The responsibilities on the plate of Morgan Mickley in the coming months are daunting.
Yet the 2007 Dallastown High School graduate doesn't sound at all worried.
"I'm one of those people that work better when they're busy," Mickley said. "I don't sit back and let things happen."
A 2012 York College graduate with a bachelor's degree in elementary education, Mickley this month is entering her first year as a sixth-grade teacher at Spring Forge Elementary School in the Northeastern School District following a year of working as a substitute teacher in the Spring Grove Area School District.
A former soccer player at Dallastown and NCAA Division II Pitt-Johnstown, Mickley is also a first-time head coach, taking over the Wildcats' girls' soccer program this season after serving as a Dallastown assistant varsity and head junior varsity coach the last four seasons.
"I'm gonna have to get to school early so I can leave right away to get to games and practices on time," Mickley said.
To further stack the odds against Mickley, she is replacing Barry Barbush, who stepped down as the Dallastown coach earlier this year. Barbush compiled a 105-24-5 overall record in six seasons at Dallastown, including a 65-4-5 mark in York-Adams League regular-season action. The Wildcats won four York-Adams League Tournament titles under Barbush and qualified for the District 3-AAA tournament all six seasons, reaching the district semifinals in 2010.
"I'm looking at it like the girls have responded well and they feel like it's a fresh start for them as well," Mickley said of filling Barbush's shoes. "How they performed last year doesn't matter. If they want to be a starter they have to work for that."
Plenty of Dallastown players will have a shot at starting, considering Mickley has just five returning starters from a Wildcats' club that went 10-0 in York-Adams Division I play and 16-5 overall last year. Dallastown lost three talented players to graduation in goalie Becca Austin, defender Brittany Temple and forward Alaina Curry. Austin and Temple are planning to play in college at NCAA Division I Coastal Carolina, while Curry is headed to Division II Kutztown.
"One of my goals for the team is to have more depth and more role players to be vital parts of the team so that I have the ability to mix up the lineup and not have a lot of drop-off when we bring out the starters," Mickley said.
Mickley believes having more depth will help push Dallastown further in the district tournament, where the Wildcats have gotten past the first round just twice in the last seven years.
"I think that's one of the things that beats us as we get out of York County competition," Mickley said. "When opponents (in districts) sub in players, they are equally as good as starters. For us it's always been we've had a strong team but we only have a few key players to zero in on."
Mickley certainly has more than a few tasks to zero in on this fall. In fact, it may never be this challenging again for the first-year teacher and head coach.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.