Sami Martell is returning to the Middle Border Conference, but this time the former Somerset Spartan will be competing as a coach, not a player.
Martell, a 2013 Somerset High School grad, was hired as Prescott's head volleyball coach on May 16 and will replace the Cardinals' former coach Beth Charette who led her 2017 team to a 7-12 record and one playoff win.
"I wanted to stay in this area," Martell said. "There were job opportunities in greater Wisconsin, but I thought being in the Middle Border would be a great place to live and work; it's close to home, and it's the conference I grew up in."
As a Spartan, Martell was coached by Sarah Praschak who described her former setter as a coach's dream athlete."Sami was one my hardest workers on the team," Praschak said. "She had compassion, dedication and work ethic instinctively. She was a dynamic setter and ran the offense with ease. "Most importantly, she was a team player and a big motivator on the court. I know Sami has all the tools to be a head coach. Prescott is lucky to have her."
Martell began her career at Prescott High School in January of 2018 as the school's business teacher, and after one semester with the Cardinals, she's decided to expand her role into the Nest — her new home court.
After graduating from SHS, where she played volleyball and softball for the Spartans, Martell moved on to UW-Eau Claire where she initially set out to pursue a career in business and played on the Blugold's club volleyball team her freshman year. Due to a change of heart, Martell decided that she was better suited to become a teacher, which swayed her to transfer to UW-Stout where she majored in marketing and business education her junior and senior years of college.
"I always loved school and being a teacher's helper," Martell said. "I've just always found myself liking to help others, and teaching just kind of felt right."
In the Fall of 2017, during her final semester of college, Martell began student teaching at St. Croix Central, where she taught introductory high school business and accounting classes as well as middle school keyboarding and career exploration courses.
While preparing for her college graduation in December, Martell received an email from a professor, which encouraged her to apply for the open position at PHS.
"As soon as I saw the opening in Prescott I jumped right on it, because I knew it would be a great location that was close to home," Martell said.
Six months later, Martell has grown accustomed to her new life among the Cardinals, has began to build relationships with her team and has proven why she was the best candidate for the head volleyball coaching position.
Incoming Cardinal senior Allie Murphy, who had Martell as a teacher in the Spring of 2018, said she's excited for her last season of high school volleyball with her new coach who always brought innovation to her classroom.
"(Martell) always had new new ideas, which is something that will hopefully translate on to the volleyball court," Murphy said. "Her enthusiastic attitude is definitely rubbing off on all of us. I'm very excited to have her leadership and can't wait to see where the season takes us."
Martell has made the same impression on Prescott Athletic Director Matt Smith during her short career at PHS.
"Coach Martell brings an enthusiasm and passion for coaching and working with our student athletes that we are very excited about," Smith said. "She has played an abundance of volleyball and been extremely successful at the high school and club level.
"We are looking for great things out of her and our volleyball program."