Shana Wilkins was an All-American in track, but her heart has always been on the volleyball court.
Wilkins will now share her love of the game with players at Carson High as she has become the Senators' new varsity volleyball coach. She replaces longtime coach Daryl James and Wilkins knows she has a tough act to follow.
James had a successful run at Carson and Wilkins said she hopes to continue - and even improve - on that success. She said the reason why she came to Carson was because of James.
Under James, Wilkins served as Carson's junior varsity coach for the past two years.
"He had a great coaching style," Wilkins said. "I learned a lot from him. I think he built a great program."
Wilkins said not much will change from the way James ran the program other than her practices will be a little faster and more intense than what James conducted.
Already off and running, Wilkins is now conducting an open gym in which 45 Carson players are participating. "It's a big turnout which is promising," Wilkins said.
Carson's varsity will have just three seniors this year and six returning players. While Wilkins described this year as a rebuilding season that doesn't mean she doesn't expect the success to continue.
"I think we'll be as good as last year if not better," she said. That's saying something since Carson finished second in the Sierra League last year.
The Senators return their two middle blockers - juniors Catherine Brekken and Nicole Scott, who were both all-league second team choices last year. The other returners are Lindsey Kern, Melanie Norvell, Colleen Etcheverria and Sydney Parker.
Wilkins must find a replacement for talented setter Tabitha Adams. The leading candidates are Kern, who was Adams' backup last year, and sophomore Lindsay Ford, who started for Wilkins on the JVs last season.
Ford has been playing for the Sierra Nevada Volleyball Club where Wilkins coaches. Wilkins coaches year-round as she coaches an 18 and under elite traveling team for Sierra Nevada. She said she can take the knowledge she gains from club volleyball and apply it to the high school game.
"It's a lot different," said Wilkins about club volleyball. "The club level of play is a lot higher and a lot faster."
Wilkins has coached volleyball for six years, beginning when she attended the University of Idaho where she coached a freshman high school team. Wilkins went to Idaho on a full-ride scholarship and became an All-American at Division I in the shot put and discus. She graduated from Idaho in 2000.
She earned her master's in education at Washington State where she also worked as a strength and conditioning coach. She said she can also take what she learned there and apply it to her position at Carson.
She came to Carson from Spanish Springs. "Volleyball is my passion," she said. "I've played my whole life."
WALLING DESERVED BETTER
Anyone who watched high school baseball this season should have noticed a glaring ommission on our All-Carson Country baseball team which appeared in Tuesday's Nevada Appeal. Douglas High second baseball Chad Walling was an all-league first team choice and led the Tigers in hitting with a .452 average.
So why was he left off the All-Carson Country team? There's no reasonable explanation other than to say when we went through the all-league teams and statistics, somehow we overlooked his name.
Walling clearly deserved a place on the all-Carson Country team, so we'll just say that Walling can consider himself an all-Carson Country performer.
Contact Charles Whisnand at email@example.com or 881-1214.