Tharptown volleyball readies for season under new coach

The timing couldn’t have been better for Kamri Fleming. Recently hired as a special education teacher at Tharptown High School, Fleming immediately began volunteering to help Tracey Fretwell with the school’s volleyball program. Not long after, Fretwell submitted her resignation as coach for personal reasons, and Fleming jumped at the chance to lead the Lady Wildcats.

In doing so, Fleming becomes the first Tharptown High School graduate to become a coach at her alma mater. Fleming was a standout athlete on the basketball court as Kamri Sears before graduating in 2014.

“I’m excited to be at Tharptown this year,” said Fleming. “What they say is true; there’s no place like home. I feel like being from Tharptown, and as a former player in the program, the girls know I truly care about the program and that I want it to succeed.”

Even though Fleming got the job just a week before the team’s first match, she said she feels like she is ready for the challenge.

“The biggest challenge I think I have had is the girls not having time to adapt to some new positions and roles on the floor before our first game Aug. 24,” Fleming explained. “I’ve swapped some girls around and gotten them out of their comfort zones, but I think it will be the best fit for the team and for them. They are really doing well in their new positions. I know they will be capable of getting the job done.”

Fleming said she is excited about the group she gets to coach.

“This will be the first group I have gotten to lead as a head coach,” said Fleming. “They have really gotten after it at practice, and nothing excites me more than their eagerness to learn. They have really bought into the process, and they work extremely hard each day.”

She said she is anxious to see her team in action on the court against another team.

“I don’t really know what our weaknesses are just yet because we haven’t faced another team. I just know we have to do the fundamental things correctly,” she said. “We can’t check out of the game mentally. We have to work on staying consistent in everything we do, from communication, to serving, to passing.

“We just have to work on doing things the right way all of the time.”

Fleming said her girls are doing a good job of facing the unknown with the coronavirus situation and how it could affect their season. “They have done a great job of doing their part,” she said. “They know that if they want to have a volleyball season, they have to follow procedures and hope for the best. They really want to have a volleyball season.

Tharptown’s first match will be at Red Bay Aug. 24.