Making net gains

Q&a Wade Simmons, C. Milton Wright, Volleyball

October 28, 2007|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special To The Sun

Senior Wade Simmons is a left-side hitter for C. Milton Wright's boys volleyball team, which clinched the Harford County regular-season crown last week. He's a four-year starter and three-year captain for the Mustangs.

Simmons, whose family lives on a farm in Forest Hill that's been in his family for 100 years, wants to work in land conservation. Last summer, he worked with the Student Conservation Association outside of Tucson, Ariz., and had almost no contact with the outside world for about five weeks. He worked as part of a small group that cleared and built a few miles of trail. Simmons said food was packed for them, and mules brought it to them each week. He loved the experience and hopes to do something like it again this summer.

For now, however, Simmons has his eye on this week's county volleyball tournament, which his Mustangs will enter as the top seed.

Since volleyball is primarily a girls' sport at the high school level, how did you get into it?

I played soccer until my freshman year, but I wasn't very good at it. And I was looking to try something new. My sister played volleyball in college, and my dad played when he went to school, so I decided to try it. I loved it. I didn't even know what true volleyball was until coach [Rob] Lewandowski came into the picture last year and took over.

How big is winning the county regular-season title to you?

It felt just great to win it. We're just trying to build a program. It's a huge accomplishment because we haven't done it in 15 years. It always feels great to win. There's no way I imagined us being this good in four years when I started.

To what do you attribute the program's improvement?

The whole transformation came with the coach. Before that, we had great guys coaching volleyball, but they didn't know the sport. Coach knows the game, so he kind of started over with us, and now we're up to the point where we're running quick-balls and plays. He's getting the most out of us.

How do you feel about C. Milton Wright's chances in the county tournament?

I definitely think we have the best chance of winning. In the second half of our season, we lost one match. We played very well, and we lost only one game out of 18. We just have to play like we've been playing for the last week. We've just got to keep doing that.

What's on your iPod now?

I don't have an iPod right now. I'm huge into music, but I buy the bands' CDs to support them. I like Yonder Mountain String Band. I love the whole bluegrass folk music scene.

What do you want to do this summer?

I'm not exactly sure. I'm looking to do something like I did [last summer]. I'd probably like to go in the Northeast, for my own financial situation, so I won't have to buy a plane ticket, and I can see a different part of the country.

What's the best thing about what you did last summer?

It's great knowing that in the back country, Tucson, 26 miles away from the city, there's some miles of the trail that we cleared. We were based at our own campsite. We'd either hike or clear out trails on our own. We would work 8 to 4 or even earlier. But I loved it. I love just being outdoors like that. Meeting new people and just the nature of the work we were doing was great.

What did your parents think of you wanting to do this trip?

They were all for it. The only problem was when I got assigned, it conflicted with the first two weeks of volleyball, but I let Coach know and he was fine with it.

Do you want to still play volleyball in college?

The schools I'm looking at have club teams and intramurals, if it comes to that. I definitely want to keep playing. I love it.

How good can everything be for boys volleyball at C. Milton Wright?

We definitely get the low hand because sports like football and soccer get more attention. It is a shame because you get a good game of volleyball, I think it's one of the best games out there. With the program we're building, it's getting more and more exciting. I think our school will always be good in volleyball as long as our coach is there.

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