Fall sports are in full swing at First Presbyterian Christian Academy. With new additions to the coaching staff and the return of a softball program, the Highlanders are building from the ground up. FPCA Athletic Director Shane Smith is in his fifth year leading FPCA athletics and is focused on building his middle school programs to feed into his varsity teams.
“Our main goal is to improve and build interest in our middle school for the continuity of our varsity programs,” Smith said. “A major accomplishment this school year is the restart of our softball program. Our middle school softball team played their first game last week. We have not had a team in the last five years.”
Smith described the growth in numerous sports programs that FPCA offers.
“We have seen growth in our numbers of middle school and varsity athletes. Cross Country has both middle school and varsity teams this year. Most of my runners returned and I am optimistic of our chances in winning the region this year. Our first meet will be on Aug. 30. Volleyball has a large jump in participants. Next year, we intend to have a varsity softball team, building off the middle school team this year.”
Head Softball Coach Christopher Golden has been around the ball park his entire life. A baseball player throughout his youth, Golden is excited to transfer his knowledge and experience to coaching at FPCA.
Working with a young and inexperienced team is a challenge that he says he is ready to take on.
“The first thing I noticed was how young these ladies are. Only three of the players have ever played softball at any level,” he said. He intends to focus on basic skills and making sure his core develops to ensure eventual success at the varsity level.
“We are working on our softball I.Q.,” Golden said. Their first game against Robert Toombs Christian Academy was an eye opener.
“Although we lost 19-1, I was pleased with the team. We scored the first run of the game, when 8th grader Jasmine Nunn stole her way home. The girls kept a great attitude throughout the game and never put their heads down.”
The FPCA softball team played Saturday in Hazlehurst at Jeff Davis Academy. Results were unavailable at press time.
Although a newcomer to FPCA, Head Volleyball Coach Melinda Long is no stranger to the court. Long has coached volleyball at the JV and Varsity levels for more than 15 years. A former college player at Temple University, Long brings a wealth of experience to the Highlander team. She stated her vision is to build an enthusiastic volleyball community at FPCA, with the older players mentoring the younger girls.
“Our varsity is very young and inexperienced. However, it is a privilege to work with such an amazing group of girls. They are committed to learning the game, improving their skill, and bonding as a team. As a result we are seeing great improvement each week,” she said.
The Lady Landers lost their first three games this season, with improvements in each match up.
Against Trinity Christian the scores were 25-15, 25-17, and 25-8. Against Wayne County the scores were 25-9, 25-10, and 25-16. The Lady Landers saw their best matchup against Heritage Christian with scores of 25-16, 25-9, and 29-27.
They faced Heritage Christian at home Tuesday, Aug. 28.