Lance-inspired volleyball girls aims for seventh title
By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.com.au
GLADSTONE State High School of Excellence girls volleyball players want to emulate Tour de France cycling champion Lance Armstrong when they contest the 2005 Queensland Schools Cup in Toowoomba.
The Sharks are chasing their seventh consecutive Schools Cup crown and according to coach Brian van der Weide have drawn on the seven-time tour champion as inspiration for the tournament which starts tomorrow.
'We are going for our seventh in a row, similar to Armstrong, and the girls believe if he can do it, then we can,' van der Weide said.
Gladstone State High School enter the schools cup as the top seeds and are regarded as red-hot favourites by the experts. Coach van der Weide readily accepts that mantle and believes it will not affect the team one iota.
'We know that we're favourites, that is fine and it is up to the other schools to beat us,' he said.
There is no doubt that is going to be a tough ask, with the Sharks full of talent.
Co-captains Christie Naumann and Emily Tooker are Australian representatives and provide a wealth of experience
Rhiannon Tooker has had a great year to date, recently being part of the senior national side against a Chinese touring team. Lexie Armitage rounds out the national experience, while Patrice Armitage, Nicole Just and Rhianna Byrne are all state players.
Elise Hackett and Michelle Bridges round out what looks an sensational side.
Number two seeds Craigslea are regarded as the girls' biggest threat. Gladstone State High are also fielding a team in the division two competition.
This team includes girls who are not involved with the Sharks School of Excellence program.
Division one team Christie Naumann, Emily Tooker (co-captains), Rhiannon Tooker, Lexie Armitage, Patrice Armitage, Nicole Just, Rhianna Byrne, Michelle Bridges, Elise Hackett.
Division two team Katrina Cover, Lacey Grice, Sam Stokes, Shelley Hills, Chantelle O'Neil, Rebecca Walker, Elisha Writh.