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The Commandos baseball team will play its season-opener at home Tuesday (March 12) against Davidson Academy.

The game begins at 7 p.m. at Drakes Creek Park.

Coach Mike Hendrix said pitching should be a strength this season.

“If our hitting comes through like I hope it does, then I think we have a chance to have a really good baseball team,” Hendrix told The Ville News last week. “We’ve got to score some runs. Our pitchers cannot go out every game thinking they’ve got to throw a shutout for us to have a chance to win.”

The coach described this year’s seniors as "kind of a happy-go-lucky” bunch that will need to stay focused.

“They like to have a lot of fun, sometimes too much fun,” Hendrix said. “That’s the thing about baseball -  graduation is right around the corner, and I hope that they concentrate and that they want to have a good baseball season and not worry about graduation until it gets here.”

Two players, sophomore Spencer Garner and freshman Zach Zimmerle, said they have been working hard to prepare for this season. Garner even played for a summer team in the off-season to try to improve.

“The team can be great as long as we focus on our mental game,” Zimmerle said.

Story by Carson Briscoe, Savanah Williamson and Savannah Vaughn

Leonie Fuster, a German exchange student visiting HHS the past few weeks, had a quick answer when asked what she missed most about home.

Without hesitation, she replied, “the bread,” and her five classmates from Germany laughed and agreed.

It won’t be long before the students and their chaperon, teacher Tina Dietrich, are reacquainted with the thick, crusty bread of Ingelheim, a city of about 25,000, 30 miles west of Frankfurt: Their last day at HHS is Friday (March 8), and they depart for home Saturday.

It has been a whirlwind for the teens, who spent a few days in Atlanta before arriving in Hendersonville for three-and-a-half weeks. Each student had an exchange partner from HHS who served as host family; in turn, six HHS students will stay with the German students’ families when they visit Ingelheim in May.

The German students ate American food, watched American sports, shopped at American stores, visited American museums, and hung out with American teens.

Their conclusion? Americans and Germans aren’t all that different.

“All the people are very friendly to us and are happy to see us and ask us a lot of questions,” Clara Mazurek told The Ville News last week. “It’s cool.”

Clara said American products, movies and music are popular in Germany, so the culture shock isn’t as great as one might imagine.

“I think every German teenager wants to go to the U.S. once,” she said. “This is a great experience for us.”

But not everything about America is familiar. Jonathan Knewitz observed that “everything here is bigger” – the schools, the highways, the supermarkets. And, he added, “what we would consider a long drive is nothing for you.”

There are other differences, too. Most teens in Ingelheim don’t own a car; they ride bikes or use public transportation. Churches are more plentiful in America than in Germany, as are fast food restaurants. And the drinking age for beer and wine in Ingelheim is only 16.

Of course, there’s also the language barrier. Even though German students study English in school, there’s a big gap between what they hear in their classrooms and what they hear in our towns and cities, where native speakers often run their words together and talk really fast.

“Even for me as a teacher, it’s sometimes hard to catch the words,” said Mrs. Dietrich, who shared a story about watching a lacrosse game here and hearing someone shout “Watch the rabbit!” when they were actually shouting “Watch 11!”

“But you get used to it,” she said of the language divide. “Living with a host family helps a lot.”

Despite the differences, she and the German students discovered in Hendersonville what the six HHS students – Charlotte Bishop, Sebastian Bishop, Isabella Bolen, Tony Heerdt, Alexa Janesh and Emma Sneed – will likely discover in Ingelheim: It really is a small world in a lot of ways.

Story by The Ville News staff

The hockey team’s thrilling season came to an end Wednesday (March 6) with a 7-3 loss to Brentwood in the state championship game.

Despite the loss, this season is certainly one to remember. The team -- 23 players from Hendersonville, Station Camp, Beech and Merrol Hyde high schools -- won its first GNASH (Greater Nashville Area Scholastic) Cup and finished second in the state, its best showing ever in the Predators Cup state competition.

“It was 7-3, but Brentwood got two empty-net goals,” said senior Cameron Stevens, who attended the game at the Ford Ice Center in Nashville.

Stevens described the student turnout and atmosphere in the arena as “incredible.”

“Both student sections (Hendersonville’s and Brentwood’s) were in one section, and HHS’ fans filled two-thirds of it,” Stevens estimated.

Even though the outcome wasn’t the one he and the other HHS fans wanted, it was still a historic season.

Story by Joey DiStefano

Despite this week’s frigid temperatures, a sure sign of spring is upon us: The HHS boys’ soccer season is about to begin with the first game at home against Father Ryan on March 12.

Coach Russ Plummer and senior players Camron O’Reilly and Max Cooper recently spoke to The Ville News. Coming off a 14-8-1 season, the three are optimistic about the new year. Their edited remarks are below.

 

Q What motivates you each season?

Camron: Getting to play with my friends; like me and Max have been friends for four years now. Seeing the guys get out there and just do something they love to do. Oh, and winning! Winning is definitely a motivator.

Max: Just playing for our school, that’s always fun. Seeing everybody come out makes it worth it, and I just love playing.

 

Q How would you compare this year’s team to last year’s?

Max: We’ve lost some players, but not really that many, and I feel like some of the younger kids have really grown. They’ve gotten much better than they were last year. I think we’ve got a really good shot this year.

Camron: Coach was talking to us in the locker room, telling us that each year the team is different, and he’s definitely right about that. Guys have matured this year; the juniors and sophomores have matured. Then our freshmen coming in always change it up.

 

Q.How many upperclassmen do you have this season?

Max and Camron: Five seniors and 16 juniors. The rest are freshmen and sophomores.

 

Q. Who is your top rival?

Camron: The one to beat is always Station Camp.

Max: They are back-to-back state champions right now, and I think our record with them is very negative right now, like in the last couple of years. It just always feels good to beat them. We beat them last year for the regional finals and it was awesome.

 

Q. Coach, what do you think of the effort the players have put in so far?

Coach Plummer: I’m the type of person that if you’ve known me for a long time, you’re going to put in effort.  The people that don’t put in effort, they don’t stick around much.  It’s not a mean or negative thing because we go back to those demands, it’s just we expect a lot.  There are high expectations, there are things you’ve got to do.

 

Q. How close are the players on the soccer team?

Camron: Close, like a family.

Max: We do everything together. Every year, for the underclassmen that can’t drive, the older guys take them to practice. You always get closer when you take someone everywhere.

 

Q. Are you happy with student turnout at your games?

Coach Plummer: I think you’d always like to see more. We have a very nice facility at the park, but because we’re at the park, sometimes we don’t get the crowd we would if we were playing right here at the school. A long time ago we used to play on the football field and that was a great environment because our crowds were much bigger. Softball plays at the park, baseball plays at the park, tennis is at the park. They’re good facilities at the park, but sometimes we don’t get the environment that we want. But when it’s a big game the school does a great job supporting us.

 

Q. Coach, you’ve had a long and successful career (Plummer is in his 32nd year and has more than 800 victories and three state championships – 1989, 1998, 2010). Can we expect you to be at HHS another 32 years?

Coach Plummer: I want to do it as long as the program is being successful. I don’t really have a timetable. I don’t want to be called into the principal’s office and they say ‘Coach, I think you need to do something else.’ I want to make that call when the time is right, but I couldn’t tell you when that time will be.

 

Q. What made you want to become a coach?

Coach Plummer: It would be my high school and my college coach. Fortunately, I had a great high school mentor.  He was the middle school coach when I was in middle school and he moved up to the high school when I moved up to high school, and I’ve known him for a long time.  Because of the impact that he had in my life, I thought it would be nice to help impact other people's lives as well.

(Coach Plummer also credits his father and his coach at Indiana University for being influential). In college, I wasn’t good enough to play soccer, but I knew I wanted to be involved. I was around the players and coaches every day as a student manager. I could have gone to a smaller college and played, but my experiences at Indiana prepared me much better to be a coach and lead the program at HHS.

 

Q. How does soccer help prepare students for challenges off the field?

Max: It’s really all about your mentality going into it. You’ve got to have a good attitude because doing stuff you don’t want to do is a big part of it. You don’t always get to do what you want.

Camron: You’ve got to work well with your teammates, and that helps to prepare you for later on when you have to work well with others. You also have to communicate on the field, like you do in the workplace.

Story by The Ville News staff

The Pennies for Patients fundraising drive collected about $2,504 for cancer patients – $1,000 more than last year, agricultural teacher Amy Garrison said in a faculty email Thursday (Feb. 28).

“Every single cent counts, and each of you who participated and encouraged your class were instrumental in our effort,” wrote Garrison, who oversaw the two-week drive, which ended Wednesday. “Although we did not quite reach our lofty goal of $3,000, we still exceeded last year.”

Pennies for Patients is a national effort by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. According to the organization’s website, the program “connects schools with local blood cancer patients, provides tangible life skills to participants, and allows students to see the impact they’re making in the lives of others.”

HHS teachers received cardboard collection boxes for their rooms and encouraged their second-block students to donate.

Architectural and engineering design teacher Brandy McCarter’s class collected the most money, a whopping $775. The students will receive an Olive Garden meal as a reward for their generosity.

Other top classes were led by teachers Steve Stephens, $424; Emily Barker, $112; Shauna Beach, $99; and Stephanie Highsmith, $87. Their classes all will receive a pizza lunch.

Story by Alfred Allen

 

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The HHS talent show was a hit with students Thursday (Feb. 28).

The show featured 16 acts and included singing, dancing, comedy, and even a whistled rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“It was exciting to perform for the school,” said Keaton Wilson, who danced with fellow senior Damion Chandler.

The talent show was organized by teachers Christy Brown and Lisa Baugh.

Story by Ava Craddock and Kennedy Payne

The HHS hockey team enters the next round of the state championship playoffs tonight (Feb. 20) after beating Mount Juliet 10-1 last week.

Forward Shane Pearson said the team is on a roll and confident heading into its matchup with Father Ryan at 8:40 p.m. at the Centennial Sportsplex. If HHS wins, it will advance to the semi-championships of the Predators Cup.

“Once we beat MBA (two weeks ago) it felt like nothing could stop us,” said Pearson, a freshman. “But we’ve got to stay on our game if we want to repeat that success.

“Our game strategy, generally speaking, is to be physical, put shots on net, finish our checks, and to give 100 percent,” Pearson said.

Coach Tim Rathert said the team needs to execute and to stay disciplined and committed to defense against Father Ryan.

The coach also said the players are “looking forward to finishing strong and giving their best to bring home the Preds Cup. We have 13 seniors and they really want to finish what they started.”

This year’s team has already accomplished a lot. After 18 years of trying, Rathert and his club finally got the pleasure of raising the GNASH (Greater Nashville Area Scholastic) Cup earlier this month. It was the first time the team has won the cup, which goes to the top high school team the Nashville area.

“It was awesome,” Rathert said of the accomplishment. “We have been so close so many times, and we have a great group of young men and women and it was great to see them accomplish one of the goals they set at the season.”

Story by Corrine Mitchener

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