Scheidecker: Perham girls’ catalyst for change
PERHAM — Perham senior Tina Scheidecker was a multiple MVP award winner this year, but more importantly was a positive change for success in both the volleyball and girls basketball programs.
Scheidecker’s career in both sports came amidst coaching changes and disappointing junior seasons.
The 2012 girls basketball team won only two games. The 2012 volleyball team continued a streak of early playoff exits with a losing record.
“The transition was the end of basketball last year,” Scheidecker said. “Me, along with the younger girls said, ‘We can’t have a repeat of last year. Something has to change.’ It was time to buckle down and do something with girls sports.”
That is what happened in both sports.
This year’s volleyball team won four more games than the past two seasons going 26-3 and won more than one playoff game for the first time since 2009 advancing to the subsection finals.
Scheidecker was third on the team in kills, first on the team in digs, including recording her 1,000th dig late in the year, third in aces and the HOL Conference most valuable player on an undefeated conference champion team.
“Sophomore and junior seasons, I had coaches pull me aside and tell me my attitude needed to change and I need to step up to that leader role,” said Scheidecker. “I really worked on that. My parents constantly reminded me I need to be a leader on the floor, whether that’s talking, helping someone, cheering them up, or even if it’s just guiding a younger girl. I was hoping I would fill that role and hoping girls would follow what I was saying, take my advice and look up to me, in a sense. It was fun being a senior.”
“Tina was the rock of our team,” Head Volleyball Coach Eryn Moser said. “Teammates looked to her for guidance, confidence, and grit. She always had that never say die attitude, and most of the time it was contagious. When the game was close or on the line, there was nothing I liked better than seeing Tina come to the front row. She played with poise, respect, and commitment to the game. You can always spot great leaders because they don't overshadow - they elevate. That is what Tina does - she is always trying to bring the best out in others.”
“Tina is a great leader on and off the court,” teammate Maria Rutten said. “She is always positive and pushing us to do our best in everything we do. She gives helpful advice whether it's when you are playing a sport or not. She is going to be greatly missed.”
Scheidecker refuses to take solo credit for Perham’s volleyball success as the Yellowjackets were blessed with a strong core of four seniors, including Analea Erickson, Tina Schmitz and Allie Christenson.
Christenson recorded her 1,000th set assist during the season and was certainly in the running for HOL MVP. The foursome leave a deep hole in the lineup for next year’s team.
“It's very hard to replace a setter of her caliber,” Scheidecker said of Christenson.
The volleyball season was important in enacting the change, putting people in the seats at a girls sporting event and inciting excitement in underclassmen.
“We needed to do something, for once,” Scheidecker said. “Football has always been good; basketball has been good, wrestling has been good. Every boy sport has been good and we wanted to change that.”
“Our success on the volleyball court had a lot to do with the four seniors we had on our team,” said Moser. “They were a great group of seniors to coach and they each played a different role on the team. Analea Erickson brought the fire and intensity to our team; she was our cheerleader. She got the girls going. Tina Schmitz was the mother hen of our group. She took care of everybody, including the coaches. Allie Christenson was the drive on our team. Her tenacious attitude brought our team up a level when we needed it. Tina was our rock. She brought our team together and kept us there.”
“Winning was great, but from day one at practice we talked end of season,“ Scheidecker said. “That’s what we were preparing for.”
As the season progressed, confidence grew.
“Finally we were on the other side,” she said. “We were the big team that everyone was afraid of. Those games were fun. You walk in the gym and you felt confident and having Perham on your shirt; it was nice having that confidence.”
Where that confidence paid off most, was the ensuing basketball season.
Basketball saw an even bigger turnaround after four straight years of 16+ wins led to 11 and two in Scheidecker’s sophomore and junior seasons, despite the team having career scoring leader Katrina Moenkedick in 2011. Things just didn't click right for Perham girls basketball.
A coaching change brought TJ Super to Perham with a successful record at Cook County where 20-win seasons were the norm for Super.
The two-win season of 2011-12 created a different scenario for Super also - who helped the team find small successes to build upon.
“It definitely got tough,” Scheidecker said. “Super told us what we need to do and we slowly made small changes. We focused on not turning it over during the game. We felt somewhat good about it because we accomplished what we wanted to do. We took it as it was.”
Scheidecker cited one of Super’s pre-practice motivational speeches.
“Super said, ‘Yes, we’re not very good, but that’s the one good thing about sports. It teaches us to accept failure. You’re going to go out in life and not succeed at everything. You accept failure and you move forward. You take it by the reins and practice and work hard.’”
This basketball season, especially after the volleyball success, was time for the payoff of that hard work.
“We came into the season with a completely different attitude,” she said.
Perham played at Concordia in the subsection finals after a playoff win at Barnesville.
It was the first playoff win since 2009.
“I knew from the first time I met Tina that her first love was volleyball,” said Super. “She embodied what a small town athlete needs to be like to succeed, though, because she put in the time working on basketball, too, and every day she was there she gave of herself to the sport. I can only hope that by the end of her career she loved being the gym playing basketball as much as I loved coaching her.”
Something both coaches stressed was strength, agility and conditioning. Mental aptitude helps, but to win in Heart O’ Lakes sports, teams have to outwork each other.
“Tina is a great example of what type of athlete you can become with true hard work,” Super said. “Don’t get me wrong, she is athletic, but over the last couple years of working out at speed and agility, in the weight room, and in the gym she turned herself into a true athlete. That same attitude and work ethic is the reason she is going to be successful in her future endeavors.”
Added to physical workouts, the emotional needs of the team are equally important.
“Our success next year will be driven by these returning players meshing together with some very young and talented players,” Moser said. “The bar has been set high by our graduating players and by the coaching staff. Our young, but experienced players will need to take on several different roles again. We will need the mother hen; we will need the tenacious one; we will need the cheerleader and we will need a new rock.”
“It's going to be interesting,” Scheidecker said. “It'll be fun to see if they'll put in the work this summer.”