PREP SPORTS: ‘You need to set an example’: Holly Pond’s Kamryn Tankersley recaps junior year

Holly Pond’s Kamryn Tankersley. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HOLLY POND, Ala. – In this interview I spoke to Holly Pond Junior Kamryn Tankersley’s junior volleyball and basketball seasons with the Broncos. Tankersley talked about what she learned during the last school year and how blessed she felt to play alongside a great group of girls.

“It is extremely incredible; the experience is amazing. It’s something that you always work for and keep in mind when in practice, games, and even in the middle of doing drills. The growth and connection we had as a team is something special and we couldn’t make it to where we want to go, without each other doing their specific job. The work and endurance it takes to be a winner, to achieve your purpose, is always something to remind yourself of. It may be hard, but in the end, it is so worth it,” Tankersley said. “This season was full of friendships, laughter, and memories. That’s what made the season so memorable and fun. Playing with these girls is so exciting, and it makes you want to win each game and push yourself for not only you, but your team.”

Kamryn is so grateful to be playing for head coach Adrien Adams and she has soaked up as much as she can from her so far.

“Coach Adams is a woman that will forever hold a special place in my heart. She is a great coach, but with that, she is a great Godly woman who will always welcome you with open arms. Our bond has grown throughout the years. I consider her someone that will always support me and love me. I’ve learned many lessons from coach Adams that I will carry with me throughout my lifetime,” she said. “What I learned from her is that every play matters, take it as if it was your last and make something happen, create holes, and hit the ball as hard as you can. I’ve also learned that volleyball is just a game that will, sooner or later, fade away from your life, but God’s first. He’s always there for you, no matter the circumstances.”

Kamryn got to play alongside senior Aliyah Ryan and was blessed to play with her. She also talked about another teammate that she’s blessed to play alongside, plus what has made this team special to play with.

“Aliyah is an encourager and one that was always so uplifting. She knew her part on the team and she did everything she could to be good at that position. I wouldn’t be able to do it without Emma Earl. She is a great setter and will do anything to make sure it’s the perfect set for you. Not only is she one of my best friends, but she is the best teammate and setter a girl could ask for. The connection Emma and I have is something I’ll cherish forever,” Tankersley said. “Our team this year had so much trust in one another that it made each game easy. It made the game so much more enjoyable with teammates like mine.”

Kamryn has seen her game grow so much throughout the years, but she still sees room for improvement. She has become a great leader to the younger players on the team and has seen them grow a lot during her time on the team.

“I’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth, by rewatching games, taking criticism, and by getting in the weight room. The speed drills that have been added have helped all of us so much. We have gained muscle that is needed. We have also gained not only physical toughness, but mental as well. The more you grow into the player you need to be, the more you should lead and pave the way for others. It’s a tough road to get there, but it’s so worth every minute,” she said. “I could still use improvement everywhere. Good is not good enough. You keep working until you’re great, and when that day comes, you work even harder. No matter what it comes down to, everyone could always use room for growth in anything. I need to lock in and get focused on this next season coming up.”

She added,

“Leading a team is the most important aspect of being successful. It’s something that I always knew I wanted to do: encourage, improve, and help others. People look up to you and you need to set an example for them to follow. The kids below me have grown so much in their knowledge of the game and they have a lot of confidence building up inside of them. It takes time to learn and understand the importance of the game, but it can be done.”

Kamryn has some individual and team goals set for next season and she also talked about what will make this team special to watch this upcoming season.

“The goals are going to be set high this season. We do not want any feeling of failure. Individually, I need to continue to work and get better. Each one of us needs to work harder on our own specific goal, then bring it all together as a team. We definitely want to make a state appearance and even go after the state title. It’s always been a dream of mine and it would be amazing to see it come true,” she said. “This team this upcoming season has so much talent, passion, and love for the game. We love to make things enjoyable and put our fans on their toes.”

The Lady Broncos had another great basketball season as well and Kamryn learned a lot from the time she spent with her coaches and teammates.

“The experience was great. It was something I’ve never had done before, and it made me feel good that all the hard work paid off. We played Lindsay Lane in the Sub-Regional game, and that game showed us exactly how we should play. That game, we shot well, handled the pressure, and played great defense. Lessons are always important in every part of life. Keep working hard and train game speed at all times. The Sweet 16 demonstrates how bad each team wants it, and at the end of the day, one team has to win to continue. We might not have won it this year, but next year, we’ll definitely make it past Wallace. This team is so much fun to be around. We can joke, smile, and be silly at times, but we also know when it’s time to put in the work.”

“The dedication that every single one of us had is something I’ll never forget. It takes a team to make a game. One person can’t do it all. The teamwork and hard times is what made us and it’s something that will always push us to be better. We will continue to strive for a better future and get in the weight room as much as possible.

Kamryn got to play alongside three great seniors and learned some things from them.

“They always encouraged me and picked me up when I was down. Maddi Ham is a person that has taught me a lot about basketball. From my first year on varsity as a freshman, she took me in and never judged me. She motivated me all the time, even when she had her injury. She never failed to yell for me or the team. What I learned from her is to always fight until the very end or when the whistle blows, and to play as a team. Samantha Giles and Bai Widner were great teammates. They were very loud and encouraging. They kept things entertaining and fun. What I learned from them is to always be a leader and to never give up on a play.”

This was Kamryn’s first year playing under head coach Mary Lauren Hartline and has soaked up as much as she could from her so far.

“Coach Hartline is a wonderful coach who has so much passion and love for the game. I give so much respect to her. She has come in with open arms and has cared for us since she started at Holly Pond. She’s got us in the weight room to get stronger and conditioned so we will be in shape. I’ve learned several things from coach Hartline, such as if you don’t do your job, you’re hurting your team, so do whatever it takes to get better and that will help the team in the future.”

Kamryn has set her goals and the team goals for next season, and she talked about what will make this team special to watch.

“I just need to be the best teammate and friend I can be, encourage others, and help them grow. We want to make a difference this year. We are going to go far. I know we are. We want to be able to make it to the Final Four and continue from there, one step at a time,” she said. “What will make our team special to watch next year is our team chemistry. It’s great right now and these girls are amazing. That’s what makes it even better.”

Kamryn had some very special role models that she looked up to and she also talked about the best advice that someone ever gave her.

“The first role model I ever looked up to was my sister, Taylor. She was always someone I wanted to be like. She was so athletic and made everything look so easy. She had the skills to do it. The other two are McKenna Folds and my cousin, Kennedy. McKenna took me in and always treated me like I was older than I was and her hits were so powerful, I wanted to do the same. It was an honor to get to play with Kennedy, just by having that bond and connection to one another. She always succeeded at everything anyone threw at her,” she said. “The best advice I’ve ever heard was that you’re going to mess up. You might as well mess up going as hard as you can than be scared and not try at all.”

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