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Wildcat girls show strength with four returning starters

Kamri Fleming enters her second year as the Tharptown High School volleyball coach, and the established program has eyes on the prize for this season.

Q: Who are your top returning players?

A: I will have four returning starters this season who are going to be key factors for us offensively: Jaiden Gaston, Taylor Cameron, Destin Martin and Leslie Staggs.

Jaiden will be our goto hitter and puts a lot of points on the board. She’s also one of our best servers. Taylor is an allaround player; she can play any position I put her in. She’s a great setter and has an awesome serve, but she’s also one of our hardest hitters. Destin is going to be our primary setter this season. She got a lot of playing time early on last year before being sidelined with some health issues. I’m glad to have her back fully healthy. Leslie is a great passer, and she hits the ball well too.

Q: Who are some other players you expect to make an impact and why?

A: I have two players I believe are going to make an impact for us. Kyndall Morgan is a junior, and this will be only her second year to play. I moved her up to varsity this past season after the JV season ended, and a lot of good things happened for her. She hits the ball well, and she’s a hard worker. Karrah Nichols is a seventhgrader who is going to be a key factor on defense. She’s very young, but she’s a great passer, has a good hard serve, and she hustles. She rarely lets a ball hit the floor, and if it does, she’s on the floor with it.

Q: What have you learned about your team through summer heading into fall practice?

A: I’ve learned what our strengths and weaknesses are. That’s why I love summer play dates. Now, we have an entire preseason to work on fixing and improving our weaknesses.

Q: What are your expectations of this team?

A: This team has plenty of talent. I expect a winning season out of this group because I know they are fully capable. Last season, we made it to the championship game of our county and area tournament. That was not the outcome we wanted. The girls know what it’s going to take to get back there this season. I’m hoping the success the girls saw in the postseason last year rolls over into this season and helps contribute to our work ethic to only get better.

Tharptown competes in Class 2A Area 10 with Red Bay, Lamar County and Sulligent.