Despite large numbers, large team leadership strives for inclusivity

Large teams can be intimidating, but despite their large numbers, big teams value the importance of inclusion, getting better together, and growing closer through practices and games.

On the Track and Field Team, which consists of sixty-two total athletes, Senior runner Matt Jaegar makes it his mission to include his teammates. Jaegar said that “the team is very inclusive. Everyone is very welcoming of new athletes, and they always try to help newcomers learn the new rules.”

Cliques can be an issue amongst any team, but Jaegar says that the Track and Field Team has no issues of exclusion. “Everyone is very willing to help each other out, and they all want to see each other succeed. When one person does well in a relay, everyone does well in a relay. They all try to cheer each other on as much as possible.”

The Cross Country Team, although facing a few obstacles towards becoming a truly united team, is still inclusive, supportive, and welcoming to each other.

Senior captain of the Cross Country team Kyle Ziemer recalls when he first joined the team:   “when you’re young, it’s hard to kind of see yourself in a new group of people, but then as you get older, people start to look up to you more. But it was kind of tough starting out.”

Ziemer did note that there was some segregation amongst the team.“There is kind of [a] slight cliquey-ness in terms of [some] kids are upperclassmen and some kids are underclassmen, so people tend to hang out with kids their own ages. But generally speaking, it’s pretty well balanced,”  Ziemer said.

Nevertheless,  Ziemer said that the team is “pretty inclusive, more so than in past years. We are all kind of more equal in terms of the times that we’re running, so it’s more inclusive in that way.”

The Varsity Volleyball team stays united and bonded as a team because of the inclusive nature of the sport.

Sophomore Blythe Rients said that “[for] every single point [scored], all of us touch the ball, so after each point we… go into the center and cheer each other on.”  She added that “all of us are a family, we have lots of fun together. [We] are a very good team together, especially on the court, and we carry that inclusiveness off the court as well.”

Although a young team, Rients reflected that “we are getting better [at] each practice and each game, and hopefully [we will] keep getting better in years to come as well.”  

Any successful team will strive to include everyone, and it is the older athletes’ jobs to include younger kids. “When I was a freshman, the seniors tried to help me [to] feel welcomed right away…” Jaeger commented. He added:  “It’s the role of the older kids to welcome new kids and say hi.”

Although they may seem intimidating, large teams strive to include everyone and work very hard to grow closer. Like most teams, they have obstacles to overcome in terms of eliminating cliques amongst the team, but when leaders reach out to others, the team becomes a welcoming and supportive environment.