Coach Sledge and Lady War Eagles Bringing It Rocky-style

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Shhhhhhhhhh… got a secret… you can’t tell a soul… if you do, no one will confide in me ever again and I won’t be able to be your go-to info guy. Please understand that I am not completely certain my source is solid on this one but I want it to be true so bad I’m writing as if it is.

Here it goes… The athletic “powers that be” at Oak Ridge high school have made it clear that if the head coaches of all sports do not make big strides towards developing a winning mentality within their programs at all levels, their futures may become… well… unclear. TRANSLATION:  Help change the culture or hit the road, Jackson!

I don’t know about you but if this is true, it’s the best news I’ve heard in all my days as a suffering Oakridgian. That’s a long time people!!

Check this out… I was covering an Oak Ridge volleyball match against Tomball last night where our Lady War Eagles dismantled the visitors to the tune of a straight set romp 25-8, 25-17 and 25-19. Wanna hear what their record is now? I’m so glad you asked!!!

21 AND FREAKING 5, GOSH DARN IT ALL!

It appears as if Coach Tommie Lynn Sledge and her assistants must have received the threatening “winning mentality” memo in early August and are absolutely freaking out. The poor coaches are feeling so much pressure they are winning much more than losing. Well, that seems extreme especially when you consider that Coach Sledge’s teams have won more games than they’ve lost in her successful five year tenure. Coach will be the first one to tell you she is getting some big time help from her talented team this year.

Against Tomball, Victoria Harris led all killers with 13. Whitney Wofford hit the floor for 13 huge digs while veteran Morgan Jones had four blistering aces. Bailey Sheranko led in the assist department but she gets so many every time she plays I lose count so I’ve stopped trying.

However, to name just four athletes would be criminal with this balanced squad. Coach Sledge is just giddy when describing the make-up of her team, “I feel like the mentality of the kids is different, It’s something we’ve been digging at, and it’s been a process. Our junior high programs are growing. We’re getting the junior high kids at a higher level, so therefore we’re able to push these athletes here.”

If you’ve been following Oak Ridge volleyball in Sledge’s five years, you would be safe in saying this 2012 team is the most balanced from top to bottom. On that note, it was a pleasure to see Oak Ridge get a big time senior move-in from Kentucky in 5’7″ Right side/Outside Hitter, Amber Johnson. “She’ll play in college somewhere..she has options”, Sledge added. “If you look at all of our seniors, you could make a strong case for all of them playing at the next level.”

The 5’11” Harris is just a sophomore and has already verbally committed to be a Bearcat (Cincinnati). Not surprisingly, Harris was MVP of the George Ranch tournament last week and led Oak Ridge to the championship. This was the second straight season Oak Ridge has reached the throne room at The Ranch.”

Going right down the roster, you could make a case for every single Lady War Eagle having a big night throughout the season. Sledge agreed, “A lot of teams are going to think we’re a one-man show,” she said. “We’re not by any means. Anybody can come out and surprise you.”

District 14-5A competition starts Friday and Sledge likes her team’s chances, “I think we are ready for district”, Sledge said, “I’m excited that we start district on Friday against Bryan and then turn around and see College Park on Tuesday.” Sledge continued, “I feel like we’ve made gains, and that’s what you always try to do through preseason and tournaments,” Sledge said. “I feel like we’re right where we need to be going into district.”

You’ve got to love how Sledge’s infectious enthusiasm rubs off on her Lady War Eagles. More than likely, she received “the memo” and welcomed the challenge. The way Coach and her team are excelling in every department, at the conclusion of the season she’ll be in the hierarchy’s office being evaluated doing her best “Rocky” impersonation… “Bring it on… I’m still standing here… I’m still standing here!!!”

Count on that!

Support your Lady War Eagles this year!

and they are….

#1) Abby Nowak

#2) Whitney Wofford

#3) Jaclyn Ward

#4) Bailey Sheranko

#6) Alie Mattingly

#7) Morgan Jones

#8) Taylor Chunn

#9) Nikki Testerman

#10) Victoria Harris

#11) Amber Johnson

#18) Lauren Fernandez

Next game Friday 5:30pm Vs Bryan at home.

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

 

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Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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