Dallas, TX The Brazos Valley Juniors (BVJ) 14 and 15 Mizuno teams made history last week to add another reason to celebrate on the 4th of July. The 34th Annual USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships began in Dallas, TX on June 30th, where the BVJ 14M and BVJ 15M teams competed in the USA division and the American division, respectively.
Both teams well-represented the Brazos Valley with talent emerging from high schools in and around the BCS. Allen Academy, A&M Consolidated, Brazos Christian, Bryan, College Station, and Rudder high schools; as well as Burton, Caldwell, La Grange, Leon, Lexington, and Madisonville.
These teams began their journey to last week's tourney following the close of their high school seasons last November. The 14M and 15M teams earned their spot in the National Championships tournament via the Big South Classic qualifier, which took place at Atlanta in April. Both teams claimed undefeated division titles in the qualifier that hosted over 100 teams. Practicing multiple times per week and playing in tournaments across the country for the last eight months prepared them for this exceptional challenge.
No BVJ team has earned a medal at Junior Nationals since the club was founded in 1996, until the 14M team placed third last week. The BVJ 15M team also won the bronze medal in their division the following day. Both Karsen Ross from Lexington and Kaitlyn Robinson from Jewett received All-Tournament team awards in the 15's division.
The Brazos Valley 14 Mizuno team roster includes Tamaira Armstrong, Bailey Bennett, Brady Gillum, Emily Hubacek, Madelyn Luera, Kyla Pietsch, Blaire Smith, Hannah Sparks, Quincey Surface and Allison Vaughan.
The members of the BVJ 15 squad are Landri Brown, Sarah Hancock, Kassidy McCabe, Mary Pettibon, Kaitlyn Robinson, Karsen Ross, Abigail Royall, Haley Slocum, Madison Smith, Hope Spacek and Hannah Spacek.
Photographs by Bill Reynolds