Island sports: Middle school volleyball update
A competitive league season between Alameda’s three public middle school volleyball teams culminates on Tuesday, November 2, when the #1 seed Wood Beavers face the #2 seeded teams for the Middle School Championships at the Alameda High School new gym at 4 p.m. The Academy of Alameda Middle School Olympians and Lincoln Middle School Lions will compete for the #2 positions at playoff games at 4 p.m. Thursday at Wood Middle School. The playoffs and championships will be between two coed teams, an “A” team and a “B” team. The Middle School Sports program is organized and supported by the Alameda Education Foundation (AEF).
“All of the teams are very competitive, so anything could happen,” AEF Athletic Director Vicki Sedlack said. “Many of this season’s matches have come down to the wire.”
AEF took over middle school sports in 2009 after district funding for sports was lost. Since that time, public school 6th-8th graders have participated in volleyball (fall), basketball (winter) and track & field (spring) on teams hosted at Lincoln, Wood and the Academy (formerly Chipman) Middle Schools. Approximately 350 students participate in the program throughout the year, with hundreds more attending games and cheering on their school mates. “The sports program creates an enormous amount of school spirit,” added AEF Board President Bill Sonneman.
In addition to healthy competition and school spirit, the participating student-athletes are benefiting in many other ways, as well, report their coaches. Lincoln’s coach Rebecca Baumgartner commented that “Lincoln volleyball players have experienced firsthand how direct the link is between focus and performance. When our minds are on the task at hand and we’re working together with positive attitudes … that is when we have seen success.”
AEF’s sports program has helped students transition to the newly formed Academy of Alameda Middle School Olympians (formerly Chipman). “The personal growth that has been apparent on all middle school teams this year is so priceless. I am so proud of the Olympian volleyball players and their ability to transition with all the changes,” said coach Frances Kahuanui-Johnson.
Unfortunately, funding for the AEF Middle School Sports program is running out in spite of player participation fees initiated this year and a newly formed Boosters Club. AEF is actively seeking private and corporate grants, as well as donations from the public, to sustain the program.
The Championships will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the New Gym at Alameda High School, 2200 Central Avenue, and are open to the public. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students, and free for children under 5.