The reigning state champions almost welcomed graduation, coach Diana Kramer confident of the probability of ‘next man up’ being ‘best man up’…so far.
New Bremen – When I talked with New Bremen volleyball coach Diana Kramer last week (by phone) her optimism was almost such that…you could hear Carly Simon singing in the background – Anticipation.
Winners of two of the past three Division IV titles, and the school’s only state team titles in history, the former player and coach from St. Henry has made the Cardinals a household name state-wide among would-be threats to her success.
“They are what they are,” said Monroeville’s Kendra Snook following her team’s five-set loss to New Bremen in last November’s D-IV semi-final match. “They’re like a machine. They have so many athletes.”
News travels fast and far. Monroeville, Ohio is in Huron County – a hard three hour’s drive from New Bremen.
And no one has to tell Fort Loramie’s John Rodgers, whose Redskins lost to Bremen in the Division IV championship match. Fort Loramie is just ten minutes away, on route 66.
The point is, near or far, the word is out on what Kramer has built in New Bremen in a very short amount of time. Her summer camps are packed with young girls who aspire, and her feeder program of junior high players is continually successful.
At the top of it all she’s had players like Paige Jones (University of Michigan) and Macy Puthoff (Indiana Wesleyan) to serve as walking, talking enablers. The message to those who would like to be: “You can do this, too.”
So on the eve of the 2020 season, cue Carly Simon. Diana Kramer has so much to anticipate it’s hard for her to pinpoint that one player who might be the next Paige Jones or Macy Puthoff.
“We have so many quality hitters I’ve been able to move people around to other positions,” she said recently.
“Seriously, I think Claire Pape (senior) is the best blocker in the MAC, and that says something because there are so many great players in our league. I mean, Claire forces opposing players to alter their shot. She’s that good – she’s a Division I college player (Purdue-Fort Wayne). But last year she set for us, and this year she’ll set and hit.
“I think Josie Reinhart might be our best player, overall, and she might be the best player in the league because she can do so many things. She’s that versatile.”
Reinhart will play next year for Tiffin University.
“And Kaylee Freund (pronounced Friend) is our best athlete.”
“Then, of course, we get a great player back from injury (Elli Roetgerman), we get our underclassmen back from last year with another year’s tournament experience. And we get great competition from our JV team last year.”
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I’m really with you now
Or just chasin’ after some finer day………..lyrics to Carly Simon’s ‘Anticipation’
But you better be ready to play, too, against any and all comers when you wear the target of champion. And in her fifth year at New Bremen there’s no one more respectful than Kramer of the challenge presented by area D-IV opponents who want to claim her crown, if not walk in her stylish Nike shoes.