Saguaro’s Sloane Richie using faith to support her community
Before the 2022 season, the girl’s volleyball program at Saguaro High School had struggled under head coach Tim Church, who took over the team in 2017. The Sabercats’ record in his first five years was 44-94, with small progress along the way.
The small signs of progress turned big in 2022.
Saguaro finished the season with a 15-10 record, the first winning season under Church in six years and first for one of the seniors on his team, Sloane Richie.
“It felt really good to be a team that had good connection, communication and chemistry,” Richie said. “I can tell that coach Church was really proud of us and proud of how we could control any drama. We just wanted to have so much fun this year and I think that was the big thing about this season. I’m really happy that translated to winning.”
Richie has been on the varsity team for Saguaro since her sophomore season, persevering through the early struggles and helping bring the program back to its winning ways. Now with months before graduating, Richie will miss her team and the atmosphere of Saguaro volleyball.
“It makes me not want to leave because we have so many good underclassmen,” Richie said. “I can tell that we just have the best spirit and the best attitude. At the end of the day, it was always having more fun than talent for us.”
While enjoying excellence on the courts was a highlight in Richie’s senior season, her dominance as a student in the classroom is commendable as well.
Throughout her time at Saguaro, Richie has taken as many AP classes as possible, challenging herself with college credits while currently holding a 4.735 weighted grade point average.
“Taking all the AP classes was mainly to help save money for my parents, but academic validation means a lot to me,” Richie said. “I’m really good at multitasking and balancing out my schedule so seeing the grades come out from all the hard work really helps a lot.”
Richie holds herself to a high standard in the classroom and in her community.
A member of Valley Presbyterian Church, Richie does her best to represent her family and follow her religious beliefs regardless of what others might think of it.
“It used to be hard for me to talk about being a Christian because I feel we received such a negative view with all the politics lately, but not all Christians follow those same political beliefs,” Richie said. “I feel like I’ve matured and I should just talk about it. It’s a big part of my life and I feel if other people care about me, they would listen to what I have to say.”
Following her Christian beliefs and participating in events at her church has been a priority in Richie’s free time and has led to unforgettable experiences.
Most recently, she traveled on a mission to Nashville, Tenn., for one week, helping communities in need by packing medical supplies, providing food for shelters and maintaining national parks.
“I’ve never been to Nashville before, so I was going into a brand new place knowing I could help people that I had zero connection with, and it has really inspired me to do more in the future,” Richie said. “Being able to branch out a different community was totally eye-opening.”
Richie plans to attend college after graduation, unsure of the exact university at the moment, but plans to dive into the medical field.
On top of it all, Richie will continue to follow her heart and religion to remain a leader in her community.
“Your character is reflected by your acts of service,” Richie said. “How you treat the people around you, what you do in your everyday life, how involved you are in your community, how you treat your family; All of that is just a reflection of your character and every small thing counts.”