Osage girls' soccer
This past season Angie Libby took on the task of taking over a state tournament qualifier that returned a lot of starters and trying to maintain, even build upon, that success.
She further amplified the challenge for herself this past season because not only was it her first year as the head coach of the Indians, but her first as a high school head coach period.
The Lady Indians returned seven All-District players, including the District 11 Player of the Year, Josie Verslues, the District 11 Offensive Player of the Year, Cassidy Culver, and the District 11 Keeper of the Year, Vanessa Webber. Both Culver and Verslues were named All-State last season as well. To say that the bar had been set high for Libby is an understatement.
“You want to live up to expectations, and that’s my job to get them there. In practice, it’s on my shoulders,” Libby said.
The St. Louis native had been playing soccer since the age of five and did so throughout her prep and college years. Prior to coming to School of the Osage, she was the head coach at DeSoto Central Middle School, and never lost a match there.
Libby infused a focus on strategy and conditioning for Osage and it paid off in a 20-5 overall record and another district championship.
"There's a lot more strategy in the game than people think; they think it's a lot of running and kicking the ball.” Libby added
Two of the Indians were named to the All-Region roster and Libby was named Public School Coach of the Year for Osage’s region. The current season’s All-State rosters for Class 1 have yet to be released.
If the team continues to follow Libby’s lead, the future looks bright for the Indians.
Osage boys' tennis
Osage tennis coach Scott Blacksher has seen a lot in his 25 years of coaching — the decline of facilities, state champion players, small teams with barely enough players to compete and more.
But through it all, he's remained calm and collected and guided his team in 2014 to one of the best seasons in memory. Tennis is usually a forgotten sport in many schools with fewer students playing the sport, much less coaching the sport.
But Blacksher has a keen eye for how individuals can improve their game in a sport reliant on nuance. He can, and does, offer specific points of play that impacts the individual's performance — and never in a condescending or aggressive manner. Take the 2014 team — three seniors with a lot of experience benefitted from Blacksher's advanced technique and strategy tips mid-match. He helped in the meteoric rise of the two sophomores on the team while the youngest and least experienced players received basic instruction crucial to development. With a small team playing as individual, tennis coaches have to tailor instruction to each player, something Blacksher excels at and Osage will have a difficult time replacing in 2015.
Camdenton girls' soccer
After 17 successful seasons at the helm of Laker girls’ soccer, J.D. Hunter is hanging up his whistle.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster all year and I’m just happy that I got to go out with these seniors because they’re a quality bunch of girls and they all have bright futures. I’ve known a lot of them since they were in elementary school,” Hunter said.