For most high school coaches, leading one team is enough work and stress as it is. But South Western's Karen Cracium loves tennis and she loves being a coach. In addition to being the girls' tennis coach, she was recently named the boys' tennis coach as well.
Cracium will be taking over for 2014 GameTimePA Coach of the Year Kristen Meyer, who led the Mustangs to a 13-1 record and a YAIAA Division I title last season. We caught up with with Coach Cracium recently to see how she's preparing to run the program.
Question: So, where are you from?
Answer: I am from Hanover and graduated from Hanover High School. I played tennis for long-time coach Dan Palmer there.
Q How long have you been at SW?
A I have been coaching girls’ tennis for three years at South Western and volunteering for boys tennis for two years at South Western.
Q How long have you been coaching tennis?
A Before South Western, I was coaching at Hanover High School for the girls team for two years. So, my total is five years coaching high school tennis. Our assistant coach, Kris Raubenstine, has been with the boys and girls teams for 15 years. He is a great asset and will bring continuity to the program during the transition to a new head coach.
Q What was your first reaction when you found out you’d be the boys tennis coach?
A I was very excited to hear that I would be able to continue working with the boys in a new role.
Q What are you looking forward to most this season?
A I am most looking forward to sharing time in one of my favorite places -- the tennis court -- with a group of exceptional student athletes. We have a wonderful group of hard workers on the boys team this year. I’m just looking forward to the privilege of working with them.
Q Have you met the team yet?
A Yes, I’ve met them and worked with them.
Q Is there any added pressure in taking over a team that finished in first last season?
A No, there is no added pressure. Each year is a unique experience where any of the players from different schools in the league can train and improve. Every year is hard fought and up for grabs.
Q What’s the biggest difference between coaching boys tennis and girls tennis?
A The main difference between girls and boys tennis is the weather. At South Western, we are praying for an early thaw and we can’t wait to get started!