By Richard Uhlhorn
Volleyball has become one of the most singular, all-encompassing sport activities in the Lake Chelan Valley, thanks to the passion and dedication of Desiree Phelps, her husband Frank and her consortium of parents including, Jeff and Jennifer Collins, April Williams and Jessie and Jason Ilaoa who recently traveled with their daughters to Huntington Beach California.
“We rent a house down there which makes it easy for us to stay together,” said Phelps.
When K-Beach (Kahiau Volleyball Club) Sand Volleyball got started, it only had about 15 players. Today the number of kids (and adults) who have taken the sport up now numbers over 100 girls and boys and a number of adults.
These six young ladies traveled to Huntington Beach, California to
learn and play some beach volleyball in front of college coaches.
On October 18, 19, 20 and 21, six K-Beach athletes traveled to Huntington Beach California to watch college athletes play, attend a coaches clinic and participate in a Sunday Showcase Tournament.
Participating in this trip were Elly Collins – Junior, Ally Williams – Sophomore, Morgyn Harrison – Sophomore, Olivia Strandberg – Freshman, Katie Rainville – Junior, and Jade Ilaoa (a Walla Walla student training with Kahiau Volleyball Club). All of the Chelan girls are on Chelan High School’s No. 1 ranked Varsity Team.
“On Saturday morning we were able to watch six college programs compete in a fall jamboree style tournament,” said Coach Desiree Phelps. This included Sand Volleyball Teams from Grand Canyon University (GCU), UCLA, Cal Poly, Arizona, Vanguard, and Long Beach State.
“It was good for our young athletes to watch players who are a few years older,” said Phelps. College Beach Volleyball is a Spring Sport and the players participating in Huntington Beach were just getting back into their training. “Many of the girls we watched were in high school last spring and very new to the college game. This is all good stuff for our kids to watch because it helps them assess their own game and goals.”
College Coaches Clinics are great learning experiences.
On Saturday afternoon, the players attended and participated in a clinic coached by Kristen Rohr – GCU, Kris Dorn – Vanguard University, Mike Campbell – Long Beach State, and Brad Keenan – Arizona State University.
“There was a lot of learning taking place during this clinic by the girls and myself,” stated Phelps.
On Sunday, the girls participated in a Showcase Tournament that was attended by a number of college coaches. “We represented ourselves very well and gained the interest of several college coaches and programs.”
The girls showed well. Morgyn and Olivia won the U16s Division at the Tournament. Elly and Ally tied for third in the U18s Division and Katie and Jade finished in the Silver Bracket of the Tournament.
Morgyn and Olivia won the U16 Division
Coaches and scouts watching and taking notes and actively recruiting represented UCLA, Cal Poly, GCU, Long Beach State, Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, CSUN, Vanguard, Concordia and others.
“Through this experience, we now have a few girls who are pursuing college beach programs at some of these schools.”
Elly, Katie, Morgyn and Oliva enjoying the trip.
While no one can determine what will come of their dreams of a college program, it is an exciting time for the players to see the opportunities this sport is providing and taking advantage of them. One K-Beach player, Emma McLaren, has already signed to play at Cal Poly next year after she graduates from Chelan.
Beach Volleyball was added as collegiate sport in 2009 and the first season of competition took place in the spring of 2012. Over 1,000 women are participating in volleyball at the DI, DII or DIII levels with 50 percent playing only beach volleyball.
There are currently 54 DI schools, eight DII schools and three DIII schools with programs.
Enjoying the sun.
Considering that these girls are young and still have their high school volleyball and beach volleyball ahead of them, one can only guess that they will also develop into collegiate athletes in the next several years.
Hey, it’s Huntington Beach, so it isn’t all about volleyball.
To learn more about the K-BeachVolleyball Club go to https://www.kbeachvolleyball.com/