Sports | DrumhellerMail
Last updateFri, 21 Jun 2024 5pm

U16 Smash volleyball team wins national silver


The U16 Smash girl’s volleyball team shined at nationals, taking home a silver medal.
The Smash is the sole Drumheller Club Volleyball team that went to nationals this season. They were played out in Edmonton on May 24-26. The Smash played well, making it to the gold medal match in Division Two, Tier 12.
“They played awesome,” said Coach Audrey DeBona. “They practiced hard all year to get that point.”
“When they get going playing as a team they are so cohesive, they behave on the court as one unit.”
Coach DeBona explains the first day of the tournament, your team is put in a pool. On the second day, you are put in a power pool to determine the tiering. On Sunday, it is almost sudden death, where you continue to play until you are defeated.
They played teams from Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and a couple of BC teams. All of the matches were close, with a couple of points either way.
On Sunday, they topped two BC teams to go on to the final against Victoria. It came down to the last game.
“We were down a lot in the third game, and they made a huge comeback but lost 15-12,” said DeBona. “They were just on fire and got going, it was just a little too late.”
This isn’t the first time this team has competed at the national level.
“There was only one out of the 10, who had not been to nationals, some have been to the big show three times,” said DeBona, noting they won gold three years ago in Division Two.

U17 Smash earn bronze at provincials

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The U17 Smash Blue Club Volleyball team ended their season on a high note with a bronze medal at Provincials.
The Smash went to provincials in Calgary on the weekend of April 20.
The team played well at the tournament, but in a close match was shut out of the championship match in the semifinals by Dawson Creek. They went to the bronze medal match and beat the Wetaskiwin Sabres in three sets.
“They worked super hard,” said Coach Stacey Hainstock. “This weekend, they peaked with a phenomenal display of skill and fortitude.”
Hainstock has coached this team for the last couple of years and Koren McDougald has coached this group of girls since U13. Both are retiring, so this was a high note to end their careers on.
The team has a busy season and worked to improve their play. They appeared in three premiere tournaments and attended the Sylvan Lake Wave Invitational Tournament on February 20. The Smash also hosted a home tournament at the new Morrin School Gym on March 9 where they earned a silver medal.
“We started off the season sort of slow. We had a hard time melding as a team. We did a lot of mental fortitude-building and a lot of sports psychology and it paid off. The team we saw at provincials was a different team than what we saw all year, they just came together,” said Coach Hainstock.
This team has athletes from Three Hills, Morrin and Drumheller on their roster. Coach Hainstock says they improved skills through the season and despite coming from different schools and communities built a solid team spirit.
“I think these kids have built lifelong friendships,” she said.

Local swimmers compete at provincials

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A couple local swimmers were having a great season in the water, and qualified for winter provincials.
Eddie Boyd and Grady McGougan trained and competed this season with the Stettler Tsunamis Swim Club. They had a great year, and both qualified for the winter provincials.
Eddie had been swimming with the team for two years and qualified for provincials. They were held at the 2024 Winter Festival in Sherwood Park at the end of January.
"He did very well,” said coach Jarek Bursik. “He had personal best in all, he just excelled in that meet.”
Eddie qualified in the backstroke and freestyle.
He explains, to qualify for the provincial competition the swimmer must meet time standards.
Grady also qualified for provincials in his first year with the club. These were in Edmonton in March. He qualified in all the breaststroke distances.
“He did very well. He actually made it to the finals in the provincials. He elevated his personal best even more than he expected himself,” said Coach Bursik.
The swim season continues for Grady as he works his way back to qualify in the provincials coming in June.
Unfortunately, Eddie’s season was cut short due to injury.
Coach Bursik says he enjoys seeing his swimmers compete, improve and have fun.
“We can talk sports and performances, but for me the most meaningful thing is when we are leaving practice or swim meets, they have a smile on their face,” he said.

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