By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
When Toby Wynn took his team to the national tournament in 2007, he had to coach a roster that had been reduced to seven players due to injuries and departures.
That team finished third in the nation, and five of the seven moved on to play at Div. 1 schools.
That may be why Wynn isn’t nervous with this year’s roster of eight.
Due to two ACL injuries and a variety of pre-season decisions by players, Wynn’s bench has been reduced to eight.
So far, the eight have been doing just fine.
The No. 19 Lady Saints are off to a 5-0 start to the season and will travel to Hutchinson Friday for a two-day classic.
There won’t be any additions, according to Wynn.
“We don’t ave anybody coming back this year,” he said. “We had two ACLs and three quit. Another girl was supposed to come and got pregnant. It is unexpected when you are down to eight. These girls are resilient, they are tough, they like each other, and so far they have played well together. I hope we can continue to grow as a team and keep getting better.”
Two-year schools are almost always in a rebuilding mode, but Seward has five sophomores on the depleted roster including returners Fabiana Monte, Shanise Brooks, Peyton Fleming and Jannel Tammen. Wynn also added Div. 1 transfer Korina Chapman who played her freshmen season for Boston College.
Three freshmen joining the squad are Alana Simon, Brianna Scott and Kyndal Davis.
Together, the eight have already demonstrated the ability to win, but the challenge will be how to manage their minutes and practice schedules.
“Right now, as a coach I have to be smart about managing their bodies and health,” Wynn said. “In the past I might have given one day off, with only eight, now I might give them two days off and be smarter about practices. We are going to have to keep fresh legs and make sure everyone is healthy.”
He has done it before, and the results were the second best finish in school history and one game short of competing for a national championship.
While Wynn has shared with his team about the possibility for success with a short bench, he didn’t want to make comparison between 2007’s Maginificent 7 and this year’s 8 Ballers.
“I want this team to make its own mark,” Wynn said. “I want them to take pride in who they are and go down that path themselves.”