Nurse helps renew NRHS

Published 10:32 pm Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Nansemond River High School boys’ volleyball team experienced a discouraging 0-10 start to its 2014 season, and then the tide turned.

The Warriors got their first win on Sept. 30 against visiting Denbigh High School, and senior outside hitter Malcolm Nurse led the way with his season-high 12 kills, to go with five aces and three digs.

He helped the team get its second win two days later against host Heritage High School by contributing 15 kills.

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His leadership efforts led to his becoming the Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week.

Nurse said he was pleased to see evidence of his growth as a player from last year, but he was also pleased to see something specific out of his team.

“I felt that our team was unified,” he said.

A concern for his teammates and the Warriors as a whole has become a special priority for Nurse since they voted for him to be one of the squad’s captains this year.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been the captain for a team at Nansemond River,” he said, and he has taken the job quite seriously. He recalled doing research on how to do the job.

His mother, Ann Nurse-Davis said, “He took on that title, he really stepped it up a notch.”

She has come to expect a focused and detailed approach from him that she said is both a gift and something she helped cultivate.

“Whatever he puts his mind to, he’ll excel at,” she said. “Sometimes he needs to be motivated to get to that point.”

Warriors coach James Vann has taken note of Nurse living up to his new title.

“He turned into our leader, pretty much,” Vann said, also noting an important trait that has accompanied that leadership – dedication. “He’s always there.”

Though he gets out of school in the morning and does not have a ride to get back several hours later for practice, he does what he has to do to get there.

“He actually rides his bike back to school for practice,” Vann said, estimating it to be a four or five mile trip. “He’s shown, ‘I’m going to be there regardless.’”

Nurse has played many sports, including t-ball, baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis and indoor track. With whatever sport he is engaged in at the moment, he said, he is constantly thinking about how to improve his athletic ability.

He has been able to pull from his experience in other sports, like tennis, to improve not only his own performance on the volleyball court, but also that of his teammates.

He said when down a set or two against an opponent, having the proper positive mentality is crucial. His motivation to succeed on the court is connected to his ability as a captain to keep his team in the right mindset.

“What motivates me is seeing my teammates in a good state of mind,” he said.

Nurse is hoping to attend a Division III school where he can compete in tennis, volleyball and indoor track while pursuing a degree in either computer software engineering or computer science.