Saints fill court with league awards
EDWARDS – Time to take another swing or two, Jackie.Vail Christian’s Jackie Parker will participate in the all-state 1A volleyball match Sunday in Broomfield.”I’m kind of nervous about it, but I’m excited,” said Parker, the Saints’ only senior. Parker, along with five teammates, were recognized by the 1A Mountain Division in the postseason awards.”I was looking around (at our banquet Tuesday) saying, ‘Oh, my gosh, that must be all our varsity,'” said Britni Beagley.Three-quarters of the Excellent Eight got nods, including all-league selections Parker, Beagley, Molly Brooks, Kelly Bowles and Kristin McGinty. Sammantha Francis was honorable mention.”It’s the first time we’ve had that many,” said Saints’ Coach Cathy Alexander. “We went 8-0 (in league), and there was a reason for it. The coaches were very wonderful about recognizing that.”That’s not to say the league coaches had an easy time differentiating the top performers on Vail Christian.”I think it was a difficult choice, because our team doesn’t have a standout – we’re all pretty much in there,” Beagley said.Clean sweepThe Saints took their first league title in a commanding fashion – without losing a game.”We played really hard and competed really well against everyone in league,” Parker said.Beyond league play, Vail Christian maintained its high level of play.”Last year at districts we didn’t make it past the first day,” Parker said. “So everyone who played was determined to make it past that point. We took it game by game, not worrying about districts or regionals.”Although the Saints were a well-rounded team, they did receive solid performances from Parker all year.”I’m so excited for her,” Beagley said. “She’s playing with girls we all admire from other teams.”Other teams surely took note of Parker’s leadership. At regionals, Parker came back in after injuring her leg for the Saints’ five-game win over La Veta.”I talked to coach at the beginning of the year, and she asked me what my goals were,” Parker said. “I said going to state was the main goal and (Cathy) said she did expect leadership, but didn’t expect me to be perfect. Performing was the main thing. I didn’t try and give advice because we played well as a team.”Coming back strongAlexander looks to this year’s success as a growing trend for the team.”I can only see the program getting better, as we’ve slowly built it over the years,” Alexander said. “My first year, were 0-12, and went to 21-9 and being in the state tourney (this year). And with the kids I see coming up with junior high, it will make things better.”As far an immediate impact, a group of tall freshman will be moving up to varsity next year.”Some of the JV players are playing basketball and that will help them get their hand-eye coordination,” Beagley said.And of course there is the core of this year’s state team.”Hopefully they won’t be satisfied with all-league honors,” Alexander said. “Knowing these girls, they’ll come back.”Alexander doesn’t have to hope.”This (year’s) experience inspired a lot of girls more than anything,” Beagley said. “We’re planning now for next season.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.