Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

District Players Earn High-Performance Ratings

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

District Players Earn High-Performance Ratings

Article excerpt

USA Volleyball, the national governing body for volleyball in the United States, promotes its sport though numerous competitions for various age groups each year.

The organization has what it refers to as a High Performance Department, which works to advance volleyball talent and build a broader and stronger pipeline of athletes and coaches for USA Olympic teams.

The High Performance Program bridges the gap between USA National teams and youth volleyball programs across the country. This is done through a system of national tryouts which then qualify athletes for training programs, camps, and Youth and Junior National teams.

The High Performance Program is the pipeline for volleyball athletes who aspire to reach the elite level of their sport and is intended to grow the pool of talented young players who may someday compete for a spot on the USA National and Olympic teams.

Athletes have two ways of qualifying for High Performance Programs. They can try out for U.S. squads at 30 qualifiers held at various sites across the country, or try out for various regional teams.

"I hand-picked 30 players from across the state of Pennsylvania for a tryout to pick this year's Keystone Region team," said Keystone Region coach Josh Brenneman, who also serves as coach at Central Dauphin High School. "We held a weekend tryout to pick 12 players to compete in the Boys International Youth Tournament, which features the top high school players in the country."

The team included nine players who were recognized on the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association all-state teams, and four players from the WPIAL. The players from the WPIAL were: Latrobe's Garrett Kollar, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart's Shaughn McDonald, Fox Chapel's Jaysen Zaleski and North Allegheny's Jeremy Best.

Kollar and McDonald are recent high school graduates, while Zaleski and Best recently completed their junior year.

"I qualified for the Keystone Region team last year, but we didn't do very well," said McDonald, who will continue his volleyball career at Saint Francis University. "This year, it was a different story. We played well enough to win the title. …

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