By Hannah Simon, Staff Reporter “We were a mess,” laughs coach Todd Whitlow and the softball team during a team huddle at Ricci Field while reflecting on a past season riddled with lack of players and an unsteady schedule. The shadows of last year seem to have no hold on the team, though, as they...
By Hannah Simon, Staff Reporter
“We were a mess,” laughs coach Todd Whitlow and the softball team during a team huddle at Ricci Field while reflecting on a past season riddled with lack of players and an unsteady schedule.
The shadows of last year seem to have no hold on the team, though, as they usher in the 2022 season with goals of gaining experience and learning. Fiercely led by a large senior class along with immense potential in their underclassmen, both varsity and JV are hopeful to win. At the helm of this mission, is new coach, Charlotte Bosco.
Bosco, with more than 20 years of experience, is headed for her first stint as a Conestoga head coach and excited to join a team a little closer to home. After playing for University of Rhode Island and West Chester University, Bosco then coached for various travel programs, holding the position of assistant coach for Delaware Valley University from 2017-2018.
Drawn to the aspect of coaching all different age groups and ability levels, Bosco believes teamwork is number one. While advocating for varsity players, she credits the joint practices of varsity and JV as an avenue for learning.
“I like to create a very open atmosphere for questions. I don’t want anyone to think that they can’t ask a question about something or are afraid to ask a question about something,” Bosco said. “Whether it’s a situation, a playground field form or a question as to why they’re doing something, I like people to be informed.”
As a coach, Bosco believes being able to consider all those questions and answer them as needed enables her to run a fast-paced practice with constant improvement. Always looking to create long-lasting habits in her athletes, Bosco combines equal parts hitting and defense into practice, incorporating speed and agility likewise. The team’s successful output is not only attributed to Bosco and Whitlow’s guidance, but the reassurance that the girls keep their attitude as enthusiastic and bright as possible.
“I think I’m bringing in more fitness, speed, agility and getting them more as female athletes than just your typical softball player,” Bosco said.
At the discretion of Bosco, the team participated in voluntary winter workouts. Weightlifting, hitting and speed training were all topics of focus, while fielding situations and game scenarios also took place. According to sophomore Marisa Francione, what stands out most about Bosco’s coaching style is her intensity and commitment. She believes it empowers the team’s “practice like you play” mentality.
“We are all really pushing each other to be the best we can and (are) always looking to compete against each other for playing time, of course,” Francione said. “The preparation has made us more in shape and ready for the season, including the tougher games and practices.”
Consistent amongst the changes, though, is the team culture first established by past coaches: the team’s unique camaraderie enables them to share the spotlight with one another. The team cherishes the opportunity to simply go out and play, as temperamental weather and the COVID-19 pandemic restricted the girls’ access to the field in the past.
“The experiences that I’ve had are so unique. I’ve met so many people who I think I will be friends with for a long time,” sophomore Ruijia Yang said. “ I think just the fact that you have this set group of friends who you know you can count on and who pick you up that you see every day — I think that is really great.”
Hannah Simon can be reached at [email protected]
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