COLUMBIA — Identify the targets, jump on their back, wrestle them to the ground and conquer.
Kayla Howard was dismissed from her chemistry class one day to use the restroom. She was hesitant to leave the safety of the classroom and walk through the hallways where she knew she might see teammate Niki Collier.
Hickman (5-16) vs. Rock Bridge (22-8-2)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: MU's Hearnes Center
She swallowed hard, tiptoed through the halls, and peered around with every cautious step. All she needed to do was reach the restroom, where she would be safe again.
Then from around the corner, Collier emerged. “Wrangle!” she yelled as she sprinted toward Howard, who ran to find safety.
Despite her efforts, Howard could not escape, and Collier jumped onto Howard’s back and tackled her as Howard screamed in mock terror. Howard was "wrangled."
Collier laughed as she ran away, and Howard remained on the floor, laughing hysterically at what had just occurred.
One teacher who heard her cry for help peered into the hallway to investigate the situation.
As Howard tells the story, she just rose from the ground, looked at the teacher and said, “It’s OK. I just got wrangled.”
Some teams give their teammates a high-five, a pat on the back or a tap on the butt. Rock Bridge volleyball players prefer to "wrangle."
They have even dedicated one day of the week specifically to the activity – "Wrangle Wednesday."
It all started after the Bruins finished second at the Camdenton Tournament this season. Senior Alexis Granneman could not contain her excitement.
“I was just so excited about the tournament,” Granneman said. “I was running after Elise (Meyer) but she was running away from me. I finally caught up and tackled her to the ground. Then I told her ‘I just wrangled you!’”
Why she chose to refer to it as "wrangling" is still somewhat of a mystery, even to Granneman.
“I don’t know,” Granneman said. “I didn’t really know what to say, and that was the first thing that came to mind.”
The team hopes that the activity will become a tradition, and the varsity team will wrangle others for years to come.
“There is a rule when you wrangle,” Collier said, “You must say ‘I just got wrangled’ afterwards. It’s kind of like the show "Punk’d." On the show they say ‘I just got punk’d.' We say ‘I just got wrangled.'”
Every player on the varsity team has been the victim of a wrangling.
“It’s so surprising,” Nici Thaler said.
Teammate Ali Kreklow nods, “It always happens whenever you would least expect it. They will find you.”
It does not matter what you are doing, where you are, or who you are. Everyone has potential, even Bruins’ coach Vicki Reimler.
“I was wrangled on the bus coming home from the tournament,” coach Reimler said. “I like to think of it as my wrangling initiation.”
On the bus was the first time, but it was not the last.
Kayla Howard snuck behind Reimler during practice one day and took her down.
“They have been gentle with me,” Reimler said. “As long as no one gets hurt, I’m OK. It has been fun team bonding for varsity, and so I do not want to squelch on their fun.”
Reimler acts as if she is merely content with the team’s wrangling, but Howard has a different take on Reimler’s opinion.
“She likes it,” Howard said. “She had a huge smile on her face after I did it. I have pictures to prove it.”
The joke has not stopped with just the varsity team. The junior varsity has picked up on the joke, and other students at Rock Bridge have started to catch on.
“My friends know what ‘Wrangle Wednesday’ is,” Collier said. “They are so afraid. They are like ‘Niki, stay away from me’ and run away.”
All of the girls love ‘Wrangling Wednesdays’ and say that it has brought the team together.
For senior night Thursday, players will create a page that explains their greatest memories from the volleyball season. While most will include sentimental memories from senior year and their volleyball experience, the players are sure many of the pages will include "wrangling" as one of their greatest memories of Bruins volleyball 2010.