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Monday, 15 December 2014 08:00

Magrath athletes bring home provincial medals

Written by  Westwind School Division
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Every tradition needs a beginning. Those who gathered at the Magrath High School gym were celebrating a list of firsts. Not only was it the school’s first-ever provincial volleyball title, it was the first time both the Zeniths (3A Boys) and Pandas (2A Girls) won provincial titles in the same season.


Classmates, friends, family and community supporters also heard it was the first provincial volleyball title for any Westwind school.
While coach Tara Anderson saluted her Pandas for making history, she’s just as proud to instill in them a love of volleyball.
“I hope one day I’m in this gym watching one of you coach my granddaughters,” Anderson told her players, in an address that was choked with emotion.
There was no talk about the prospect of repeating a provincial “double-double,” but Anderson would undoubtedly be proud to be there for another banner raising.
Rick Gilson, assistant superintendent, brought congratulations on behalf of Westwind School Division.
“Westwind is committed to excellence both in the classroom and every single place we can possibly compete,” he said, adding the players and coaches were excellent ambassadors not only for their school and community, but also the entire division.
Coach Shane Orr, whose Zeniths won a nail-biting gold-medal game against Barrhead, echoed those words. After that contest he was approached by parents who told him if their team had to lose to anyone they had hoped it would be Magrath.
“You raised them well,” Orr told the parents in the stands.
While he recounted an unbelievably successful season — always stressing team achievements over individual statistics — Orr talked about the kind of character the boys showed in fighting off elimination time and time again in that final.
“They had to battle through a lot of mental adversity and I hope they take that with them through life,” he said.
Most of the Pandas squad has been with Anderson since they were in Grade 6 and she said they’ve become part of her family.
“I’ve watched them grow up and I feel like they’re my babies. My volleyball babies,” she said.
The evening rally, which drew a full crowd, began with the introduction of players. Leading the Pandas onto the floor was their “No. 1 fan.” Dressed in a tiny cheerleader uniform complete with pompoms, young Hope Ogden rode in on the shoulders of all-star Jillian Gieske.
Speeches by coaches and Principal Rob Doig — who needled the Zeniths for causing him a near heart attack in that gold-medal game — were followed by a video presentation of season highlights with the crowd cheering on every spike and dig played out on the big screen.
The players then signed their respective banners before they were hung on the gym wall to loud applause. A rousing edition of the MHS school song had everyone join in before hamburgers, celebratory cake and refreshments were served. A dance for students followed.
For more information on happenings within the Westwind School Division, go to our website at www.westwind.ab.ca or check us out on our social media network through Facebook at Westwind School Division No. 74 or on Twitter at Westwind Division 74.

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