The Arnold Lady Marlin volleyball team heads into District play next week in 2nd place in Class 5-A District 1. The Lady Marlins are led by a core group of Seniors, including middle Sam Brooks. Sam makes the grade- there's no question about that, and her teammates aren't shy when it comes to asking for help.
"If there's ever something that one of the underclassman has trouble with, their like oh Sam knows, Sam knows!" laughs head coach Karisa Wesley.
"I find math fun," says Sam. "They'll all laugh at me when I'm doing a math equation. I'm like yeah! I got this! I know this. They'll laugh, they're always like, yeah, Sam's really smart."
Really smart as in 4.7 GPA smart taking all AP classes- all while helping lead the Lady Marlins to an 18 and 6 record, and a top 10 ranking in the state polls.
"She is the type of kid that will do anything to play the volleyball," says Coach Wesley. "She's aggressive, she has an amazing work ethic, and that's so infectious to her teammates as well."
Sam's hard work has paid off, as she has 129 kills on the year, 104 digs, and 41 blocks, and she says it's 110% every time she steps on the court because this is it for her time in an Arnold uniform.
"I definitely wasn't as aggressive for as focused the past three years," says Sam. "Senior year really brings out the best in you. I've really tried to go big this year since it is my final year. Try to hit harder, serve more aggressively, get more digs."
What Sam really wants is a district title, and a 20 win season, something that no other team at Arnold has ever done before- and it's her work ethic both on and off the court that motivates her to be better.
"That you can never be perfect," says Sam. "It's just a great mentality to have, that you can always be better, that this isn't the best you'll ever be."
"She will not let a ball hit the floor without being on the floor after it," says Coach Wesley. "She's just that kind of player. She's just always got a smile on her face. She's always happy, she's always positive, and that's one thing we'll really miss from her next year."
But before Sam can be missed- there's a lot more left to accomplish right now.
The Class 5-A District 1 tournament starts Tuesday. Arnold plays Bay High at 5:30. The winner advances to the Championship match on Thursday at 6:00.