Oklahoma: home of the OKC Thunder, some quality southern barbecue and the Center of the Universe (it’s true). This year, Oklahoma was also home to the annual High Performance Championship volleyball tournament.
Tulsa opened its doors to male and female athletes from across the country and around the world competing in the Select, Youth, and Junior age divisions. 24 IREVA athletes and six coaches travelled down to compete at the Youth National and Junior International levels from Tuesday, July 24th to Saturday, July 28th.
The YNT had a record of 2-6 (8-19). They were incredibly competitive in nearly every match, playing their hearts out to take a set 25-13 over the top seed in pool play. The favorite match of the tournament was against Australia. After the “USA” win, the girls gave Australia their IREVA shirts to travel home with. A couple even got some Aussie gear in return!
The JIT was 3-5 (10-18). In strikingly similar fashion, their highlight game was also against the top team in the pool, pushing USA Red to truly earn their 23-25 set three win. The JIT also took down Australia in a thrilling four set match. Not only was there a tremendous amount of growth in the athletes’ games but their competitive levels soared.
When not eating, sleeping or playing volleyball, the athletes could be found watching more volleyball, swimming and playing games at the hotel, having dance parties, and visiting the Center of the Universe! Yes, you read correctly: the Center of the Universe. This acoustic anomaly was a hit with the girls who reported that if you stand directly in the middle of the attraction and speak, it sounds as though your words are coming from behind you!
At the HPCs, there are multiple USA teams that any individual may try out for. The top 60 athletes in an age group from across the country are divided into five teams: USA red, white, blue, stars, stripes. This year, rising senior IREVA athlete Sophia Tuliau of Watertown, NY, tried out, made the junior-level USA white team, and came away with the silver medal!
A huge congratulations to all athletes who travelled to compete down in Tulsa, Oklahoma this past week. Good luck to those on to college, and see everyone else at tryouts in the Spring!