Coaching, teaching in senior’s future plans

Photo by Barbie Porter
Harley Kropuenske is a senior on the Hornets basketball team. She also plays volleyball and softball for Frazee High School.

By Barbie Porter


Good things rarely last. Harley Kropuenske knew that statement to be true as she walked onto the basketball court to start her senior year on the varsity team.

The daughter of Jason and Jessica Kropuenske used her wisdom when it came to setting personal goals for the season. She kept it simple and aimed to enjoy the  moments with her teammates and to work hard for them during practice and in games.

“I’m achieving my goal,” she said. “It’s going good. Knowing it was my last chance to play on the basketball team, pushed me. I don’t want it to end.”

Kropuenske plays the post position, which means the area of the basketball court from the free-throw line to the baseline is her home on the hardwood.

Number 42 for the Hornets has learned a lot about overcoming adversity from being involved in sports. Obstacles are part of athletics, be it a personal challenge to improve shooting percentages or decrease the number of successful shots when playing defense. Kropuenske explained facing those obstacles head on taught her about success and failure, and how failures can be a stepping stone to success.

“If you work hard, anything is possible. That is what being in sports taught me.”

Harley Kropuenske

It is that very message Kropuenske tries to emphasize to the up-and-coming Hornets who will be the leaders of tomorrow. She noted getting the message across is easy when surrounded by teammates that share a strong work ethic and genuinely want to be part of the basketball program.

“If I didn’t join basketball, I would’ve missed out on a lot of friendships,” she said. “There is a diverse group in basketball. And, a lot of them I likely wouldn’t know.”

She noted the sport has a variety of grade levels on the varsity team. There has been talent that placed eighth graders on the varsity bench in the past. Kropuenske made her debut as a freshman.

“It was scary, but I went out there and I tried. It was very exciting play basketball with all those girls I watched and admired,” she said.

After seeing how athletics enriched her life, Kropuenske also took stock of how coaches helped her become confident in her strengths. In turn, that inspired her to become a coach. During summer league she has helped coach volleyball and T-ball. 

After graduating from Frazee High School, Kropuenske plans to head to North Dakota State University for an elementary education degree. She said her teachers in the Frazee-Vergas School District sparked the inspiration to be a teacher. The school district also offers a student assist opportunity, which Kropuenske seized.

“Being a student assist solidified the idea of being a teacher,” she said.