Southridge’s fresh faces find rhythm

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Southridge junior Adi Luker swims the backstroke during a recent practice.

By JIMMY LAFAKIS
jlafakis@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — As she prepared for the upcoming swim season, Southridge head coach Amy Kaetzel practiced a balancing act. Several seasoned swimmers will represent the Raiders this year, but Kaetzel has also guided a young group of eager student-athletes.

“It’s still individual,” she said. “They still focus really hard on their own strengths and what they need to do personally, but they also push each other as a team and work together as a team. They know that points are scored as a team, so we’ve got to keep it all together.”

The girls team features the only senior: Leah O’Brien. Jordan Biehl, Abbi Hall, Claire Hentrup, Ana Hewitt, Adi Luker and Dori Sherer comprise a talented nucleus of juniors.

A healthy crop of underclassmen offers a glimpse into the Raiders’ future. Freshmen Gracie Bayer, Paige Kemp, Penelope Roy and Ruthie Sherer will join sophomores Makayla Cox, Marissa Cox, Jenna Kendall and Calista Martin in the water.

Throughout their budding careers, the Raiders have built strong bonds.

“This girls team has been together for a long time,” Kaetzel said. “They really know each other well. They work really well together. They’re like family. They’re very supportive of each other, so it’s really exciting to watch them.”

Versatility is critical for the Raiders. Because Southridge is a relatively small team, the swimmers must train for a variety of races.

During her coaching career, Kaetzel has witnessed the Raiders acclimate to new events and environments.

“I like the sprints,” she said. “I just feel like they’re more exciting. I think we’ve got some really strong sprinters. We’ve got some kids that are going to do well in the distance events, too. Diving is always fun to watch, no matter who you’ve got in there. I like it all.”

On the boys side, Nolan Schoenbacher represents the Raiders’ junior class. Sophomores Ian Allen, Felipe Alvarado, Michael Hasenour, Reilly Lechner, Luke Ramsey, Brayden Reimann and Rogers Salinas are in the mix.

Lechner dove for the Raiders last season. According to Kaetzel, he encouraged several of his fellow sophomores to join the team.

“We don’t have a huge team like a lot of other schools do,” she said. “What they lack in numbers, they usually bring in strength and dedication.”

Early work in practices has paid dividends for the Raiders. The boys’ zest for learning has impressed Kaetzel.

“They’re coming in and working hard with good attitudes already,” she said. “I’m glad about that.”

Southridge’s school camaraderie also plays a factor. It is not uncommon for students and faculty members to come out and support the Raiders in the pool.

“The whole school really comes together as Raiders,” Kaetzel said. “It doesn’t really matter what sport you do.”

The girls open the season with a 6:30 p.m. meet against Gibson Southern and Lanesville on Thursday at home.

“We’re just going to keep working hard,” Kaetzel said. “We’re hoping for the best this year.”




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