Only one elementary school in recent years has won both Yukon Grade 7 volleyball titles at the same time — the Hidden Valley Huskies in 2013.
Well, they just did it again.
The Huskies won both the boys and girls divisions at the Yukon Schools Athletics Association’s Grade 7 Volleyball Championships on Saturday at Porter Creek Secondary School.
“We’re really excited and happy,” said girls captain Angel McCallum. “(Our success came from) working really hard, I guess, and thanking our coaches for pushing us farther and farther to play.”
“It was so awesome,” said boys captain Max Wanner. “I’m kind of surprised but also — I don’t know, it’s just really awesome.”
The Huskies took the boys title with a 25-9, 25-17 win over the Whitehorse Elementary Wolves, the 2014 champions, in the final.
Hidden Valley claimed the girls title with 25-16, 25-9 win over the Holy Family Hurricanes, who were going for their third straight.
The Huskies girls won the title four straight years between 2010 and 2013, and were on a downward slump with silver in 2014 and bronze last year.
“Last year it was pretty hard for us playing the bronze medal game, but this year we were ready for it, to play the gold,” said Huskies girls coach Heather Boardman. “They all came through at the end, which was the tournament.
“Practice pays off. Some of these kids have been on the team since Grade 5 and now they’re in Grade 7. They worked really hard to get all their serves over, and all their bumps, and we were able to focus on overhead smashes.”
Hidden Valley’s boys team hadn’t pocketed the title since 2013, when both teams won, but dominated this year. In fact, both Huskies teams did. Both teams cruised through the championship without dropping a single set.
Maybe there’s something in the school’s water, or maybe the small school of under 100 students has developed a winning volleyball program.
“I think they just really have fun at volleyball,” said Huskies boys coach Bryan Clubbe. “The girls and boys practice together all the time. We practice at lunch, we practice in the morning, we practice one day a week after school. So the kids are always having fun doing it, they get excited, they practice their skills and they put it all together this year.”
“Teamwork and a lot of practice,” said Boardman. “Being together as a team has made the whole thing worthwhile.
“This is a dynasty — again,” she added.
Perhaps a good way to establish dynasties is to give younger players a taste of the championship. With such a small student body at Hidden Valley, they often don’t have a choice.
This year’s girls team had two Grade 6 and six Grade 7 players on the team.
The boys team, which didn’t drop a set all season, had one Grade 5, one Grade 6 and seven Grade 7 players.
“There’s a whole group of guys who are incredibly positive, who went out there and left everything on the court,” said Clubbe. “Everybody gave it their best, everybody was making great passes and great decisions the whole game.”
Last year’s champion Christ the King Wolverines took bronze in the boys division with a 25-27, 25-20, 15-7 win over the Elijah Smith Eagles.
Christ the King also claimed bronze in the girls division, defeating Whitehorse Elementary 25-21, 25-22 in the third place game.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org