Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Coach praises pair of players as the nucleus for any team

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PETER Sdrolias likes to sing the praises of Eric Odegard and Jennifer Restall.

"You could build a team around either of them. Both of these kids are exceptional student athletes," says Sdrolias, a physical education and science teacher at Westwood Collegiate.

Odegard is a member of the provincial midget basketball team, while Restall recently made the provincial midget volleyball squad. Odegard's team will compete in tournaments in Calgary and Minneapolis in July. Restall's team will represent Manitoba at the national midget championships in Calgary on the August long weekend.

Odegard and Restall, both Grade 10 students, were members of Westwood's junior varsity teams this year.

"I was very happy to make the provincial team because the high skill level and the competition and drive at practices will make me better," says Odegard, a point guard. "Now I'm playing with a lot of guys in my conference who I played against."

Restall admits that she felt somewhat intimidated at the provincial team tryouts, because of the "high level" of the other girls.

"But I'm looking forward to improving, and I'm learning so much about the game," says Restall, who plays the power position.

"Both are very coachable athletes," says Sdrolias. "They take (constructive) criticisms well. Both come in on their own to work out, whether it's weight training or on their sport."

Sdrolias adds that individuals who play on provincial or club teams have a "distinct advantage" in the upcoming season over kids who don't play on such squads.

"It's really key to have that extra exposure and experience in the sport," says Sdrolias.

Restall went to the first provincial team tryout in September. She was invited to a second camp with about 100 other girls at Oak Park High School. That was followed by the final tryout with 40 girls on June 1.

"It was a six-hour tryout," remarks Restall, who helped her Westwood Warriors team win the conference championship and was named MVP.

"I'm looking forward to playing on the varsity team next season and being with some of the same girls (from this year's team) again," says Restall, who also played junior varsity basketball, soccer and doubles badminton this year.

Odegard observes that his provincial team tryouts were also very difficult.

"The coaches worked us hard. I was in the last group of five or six that were chosen for the team," says Odegard, who was a conference all-star this year.

"Now we practice three days a week. The coaches focus on team defence and help you individually, too."

PHOTO MIKE DEAL/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 25, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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