Gananda Central School District proudly recognized three fall sports coaches for receiving the “Coach of The Year Award.”
Congratulations went out to Girls Varsity Volleyball Coach, Mark Weller, for receiving both the Section V Class D1 Coach of the Year Award and the Wayne County Girls Volleyball Coach of the Year Award, Girls Varsity Soccer Coach, Emily Slentz, for receiving both the Section V Class C1 Coach of the Year Award and the Wayne County Girls Soccer Coach of the Year Award, and Varsity Girls Swim Coach, Dani Richards, for receiving the Finger Lakes Coach of the Year Award.
“Behind each of our athletes are dedicated coaches who push our students to be the best they can be in both the classroom and in competition,” explains Gananda Athletic Director John Tichacek. “We are proud of the hard work and dedication our coaches put in for our students. This recognition is really a testament to the caliber of our coaches.”
As a coach for the Gananda Girls Varsity team for the past ten years, Coach Weller attributes the success of this year’s team to both his coaching staff and to the great group of student athletes.
“The award may have my name on it, but our team’s success is the reason for the recognition. A lot of credit goes to the girls over these past few years. They have improved so much and as a team they have built trust in one another to be competitive against every team we played,” explains Weller.
This year’s team finished out the season with an undefeated record of 14-0 in the Wayne County league.
Another undefeated team in Wayne County was the Gananda Girls Varsity Soccer team led by Coach Emily Slentz. The team completed their undefeated regular season claiming the Section V Class C1 Championship title. This was Slentz’s first year as the Girls Varsity Soccer Coach, however, it was her third year of coaching for the district. She previously coached the JV Boys soccer team at Gananda. Prior to landing in Gananda, she coached the Varsity Girls Soccer team in her hometown of Edmeston, NY.
When asked what one thing she hopes her athletes learn and bring with them Coach Slentz says, “I hope that my players remember that mistakes and unexpected things happen in life, just like on the soccer field. What matters most is how you respond and recover in those situations. You can only worry about the things in your own control.”
A similar sentiment is shared by Varsity Swim Coach Dani Richards as she explains, “The attitude with which we approach our challenges makes all the difference! Being a well-rounded, decent and kind human being will always be more important to me than winning a race.”
Richards has been coaching the Gananda-Wayne Girls Varsity Swim Team for the past three years. She is also the head coach for the Gananda Racing Aquatic Team (GRAT), a position she has held for the past five years. She credits her love of swimming with growing up in Florida where she learned to swim before she could walk. Ever since, she has been passionate about water safety and the benefits of swimming.