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East St. John Volleyball doubles their chances

RESERVE — The River Parish schools have a way with cultivating some of the best talent in the state. Many of these stellar athletes find a way to return and give back to the next generation.

East St. John’s twin volleyball coaches, Trenell and Trenese Smith, will be doing just that at East St. John High School this year as they double dose coach volleyball and softball.

These twins are no strangers to the River Parishes, leaving a basketball legacy at Reserve Christian School for all to remember and even being inducted to the Loyola University Hall of Fame. Together once again in St. John Parish as head and assistant coaches, these girls are excited and anxious to get East St. John Volleyball going this season.

“I am excited aboutmy sister and I coaching together. We were at East St. John last year, which was our first year, but we sort of sat back and watched. When the opportunity presented itself, we couldn’t sit for long,” Trenell Smith said. “Sports is in us because we love working with the kids.  Although we come from a basketball background, we were quite anxious and eager when Coach Brown asked us to coach volleyball and softball.”

Trenell Smith said this year will present an exciting challenge.

“I played when I was in high school, but it’s been a while. The most challenging thing as the volleyball coach, of course, is the current situation with the virus. We’re not able to get to them to begin workouts like I’d like. We want to start preparing for the season,” she said.

Although volleyball is not as much contact as other sports, it’s still difficult not being able to practice as a whole team and in some instances work on important drills and skills needed to progress the players.The team predominantly focused on conditioning drills during workouts this week. Prospective team members and returning players were divided into five small groups to encourage social distancing and limit exposure.

The coaches also reminded the girls that the team mentality is the most important thing and that they need to have each other’s backs like family.

“We can’t wait to get with the girls to help them become better volleyball players, but the main goal is to encourage them to become better people overall. That’s the big focus,” Smith said.

She is also looking forward to working with the old and new members of the team.

“I have a few veterans returning and I have some potential players, so I’m anxious to interact with them. I really want players to make progress. This year the goal is to continue to work on building from the previous season,” Smith said.“I want to get the incoming freshman and the new students to gain more interest in volleyball. This way we can strengthen the team and the building process will bring in stronger players to continue from season to season. I have begun reaching out to the girls to see what I’m working with and just for general team building personally, trying to get better acquainted.”

It’s also nice to return home to the River Parishes.

“Being from here, it’s an awesome feeling, knowing we are from the area and knowing how the culture is. We have had people who knew us from this area tell me that they have followed us, or our careers. So, we have a great deal of support and encouragement behind us, which is definitely a plus,” Smith said. “We are very appreciative for the challenge and the opportunity to pour into these girls and we are looking to do extraordinarily good things this year with this squad.”