This week's Athlete of the Week feature is sponsored by Winter Haven Christian School.
WINTER HAVEN — Coming off of a 7-14 season in 2018, the Winter Haven Blue Devils have turned things around, starting the season 15-5.
Along with first year head coach Dylan Sechrest, two players at the forefront of this change are junior Becca Mack and senior Vanieliz Henriquez.
In the Blue Devils’ most recent tournament at St. Cloud, Mack totaled 23 assists, 19 digs and 19 kills. Henriquez had 56 digs in the tournament and Winter Haven placed second.
On September 23, the Blue Devils beat Lakeland Christian in straight sets to give them their second loss of the season. Mack had eight kills while Henriquez totaled 15 digs. The following day, Winter Haven also beat Auburndale in straight sets. Mack had 14 kills, six assists and five digs, while Henriquez had 12 digs.
When did you start playing volleyball and how did you get into it?
Mack: I started playing when I was 6and I got into because my sister’s coach didn’t want me just sitting around at practice and he made me start practicing.
Henriquez: I started when I was seven and I started because my sister played volleyball.
Who has had the biggest impact on you playing volleyball?
Mack: My father, because he supported me through everything and he pushed me very hard. (He) would not let me stop. We’d go to the gym and we’d go practice until I became good.
Henriquez: My mom. She always supported me every single time and she’s helped me a lot.
What has been your favorite memory together?
Mack: We were at a big tournament and we stayed in the same room. The memories we made in the room together and throughout the tournament.
Henriquez: For me, I love playing with her every single time. I don’t remember one (specific) time, but every single game is good with her.
What would you say is the most difficult part of playing volleyball?
Mack: Attitude is the main struggle for me.
Henriquez: For me, I work on my attitude every single time, because it’s hard when you lose or when you win. And it’s hard because you have to help your teammates so you need to have a good attitude. Maybe sometimes when you’re mad but you have to figure it out.
Do you plan on playing volleyball after high school?
Mack: I’m not committed yet but I do hope to play volleyball in college.
Henriquez: I already have a commitment with Polk State College so I’m going to play and study there.
What are some of your interests outside of volleyball?
Mack: I really like to cook. I’m very creative and I love drawing.
Henriquez: I exercise outside of school and I love to dance.
Do you have an idea of what you want to major in in college?
Mack: I want to major in psychology and I want to eventually be a school psychologist.
Henriquez: Physical therapy and I want to specialize in sports medicine.
What do you think has been the main reason for your team’s success so far this season?
Mack: Our coach has been the main turnaround for our season. (He) just kind of whooped us all into playing good for our school.
Henriquez: The first thing for me is our coach. He helps us and he’s hard sometimes but that’s good.
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