Kudos to the Oakesdale volleyball team on winning its recent Washington 1B state championship.
And bigger kudos for fighting through everything it fought through to do it.
From players getting ill halfway through the season, to car accidents and the loss of a key player to a torn ACL, Oakesdale had a veritable cocktail of obstacles to overcome.
Lesser teams would have pointed to any one of those as a convenient excuse.
Oakesdale did no such thing, but instead won its fifth state title in seven tries.
“It was an interesting season,” Coach McKinzie Turner said in a phone interview last week, “After we won the Sundome Tournament in Yakima we had several of our girls test positive, some of them got pretty sick, and after the quarantine just getting them back into game shape was challenging.”
Oakesdale capped its perfect, 24-0 season Nov. 11 in dramatic fashion, getting past Mossyrock in five sets to claim the 1B state title. The win marked the Nighthawks’ 35th consecutive victory dating back to last season.
“We’ve got a lot of support here,” Coach Turner said. “I had a baby in July, and so that brings its own set of challenges. I was really fortunate I had lots of help from parents and players. And then on the court, we didn’t really have our full lineup until the Sundome Tournament, and then of course right after that everything was shut down for a while, too. So it just took us a while to get going.”
The Nighthawks played 11 games last season due to Washington’s delayed start in 2020, playing from February to March, 2021.
Coach Turner led the team in 2014 and 2015 before working at West Valley High in Spokane for three seasons, and returned to Oakesdale in 2019. She has been a part of two of the last five titles won by the Nighthawks, winning this season (2021) as well as leading the team to a perfect, 4-0 appearance in the 2015 state tournament, where her team finished a 21-10 season.
• • •
2021 Washington Class 1B
state volleyball champions
Players: Samantha Holling, Sophomore; Bree Rawls, Senior; Aspen Heise, Senior; Olivia Booth, Senior; Lucy Hockett, Freshman; Jenna Rawls, Freshman; Sydney Stevens, Sophomore; Payton Davis, Sophomore; Jessie Reed, Junior; Gianna Anderson, Junior; Emily Dingman, Junior; Marilla Hockett, Junior.
Coaches: McKinzie Turner, Head Coach; Ken Lindgren, Assistant Coach
Collin Scheel is the sports reporter at the Gazette Record.