Yes, it’s true – 12 teams – 121 athletes from Colorado Juniors trained hard all May and June to prepare for Dallas – the USA Junior National Championship’s. With 21 seniors committed to college in the class of 2013 – they took the stage first.
Both 18Kevin (who just narrowly missed an open bid) and 18Sherri were in the 18National division. This was our 5th consecutive year of sending TWO 18’s squads to nationals! With our goal as seniors to prepare every player for their next team – college – our goals are to get every girl ready and enjoy some play time. Mission accomplished! 18Kevin fell short of its goal to medal – finishing 11th; and 18Sherri finished up a respectable 23rd. We wish our seniors well and will follow them throughout their college journeys.
The 13’s also started play on the first day. This was the first nationals for most of these players and they learned right away how tough a tournament it was going to be. 13Laura was in the National division – and came oh so close to pooling out and finishing in the top half. But alas – they finished a good 27th and came away with a ton of experience. 13Tara was competing in the American division – and finished 43rd in their first ever nationals outing.
The 17’s took the stage next. The much anticipated 17Jude team, competing in 17Open, knew it would need to deal with Texas Advantage. After 17Jude did their job and won their opening 8 team pool – they learned that Texas Advantage had dropped theirs – thus creating a quarter final match up (much earlier than expected). Quite the match it was – CJ winning set 1 25-22; CJ having a swing for the match in set two, but eventually losing 24-26; and then dropping an exciting set 3 by the score of 13-15 – meant the dream and dream season was over. Texas Advantage went on to win the title and Jude finished 5th – but we all know the championship was played the night before. Gabby Simpson and Haleigh Washington were awarded All Tournament for their efforts. 17Beth was in the National division and was all about getting players some college visibility. Without much stability in the lineup – they all still played well, and accomplished their goal of getting the attention of several college coaches, and finished 35th.
The 14’s were next up! 14Matt, in our 4th consecutive season of playing in 14Open, played every team they faced tough. Some very bright moments and thoughts of the future were plenty – and signs the girls had improved throughout the year. Matt finished 30th in a super tough field. 14Malcolm played in the American division, and played with many first timers to nationals as well. Alternating setters along the way – he also played everyone tough – learned a ton and finished 37th.
The 15’s were set to take the stage next. 15Shannon playing in the open division also – was ready to go – except dropped two three set matches on day one. That makes it tough to recover – but they did to finish fourth in pool – a pool which ultimately had the silver medalists in it (and 15Shannon beat them! Ugh). They finished strong in 17th place, and got lots of college attention. The mighty seven of 15Alex played their tails off in National – since only playing with 7, no subs all tourney, they were exhausted! But all year this team endured injury after injury – and nationals was no different – played hard until the end – finishing 30th.
Finally the 16’s got to play! 16JJ was in the ever competitive national division – and started off great! They finished second in their first pool setting up a tough second pool with Santa Barbara and Puget Sound. At the end of the second pool – all teams tied 1-1….but JJ won the pool on points due to a crushing effort vs Santa Barbara. On to the challenge match – where they battled a solid Ignito team. Battling to a 14-16 loss dropped them out of medal contention (their opponent when on to bronze) – and they finished a strong 11th. 16Brian played in the first ever Patriot division. While not a qualifying division, the play was at a super good level and the girls got a lot out of the experience finishing 11th.