January 21, 2010

Sports : Menard Sports Center new home of prep volleyball tourney - Frontiersman

Sports : Menard Sports Center new home of prep volleyball tourney - Frontiersman

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By Jeremiah Bartz
Published on Saturday, December 26, 2009 6:41 PM AKST

WASILLA — Palmer head coach Steve Reynolds admitted he was surprised when he first learned Palmer High School would be hosting the 3A and 4A state volleyball tournaments at the Curtis C. Menard Memorial Sports Center starting in 2010.

But the longtime Palmer head coach wasn’t sure what surprised him more — the reality the state’s biggest tourney would be in the Valley or the fact that the event would no longer be at West Anchorage High School.“It’s been at West High for so long, and Bartlett before that,” Reynolds said. “I thought it was pretty monumental that they moved it at all.”

But earlier this month, thanks to some quick work by officials at both Palmer High and the Menard Sports Center, the Alaska Schools Activities Association Board of Directors awarded a three-year bid to PHS to host the tourney at the Menard for the next three years.

“It’s cool to see it move a little bit,” Reynolds said. “The Valley is definitely growing and has some facilities it didn’t used to have. It’ll be cool to have it out here.” Palmer High School activities director Jeff Thiede said Tedman Allen, a city of Wasilla and Menard Memorial Sports Center recreation coordinator, called him just days before the ASAA’s bid deadline to gauge Palmer’s interest in hosting the tournament.

Thiede said he was hesitant at first, fearing the overall cost of hosting the tournament at the Menard. But after Matanuska Telephone Association agreed to sponsor the event to help out with the rental costs, Thiede said the school submitted its bid.

Thiede said everyone was on board — the school, booster club and officials at the sports complex — but everyone was still unsure about the likelihood of the event finding a home in the Valley.

“Everybody didn’t think we’d get it because West had it for years,” Thiede said.

But Palmer was awarded the bid, and Thiede now believes the opportunity will be beneficial to the school, the sports center and the sport.

Thiede said a pair of volleyball courts — one for 4A action and the other for 3A action — will be temporarily set up inside the Curtis C. Menard II Memorial Arena, which is typically home to the Alaska Avalanche Junior A hockey program and local high school hockey teams.

“This truly makes it a multisport facility,” Thiede said. “It showcases what they have to offer.”

The arena sits about 2,100 people. Both Reynolds and Thiede feels the layout of the Menard could also be more fan-friendly than that of West High.

At West, the bleachers are perpendicular to the court and fans are often behind the action. At the Menard, the courts will be set up parallel with the bleachers.

“No one likes to watch volleyball from the back, especially from low and behind,” Reynolds said.

Thiede also said the Menard provides ample locker room space for the teams.

The other unique aspect of the partnership, Thiede said, is Palmer High hosting an event in Wasilla.

“This is showcasing the Valley,” Thiede said.

The Menard has been home to the ASAA state hockey championships for the last two seasons, and Wasilla High School will host the state hockey tourney at the facility again in February.

In addition to hockey, the Menard has also hosted the Alaska state freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments in the past.

January 19, 2010


Just a quick hello, there is not much going on right now that is blog-worthy.

Many volleyball players are in the middle of their basketball season right now. I've read some articles in the Frontiersman and it sounds like they're doing awesome. Nice job girls. I heard that Jaimi Cox had a bad knee injury and I'd like to wish her a speedy recovery. We were all sorry to hear about that.

Other girls are playing AVA and hopefully getting a lot out of it. I know our team gets a lot of repetition in the 2 nights week meet each week. Remember, club volleyball is what you make it. If you show up, work hard and try and get lots of reps, you'll come out a better player. I've seen some of you in the gym playing and it looks like everyone is having a good time.

As of now, we are planning to do the summer camp again this year, we'll have more details in a month or so, but it will be similar to last year. Once a week in the gym all summer.

If anyone would like to play open gym volleyball, give me a call or an email and I'll try and get enough people together to have an open gym at AT&T.

Have fun!
"Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game."
Michael Jordan

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