THERE’S going to be a distinct Kelso and Bathurst flavour to this year’s Combined High Schools (CHS) girls under 16s volleyball squad.
That’s because half of the 10-strong side will be made up of Kelso and Bathurst High School students.
Maddy Vallis, Lily Grimmond, Harriet Fitzsimmons (Kelso), Zara Sheader and Teagan Bush (Bathurst) all impressed at the recent trials to earn their spot in the squad – a testament to both their increasing training load and their commitment to coach Jerry Sheader’s program.
The domination of the squad by Denison College students comes as little surprise after their team took out the division one title at last year’s Australian Volleyball Schools Cup in Melbourne.
The good news continues for Kelso who also had Kurt Hernandez make the under 16s boys team.
Trials for the NSW team were held on May 4 at Sydney Olympic Park and the successful players were notified on the day that they had made the cut.
The Denison College group are now upping their workload in the run towards the CHS National Volleyball titles on August 20 to 26 in Bendigo.
“I’m over the moon. This is my dream. I’ve been putting a lot of work into this team. I combined the team when they reached year seven, since my daughter’s at Bathurst High, and we’ve been training extremely hard two days a week at minimum,” Sheader said.
“These girls are also trailing for the open state under 17s team at the moment so they go to Sydney every Saturday for that. These same five girls will also be part of a Denison College team playing in Sydney every Sunday.
“For three weekends in a row we’re travelling to Sydney for state training and then travelling to Sydney on Sunday for SVL [Sydney Volleyball League] so it’s about to pick up.
“I’ve been telling the kids and parents for a while that things are going to get intense.”
I’m over the moon. This is my dream. I’ve been putting a lot of work into this team.Jerry Sheader
The girls team made a big impact at last year’s AVSC Melbourne tournament, playing a big part in Kelso finishing second in the NSW schools rankings.
However, the CHS Nationals will be a big step up for the talented bunch.
Sheader is hopeful NSW can make a statement in Bendigo.
“There’s some really strong areas that will be competing. Queensland, South Australia and Victoria are strong. Queensland in particular put a lot of money in volleyball and have huge programs,” he said.
“In the past NSW haven’t been up to the standard of those teams but things can change.
“They’re a strong group of girls and maybe the team coming through will help out. It’s definitely going to be interesting.”