Volleyball, cross-country underway
by Phil Ambroziak
The new school year’s first week of classes wasn’t even history yet and Meadow Lake athletes from Carpenter High School were already back in the game.
The volleyball and cross-country seasons have begun at CHS and, according to coaches, things are shaping up for yet another round of success.
“We started holding practices right away,” remarked Todd Handspiker, assistant coach for the CHS girls volleyball team. “With the late start to the school year, everything has been pushed up which certainly should make things more interesting.”
Unlike the CHS football season, practices for which began at the tail end of the summer break, Handspiker said rules dictate volleyball teams can’t officially start training until Sept. 2.
“You’re only allowed to start formal practices somewhere around 12-16 weeks before the finals,” he explained.
The abrupt start to the season also resulted in the girls travelling to North Battleford this past weekend to compete in their first tournament of the year.
“We ended up placing fourth at that event,” noted CHS girls head coach Laura Lockwood.
CHS was fifth in the round-robin and took on Lloydminster Comprehensive High School in their first game of the playoffs. Carpenter lost the first set, but came back to win two more and advance to face first-place St. Mary High School from Prince Albert.
“We lost both sets, which put us into the third and fourth-place game against Carlton Comprehensive Public High School, which we also lost,” Lockwood added.
Meanwhile, Handspiker believes this year’s girls squad has a lot of potential to reach provincials again. Last year, the CHS girls made it to the quarterfinal round at provincials.
“We have a young team seeing as we lost about six Grade 12 players,” he said. “This year, we have a number of Grade 11 players, as well as some Grade 10s who came over from Jonas Samson Junior High. The Grade 11s are hitting the ball really well and there are a lot more Grade 10s than we thought we’d get.”
“It is early in the season, but we got all the girls who tried out to play in this (North Battleford) tournament,” she said. “We’re a young team, but we show a lot of promise.”
This weekend, the girls will attend a tournament at Carlton Comprehensive. The team’s home tournament at CHS is scheduled for Oct. 17 and 18.
On the boys’ side, coach Cheyne Dallyn said there are seven returning starters from last year’s team.
“We lost three key players, but we’re looking to have another strong, competitive team this year, and to be in the top 10 at provincials,” Dallyn noted.
Last year, the CHS boys, like their female counterparts, lost out in the quarterfinal round at provincials.
“We’ve had four Grade 10s come out this year who look like they’ll be able to provide a lot of help to the team and even more help in the future,” Dallyn continued. “The feeder program at Jonas is very strong.”
The boys’ first tournament of the season is this weekend in Prince Albert while their home tournament is scheduled for Sept. 26-27.
As for the school’s cross-country team, the fast-paced season caused CHS to miss the first meet of the season Sept. 4, but things are now back on track according to coach Erin Martin.
“This year’s season is really short,” Martin said. “Districts are Sept. 24 in Glaslyn while provincials are Oct. 4 in Kamsack. But, we do have healthy numbers again this year. If I can get five runners, I’m happy, and right now I have nine.”
The team’s first competition meet is this Thursday (Sept. 11) in Unity.