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Sports Spotlight: Cross Country & Volleyball

This Sports Spotlight is on Cross Country and Volleyball. For Cross Country, Coach Neal Masterson nominated seniors Will Harper and Sarah Boehm. Will is in his fourth season, and Sarah is in her third season. For Volleyball, Coach Terri (Blunk) Purichia ’90 has nominated juniors Grace Purichia, the team’s setter, and Taylor Bansbach, who plays defensive specialist. Both are in their third season at Providence.

Grace Purichia, Volleyball, junior setter, third season; House of integrity junior delegate, Student Ambassador, beach volleyball, and commit to Jacksonville State University volleyball team.

Grace has been playing for about eight years, having grown up around the sport thanks to her mom and older sisters, Maggie Purichia ’20 and Anna Purichia ’21, who are playing college volleyball at Indiana University Southeast and Eastern Kentucky University, respectively.

Coach Purichia said she selected Grace because “Grace is the general. She is an incredibly hard worker and makes those around her better. She never gives up and always pushes herself and her teammates to be the best they can be. Grace is a great teammate and loves these players with all her heart. She has shown tremendous leadership in bringing the younger players along and giving them great confidence in themselves on and off the court.”

Question: Your mom says you are a great leader for the younger members of the team. Who is your role model?
Grace Purichia: My role model for volleyball is Lauren Carlini (University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna who plays on the U.S. Volleyball team). She is one of the best players I’ve ever seen, and she is the perfect example of how to be a determined and hardworking volleyball player. My role model for everyday life is my mom. She teaches me patience, passion, and how to inspire and encourage others.

Q: What do you like about playing setter?
GP: I like being the leader on the floor and being able to run the offense and make the plays.

Q: What do you enjoy about Providence Volleyball?
GP: What I enjoy most about Providence Volleyball is how close we all are, players and coaches, and how we all care about each other so much.

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?
GP: I am looking forward to postseason because it’s always very emotional, and I think our team will have progressed so much and do very well.

Q: What is a fun tradition the Volleyball team does that you look forward to continuing?
GP: A fun tradition that the Volleyball team does is the Big Sis/Little Sis Luncheon because it’s nice to spend the day with our underclassmen and get to do fun activities all day. It also is a good bonding experience for the team as a whole.

Taylor Bansbach, Volleyball, junior defensive specialist, third season; House of Faith, plays sand volleyball, works at Berry Twist

Taylor started playing volleyball in third grade and chose to play at Providence to join her friends on the team. Coach Purichia said Taylor is an inspiration to her teammates.

“Taylor is the team ‘cheerleader,’” Coach Purichia said. “Her positive energy is contagious, and her smile’s completely infectious. She laughs often and keeps the team light at heart. Taylor is a very hard worker and a great teammate. She is just so much fun to be around, and our team loves her.”

Question: Coach P says you inspire the team with your positive, fun attitude. Who is your role model for this style of leadership, and what have you learned from her?
Taylor Bansbach: My role model is my mom. My mom is always smiling and is always putting a positive outlook on the world. I learned that having a positive attitude is always better than not, and it connects people more than a negative one.

Q: What do you like about playing defensive specialist (DS)?
TB: The reasons I love being a DS are that I get to see the whole court and being able to anticipate what the other players are going to do.

Q: What do you enjoy about Providence Volleyball?
TB: I enjoy the atmosphere of Providence Volleyball and the bonds we make throughout the season.

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?
TB: I am looking forward to the postseason and seeing how much we have improved from the beginning of the season.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a Pioneer?
TB: My favorite part about being a Pioneer is that we all feel like we’re a part of a family and that we all support each other.

Sarah Boehm, Cross Country, senior, third season; House of Faith, Swim, Track, Theatre, Providence Singers, Popcorn Players, Pinterest Club, BSA Venture Crew

Sarah joined the Cross Country team her sophomore year at the invitation of a friend of hers so she could have a senior season. “They needed one more girl in order to compete as a team, so I decided to join for one year so that she could compete and ended up loving it and staying on the team,” she said.

Question: What do you enjoy about PHS Cross Country?
Sarah Boehm: I enjoy PHS XC because of the people on the team. Everyone is always joking around and being supportive of each other, and they somehow find a way to make running fun.

Q: What do you enjoy about long distance running?
SB: I enjoy running long distance because it really helps me push my limits. When I feel like I need to give up and can’t go any longer there is always a teammate cheering me on and pushing me to go beyond what I ever thought I could do.

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?
SB: This season I’m looking forward to competing in postseason as a team since we haven’t had enough girls to do that in the past. I’m hoping we can at least make it to regionals if not semi-state.

Q: What is a fun tradition the Cross Country team does that you look forward to continuing?
SB: A fun tradition that our XC team always does is a spaghetti dinner to “carbo load” before sectionals. I’m looking forward to this because it’s going to be my last one since I’m a senior, and I can’t wait to make memories one last time with our crazy but amazing team.

Will Harper, Cross Country, senior, fourth season; House of Spirit, Track, Boy Scouts, and CYO Basketball

Will started running in fifth grade “because my parents noticed I was a high energy kid and I needed something to translate that energy to,” he said. Since he loved middle school cross country, he chose to continue running at PHS.

Question: What do you enjoy about PHS Cross Country?
Will Harper: What I enjoy about Cross Country at Providence is the group I run with and seeing my hard work pay off. Over the past three to four years, I have grown really close with my team through running Track and Cross Country, and it is fun to run with them. Also it is very satisfying to see my hard work and the team’s hard work pay off. Over the summer we put in a lot of mileage, and when sectionals roll around we hope to compete with bigger schools like Floyd Central and New Albany.

Q: What do you enjoy about long-distance running?
WH: What I enjoy about long distance running in general is the racing. I love to compete and see where my fitness is in comparison to kids from other schools.

Q: What are you looking forward to this season?
WH: What I am looking forward to this season is sectionals, regionals and semi state. We have a chance to become the first Providence team in about 50 years to win a sectional title, and with powerhouses in our sectional like Floyd Central, that would be a huge achievement.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a Pioneer?
WH: My favorite part of being a Pioneer is going to sporting events and being part of the student section. It is fun to do chants and stuff like that.

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