PREP SPORTS: ‘Always keep a positive attitude and mindset’: West Point’s Hallie Wheeler recaps junior seasons

West Point’s Hallie Wheeler. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. — West Point senior Hallie Wheeler learned a lot playing for both the Lady Warriors’ volleyball and basketball teams last season and she’s had a blast playing with some great teammates. Last year was her first season on the varsity volleyball team and she learned a lot alongside her teammates and coaches.

“We were a very young team last season with very little varsity experience and despite not having the season we wanted to have, we learned a lot and adjusted to the game. The main thing I learned is that working as a team is so incredibly important. If someone messes up, encourage them to do better. If you mess up, fix it and do better next time for your team. By the end of the season, we were starting to reach that point and I think this season will be even better,” Wheeler said. “I love the group of girls I play with. We are one big family and enjoy spending time with each other, even outside of practice and school. Being on the court with each other is so fun and makes the tough times worth it. Being on varsity, I’ve learned that the competition can be intimidating, but not to let it get in your head.”

Hallie enjoyed playing under first-year head coach Kate Kent and learned an important thing from her as well. She learned a lot from the past seniors as well and has been working on her game in the offseason.

“Coach Kent has been a great role model and coach. She is very dedicated to our team and program. She’s taught me to work hard for the goals we want to achieve, because they are very achievable,” Wheeler said. “They were great teammates and leaders. They were always there for us, on and off the court. We learned to stay positive and make the most out of every opportunity. We’re doing summer conditioning and we’re working on our strength and speed.”

Hallie talked about the goals for this upcoming season and what will make this team special to watch.

“Some individual goals are to get All-County and be the best I can be for my team. A couple of team goals are to win county and go as far as possible after that,” she said. “One thing that will make our team special to watch is our energy. We have fun, while being competitive at the same time. Our young talent will also be visible on the court.”

West Point’s basketball team had another solid year. They took home yet another area championship and made another trip to Sub-Regionals as well. Hallie was happy with how the season turned out and she’s had a lot of fun, playing with some young, but talented, girls.

“Last season went better than we expected, being a young team with no seniors. We ended the year with a winning season, which taught us that we can do more than what others think if we work hard,” she said. “It was very encouraging and made me excited for this upcoming season. We were able to grow and learn how to play with each other and that’s really showing this summer.”

Hallie learned a great thing from head coach John Welborn, and she’s had a blast being around this year’s seniors.

“He knows the game of basketball very well and always puts us in a position to win every game. He has encouraged us to keep improving because we have great potential,” she said. “It has been so much fun, because we are all close friends outside of basketball. They’ve taught me it’s not always about the game, but the relationships that have come from it.”

Hallie and the rest of the team will continue to put in the work in the offseason as they get ready for next season. She talked about the goals for this upcoming season and what will make this team special to watch.

“We will continue to work in the weight room and outside of practice to be ready for next season and come out the best we can be,” she said. “As a team, we would love to win county, area, make it to Wallace and even make it to Birmingham. Some individual goals for me would be for me to be a great leader for my younger teammates and always keep a positive attitude and mindset. Not only our talent, but our chemistry together as a team will make us the most fun to watch.”

Hallie had some great role models growing up in both sports and shared some of the best advice she was ever given.

“For basketball, my biggest role models were definitely my dad and my older brother. Volleyball-wise, it would probably be some of our family friends that were very athletic, and I loved watching them play. I wanted to be like them,” she said. “The best advice someone gave me was to be myself and stand up for what I believe in, even if it’s not what is ‘popular.’ Being an athlete, we have a platform, and it’s a great opportunity to show myself as a person my love for the Lord and the ability He has given me.”

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