EVART — Evart coach Katie Nostrant has been focusing on her challenge of turning around the Wildcat volleyball program.

But she’s also continuing to rehabilitate from health issues that entered her life earlier this year.

Practices started earlier this month for the Wildcats who didn’t win a match last season.

Nostrant has been working with a young squad which started its season late last week.

It’s her fourth year on the coaching staff at Evart.

“(The girls) know me pretty well, but this year they had a lot to learn because I had a stroke,” Nostrant said. “I was a mile from home, going bowling and had a stroke (in January). I’m not fully recovered but I’m better.”

Nostrant recalls having the stroke while driving around the intersection of 23 Mile and 105th Avenue in Mecosta County.

Her fiance, Jenuine Walters, was a passenger in the car and was able to assist in getting the car to stop.

“Luckily Jenuine shifted it into park and my foot was on the gas,” Nostrant said.

Nostrant said at first the paralysis was on her complete right side.

“Now my right leg is slowly getting back as I can walk without my brace and my right fingers I can’t move yet,” she said. “Doctors say I should recover completely over time.”

Nostrant was at Butterworth (Spectrum) Hospital for five days and went to Mary Free Bed for three weeks.

“I got leg movement back but couldn’t walk without my brace,” Nostrant said.

She got out of Mary Free Bed on Feb. 19. She said she lost her job as an administrative assistant from the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department.

“When one door closes another opens,” Nostrant said.

Her rehabilitation continues and Nostrant has been focusing on her coaching.

“It’s little hiccups. I know what I’m going to say but then I don’t know what I’m going to say, if that makes sense,” she said, adding new athletic  director Jay Wallace and his predecessor Pat Craven have been supportive.

Nostrant said she’s been working to get the team ready for the season and verbally has been instructing her team in areas where she can’t physically demonstrate something.

Evart has 15 players on varsity and 14 on junior varsity.

Top players for the Wildcats are expected to be seniors Danielle Beasley at libero, juniors Cyana Dellar and Sierra Barnett at middle hitter, sophomore McKenzie Kimball at all-around and freshman Libby Hopkins at outside hitter.

“They’ve got a lot to learn with me being mentally OK because anything can happen and I’ll just cry,” Nostrant said. “They’ve done well. They’ve been wonderful.”