New coaches bring new culture to spring sports


Saling Media

SENIOR Angel Wright is a third year varsity player who plays third base and catches for the varsity softball team.

The WHHS softball and baseball programs both welcomed new coaches this year, after Jayma George and Jack Kuzniczi, former head coaches, stepped down. With the change in leadership comes new approaches for both programs. 

Claire Thornberry, who previously led the Junior High program, has stepped up as the new varsity softball head coach. Thornberry played softball in high school and fell in love with the game. 

“Just being around the atmosphere that softball provides made me fall in love with the game,” Thornberry said.

Jeff Kenney, a former JV and varsity assistant, has transitioned into the role of varsity baseball head coach. Kenney, who came onto the WHHS scene in 2015, hopes to continue building the program into a dominant force in the ECC. 

“We’d like to win the conference, this is a team that can finish in the upper half,” Kenney said. “Anything less would be a disappointment.”

Kenney plans to capitalize on the quality of his players by providing them with the tools they need to succeed, despite challenges to obtain space and resources. 

“We’ve upgraded all of our equipment, and we’re trying to expand the times we’re practicing,” Kenney said.

A major hindrance in the baseball and softball programs has been a lack of a true home field on WHHS’ campus. The baseball team uses facilities at the Reds’ Urban Youth Academy and softball has found space at the Summit Athletic Complex, but without ample space to hold practices for the combined seven teams, there’s no guarantee of practice space on a day to day basis. 

“Really it’s a lack of our own spot that’s creating a lot of issues,” Kenney said. 

Both coaches are very excited to get to work and build new goals with their respective teams, making the most of their time with the athletes. 

“I’m really excited to see this group of girls come together this year, play games and get some good wins this year,” Thornberry said. 

With a mostly new coaching staff, Thornberry is very confident the team will see improvement this year.

Will Otten
SENIOR Will Otten is a second year varsity player, who spends most of his time in right field. However, in the team’s loss against Loveland on Friday April 1 Otten pitched for six innings, and in that time only allowed one run.

“We all have played or coached previously and being around [this age level] we understand how to work with them and how to progress [high school] players,” Thornberry said.

Thornberry is very competitive and aims to build the softball program up to be a complete power house. Thornberry wants to make the experience for all the players on the team a competitive one, but also allow the players to have fun.  

Thornberry is not only hopeful about the future of the softball program, but also this current season because of the four SENIORS on the roster. 

“It definitely makes me hopeful, not just for coming years, but for this year because the SENIORS that we have are strong SENIORS that have been around and proven themselves and so we may not have strength in numbers but strength in leadership,” Thornberry said.

The baseball program houses nine SENIORS this season, and Kenney is confident in their skill and leadership as well. 

“I think the SENIOR group [makes me confident], there’s nine of them and every one of them can play,” Kenney said. “I think they are going to be big contributors to the program.”

Both Thornberry and Kenney have built the momentum to succeed this season, and now plan to build the momentum in their players before their first game arrives. 

The two varsity teams began their seasons the week of Mar. 28, softball picked up a 2-0 record with two wins over Winton Woods, and baseball started 2-1, beating Winton Woods and Northwest, while falling to Loveland.