Recently a group of 13-year-old girls boarded a plane and headed for sunny Florida. They were there to play but this was not a relaxation or sightseeing trip. Instead the preteens worked hard and competed. A group of seven girls from Morgan and one from Kaysville made their way to the National Volleyball Championship after winning a tournament qualifier.
Aubrey Saunders, Jorry Randall, Josey Jacobson, Nikki Wilson, Jaiden Farr, Sarah Elton, Whitney Ray, and Aubrey Lauder (of Kaysville) set, spiked and aced their way through games at the national competition.
Nearly 200 teams from across the country competed in the Orange County Convention Center. An amazing 130 courts were set up to keep the teams moving through their brackets. They played teams from Washington State, Georgia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Texas. The first day the team from Morgan played three games. It took a few games for the team to fall into step with one another as two of the players had not competed on their team before. Once they got the rhythm of working together with one another, they were able to start winning. In an intricate scoring system the team from Morgan placed 2nd in Bronze.
Each team came bearing a small gift for their opponent. They tried to select gifts that represented their area or state. Our local girls made several hundred bags of salt water taffy to exchange at the net. This fun exchange let the girls meet each other on the courts with sportsmanship and enthusiasm. Through the trip they learned a little bit about other places, but they found that kids from all over the country like to do the same things they do. They found others that share in their love and talent in volleyball.
The team had fun spending time together on and off the courts. One morning they spent at Daytona Beach, which they absolutely loved. They also visited University Studios.
Jocilyn Randall Taylor and Jamie Blomquist Reese, both of Morgan, coached the girls this season. “The coaches have taught them so much this season.” Aubrey Saunders mother Brady praised the coaches, “It was a very successful season.”
The team was organized to keep the girls playing together instead of breaking them up and joining clubs around the state where they would not play together. The coaches, parents and players decided to create this team to let them compete together. They felt this would benefit the girls when they play in high school. Nikki Wilson will enter the 10th grade this year. The others will make their entrance into high school this fall as 9th graders.
Congratulations to the team for representing Morgan at nationals and your dedication and talents.