New paraeducator and alumna Nicole Lertora returns to her old high school, now taking on the role as head coach for JV field hockey with hopes to develop the players’ skills for the varsity level.
Coach Lertora was hired as a paraeducator over the summer and was named the new head coach for JV field hockey a week prior to the start of the season. Coach Lertora says, “I played at Blake, and I was looking for a job as a paraeducator.” Coach Lertora adds, “I was talking to the varsity coach Howley about helping out [during the season].”
Athletic director Jared Fribush hired coach Lertora as she was reaching out to coach Howley. Mr. Fribush says, “Field hockey is one of the sports that can be sometimes difficult to find a coach for, and we were very fortunate to land a coach that we’re comfortable with.”
Coach Lertora has years of experience with playing the sport. She says, “I’ve been playing field hockey since I was six. I played club, high school, and college.” She coached in the OBGC league when she was in high school and has continued since.
Her primary goal for the season is simple. She says, “My main goal for the girls, which they have actually been meeting, is just to improve every day.”
Even though it is her first year as a head coach, her coaching philosophy is clear. “Family first, school second, field hockey third,” she says, “I really want them to be strong individuals as well as strong field hockey players.”
As the season has progressed under coach Lertora’s guidance, some players have noticed a significant improvement in their skills. Sophomore Elizabeth Rojas says, “My biggest weakness is push passes, and thanks to coach Lertora, I feel like it has gotten a lot better.”
One player is very impressed with the job that coach Lertora is doing in her first year as a head coach. Sophomore Ari Ali-Yerima says, “Coach is doing a great job. There is never a day where I’m not enjoying practice.”
So far, coach Lertora is enjoying her return to her alma mater. She says, “The girls are awesome. They are like my family.”