Lady Braves rebuild under new coach

SOFTBALL: Former coach returns to get the program on track after fourth-place finish in '07

Jenny Compton is the new head softball coach in Banks, but don't call her a 'newbie.'

Compton's been around the block before, having coached the Lady Braves from 2004-05 and winning a pair of Cowapa League titles in those two seasons.

But Compton is quick to point out that this year is a little different than her last head coaching stint, when she inherited a team with nine returning varsity players and seven starters. That group would form the nucleus of the Lady Braves' back-to-back league championship teams.

'We knew we had really, really good kids from the start,' Compton said of her first go-round in 2004. 'This year I'm kind of getting used to what the girls can do. It's tough having everything come together under a new coaching staff. But I'm expecting a lot of good improvement.'

This time around, Compton will inherit a team with six returning players - seniors Ashley Connolly, Amber Marston, Laura Reisinger and Ashley Scharlepp, plus juniors Janel Coussens and Alexa Heilbrun.

Newcomers include senior Tiffany Douglas, juniors Julieanna Cantu, Emily Duyck, Katrina Mettee and Tara Johnson, plus sophomores Kayla Gustafson and DeeJay Pickar.

'I'm looking forward to the season,' Compton said. 'I'm hoping to get the program back to where it once was. I'm hoping to build toward the future.'

Still, Compton knows it will be an uphill battle with Banks playing in the traditionally strong Cowapa League.

'This is one of the toughest leagues in the state,' she said. 'Most leagues have one or two really strong teams. We have strong teams pretty much from top to bottom.'