PREP SPORTS: ‘It’s not about winning or losing; it’s about whether or not I made Him proud’: Fairview’s Anna Strane talks freshman year

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Fairview’s Anna Strane. (Courtesy of Anna Strane)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. — Fairview freshman Anna Strane shined on both the volleyball court and during track & field season this past year and Anna had a blast learning as much as she could from all her coaches and teammates.

“I enjoyed last season a lot. I ended up getting All-County on the JV team. Coach Ashley Stanley is an amazing coach. She was a setter when she played in high school, and she was able to help me a lot in my setting abilities. She always listened to what we had to say and always made practice challenging, but fun. Varsity also got a new coach, Katie Ball. We have several drills that we did together, JV and varsity. She never failed to encourage us and always made me, a freshman, feel welcome and wanted. Overall, I had a wonderful season with two new, amazing coaches and I’m looking forward to a great season with them again this year.”

Anna got to play alongside some amazing girls last season and learned some more things from coach Stanley and coach Ball.

“Last season, there were only three freshmen, and the rest were sophomores. They had more experience than me and they really helped me grow. They were so encouraging and helped me whenever I would mess up. They helped me connect with the upperclassmen, since they had played with them the year prior. They helped lift me back up when I felt as if I wasn’t doing my best. I enjoyed playing with them so much because they made practice and games so much fun and they helped encourage me,” Strane said. “Playing under the new coaches made such a difference in my performance. As a setter, I had never had a coach that was a past setter and having Ashley Stanley as the JV coach, she helped my setting so much. She knew exactly how to fix what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do to become a better setter. She coaches well but can also be a great mentor. She always makes sure I’m okay.”

She added,

“Coach Ball helped challenge and encourage us. She critiqued us when we needed it but made sure she was also encouraging us. During practice, we would scrimmage varsity and we always had a good time and were challenged. They are both fantastic coaches and I can’t wait to see how we perform in the upcoming year.”

Anna got a chance to watch a lot of the varsity games last season and that has helped her performance even more.

“Watching them play has helped me so much. They have some amazing setters. The setters have such amazing technique that I am learning. They know how to get their hips around the ball and put it exactly where the hitters need it to be at. The libero gives all of her effort 100% of the time. She never fails to give it her all and I strive to give it my all every time I step on the court. They all encourage each other so much and they communicate so well. Every girl on varsity puts so much effort into what they do, and they are so encouraging. Just by watching them and what they do made such a difference in my performance.”

The varsity players have helped Anna become the player that she is today, and she’ll continue to put in the work as she is preparing for next season.

“During practice, we have drills that all the setters do together. That gives us time to work together as setters. It also gives the older players time to critique the younger players. Their encouragement always outweighs their criticism and that’s something I love about them. Without them, I wouldn’t be the setter I am today. The other varsity players on the team are very encouraging and make me feel wanted. Even when I’m having an off day, they are always there to support me and help me where I have messed up,” she said. “In the offseason, some of the girls would get together and scrimmage. I would also do some drills with my weighted volleyball to help with my ball placement and I also participate in track during the spring.”

Anna has some goals set for herself and the team. She thinks this will be a special season for the Lady Aggies.

“My individual goals are to give my best effort at every game and practice and to better myself, no matter what I’m doing. In this upcoming season, I want to do what I can to help me rise to varsity when my coaches think I am able to. As I better myself, I am also bettering the team. The team goals are to work together, communicate, and make personal relationships with the girls to help win county this year,” she said. “This year, we have some amazing and very athletic freshmen. They have just the height to block and hit, make good passes, and have good technique. They are all very hard-working and I know that we are going to work together this year and create an amazing season. The sophomores are also very talented and experienced. I’m so excited for this upcoming season and I hope that we can make each game enjoyable and exciting to watch.”

Anna had to deal with a tough injury during the track-and-field season but is a JV school record holder and collected multiple medals. She learned a lot during the season and soaked up as much as she could from her teammates and her coaches as well.

“This past year, I got patellar tendinitis and was not able to perform to the best of my abilities. I did continue to throw, but it was difficult at times. I am a JV school record holder for javelin and shot put. I also received two bronze medals, three silver medals, and a pair of gold medals this past season. I learned a lot from the other throwers on the team and watched their techniques. I improved on a lot and I think I will do better in the next season” she said. “I enjoyed track so much and one of the reasons is because of the amazing people I get to be around. They are always helping me when I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, and they help make me a better athlete. The coaches were very encouraging and always did what they could to help. The whole team is so close, and we bond so well.”

She added,

“In discus this year, I was able to learn how to spin. When at practice, they would help critique me and help me learn to throw to the best of my abilities. They are so caring and supportive. They have taught me to be patient with the ones who are new to track and don’t know how to throw yet, just like they did me my first year. Even outside of track, they are some of my best friends. They are some of the best people and athletes you will ever meet.”

Anna will continue to work in the offseason to get ready for next season, plus she has set some goals for herself and for the team.

“I will continue to go to summer workouts and workouts during the school year. Also, when I’m not doing something volleyball related, I plan to go up to the track and work on some throwing to help better prepare myself for next season,” she said. “My personal goal is to make it to state. That has been a dream of mine since I first started and I believe if I work as hard as I can, I can get there. My team goals are to win county and take as many people to Sectionals and state as possible. I think if we all work together and help each other get better, we can have a great team next season.”

Anna has a role model from both sports that she looks up to and she also talked about the best advice that someone ever gave her.

“Someone I look up to volleyball is Madison Lilley. She was a setter at the University of Kentucky and went pro. She just finished up her last season with the Bezier Angels in France. She is an amazing setter and I strive to have the technique and skills that she has. She is someone I have looked up to for a while now and she is very knowledgeable and passionate about what she does. In track, someone I look up to the most is Laci Segrest. She is an upcoming senior, and she throws shot put and discus at Fairview. She is so passionate and so devoted to what she does. She went to state for both events this past year and ended up placing third at state. She is so uplifting and is always helping me when I mess up. She is so hardworking and is always willing to help me.”

She added,

“‘Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” -Colossians 3:23. No matter what I do or what sport I’m participating in, I always want to do it with a good attitude and to the best of my ability. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about winning or losing; it’s about whether or not I made Him proud.”

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