Freshmen making an impact for the Storm

by Marshall McCarty

Simpson is off to another great fall sports season, and freshmenonce again are an integral part of that success.

Some names that you will all become familiar with over the nextfour years are Trent Kain, wide receiver for the football team, andErika Amfahr, right-side hitter on the volleyball team.

The pair of freshman said intensity and tempo are the mostdifficult things to get used to when making the jump from highschool sports into college athletics.

“The biggest change for me is the way I run routes. In highschool, I’d just run. Here I have to do little things like gettingeven with defenders and planting hard.” Kain said.

Amfahr suggested the team concept was something new forfreshmen.

“In high school, you kind of play for yourself, here it’s allabout the team,” Amfahr said.

Both Kain and Amfahr said that practices are where they noticedthe biggest differences. As freshmen, they have found that to getto the level all the returning players are at, they have to worktwice as hard. Amfahr said she used the summer to get prepared forher four-a-days when she got here this fall.

While players see intensity and tempo as the most difficultthings to get used to, coaches point to other things that theirfreshman athletes have to deal with.

Head volleyball coach Lana Smith said time management is one ofthe most difficult things that freshmen have to deal with whenmaking the change from high school to college.

“With such a difficult travel schedule, it’s hard to deal withtime issues,” Smith said. “Plus, not being in school all day like[they are] in high school makes it hard to manage free timeeffectively. It helps to come early before school and get anchoredin,” Smith said, referring to the two weeks before classes thatvolleyball players use to practice before homework and extensivereading arrive.

Head football coach Jay Niemann stated that time management isthe most important adjustment that not only freshmen athletes haveto make, but all freshmen in general.

Smith and Niemann agreed that becoming a team player is adifficult transition for some.

“Going from being the star to being part of a team … issomething that some struggle with,” Niemann said.

Along with Smith, Niemann pushes the team concept early andoften.

Head men’s and women’s tennis coach Bob Nutgrass seeshomesickness as a recurring issue for freshmen. Nutgrass said thisrarely affects their playing abilities. He pointed out that thetennis courts are where the freshman get the chance to forget aboutthings, so it serves as something like a comfort zone.

Team building activities are also important to all of Simpson’sfall sports teams. Being active together off the field is somethingthat all the coaches said was an important part of being an athletehere at Simpson.

Smith helps freshmen by pairing them with upperclassmen so theycan learn from the examples of the experienced student-athletes.Nutgrass sets up activities where his teams can just hang outtogether and get to know each other.

Another tactic to helping freshmen become more comfortable seemsto be to just throw them in the mix. Smith doesn’t like to treather freshmen any differently than the rest of her team.

“They must be the hardest working, the hungriest. No one canoutwork them,” Smith said.