Ann Talamantes-Ristow is a freshman all over again.
Solano’s first-year assistant coach joined the program in the summer after spending 16 years as the girls basketball coach at Hogan High in Vallejo. She made a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section title game in 2006, but admits there’s a steep learning curve in the fast-paced college game.
“The Solano program is very different than most of the high school programs these girls – and myself – come from,” said Ann. “They are being challenged to work harder than they have before, and also play differently than they did in high school.”
Though official practice began on Oct. 1, the team has been in the gym and in the classroom working on all aspects of their game and learning offensive and defensive systems since school started in mid-August.
Carrying that classroom knowledge to the basketball court can sometimes provide a challenge.
“I have seen growth in some aspects of the girls’ game,” said Ann, “and I have also seen some of the mistakes being made over and over, which is frustrating.”
Ann, however, is optimistic about the team and feels their potential is tremendous.
“As soon as they get outside their comfort zone, they’ll figure it out,” she said.
The players will have to run one mile in a specified time set by the coaching staff. If they beat their time, they earn their uniform.
“The girls are really understanding the reality of making their mile time in a few short weeks,” Ann said. “Coach Matt lets them know their mile times during their longer runs so they know where they’re at and where they need to be.”
Ann said being at this level reminds her how much she loves the game.
“It’s a very exciting time….To watch this group of young ladies develop their skills and grow as individuals,” she said.