Sharks look to repeat past glory in volleyball

By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

BUSINESS as usual is the best way to describe preparations heading into 2006 for the Gladstone State High Sharks School of Excellence Volleyball program.

Head coach Brian van der Weide welcomed six new Year 8 girls to the program during recent weeks and is pleased with the talent displayed so far.

'The new girls all look to be very good athletes and welcome additions to our program,' van der Weide said.

The six ? Nyssa Hough, Nikki Kleinhanna, Alex Durman, Kara Abell, Andrea Davis and Rebecca Redgen ? join one of the country's top volleyball programs.

The Sharks have won six of the past seven open titles at the State Schools Cup and two Australian Schools Cup titles at under-15 and under-14 level. Also, 14 players have earned US college scholarships. Van der Weide is eyeing off a return to the peak in 2006, saying regaining their Queensland title is the number one priority.

'We are very keen to get the state title back this year, we have a great record there (32 wins and just one loss),'' he said.

Van der Weide added three of the Sharks seniors ? Rhiannon Tooker, Michelle Bridges and Rhianna Byrne ? had just returned from a national squad training camp and Queensland trials were coming up.

'It is a busy time for the girls, but I think they would not have it any other way,' he said.

Van der Weide is also delighted Nathan Tessier is back on board as assistant coach for 2006.

The former Australian junior player fitted into the program like a glove during 2005, coaching the under-15 girls team to the State Schools Cup title.



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