Schmid’s Leadership Big Plus For NHS Volleyball Team
By KEN HAMWEY
Staff Sports Writer
Garrett Schmid was selected to be a captain as a junior for Natick High’s volleyball team but the covid-19 pandemic forced state officials to cancel the 2020 spring season, ending his chance to show how effective he could be as one of the Redhawks’ leaders
Although there was no season, Schmid still fulfilled his duties and responsibilities.
“I took on the role making sure players participated in drills and workouts and enrolled in summer-league competition,’’ Schmid noted. “It was important that our players stayed connected to volleyball.’’
Fast forward a year and it’s refreshing to see that Schmid and Natick’s other three captains have done a superb job guiding Natick to a 10-6 record and a berth into the Sectional Tournament.
“Our team this season is basically a new squad,’’ Schmid said. “We began our schedule as an unknown commodity. I’m the only player with varsity experience, having started as a middle hitter my sophomore year when we advanced to the State final where we lost to Westfield. My goals this season are to win the Sectional and get back to the State final for the second straight time.’’
A right-side hitter, the 6-foot-5 Schmid got his share of blocks and kills. After 16 matches, the Natick native had 100 kills, 33 blocks and 49 aces.
“Garrett is a very intelligent player,’’ said coach Peter Suxho. “He’s tall and he knows how to put the ball down in open spaces. A good blocker, he’s got a high volleyball IQ and he’s very instinctive. Garrett leads by example and he’s a very good team player.’’
The 18-year-old Schmid enjoys playing at the net where he not only registers blocks and kills, but also plays a significant role in read-and-react situations. “I like the right side because I match up against our opponents’ strongest hitters,’’ he said. “I get more sets on the right side and it allows me to hit more.’’
Schmid is a veteran captain who leads on the court and also by being vocal and supportive. “I try to be a positive voice and help teammates whenever possible,’’ he said.
Three teammates Schmid admires are Natick’s other captains — seniors David Massa and Jacob Aronov and junior Luke Rossi.
“David is an outside hitter who’s got power,’’ Schmid said. “Jacob is a vocal setter, much like a quarterback in football, and Luke is a middle hitter who’s smart and strong. He gets lots of kills. All our captains are very passionate about volleyball.’’
Schmid also knows that his coach loves the game and strives to impart his knowledge to all his players. “Coach Suxho is smart and he really knows how to build a program,’’ Schmid offered. “He’s a great motivator who’ll tell you what he thinks.’’
Schmid has played only two varsity seasons but he’s got fond memories of two matches, one from his sophomore season and the other from this campaign.
“I was the only sophomore on the team during the 2019 season,’’ he recalled. “My first varsity game came in our opener against Newton-North. I had 5 blocks and 3 kills but unfortunately we lost the match. This year, against Brookline in our third meeting, I had my best game, getting 15 kills, 4 blocks, and 2 aces. We lost, 3-2, but we played very well together and David Massa, Kendall Jackson and I all had 15 kills or more.’’
A State title would be a great way for Schmid to end his Natick High career but so far his top thrills are his selection as captain as a junior and his experience competing in a State final as a soph. “We won the Sectional against Lincoln-Sudbury, then won the State semifinal against Winchester,’’ he recalled. “Then we bowed in close games to Westfield in the final. The tourney atmosphere was great and I was glad to get that experience.’’
When his soph season ended, Schmid had 48 blocks and 27 kills.
Schmid’s junior year was wiped out by the coronavirus but he’s thankful he’s been able to return to action as a senior.
“I was very disappointed when we lost our junior year,’’ he emphasized. “I felt unlucky and I missed the opportunity to be a captain. Now, I’m thrilled to be back competing and striving to get back to the State tourney. Our entire team adjusted well to the modifications caused by the virus. We’ve all been vigilant about the team’s health and safety. As much as I love volleyball, my top priority is the health and safety for our country. I certainly want my parents and my grandparents to be safe.’’
A straight-A student, Schmid was a member of National Honor Society. He’ll be attending Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he plans on majoring in computer science. “I don’t plan on playing volleyball but I’ll get involved with some intramural sports,’’ he said. “My focus will be on academics.’’
A saxophone player in the band, Schmid’s athletic philosophy focuses on a balance of reaching one’s potential and enjoying competitive sports. “If you’re giving your best and having fun, then winning will come with that combination,’’ he offered.
Calling his parents (Kim and Justin) role models for their support and encouragement, Schmid is acutely aware that valuable life lessons can be learned from athletics. “Sports teach you how to develop a strong work ethic, how to be a leader, how to be compassionate, how to be a good teammate and how to overcome adversity,’’ he said.
An effective hitter and a dynamic leader, Schmid is passionate about volleyball because he likes the instinctive nature that’s required, knows the importance of technical skills, and understands why attention to details is a must. He also likes its fast-pace.
“Our team chemistry has led to success this year,’’ Schmid said. “The key is our seniors, captains and starters. The seniors provide experience, the captains provide leadership and the starters provide the needed talent.’’
Garrett Schmid delivers in all those categories.