Teaching and coaching within the Muscatine School District may not have been something Addison Westercamp could have predicted, but she feels ready for what lies ahead.
Westercamp has taken a physical education position within the district that will see her spend time at Grant and Mulberry Elementary Schools. She'll also be spending a considerable amount at the high school as she's been tabbed as the new Muskie girls basketball coach.
"I just want to get the program back rolling," said the new Muskie coach. "I'm a new face coming into a new position that might be hard for some people to get used to, but hopefully, the girls and I will work well together, but I don't doubt that we will."
After being a year-round prep athlete at Moulton-Udell, Westercamp played softball at Iowa Wesleyan.
Her first teaching job took her to Fairfield, where she coached year-round as a part of the volleyball, basketball, track and field and softball programs.
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The first hire under new MHS assistant principal and activities director Mike Henson, Westercamp is also set to coach junior high volleyball in Muscatine.
Previously, in one season under John McBride, the Muskies went 5-17 in 2021-22 and finished eighth in the Mississippi Athletic Conference.
Before McBride, Susan Orvis coached MHS for 12 seasons and finished with a career record of 141-126 with one state tournament appearance in 2012-13.
Several Muskies went on to have successful college careers under Orvis, something the new Muskie coach would like to replicate.
"I'll set the bar high, but nothing that they can't reach," Westercamp said.
Though she met a few of her future players through the hiring process, Westercamp will get her best look at the team on Tuesday and Wednesday with a team camp scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon both days in the Van Hecke Center on the MHS campus.
"I've met a couple of them already, and it seems like a great group of girls. I'm looking forward to working with them," the new coach said. "Only like 7% of high school athletes go on to play in college. That number blows my mind. It's a crazy small number, but if we can get some girls prepped for the next level, that would be fantastic.
"I didn't expect to be at a school this big. I graduated with 20 kids in my class, so I never thought that I'd be here, but I'm welcoming (the opportunity). So far, everyone has been absolutely amazing."
Muscatine's top returning players include seniors Jazmeriah Jones, who led the team in rebounds last season with 94 and scored the second-most points on the team (142), and Becca Haag, who was one of the MAC's best shot blockers with 27 rejections in 22 games.
Haag, however, is working back from a shoulder injury that prematurely ended her junior softball season.
Elsewhere the Muskies may continue to see progress from the incoming junior class.
Point guard Avery Schroeder and classmates Annie Zillig, Brylee Seaman and Ysabel Lerma all saw considerable varsity minutes as sophomores.
Schroeder appeared in 18 games and scored 52 points with 24 rebounds, 16 assists and 10 steals.
Zillig and Seaman each played in 16 or more games.
While eager to attack the new position at MHS, which has Iowa's 25th largest enrollment (1,132), Westercamp doesn't want to lose the everybody-knows-everybody dynamic she picked up while playing for the Class 1A Eagles.
"I'm looking forward to a different size school," she said. "I went to a small school and then taught and coached at Fairfield, which is a little bit bigger. But here I am at Muscatine. I never thought that I'd be coaching or teaching in a district this large."
Though the position may not have been one Westercamp predicted, she's already looking forward to one specific night on the basketball calendar. Though at the end of the day, she views her new role as one that's about more than teaching the Xs and Os of basketball.
"I'm excited about it. It's sort of a new realm to work with," said Westercamp. "I'm looking forward to the Cake Auction Night. Everyone says that's a crazy deal. Giving back to the community is very important to me. It's not all about basketball. It's about teaching the girls about life in general.
"I had a lot of great coaches and people in my atmosphere when it came to sports, and I'm hoping to pass along some of those lessons they've given to me. Hopefully, we can not only get the girls the wins that I know they want but continue the hard work toward giving back to the community."