hutcheson has been awaiting the role that she knew she would have to play as a senior. As a junior, Hutcheson enjoyed much success, as she and the rest of the volleyball team won Sectional, Regional and advanced to Semi-State before losing to Covenant Christian.
“Last year was surreal for me. My goal as a freshman was to have a picture up on the cafeteria wall before I graduated high school. I only dreamt of winning Sectional. My freshman and sophomore years disappointed me because we never got out of the first round of Sectional. The dream almost seemed out of reach for me, but I did not stop working for it. The moment we won Sectional was the greatest feeling ever. That next week, we go into our Regional game, and I knew we had it. We warmed up really well, there were more people at that game than we have ever had, and I knew we were going to win,” said Hutcheson. “When we scored that final point, I was overjoyed with the excitement from the crowd as they ran to the floor to greet us. The coaches were jumping up and down and crying. All of the players were smiling and hugging. It was one of the best experiences of my life.”
This year, Hutcheson’s goals fall no shorter than they were last year. With multiple returning starters and plenty of momentum, Hutcheson looks to lead her team to even more championships.
“Our goals for this year are to win conference and go back to Semi-State or farther. So far this year, we are doing pretty well, but we still need to improve before we go into Sectional. We have Christian Academy in our Sectional now. They are very beatable, but everyone on the team needs to believe that and continue to work towards beating them if we want to go back to Semi-State,” said Hutcheson.
Being the lone senior on an aspiring championship team is no easy task. However, Hutcheson has embraced the challenge and looks to continue to be a tremendous leader on and off the court.
“Being the only senior has put a bunch of pressure on me to make all the decisions of what we are wearing, when to meet, things we need to change and dealing with drama. Coach Clark confides in me often. She asks for my opinion on things and gives me the responsibility of dealing with drama on the team. I think of the girls as MY team. I am responsible for them and what they do. There are times I wish I could divide the responsibility with other seniors, but honestly I feel like that would only stress me out more. I enjoy being the only senior and being in charge on the court,” said Hutcheson.
As for her future in volleyball, Hutcheson says that she has had some colleges contact her about playing for them. Though Hutcheson is very intrigued by the offers and the idea of continuing the sport she loves, she is still weighing out the pros and cons of playing in college. Hutcheson plans to pursue a career in the medical field; therefore, being a college athlete could be challenging at times.
Story by Garrett Vincent