|Riener helps lead HSC to volleyball championship|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 03 December 2015 00:00|
Hastings St. Cecilia assistant volleyball coach Bethany Riener, back left, celebrates with team members following the Hawkettes sweep of Stanton in the 2015 Class C2 state championship game. (Courtesy photo | Father Adam Sughroue)
By Diane Stamm
The Wauneta Breeze
A face familiar to Wauneta residents was on the TV screen Nov. 14 following the Class C2 state volleyball championship game as Hastings St. Cecilia assistant volleyball coach Bethany Riener helped hand out state championship medals to the Hawkettes.
Riener has received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Hastings College with a minor in coaching. She is currently taking classes at HC as she works toward a master’s degree in secondary biology with an endorsement in K-12 PE.
Over the summer she worked at a golf course around Hastings. There, she met the Hastings St. Cecilia Athletic Director Randy Ahrens. With the retirement of longtime HSC volleyball coach Alan VanCura, Ahrens was looking for an assistant volleyball coach after the promotion of previous assistant Thera Jones.
Van Cura was known as “The Legend” after leading HSC for 40 years. Van Cura wrapped up his career with 803 wins and six state championships in 20 state tournament appearances.
Ahrens asked if Riener wanted to help coach the Hawkettes.
Riener has previously coached freshman and junior varsity basketball and loved it. The time was right to see if she liked coaching volleyball as much.
“At first it was kind of intimidating because the girls were around my age,” said Riener, but said it helped when she was able to participate right off the bat when girls asked her to run with them during conditioning.
The team had “lost a lot of seniors” from the previous season and Riener said Jones was not sure how the season would go.
It got off to a rough 0-4 start, with the team’s libero out. After a couple easy wins, the team started to struggle again.
Jones made a change in rotation, that helped but Riener said the team members were frustrated with ball distribution.
A circle talk helped players “get stuff off their chests,” but the team continued to struggle to bond.
Following a loss to Sandy Creek on Oct. 15, Riener said she spoke to the team, saying that they were playing as individuals and wouldn’t win another game if it stayed that way.
The Hawkettes soon turned the season around, heading into the state tournament by winning five of its last six games.
Riener believes the adversity helped in HSC’s run to the state championship.
“We knew how to come back,” she said, adding that it was frustrating for some of the teams HSC faced.
The season was a great learning experience for the 2011 Wauneta-Palisade graduate.
She said she learned a lot from Jones, including trying new things and being passionate and willing to help the team. Interacting with parents was also a new experience.
Riener touched base with WP coach Michelle Harchelroad during the season for advice. Though she says she’s not ready to be a head coach at a bigger school yet, Riener wouldn’t rule out coaching at a school like WP in the future.
For now she plans on returning as an assistant at HSC next year and is looking forward to a May 2017 graduation from Hastings College.