Volleyball ref in town to support tournament
OLYMPIC referee Damien Searle attended the third annual Spike Zone Volleyball Competition this week in Gladstone.
Searle, who refereed the gold medal beach volleyball match at the 2012 London Olympics, is event co-ordinator for Volleyball Queensland and travelled from Brisbane for Wednesday's comp.
"I'm involved because I am passionate about the sport and junior involvement," he said.
"If the kids enjoy volleyball as much as I do, then hopefully they will develop a lifelong love."
The competition attracted nine primary schools, 48 teams and over 200 players from years 5-7.
Gladstone Volleyball Association president Kevin Howard coached each of the teams at their school at least twice before the event.
"There was a competition two weeks ago in Brisbane that we attend but it is too far to go for many of the schools," Mr Howard said.
"We wanted to have a good local competition so that more kids can get involved," he said.
Gladstone State High School held the event and runs a Volleyball School of Excellence that focuses on junior development.
Physical education teacher and coach Kara Hayden-Brooks said the program had been a huge success.
"A team of Year 10 students left to tour the USA on Thursday and we have two ex-students on university scholarship in Kansas.
"The kids have access to great training if they are passionate and want to go further," she said.
Emma Smith, 11, from Gladstone West State School said the day was lots of fun.
"It's been the perfect day. We won the first three games but then we played Star of the Sea and only just lost," she said.
Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School dominated the medal tally winning four of the seven finals.