All the hard work and dedication culminated for the 12-year-olds of the Club Rim volleyball team at the Arizona Region Championships March 10 in Phoenix.
Club Rim competed in the 12AA Flight 3 tournament and finished in first place.
This is the first year Payson has had a team for 12-year-olds.
The team consists of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders who have had no competitive volleyball experience.
Progress was evident from the first week of practice, where no serves made it over the net, to the final tournament in which the girls were accurately passing, setting, hitting and serving the volleyball between 80 to 100 percent of the time.
Their overall improvement was phenomenal.
Kyleah Morgan played an integral part in scoring for Club Rim throughout the season. In the championship tournament, Kyleah made 59 good serves with 18 aces.
Taylor Peterson, Jaden Brunson and Taylor Randall also provided consistency in their play and points from the serving line.
The most improved player this season has been Cierra Rose. Cierra developed an incredibly accurate pass from the back row. This was also a key to Club Rim's victory.
Jaden Brunson, along with Emma Randall served as this year's team captains and provided encouragement and leadership to their teammates.
McKenzie Creighton set for the team and provided all-around hustle.
McKenzie saved countless balls, which made a difference in Club Rim's wins.
Karissa Armstrong and Devann Runzo played the hitting and back row positions. Both girls improved their skills throughout the season.
Cori Barnett was the sole fourth-grader on the team. With the skill and strength Cori developed this year, she will be a noticeable force on Payson's varsity volleyball team in the near future.
Throughout the Arizona Region volleyball season, coaches were told to keep their parents under control due to parents verbally attacking players during play. Payson's parents demonstrated class and sportsmanship throughout the season, as did their daughters on the court.
Following the championship match, I had a parent approach me.
Her comments made the season complete. She expressed excitement for Club Rim's victory and added the following comments.
"Not only was Club Rim the most skilled team, they also deserved to win because they were the cutest team in their pink uniforms."
I wholeheartedly agreed.
Club Rim is partially sponsored by Schultz Sports in California.
Club Rim would like to thank the following local sponsors: Fireside Espresso, Bill Duncan, Weather Masters, Rim Country Sports Medicine, JMF Construction, The Door Stop, Payson Concrete, Payson Dental, Crabdree Insurance, Arizona Respiratory, Steve Lee, Apex Trucking, The Butcher Hook, Pioneer Title, Premier Services, Tonto Tree Tech, Struemke Construction, Barnett Electric, Captain Morgan Concrete, Borges and Co., Quality Plus, Ray Jones Surveying and Southwest Financial Solutions.