WAUSA — Whatever you do, do not confuse Capp Bengston with his father.
The younger Bengston was recently named the new girls basketball coach at Wausa at the ripe old age of 22, replacing Brandon Kirby.
Bengston, an alum of both Cedar Catholic High School and Wayne State College, grew up just outside of Wausa and now takes over a program that struggled to six wins a year ago.
“I am excited, but I know it’s a big responsibility for someone as young as me,” Bengston said. “I’ve been around coaches my whole life – my dad (Rob Bengston) coached at Cedar, Bloomfield and Crofton – so it’s something I have always wanted to do. I got the opportunity a little sooner than I expected to, but I am ready for it.”
Bengston believes helping to coach the Wausa boys last year, when he student taught in Wausa, gave him an opportunity to gain their confidence.
“I don’t feel I have to be too hard on them because I have already gained their respect,” Bengston said. “I can build relationships with them and be close to them without needing to crack the whip.”
Besides working as an assistant for the Vikings boys program last year, he’s also gained experience helping to coach Hartington American Legion baseball with Don Whitmire, and junior high hoops at Norfolk Catholic while attending classes at Northeast Community College.
Bengston believes what will identify him and be his signature is his desire to see his players aim to be their personal best on a daily basis.
“I’ve told them starting summer basketball, that giving their best is good enough for me,” Bengston said. “I know they have struggled in the past, but at times I think their effort was great just watching from the stands. I have been teaching accountability, leadership and giving your best. If you believe in those things and what you do, the wins will start to pile up. I am trying to teach them life skills that will translate to the basketball court and not the other way around.”
Bengston has had his players fill out goal sheets to give the girls a chance to understand the concept of working into a contract on a job and owning up to it.
He calls himself more of an old school guy when it comes to the game. “I like to slow it down and be the first to 40, that’s what I have been preaching to the girls,” Bengston said. “I am about playing good defense and not about the whole runand-gun with the way basketball is going nowadays.”
Bengston will inherit some young talent from the program including Alexa Cunningham, Abby Kaiser, Blake Wakeley and Sienna West.
“We did lose quite a few seniors, but the unique thing is, we had no juniors, so our oldest girls were sophomores last year,” Bengston said. “We’re young, but I almost like it better. Most of them are young enough so I can teach them my way, since they haven’t had a lot of experience with anything else. So far, they have been really receptive to everything I have taught.
“It’s a hard-working group and I expect big things. The record last year doesn’t indicate the kind of talent we have.”
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