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Covenant cherishes championships
CA Elijah Smith - WCHS   5-4 CMYK.jpg
Covenant Academy soccer player Elijah Smith, front, was on the soccer team that won the TNCAA championship. Soccer was one of five teams this school year which won conference championships at Covenant Academy. - photo by Brad Durham

Covenant Academy hoisted an abundance of championship trophies this school year. There were five championship teams – volleyball, boys basketball, soccer, and boys and girls tennis.

The Southern Standard sat down with Covenant Academy athletic director and head volleyball coach Chris Madewell to review the championships.

Southern Standard: Which teams won championships other than volleyball, which was coached by you?

Chris Madewell: High school boys basketball, coached by Ryan Smith, high school soccer, coached by Johnny Smith, and high school boys and girls tennis, coached by Sarah Netherton.

Standard: What made this a successful year for these sports in your opinion?

Madewell: At the beginning of the year, we were uncertain about having sports. We knew that we had some good seniors, and we were worried they were not going to get to play. We had a good group of kids. When we started our sports as a school, we struggled. Some of these seniors were not necessarily good athletes when they started here. 

Over the years, they have been pulled into PE classes and other things by seniors who made them better. It is sort of like how the youngest child in a family becomes the strongest athlete because they learn from the older ones. I feel like this group is like that. They learned from the older ones. They were the more aggressive and talented group in the end.

Standard: Would you say this year was a senior-dominant class of athletes in your sports?

Madewell: Yes. Pretty much every team was dominated by seniors. It was 80% to 90% seniors starting on these teams, which will be challenging next year.

It is a good group of kids and the coaches did a good job. It is one thing to have talented kids, and it is another thing to use that talent successfully. Just because you have talent doesn’t meant they will walk out there and win. The coaches did a real good job this year motivating and keeping them all together.

Standard: I thought the volleyball coach was above and beyond the coaches he faced.

Madewell (the volleyball coach): Laughs. 

Standard: Will you be back next year as AD and volleyball coach?

Madewell: I will definitely be back as volleyball coach, but I am trying to find someone who will take over as AD. It would be good to have an AD who is in the building. 

That would be better. (Madewell is a math teacher at Warren County High School).

Standard: You have coached your last Madewell. (Madison Madewell is graduating this month, and she is the youngest member of the family.)

Madewell:  Yes. That was hard. It is going to be weird to go out there and coach and not have a child on the team. Of course when I coached football, I didn’t have one. But for the last 10 years at least, I have coached one of my kids.

Standard: It is uncanny that you had so much success at Covenant and WCHS has had success in sports this year as well.

Madewell: It is surprising to see this much talent in the county. It is not just at the high school (WCHS).

Standard: Do you think this year’s success will be a positive influence on next year’s teams?

Madewell: It is hard, year-in and year-out, to be successful, especially in a small school like this. We will get some new girls coming up from the eighth grade team that will help us in volleyball. Some of the kids who come here don’t think they are athletes, but they start playing sports and find out they are good at a sport and enjoy it.