Sarah Heber • Distribution Manager
Three girls teams, three new coaches, one common goal. Julieanne McClain took over as head coach for girls tennis. Girls golf, an entirely new sport at Hayes, welcomed Steve Lehman as head coach. Lastly, Mark Thomas took on the assistant coach position for girls volleyball. The common goal these new coaches hope to achieve this fall is simply growth and development.
After spending two years as the assistant tennis coach for Worthington Christian High School, McClain now takes on the head coach role here at Hayes. While at Worthington Christian she coached both boys and girls, but she is focusing on helping the girls team here at Hayes.
“I enjoying being able to watch a match going on, give a couple pointers, and then see the players really own that advice and change, especially when it makes the difference between a winning and losing,” McClain said.
The team graduated a fair amount of seniors last year but McClain still has high expectations for the returning players and new players as well.
“It’s a growing year. I know that is cliché but it really is a growing year in every sense,” she said. “So it’s going to be an exciting season. It’s probably not going to be exciting in terms of score but it’ll for sure be in terms of growth.”
Similar to the tennis team, the girls golf team is going to have a growing year. This is a new sport to Hayes and it has already caught students’ attention.
“We’ve always had a number of girls who wanted to play and we thought we had a full team last year but a couple of them weren’t able to play so we ended up one player short,” Lehman said.
To form a full team, only four golfers are required, however Lehman is pleased that the team stands strong with seven members this year.
“For competitive purposes and for other things like injuries it is nice to have more,” Lehman said.
With this being a new sport to Hayes, he is excited to spread the word about girls golf and simply teach them about the beauty of the sport.
Lehman wants his athletes “to learn to enjoy the game and learn all that it has to offer,” he said. “[Golf] is something they can play till they’re 90 years old.”
The final change for girls sports this season is that Coach Thomas took on the role as assistant coach for the volleyball team. He now currently coaching three sports, teaching, and is also a husband and a father of two young boys. Although he has a full plate, he is still excited to help the volleyball program grow.
“I’d say my expectations for the season would be just to get better as a program, to get better as a team and as a group of girls,” Thomas said.
Thomas hopes to help set the foundation of tradition for years to come. After already doing so with the softball program, he is confident he can do the same with the volleyball team. Thomas enjoys being the assistant for the volleyball team, especially since he is head coach for softball.
“It’s pretty cool to get to take that step back, letting Lee run things and then I can just give tips every once and a while,” Thomas said. “I can laugh a little bit more with the girls instead of being as serious.”
With all these changes this fall, the level of anticipation for the future face of girls sports at Hayes is at an all time high. The new coaches are pushing their girls to raise the level of competition and are asking for more out of them than ever before. If everything goes according to plan, the girls sports programs will continue to grow stronger in the upcoming years.