Many parents emphasize athletics with their children, supporting them along the way. The Wern family is a good example of that, showing their passion for their children's performance at anything they do.
While Springstead High wrestler Scott Wern, a state qualifier and district champion, has become enamored with his sport, his younger sister, Renee, has a lot of talent in her own right on the soccer field.
Renee Wern, 13, plays competitive soccer for the Hernando Heat. She practices twice a week at Anderson Snow Park in Spring Hill and takes her commitment to soccer very seriously. A defenseman, she has helped the program to a 5-3-1 record so far in this season.
After starting the season poorly, 0-2, with losses to the Charlotte United and Auburndale Scream, the Heat has gone 5-1-1 with an impressive tie against first-place Auburndale along the way. This success comes from the growing chemistry the roster is experiencing and team has jelled as some players, such as Renee, get accustomed to new positions and a new experience level.
"(Renee's) definitely a team player," said Hernando Heat coach Charles Allen, who also coached her at the recreational level in 2004. "She is so aggressive and consistent, and she never gives up."
Renee had never played defense before this season. Bouncing around between midfield and forward, she had always been more active on the offensive side of the ball. Allen slipped her in on defense earlier this season, and she took to it like a fish to water.
"I like defense best out of all the positions on the field," Renee said. "I get to play on the wing, so it gives me the freedom to get involved on both sides of the ball."
An eighth-grader at Challenger K-8, Renee is eyeing a spot on the Springstead soccer team. High school soccer is on the horizon, and her versatility will only help her when she gets to that level. If she can improve her conditioning and speed, she should be successful with the Eagle soccer team the same way that older brother Scott was with the wrestling program.
Soccer isn't the only sport Renee intends to try. She looks forward to running track at Springstead, hoping to improve her speed and conditioning. She also played club volleyball with a team called the Spring Hill Slammers when she was in sixth grade under former Springstead coach Jessica Allnutt.
Renee and Scott aren't the only two Wern children to shine in sports. Middle sibling Luke, a freshman at Springstead, has competed on the soccer field for years. His athletic career has been slowed by a diagnosis of Type I diabetes, but Luke, a certified referee, still officiates some games.
Parents Scott Sr. and Liz are very enthusiastic about their children's athletic prowess. Much of where this clan is headed has to do with their attitudes toward youth sports. There is little doubt that Renee will be the next member of the Wern family to shine because of this support.
"Obviously, I am proud of my kids, and I believe in supporting anything they do," said Scott Sr. "They have a natural thirst to be the best that they can be, and I want to be able to give them the tools to do that."
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