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PHSS Whalers girls volleyball team places 6th at regional championship tournament

The championship tournament took place Nov. 16 and 17 in Nanaimo
Team Photo in Duncan pictured Left to Right: Mike McCulley, Emily Henschke, Mayumi Hinatsu-Willie, Edie McCulley, Brooke Mercer, Mackenzie Moore, Leighla Nelson, Madison Grenier, Emma Harrison. (Sandy Grenier photo)

The Whalers, Port Hardy Secondary School’s senior girls’ volleyball team led by coach Mike McCulley, travelled to Nanaimo for Vancouver Island’s Regional Championship Tournament. The players had been working very hard towards this goal, practicing twice a week and building their hard and soft skills for volleyball success.

Through a solid effort and strong play during the Duncan Christian School invitational meet last month, the team held their 4th place ranking going into the North Island playdowns in early November, and earned their spot in the “power pool” to be guaranteed a spot in the top draw. This positioned the Whalers to challenge top ranked ‘A’ teams on the North Island and to demonstrate their rising talent and impressive team work. The team played six matches in three days and won when it counted, allowing them to finish strong and qualify for the island championship. North Island Secondary School senior girls’ volleyball team was also at the tournament and closed with back-to-back wins and a 9th place finish.

The games have been exciting for team fans with some tense moments of game play, and enthusiastic cheering helped lift everyone’s spirits. The Whalers were resilient to the very last play and finished successfully, meeting their goals of advancing to the island championship, and having fun together.

Mike McCulley reflected on this year’s high school volleyball season, and his experience as team coach.

“These girls are fantastic competitors and marvelous individuals and I feel really lucky to get to be a part of their team. The competition is tough for senior girls volleyball on Vancouver Island and the skill level is high. Increasing and maintaining their ranking throughout the year is an amazing achievement, especially since they do not play regular league games. These athletes have worked hard at this for several years and it is really nice to see them walk into the gym knowing that they can compete with any team in their division. They have qualified into the top eight teams on the island and I could not be more proud of them.”

The Vancouver Island Regional ‘A’ Volleyball Championship tournament took place on Nov. 16 and 17 in Nanaimo. The top two teams qualified for provincials in Prince George in early December.

The Whalers wrapped up their season with a strong 6th place showing out of eight teams at the tournament.

Thanks goes out to everyone including McCulley, the many players that are part of the team, families, Applewood, and PHSS representatives Catherine Reynolds and Heather Scott, for supporting this sports opportunity and valuable team experience to our PHSS senior volleyball players.

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Tyson Whitney

About the Author: Tyson Whitney

I have been working in the community newspaper business for nearly a decade, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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