Story by Carl Holcomb
The House of Delegates of the West Virginia Legislature honored the East Hardy Volleyball team for its state championship in Charleston on February 28 with a special ceremony with a citation read by Delegate Isaac Sponaugle on the floor of the Capitol building and a tour of the complex including the governor’s mansion was part of the recognition.
“It was really special, because no one from East Hardy has done that before. It was good to go there as representatives,” East Hardy junior Julia Hahn stated.
The citation mentioned the championship game and playoff run plus the fact East Hardy never lost a single A match this past season during the title run.
“It was amazing just being there and being in the presence and just being able to play in that game,” East Hardy junior Lexi Strawderman remarked.
[private] “Knowing we were the first in school history to do it, the feeling is just indescribable to me. I really liked when we got to go in the governor’s mansion, to go in there and see how nice everything was and that he allows people to come into his house. It was just cool to see how everything went on down there.”
The State of West Virginia Legislative Citation read as follows:
“The House of Delegates of the West Virginia Legislature hereby recognizes and congratulates (player name) and the 2016 West Virginia Class “A” State Champion East Hardy Lady Cougar Volleyball Team.
“Whereas, This past season, the East Hardy Lady Cougar volleyball team made history by winning the West Virginia Class “A” State Championship with a come from behind 3-2 victory over perennial volleyball power Wirt County; and
Whereas, East Hardy started its march to victory by beating Paw Paw and Moorefield in the sectional tournament. The team advanced to regional play against Doddridge County and Moorefield where the Cougars did not allow a team to win a single set; and
“Whereas, East Hardy played its first game of the state tournament against Ritchie County, where the Cougars found themselves behind early with Ritchie taking the first set. After settling into the game, East Hardy won the next three sets to advance to the semifinal round against the tournament favorite Williamstown. Against Williamstown, the Cougars found their rhythm early and cruised to a 3-0 victory and a spot in the state title game against Wirt County – the team who knocked East Hardy out of the tournament in the opening round in 2015; and
“Whereas, In the title game against Wirt County, East Hardy fell behind early but found their footing and adjusted in game three to the attacks that were coming from the Wirt County front line. After the East Hardy rally, Wirt County battled in game four and had a match point when East Hardy rallied for three straight points and forced a game five. East Hardy raced ahead to start game five and held on to win the first girls state championship in the history of Hardy County; and
“Whereas, East Hardy finished the season with a record of 31-6-2 and stayed undefeated against Class “A” competition. The team was given the royal treatment with an escort starting at the county line from the Hardy County Sheriff’s deputies, Mathias Baker Fire Department, Mathias Baker Rescue Squad, Wardensville Rescue Squad and many fans and well-wishers. The players addressed the fans during a welcome home party at the school; and
“Whereas, The members of the 2016 East Hardy Lady Cougar Volleyball team include Shannon Hahn, Maxine Cassel, Abby Wilson, Brooke Miller, Julia Hahn, Emma Baker, Lexi Strawderman, Kenna Wicks, Cara Hinkle, and Holly Fogel. Coaching the Lady Cougars to victory were Head Coach Marsha Hahn and Assistant Coaches Chris Hahn and Tammy Miller.”
Joining Sponaugle in recognizing the state champion East Hardy Volleyball team was fellow delegate Allen Evans and speaker Tim Armstead presenting the citation folder.
“I think the most exciting part was actually being honored, because it was kind of surreal now that I look back at it,” East Hardy junior Cara Hinkle commented.
“We were actually at the state capitol being honored for a state championship. It’s kind of crazy to think about.”
The Lady Cougars enjoyed the tour of the capitol and the opportunity to go inside the the governor’s mansion in addition to the legislative recognition.
“I felt like it was really exciting and special to us, because we have never been in there before and we got to see a lot of new things,” East Hardy junior Emma Baker said.
“My favorite part was being in there and all the people clapping for us. It was really special for us and I feel good about what we accomplished.”
It wasn’t ideal weather outside for the tour as it was raining when the team rang the doorbell at the mansion, but once inside the experience improved.
“It was really special as a team,” East Hardy junior Brooke Miller noted.
“Out of all the sports that I play, we’re the closest. We’re always together. We got to be in the capitol. My favorite part was touring and we got to go in the mansion. I got to ring the doorbell and talk to the security guard, because they wouldn’t let us in and it was raining. We got to meet with Isaac and got to his office and we all got blue books signed by him. They wrote a nice long thing about us that Marsha and Chris came up with and we all got one in a nice blue capitol folder.”
During a speech concerning a bill during a session later in the day, Sponaugle had a sports related quote saying “you have to keep your eye on the ball” and having the volleyball team honored the same day made this statement stand out.
“To be honored in Charleston was such an amazing experience,” East Hardy junior Abigail Wilson concluded.
“When they recognized us they spoke about our season and how it all finished and it brought back so many great memories. I am so glad that my team and I got to accomplish the goal we set at the beginning of the season, to win it all. My favorite part of Charleston was getting to tour the capitol and reminisce the victory again with my team.” [/private]