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Youth hone volleyball skills at Haskell university clinic

Haskell Volleyball workshop01By Andrea Holata

BRIGHTON — Nearly 35 youth, ages 3 to 17 Tribalwide, got a special visit Sept. 29 from Haskell Indian Nations University.

The school’s women’s volleyball team – in town from Lawrence, Kan. for games against Southeastern University and Webber International – held a clinic in Brighton to help improve kids’ skills on the volleyball court.

“We want our girls to see that their level of play today is not that far off from the collegiate level of play. We want them to see for themselves how athletic they really are compared to girls that play collegiately,” said Richard

Blankenship, Recreation director for the Seminole Tribe. “We want them to get some exposure to Haskell and we want them to get exposure to volleyball.”

To start off the clinic, youth broke into groups and raced against each other in team exercises. Each group then participated in drills with a member of the Haskell team guiding them every step of the way. Drills included learning the correct way to hit a low ball and learning to recover by standing up quickly. All participants rotated through each drill.

“I learned how to spike the ball better,” said Sunni Bearden, of the Brighton Reservation, who plays for the Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School’s volleyball team.

Haskell’s head coach for women’s volleyball, Nana Allison-Brewer, enjoyed seeing the amount of energy the Tribe had for volleyball. She hopes youth will continue developing skills.

“I want them to see the level of competition we are playing at and that we are collegiate athletes playing at a high level – and hopefully encourage them to see that their hard work right now can continue to grow and develop,” she said.

Jo Leigh Johns, of the Brighton Reservation, organized the volleyball clinic and was satisfied with the turnout.

Some of the girls who attended the clinic can use their new skills while competing in the  Indigenous Games to be held in Canada next summer.