Glenwood grad returns to home courts
Post Independent Staff
Blocking, killing and slamming aces so hard the floor boards were almost rattling, Leah Hinkey looked like her usual self this week.
The 2006 Glenwood High graduate was back on the Glenwood courts Monday through Wednesday, training with the Colorado Juniors 18s team and preparing for the Junior Nationals in Atlanta July 1-5.
Normally the Colorado Juniors practice in Colorado Springs, where the team is based, but this week it went on a road trip.
“It’s fun to be up here, it’s good for team bonding,” said Hinkey, who will be playing with the University of Tennessee in the fall. “A lot of them have never been here before.”
As one of 10 players on the team, which gathers players from all over the state, Hinkey participated in two-a-day practices during the three-day stay in Glenwood. Off the court, the team visited the Hot Springs and hiked to Hanging Lake.
“This has been a really good trip for us to come up here and hang out outside of the gym together,” said Colorado Juniors 18s head coach Judy Peer. “It’s good to be together and get away from the parents and the boyfriends and just be together.”
On the court, Hinkey has not had much of a break since leading the Demons to the state tournament in November. Two days after the tournament, Hinkey starting playing with the Colorado Juniors. After practicing through the remainder of the school year, the team has practiced every day this summer, with Hinkey making the commute on the weekends. Spending more time with the team this week has been very beneficial for Hinkey according to Peer.
“She is phenomenal. She carries us a lot. We gotta get her as many balls as we can,” Peer said of Hinkey. “The hard part for her is that all season she has only been able to practice on the weekends because of the drive. And now she is getting all this time with us and she is just getting better and better.”
The Colorado Juniors will practice two more weeks and play a few scrimmages before heading to the national tournament where expectations are high. The team has never placed higher than ninth, but Peer and Hinkey are both eyeing a top spot.
“We are going to medal,” Hinkey said. “We better do damn amazing.”
Two days after nationals, Hinkey will join up with her Tennessee teammates and begin preparing for the Volunteers’ season. Collegiate preparation is an area Peer targets as eight of the 10 players will be playing for universities in the fall.
“Part of it is getting them conditioned so they are ready for college. Their college seasons start right in a month, and first-day impressions are huge,” Peer said. “Part of it is getting them in shape for that.”
Despite joining a Tennessee team who finished the 2005 season with a No. 6 NCAA Coaches Poll ranking, Peer believes Hinkey could see a lot of playing time as a freshman.
“She’ll have a chance to start at Tennessee,” Peer said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
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