Olivia McKenzie (Year 8) and Aiden McKellar (Year 11) represented Queensland in the U14 Division and U17 Maroon teams at the Australian Junior Volleyball Championships at the AIS in Canberra over the holidays. The tournament ran from Sunday 29 September to Saturday 5 October with most other States and Territories taking part, as well as teams from New Zealand and Thailand.
Teams battled it out to take out the crown for Junior National Champions for girls’ and boys’ across four age groups (U14, U15, U17, U19), including the newly added U14 Division. This year the event celebrated its 30th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the first-ever national volleyball junior-aged tournament which was held in Canberra in 1969. After a week of action-packed sets and head-to-head matches, Queensland took out the President’s Cup for the 7th consecutive year as the best performing Member State/Territory during the tournament
Olivia’s team were the youngest and newest to this level of competition but started the week strongly, winning all but one of their pool games. This placed the girls in a very strong second position on the ladder going into the Extension Pool games. After playing consistently well, the girls won these next two games and secured a spot to play in the Gold Medal Match. After a long and hard-fought 5 sets, the girls lost to Victoria by just 3 points, proudly bringing home the Silver.
Aiden’s team won an impressive six out of their seven matches in the Round Robin competition and faced off against South Australia in the Gold Medal Match, who they had lost to earlier in the competition. The boys were keen not to let that happen again and won decisively in straight sets with a 3-0 victory to bring home the Gold.
Olivia and Aiden are to be commended for their commitment to prepare and train for the tournament over the last 6 months, with regular training sessions held in Brisbane. They have learnt invaluable skills along the way, pursuing excellence and striving to continuously improve as athletes to support their team, representing their State with pride.