Yonker takes charge of Gladstone volleyball


GLADSTONE — Gladstone High School has named Mariah Yonker to be its new volleyball coach after Liz Gendron resigned from the position.

Yonker, a 2015 graduate of Big Bay de Noc, returns to Gladstone after starting her high school career there before transferring to Big Bay her junior year.

She played volleyball at both Gladstone and Big Bay before playing college ball at University of Wisconsin-Marinette. She was an assistant coach for UW-Marinette this past year and she also has coached club teams in the Menominee/Marrinette area.

Yonker is excited about this opportunity, but believes it will be a challenge especially taking over a talented team and the expectations that will come from it.

“I’m very excited,” said Yonker. “I know Liz was a heck of a coach and it’s kind of hard to be able to live up to that coming right after her especially with the talent the team has right now. So there’s already some high expectations. It is kind of nerve racking but I’m pretty excited and I’m confident.”

Gendron resigned as coach this past year for what she cited were family reasons but believes the program is being left in good hands and that this isn’t the end for her and that she will be coaching in the future.

“It won’t be forever,” said Gendron. “I had Mariah Yonkers ready in case I wasn’t able to come back. She has been working with the girls a lot in the summer for me. I have full faith in her ability. I coached her as a youngster in high school and watched her play in college and I know I left the team in great hands.”

Yonker is already off to a good start and is confident her team will have a successful season.

“It’s going to be a good season,” said Yonkers. “The girls are excited and they’re already willing to work with me. Liz was a huge help in giving me this opportunity. She has full confidence in me so that’s a booster for me.”

Yonker acknowledges there will be a few challenges early on but overall sees no big issues that she’ll have to face.

“Like any coach there will be challenges that you’ll face like dealing with parents but other than that I don’t see too many issues coming because the girls I’m working with are coachable and are just such good girls to work with,” said Yonkers. “They know the game and they’re great athletes. They make the job a little easier for me. I’m feeling pretty good about it so far.”

Yonker is taking the year off from college to pursue this opportunity, but she will continue her education through online courses in the future.