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Local organization promotes sand volleyball

From left: Partners Maycee William and Kelsey Parker, Director of Volleyball Operations and coach Eric Laskowski, Director of Player Development and coach Brienna Laskowski, and partners Margaret Huckabee and Kayli Cleaver.

While many kids were spending their summer vacations at the lake, the beach or by the pool, 16 young ladies from West Stanly High School, West Stanly Middle School, Gray Stone Day and South Stanly High School were at work honing their volleyball skills and learning the sport of sand volleyball.

I-3 Volleyball, a local sand volleyball club run by Eric, Rosemary, Brienna and Skyler Laskowski, brought the group of girls together to continue to grow the sport of volleyball in the area and to expose the kids to another element of volleyball.

The girls, who were all new to sand volleyball, competed for the first time in tournaments on the Carolina Region Junior Beach tour across North Carolina in Charlotte, Denver, Hickory and Wilmington.

For most of the season I-3 fielded seven teams in the 12U, 14U and 16U age divisions. Five of these teams competed in the 14U division. Most of the tournaments had 24-36 entries per age division. I-3’s athletes had a lot of success as they placed in the quarterfinals, semifinals or won all but one of the tournaments they competed in.

The team of Margaret Huckabee and Kayli Cleaver won two tournaments in Charlotte and a third in Denver. Margaret and Kayli missed a national qualifying event due to injuries. The pair also won the 14U silver level championship in Wilmington. I-3’s youngest team, Addison Barbee and Stella Bondurant also competed in Wilmington.

In Denver, it was nearly an I-3 sweep of the 14U semifinals. The team of Caylee Clayton and Jacy Noble and the team of Abbie Huneycutt and Anna Mitchell joined tournament winners Margaret Huckabee and Kayli Cleaver to take three of the four semifinal spots. Mia Huckabee and Keeli Crisco battled their way into the semifinals of the 16U division.

In Hickory, four teams made it to the quarterfinals. The team of Carlee Wallace and Andi Daniels and the team of Caylee Clayton and Jacy Nobles battled against tough opponents but fell short of making it an all I-3 semifinal. Maycee Williams and partner Kelsey Parker and the team of Abbie Huneycutt and Anna Mitchell fell in the semifinals. The two teams, however, did earn a bid to the ROX Volleyball National Championship in Georgia.

Maddison Kee and Carly Carpenter did not get to compete this season due to injuries.

The athletes of I-3 Volleyball included:

Kayli Cleaver              West Stanly HS

Margaret Huckabee   Gray Stone Day School

Caylee Clayton          West Stanly HS

Jacy Noble                 South Stanly HS

Carlee Wallace          West Stanly MS

Andi Daniels              West Stanly MS

Abbie Huneycutt        West Stanly HS

Anna Mitchell             West Stanly HS

Maycee Williams        West Stanly MS

Kelsey Parker            West Stanly MS

Addison Barbee         West Stanly MS

Stella Bondurant        West Stanly MS

Mia Huckabee           Gray Stone DS

Keeli Crisco               South Stanly HS

Madison Kee             West Stanly HS

Carly Carpenter         Gray Stone DS