Tharptown expanding athletic program with volleyball team

THARPTOWN — Athletes at Tharptown High School will have one more sport to compete in this fall when the school’s volleyball program takes the court for the first time.

Coach Tracey Fretwell said there was a high level of interest in starting the team.

“We held tryouts before school ended and about 30 players showed up,” Fretwell said. “We will have two teams — a seventh-eighth-and-ninth-grade team and a team for the 10th,11th and 12th graders.”

The program can thank the consolidation of schools in Lawrence County for getting the team going.

Fretwell said three players from Mount Hope transferred to Tharptown after that school closed.

“These girls who played before pushed for it and approached Principal (Gary) Odom,” Fretwell said.

The team then had to get the approval of Franklin County School Superintendent Gary Williams. Williams told the team they could play, but there was not any money in the budget for a new program.

After the team was approved, boosters began looking for a coach and approached Fretwell, who gladly accepted that position.

Fretwell then began the process of funding the team. Tharptown’s first big fundraiser will be July 10 when the team hosts a car wash at the Jack’s in Russellville. The team is also selling merchandise, which is available through the school.

Fretwell, who played high school volleyball at Phillips, said the early response from the team is good.

“They have only been playing for a month,” Fretwell said. “The girls are enjoying it and they are coming together as a team.”

The team, which does not know if it will begin area play now or have to wait until the next time the Alabama High School Athletic Association realigns the areas following the 2011-12 school year.

Either way, Fretwell has a full schedule for the Lady Wildcats. Tharptown has games scheduled against Hackleburg, Mars Hill, Colbert County and several other teams.