Over the last ten years soccer coach Gary Redenbacher watched with awe as a tight knit group of 6-year-old girls won local soccer titles by the bushel. Over the years, The Sting a Scotts Valley/San Lorenzo Valley youth soccer team won five division titles and took second or third place in each of the many seasons they played together.
“I have coached in dozens of situations for a lot of years,” Redenbacher said. “This was by far the most incredible group of athletes I have had the honor teaching.”
But that’s not the end of the story. Five of the girls – currently all freshman and sophomores in high school and former Sting players – attend four different local high schools and excel in track and field.
The girls, Anna Maxwell, Mikayla Fish, Melinda Lange, Eleanor Brock and Nichole Trenchard have all established themselves as top-tier athletes.
“It was a huge part of my life to know that those girls would always be there when soccer came around,” Maxwell said this week. “We did so many team parties and sleepovers that the team just became a second family.”
n Maxwell, a San Lorenzo Valley High School sophomore has proven to be one of the top distance runners in the nation. She’s turned in top times in the 3200 meters, the 1600 meters and the 800 meters.
n Scotts Valley High School sophomore Mikayla Fish broke the school’s high jump record by 7 inches with a leap of 4 feet, 11 inches this season.
n Melinda Lange, another sophomore at Scotts Valley, is among the league-leaders in the long jump and currently sits in third place in the school’s record books with a jump of 14 feet, 3.5 inches.
n Kirby Preparatory sprinter Eleanor Brock is currently the fastest sophomore girl in the area in both the 100 (13.24 seconds) and 200 (27.42 seconds) meter sprints.
n Pacific Collegiate School freshman Nichole Trenchard is the youngest of the group and is leading PCS as a pole vaulter.
“I was a full head taller than the rest of the girls for years,” Trenchard said. “People would see the team pictures and be like ‘You were the baby?”
Trenchard, though only a freshman, has cleared 10-6 (last years SCCAL champion cleared the same height) in the pole vault in competition and says she has gone higher in practice.
From soccer to track, the group of girls has excelled each year.
“We had the right personality for the right position in almost every situation,” Redenbacher said. “Anna (Maxwell) was tireless as a defender on the field and it translated very well into track. Did we know that she would be a national caliber distance runner? No. but we saw that she was almost never tired. Eleanor was a perfect striker as she was the fastest kid out there. The team was really a group of all stars and it shows.”