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Rimrock 18s Nationals wins Platinum Tournament - Cwntral Oregonian
February 13, 2012Crook County High School
The Rimrock Volleyball Club recently had the most amazing weekend in the club’s history.
The Rimrock 18s National team took first place at the prestigious Longview Platinum Volleyball Tournament, which was held on Sunday, Feb 5, while the Rimrock 14s black team came away with a second-place finish in the Gold Division.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Rimrock 18s National coach Joel Kent. “I’m proud of the players. It’s the first time we can say we are No. 1 in Oregon and Washington.”
Rimrock 14s black coach Tonya Johns was also pleased.
“It is our first year competing in the Power League,” she said “We finished up No. 2 out of 127 teams in the program, so things are pretty exciting.”
The Rimrock 18s National team is no stranger to success. The team competed in last year’s national tournament, and regularly places in regional tournaments.
However, this is the first time that the team has won their division.
“It’s an amazing feat,” said Crook County High School head coach, and Rimrock Club director Rosie Honl. “Kent just takes these teams higher and higher every year.”
The Rimrock 18s National team finished tied for first place in their pool, forcing them to play a tiebreaking game to 15 during the tournaments early rounds.
It was then that Kent made a decision that turned out to be critical to the team’s success.
“We had a tiebreaker with the number-one team in Washington,” he said. “I strategized and thought that if I rested our starters, their legs would be fresher in the afternoon. We played several players that don’t always get a lot of playing time and they went out and beat them. We were jumping up and down. It was phenomenal.”
With fresh legs, the starters rolled through the tournament semifinals before defeating the Nike Northwest Jrs in two games to win the championship. The games were close throughout, however, Rimrock held on to win 28-26 and 25-23.
“It was a total team effort,” Kent said. “We played an all-around great game in the Championships.
Nike Northwest Jrs is made up of 6A players from the Portland Metropolitan area, including a group of players from Central Catholic, the Oregon Class 6A state champions.
Kent was quick to point out that this was the first time in history that a team from outside of the Portland Metropolitan area won a platinum tournament.
“There are wins that are public, like winning state,” he said. “But in the volleyball community, winning platinum means that you are the best — at least for that day. Our kids have always been knocked for their accomplishments because we are 4A, 5A, and even 2A players, and everyone says that the 6A players are better. We just proved that isn’t true.”
The Power League includes 128 teams in the 18s division from Oregon and Washington. Those teams are ranked following regional tournaments with only the top eight playing in platinum tournaments.
Winning the tournament is a major accomplishment as most of the players are from major metropolitan regions such as Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland, and virtually all of the players are from larger schools.
“It was awesome,” said Rimrock outside hitter Hannah Troutman. “Playing on this team has been a life-changing experience for me.”
Team setter Kelsi Kemper was also excited.
“We wanted to win it so bad,” she said. “We’ve been so close so many times.”
“It feels really nice to finally win,” added libero Braiden Johnston. “We finally accomplished what we’ve been working so hard for.”
The Rimrock 14s team was also pleased with the outcome of their tournament.
“We still have several players on our team that are only 12,” Johns said. “All the other teams are just huge compared to us.”
Johns credits the team’s serving and service receive for much of their success.
“We just take care of the ball and play as a team on and off the court,” she said. “I’m proud of them and I’m excited that we are involved in such an exciting program.”