Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rising Star Hopewell Senior Earns National Accolades

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rising Star Hopewell Senior Earns National Accolades

Article excerpt

Christa Harmotto plans to study meteorology at Penn State next fall, which may be appropriate given what can best be described as her meteoric rise into the national volleyball spotlight.

Harmotto, who will be a senior at Hopewell High School this fall, recently played with the U.S. Junior National volleyball team in the Norceca Tournament in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Harmotto, a middle blocker, started the first two games of the tournament and helped her team win the gold medal and a berth in the Junior World Championships next summer in Portugal.

"It was great to get the international experience," said Harmotto, who already has verbally committed to play at Penn State beginning in the fall of 2005.

"The international game is a lot quicker than the high school game and I enjoyed being part of it.

"It was a great opportunity for me to get to play against that level of competition."

Harmotto began her journey to Winnipeg in April when she was among some 500 girls who participated in a tryout in Baltimore. She made the tryout cutdown to 18 athletes and then traveled to Austin, Texas, for two weeks of training in July. Harmotto made the cut there as well and was named to the team's 12-player roster.

She started the first two matches, both U.S. wins, in place of a teammate who was out with an eye injury, then performed in a reserve role as the team won the tournament title.

"The coaches told me I needed to step up in the early matches," Harmotto said. "I think I did pretty well. We won both of those games and won our pool, so I felt pretty good about helping the team do that."

There are no guarantees that Harmotto will be part of the team next year, however. The Junior National team will have another round of tryouts next spring and she must make the team again to get to go to the world championships.

"It's not likely that the whole team will be back next spring [given that some players will choose not to come back for school or personal reasons]," she said.

"I think if we all came back, we would have a chance to go together. But not everyone will be able to come back, so we all have to try out again."

Harmotto said she plans to go through the tryouts in hopes of making the team again. …

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