East Three athletes gear up

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Colin Pybus, phys-ed teacher at East Three Secondary, said the school hopes to build on its success in volleyball this year. Last season, the junior girls and senior boys both took home banners at the territorial Spike It! tournament. Kirsten Fenn/NNSL photo

East Three Secondary is on the defensive this year as it looks to protect its position as junior girls’ and senior boys’ volleyball champions.

The volleyball season is expected to kick off in the first few weeks of school, with open tryouts for as many as four teams, depending on the level of interest from students.

“There were banners won last year, so the hope is to continue to build on that,” said phys. ed. teacher Colin Pybus. “We usually send a number of teams down (to Yellowknife), so that’s the hope.”

Last year, East Three athletes brought home two banners at the territorial Spike It! tournament in Yellowknife – one in the Grade 8 junior girls’ category and another in the U19 senior boys’ category.

A regional tournament is expected to take place in Inuvik on Oct. 13 and 14, ahead of the junior Spike It! tournament in the NWT capital at the end of October and senior Spike It! tournament in early November.

“All the BDEC (Beaufort Delta Education Council) schools are invited to that,” said Pybus, who described it as a warm-up for the territorial competition.

He estimated there are normally 15 to 20 teams that participate in the regional tournament, including some from Inuvik, from schools in the communities, as well as adult-based teams from Aklavik, Fort McPherson and Tuktoyaktuk.

“Usually we take the first week and a half or so just to get our feet underneath us to recruit coaches,” said Pybus about the volleyball season.

Anyone in the community with expertise or interest in coaching is also invited to reach out, he said.

“It is a lot to take on,” said Pybus. “The more help the merrier, whether they’re parents, whether they’re community members.”

Cross-country season starts

Runners should also start lacing their shoes and stretching their legs for the upcoming cross-country season, which coincides with volleyball.

“It’s wide open,” said Pybus, explaining anyone is welcome to join. “Even if individuals aren’t interested in travelling to Yellowknife, we encourage anybody who just wants to go for a run, have encouragement … to come.”

To train athletes in the sport, the cross-country running coach will set up a running track or map out a running distance, said Pybus.

Runners will then practice various types of training within those runs.

“They do things like intervals or hill training or different training methodologies to help build up their cardio and their stamina,” he said.

The cross-country team usually heads to Yellowknife in mid- to late-October, said Pybus.