Glenwood club volleyball team on the move
It seems like Glenwood Springs is the next big thing when it comes to having teams reaching the national level.
The high school’s cheerleading squad has obtained that degree of skill. Now, the members of the Glenwood Springs U15 girls volleyball team are on the cusp of hitting the big stage.
After reaching the required record of wins by USA Volleyball to qualify, the eight-member team is planning to test its skills at an upcoming regional tournament this weekend in Indianapolis, Ind.
At the tournament, to be held at the Indianapolis Convention Center, more than 80 other qualifying volleyball teams from the midwestern portion of the United States will battle for invitations to the 2003 Junior national tournament.
That event will be held on June 28-July 2 in Atlanta, Ga.
And going by the team’s past success, they should be boarding an airplane for a try for the national championship this summer.
According to head coach Bill Collins, the players started competing for the local volleyball club in 5th grade have matured together.
From the start, as 11-year-olds, the team has played in older age divisions, and has done well.
Three years ago, as 6th graders, Glenwood won the U-16 Western Slope Championships.
Over the years, the list has gotten more impressive.
As 13 year-olds, the team earned an invitation to the National Junior Olympic tournament in Salt Lake City where it placed 27th in the nation out of an estimated 5,000 junior club volleyball teams.
Last year, Glenwood finished fourth in the Rocky Mountain Region U14 division tournament.
In 2002-03, the team finished 10th in the 16-year-old division at a tournament in Phoenix, Ariz., the tournament consisted of nationally-ranked teams from eight states.
Locally, the U15 team won the 17-year-old division championship of the Glenwood Springs tournament, with only one loss in nine matches.
As a tune-up to Indianapolis, the Glenwood U-15’s participated in the Clear Talk Open Volleyball Tournament at Mesa State College in Grand Junction.
Competing against older opponents, Glenwood advanced to the championship match of the 20-team tournament against the IRIE Volleyball Club of Lakewood.
The IRIE team’s roster consists of high school seniors from southwestern Denver. Glenwood’s team has six 15-year-old players and two 14-year-olds.
The local team lost in two straight games, but the defeat doesn’t dampen their enthusiasm to play against tougher competition.
The biggest problem facing the team is travel expense.
USA volleyball, who administers regional and national tournaments, does not provide funding to qualifying teams.
Collins said that each team member has to raise $500 for the trip to Indianapolis, and more funds need to be raised if the team qualifies for the national tournament.
Along with doughnut sales and car washes, businesses and members of the community have come forward with financial aid to offset cost of the trip.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.