Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners CTC FCCLA / Culinary Arts class holds Cancer Awareness Drive Amen receives Distinguished Service Award ‘Tis the season for family-past, present, and future MHS Computer Class aces MOS Exam WUES recognizes November Bus Riders of the Month NAHS Beta Club sponsors canned food drive Peebles Elementary announces November Students of the Month Crisis text line reaches out during the holidays Paul Wesley Ailshire Joan Cockrell

Spires takes reins of MHS volleyball

Manchester High School alumna Tabitha Spires takes over the reigns of a Greyhound volleyball team looking to rely on their senior leadership to propel them through the Southern Hills Conference.

The team boasts five seniors this upcoming season – Morgan Johnson, Summer Wilbur, Cassidy Spires, Kayla Wagoner and McKayla Smith. With them, along with the supporting underclassmen, Spires hopes to see good things her first year on the sidelines.

After graduation, Spires attended the University of Cincinnati Clermont campus where she played basketball. From there she graduated from Southern State with an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.

Besides being a graduate from MHS in 2003, Spires is no stranger to the athletic programs at the school. She’s also a coach for the girls basketball program and coaches softball as well. Spires says she’s worked with many of the girls on her volleyball team in those sports, which has helped her discover what type of team she has this season.

“I know basically all the seniors,” Spires said. “Two of them played basketball for me so I know them and how they work. I recently just started back at Manchester last year and started coaching JV basketball last year. And I did softball last year with some of the girls so I know who the leaders are on this team.”

Spires also coached junior high volleyball a year ago, meaning she’s familiar with her incoming freshmen class – a skill worth having since the one area the senior class can’t fill on the court is a setter.

“We do need to find a setter,” Spires said. “There’s a couple of freshmen trying to fill that void.”

And that knowledge of the young talent in the program could serve Spires and the Greyhounds well when the five seniors leave after this year.

“[The young talent] excites me very much because we have a good group of young kids who I’ll be able to utilize once those five seniors graduate after this year,” Spires said.

The transition as a first year coach was smooth as well from a coaching standpoint. Spires has been able to talk to Mark Johnson, who’s been with the program for four years, to get filled in on the skill levels of the team.

“I went to Mark a lot because he did a camp with the girls this summer,” Spires said. “Shawnee State comes here and we do a camp during the summer and he helped fill me in on that. Then we went to Shawnee and played in a camp and he filled me in on that as well. He really let me know who does what and where the girls fit on the team.”

Spires expects the team to compete in the Southern Hills Conference this year with a senior class that fills in nearly all the areas of the court.

“We have excellent servers, a few power hitters and we have hustle,” Spires said. “They’re go-getters. I have a lot of talented team-like players. Everyone’s for the team, there’s no egos here.”

And having seniors on the court who have experience doesn’t hurt the new coach either.

“These seniors help take control,” Spires said. “Morgan is like the leader out there. They know their roles, they know their jobs and what they’re supposed to do.”

Senior McKayla Smith said Spires is totally dedicated to her new team.

“She’s a great coach, very determined and always pushing us as a team to do better,” Smith said. “She coached junior high volleyball last year so she has experience in volleyball coaching. She dedicates all her time to us from practices to working car washes to raising money for our volleyball team.”

New Manchester volleyball coach Tabitha Spires is all smiles during a team practice. Manchester volleyball coach Tabitha Spires is all smiles during a team practice. Charles Grove | People’s Defender

New Manchester volleyball coach Tabitha Spires and her team participate in the “conveyor belt” team-building exercise during preseason practice. Manchester volleyball coach Tabitha Spires and her team participate in the “conveyor belt” team-building exercise during preseason practice. Charles Grove | People’s Defender

New Mancheser volleyball coach Tabitha Spires gives instruction to one of her setters during practice. Mancheser volleyball coach Tabitha Spires gives instruction to one of her setters during practice. Charles Grove | People’s Defender

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