Volleyball coaches bring their experience to East

Nadia Karim Reporter

Delaney Woodruff and Arianna Washkowski cheer their team on after winning a point against South Soux City. Photo by Nadia Karim.

Bellevue East volleyball kicks off their 2022 season with two new additions to the program. Delaney Woodruff and Arianna Waschkowski have transitioned from being previous players, to now being able to call themselves coaches. 

Head coach Courtney Smeby said that the biggest benefit of having previous players on staff is that they know the culture and the expectations of the program.            

“Coach Woodruff and Waschkowski are upbeat, have recently played competitively, and have a strong knowledge of the game. Along with their sheer competitiveness as former athletes, they’re able to lead by an example,” Smeby said.

When coaching teen athletes, it can become vital to have younger coaches that are aware of the way teens may think. 

Waschkowski is fresh out of college with teen and volleyball experience and is able to do just this. She said that she is excited to be back as an alumna and is even more excited to see what she can bring to East volleyball.

“My senior year of college I had the opportunity to learn so much more about different aspects of the game since I was a student assistant. I am really excited to bring to the team what I learned from my college experience,” Waschkowski said.

Not only is Waschkowski coaching at East, she has just started her first year of teaching 4th grade at Birchcrest Elementary. She describes balancing teaching and coaching as stressful, but in the end, fulfilling.

Waschkowski isn’t the only one who has decided to start a new teaching path this year. Woodruff just recently joined East as one of the new physical education teachers. 

“I had been coaching middle school volleyball for the last 3 years and wanted to move up to the high school level. It was also a great opportunity to join the volleyball coaching staff,” Woodruff said.

Already having coaching and playing experience, Woodruff was a perfect fit for the program. Being one of the only coaches who didn’t grow up in Bellevue, Woodruff explains that she’s excited to see what she brings to the table.

“I am excited to share my knowledge and love for the game and I think I will be able to bring a different perspective on some things,” Woodruff said.

While Woodruff is able to bring out-of-Bellevue experience, Waschkowski is able to bring alumni experience. 

Waschkowski played for East all four years of high school and continued on in college at Peru State until her senior year when she unfortunately got injured and became a coach’s assistant.

 “I hope to bring positive energy and excitement to the team. I really enjoyed my time playing volleyball and tennis at Bellevue East, so I want to make sure the athletes have just as much fun as I did,” Waschkowski said.

Having an entertaining coaching and playing environment has always been top priority for Smeby. She said having previous players makes this part easier considering they are already aware of the culture and expectations.       

“Personally, I spend four year building strong relationships with our athletes, and I preach being a family each and every day.  So for them to continue that post-high school relationship, then have them come back to serve others within our school community is extremely special to me. It’s fulfilling,” Smeby said.