Dacula grad Ashley Stratemeyer is the new head girls lacrosse coach at Peachtree Ridge. (Photo: Will Hammock)
Ashley Wages Stratemeyer, 29, was hired recently as the head girls lacrosse coach at Peachtree Ridge after spending the past four seasons as the Lions’ junior varsity head lacrosse coach.
The 2003 Dacula grad also has coached basketball and softball at Peachtree Ridge, where her husband Matt is an assistant boys basketball coach. She teaches in the high school’s special education department.
In this edition of “Getting to Know…”, Stratemeyer talks with sports editor Will Hammock about learning lacrosse as an adult, her path to teaching and coaching and her courtship with her husband.
WH: You didn’t play lacrosse growing up. What was it like to be a rookie to lacrosse coaching? What were the biggest challenges?
AS: Learning the basic skills, how to throw how to catch. Because I didn’t do it myself. Trying to learn the most appropriate technique for all the different people. In the early days, it was like I was spinning around in circles. I had no idea. (Peachtree Ridge assistant) Pam (Overstreet) told me to refer to it like basketball. The defense, zones, cutters, screens, that’s when it started to make sense to me.
WH: Your younger brother Clay (Wages) is coaching, too?
AS: Yes, he’s coaching at Central with (fellow Dacula grad) Branden Mayweather. It’s his first year as coach. He loves it.
WH: How did both of you get into coaching and teaching?
AS: He got into coaching and teaching because of me. He used to come to my games. And our dad was always our coach growing up in basketball, baseball, softball. We had a respect for my dad and for other coaches. That’s why we wanted to get into coaching. And (my former Dacula coach) Kathy (Marlowe) was a big role model. She’s why I do special education. I wanted to follow in her footsteps.
WH: What was it about her?
AS: She just kept me in my place. Because I was a mouthy teenager. She was like my mama at school. I was scared of her I guess. When something happened at school, she was there to take care of me.
WH: And she got you interested in special ed?
AS: Yes. I did peer leading my senior year and fell in love with the kids. … I came over here (to Peachtree Ridge) and did behavior disorders and they loved me. I got into the kids in the autism spectrum. Those are my children. I love them.
WH: It takes a special person to work in special ed. Lots of patience.
AS: Yes, patience. It’s funny. I don’t have patience for anything else in my life except for those kids. Those are the only ones.
WH: If one of your kids asks what kind of athlete you were, what do you tell them?
AS: I was competitive. I always wanted to be the best person on the field or the court. I didn’t care what I had to do to get there.
WH: Were you and your brother competitive with each other? How far apart were you?
AS: We’re five years apart. He’s a lot better basketball player than I ever was. I wasn’t happy when he surpassed me. I was kind of mad when he got a college scholarship (laughs).
WH: How many of the Wages around here are related to you?
AS: All of them. Every one of them. We’ve been here so long we have roads named after us. We were all in the Dacula, Bold Springs area.
WH: What was it like growing up here as a Wages?
AS: Everybody knew me. Everybody knew us, especially in Dacula. It was so small back then. My dad and mom are from Dacula, too, so everybody knew us.
WH: What was it like growing up in Dacula back then?
AS: We had one red light. We were a one red-light town. Everybody knew everybody. When you passed people on the road, everybody waved because you knew everybody. Now there’s so much traffic and a lot more red lights.
WH: When you’re not at school, what do you do for fun?
AS: I love to go shopping. I go to the park, work out.
WH: What’s it like being married to a coach (Peachtree Ridge boys basketball assistant Matt Stratemeyer)?
AS: It’s nice being married to a coach because he gets it. There are so many long hours he puts in. He has his season. I have mine. If I wasn’t married to a coach, I don’t know how long it would work out.
WH: Did you meet here at Peachtree Ridge?
AS: Yes, we did.
WH: Was it love at first sight?
AS: Actually no, I was not interested in him. I thought he was a jerk. But getting to know him after two years, then we started hanging out and now we’re married. He stuck with me.
WH: How did he ask you out?
AS: It was after my team’s ninth grade championship game in basketball. After the trophy ceremony, he asked if I wanted to go out for dinner. I said ‘Yeah, I guess if you’re paying.’ And here we are.
WH: How much time do you two spend here at Peachtree Ridge?
AS: Between school and teaching, I would say 12 to 14 hours a day, even on weekends when we’re in season. The whole month of June we will be here. We both do summer school and then camps at night.
WH: What kind of music are you into?
AS: Country. Anything that wakes me up really loud. Pop, I guess you could say.
WH: Who are your favorite artists?
AS: Miranda Lambert. The best concert I went to was Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, their tour.
WH: What’s your most embarrassing moment?
AS: Probably my first year coaching lacrosse. I was trying to talk to the girls about shooting on goal and I tossed the ball out of the stick and it went behind me instead of in front of me. That was while I was still learning. The girls were like, ‘Coach, you don’t even know how to shoot.’
WH: So you’ve come a long way?
AS: I have come a long way.
WH: Do you plan on coaching lacrosse a long time?
AS: Yes, I love it. I plan on being here as long as they let me. I wish the sport was around when I was in high school. I think I would have been good at it.