BUILDING A FOUNDATION: Ike Girls Looking To Build Off Last Year For Future
COMING INTO THE FALL, ALAINA LEE GAVE HER PLAYERS A CHOICE.
Either they would play volleyball or run cross country, so that once they got to basketball season in mid- November, they would by physically ready to play.
This year, the group chose cross country.
"It was hard at first but if you have your teammates pushing you, then you just keep going," senior Dashanique Hall said.
The benefits from running cross country were seen immediately.
Players like Hall said she was in much better shape entering this season compared to last, in big part because of running cross country. Sophomore Kristin Pipkins – a second-team, all- district selection last year – echoed the same message.
"It was worth all the early mornings, running two to three miles a day," Pipkins said with a laugh.
The hope for Lee, who enters her second year leading Eisenhower, is that this rise in conditioning will transfer into wins down the road as they try and build off a year where they finished last in District 16-6A.
"It starts with our seniors," Lee said. "This summer they took it upon themselves to work hard and to be in the gym as well as run cross country to build endurance. Which is one of the things we struggled with from a conditioning stand-point last year."
Despite the losses last year, Lee admits she saw growth.
Even though they weren't winning, Lee said she saw her team play very hard through all the games and were able to finish on a positive note.
Now, with another offseason of work, Lee said they should be able to build off last year and continue the growth.
"We can see where we were and how much we've grown over the summer," Lee said. "I think we will be able to build on that because we've been there before. We know we don't want to feel like we did last year."
Sometimes for a team, losses piling up can just become too much to handle.
"We don't take the losses as losses; we take them as lessons," Hall said. "Lessons as in what we need to do better the next game.
"We want to set the standard for not only the current underclassmen, but for the next ones coming up in years to come. We want to leave our mark. IKE is not the same anymore, and after us it will be better."