Athlete of the Week: Grace Burken

Junior Grace Burken has led the women’s volleyball team to a great start in their season, showing strong leadership as their team rose to a second place ranking behind Ankeny Centennial. This past Tuesday vs. Dubuque Hempstead, she led the team in kills with 12 successes to one error. Taylor Lynch followed suit with eight. Burken also came out successful in her serving game with six of her eight serving opportunities crossing the net.

How’s the team doing so far? Our team currently has a record of 18-2. That record is very exciting to have at this point in the season. Most of our big conference matches are yet to come, so we have a tough second half of the season.

What are your goals for the rest of the season? 

One of our goals that we have as a team is to win conference. We would all like to win State, but we think that winning conference is the first step to the other goal. Making it through Regionals is the next step to that first place finish. Then if we play to our full potential at the U.S Cellular Center, we have a good chance at bringing home a state title.

How have you mentored the younger girls on the team?

I have been trying to be encouraging to the younger girls that have stepped up and played with the varsity. I know nerves are high for some, and sometimes it’s good to just remind them that they are playing varsity for a reason, that they are good enough to play at a higher level.

What is the atmosphere of the team this year? 

At the beginning of the year, the team didn’t mesh as well as everyone would have hoped. We have a lot of returning varsity players, but we also got several new people. It took awhile to become comfortable with each other, but the more we played together, the easier it was to communicate on and off the court. We have all became closer to each other, and that really makes a difference when we play in big matches.

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