The most effective leaders in high school athletics might be the ones who keep a positive outlook without losing sight of reality.
In a nutshell, that describes Mt. Spokane senior Lisa Marks, a returning second-team all-Greater Spokane League soccer defender who helped the Wildcats to a successful 2004 season that ended only one victory away from the state tournament.
Despite the loss of an important core of seniors from last year’s team, Marks’ glass is way more than half full, and she has her sights on even higher goals as Ryan Campanella makes his high school head-coaching debut.
Campanella, an assistant at Sunnyside last year, was recently hired to teach science and coach both boys and girls. He succeeds John Marshall, who coached the Wildcats for one year before returning to the East Coast. And he’s as excited as Marks about the upcoming season.
“I’m privileged to be part of this program,” he said recently. “I came in knowing that they’ve been successful here, and that things are growing. I hope to pick up where John left off. We’ve got great parent and community support, and I’m looking forward to a successful year.
“I’m coming in fresh, but I’ve got an experienced staff who have worked with most of the girls. The advantage for me is that I don’t have preconceived notions about any of the girls, and everybody has the same chance as everybody else.”
His assessment of Marks? “She will make a big difference for us. She’s coachable, works hard, and is very positive with the other girls. She’s a great communicator.”
And how does she see herself?
“Since I was one of the juniors who played a lot last year, my job is to inspire my teammates. Everybody seems to play hard, and we’re all encouraging of each other. Last year, we were picked to be fifth in the GSL and almost went to State. This year, I think we can do even better.
“When I was a freshman here, I really looked up to the seniors, and they were very helpful to me. So I try to be the same way to everyone.”
She’s not sure of her plans after high school, which will probably conclude a soccer career which began at age 4.
“I’ll probably play intramurals in college, but I really haven’t thought about it much.”
What she is thinking about is repeating last season’s stingy defensive performance, when the Wildcats were among the league leaders in fewest goals allowed. And the way Marks looks at it, there’s no reasons not to do exactly that.
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