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Wednesday, May 11, 2016---Women of Troy Beach Volleyball Banquet
My husband Jim and I stood at the north side of the Galen Center waiting to get into the Women of Troy Beach Volleyball Banquet. We were still excited about our team winning the very first NCAA Title in Beach Volleyball! When we entered the Galen Center lobby, Trojan Candy could feel the excitement in the air. Every guest we saw in the lobby had big smiles on their faces.
The first friends Jim and I saw in the lobby were Tara and Greg Strange, Alexa Strange's parents. Her aunt and uncle also came to the dinner.
Good friend Mel Hughes took this picture of the six of us. Trojan Candy, Jim Yee, Tara Strange, Greg Strange, Mr. Roy, and Vimala Roy.
As soon as the Founder's Room doors opened, Trojan Candy walked inside. I saw the NCAA trophy on the right and Head Coach Anna Collier with a big smile on her face on the left. I congratulated her and took this picture of her with friend Bob Padgett.
Talking about trophies, here are the player trophies that will be awarded later.
I put my stuff at my table and immediately walked around the room to take more pictures. I saw my sister Patti and some very good friends. Patti Poon, Tim Seno, Karen Trust, Anita Ybarra, and Jessika Carrington.
Now it was my turn to take the picture. Doris and Mel Hughes smiled for this picture.
It was time to find the team members. Trojan Candy saw Freshman Becca Dunn
(3/3/2016) standing with her parents Rachel and Brian.
Next, I saw two Kellys visiting with friend Natasa Siljkovic
(9/2/2010). Natasa, a Women of Troy Volleyball alumna, is a Graduate Assistant on the team. Kelly Claes is a Junior and partners with Sara Hughes. Kelly Dormandy
(2/15/2015) is the Strength Coach for the team.
Trojan Candy walked back to where the NCAA Trophy was being displayed. I took this picture of Stefanie Miller standing next to the trophy.
Just after I took Stefanie's picture, I saw the Beach Volleyball Senior whom I wanted to interview standing with four teammates. Trojan Candy took their picture. Emily Young, Jo Kremer
(3/3/2016), Allie Wheeler, Becca Dunn, and Terese Cannon
Then, I asked Emily Young if I could interview her. She smiled, said, "Yes," and posed for two pictures. The first one was when Pat Haden stopped by to congratulate her, and the second was for my blog interview. Emily majored in Business Administration and is getting her M.S. in Communication. She started playing volleyball in the seventh grade. Emily played four indoor volleyball seasons and two beach volleyball seasons as a Trojan. On a more personal note, Emily's hobbies are quite diverse...hiking and reading. Her favorite author is Jodi Picoult, and her favorite movie is "Princess Bride." Emily's favorite music artists are the Beatles (another Trojan after my own heart!) and Michael Buble. Her favorite food is ham. Mine too! Unfortunately, there isn't much chance that ham will be served tonight. FIGHT ON, Emily!
Trojan Candy continued to walk around Founder's Hall looking for other team members. I found another good friend Paige Hines
(1/31/2014). She was standing with Terese Cannon and Becca Dunn.
Near the entrance I got a glimpse of that "sunny" smile. The smile belonged to good friend Sara Hughes
(1/31/2014) who was talking with her family and a friend.
With Sarah were her dad Rory, her brother Connor and Connor's girlfriend Shaina Olsen. Rory told me that Connor and Shaina both played indoor volleyball at UCI. He also said that Connor won two National Championships at UCI. That's makes three National Championships for the Hughes Family and counting! An honorary FIGHT ON, Connor!.
Now I found team members everywhere. Lorna Brandt, Allie Wheeler, and Athletic Trainer Katie Johnson posed for this picture.
Sitting at their table were partners Jo Kremer and Zoe Nightingale
The team was starting to sit down for dinner now. I literally ran over to Table 1 to take this picture of Kelly Claes with her mom Quincy and dad Paul.
As I walked back to my table I took this picture of Tara Strange and her daughter Alexa
Trojan Candy took pictures at the two adjacent tables. Allie Wheeler sat next to Nicolette Martin, her mom Criss, and dad Todd.
At the other table were friends Karen and Mark Tanimura, Tara Quarrie, and Tim Seno.
I finally made it back to my table. Tim took this picture of the guests at my table. Front row: Stefanie Miller, Adam Tuero, Dennis Davis, and Gene Pocock. Back row: Dudley and Patti Poon, Trojan Candy and Jim. Adam is a Graduate Assistant on the team.
After dinner, Coach Anna called the team to the podium. The team introduced themselves by pairs. Each partner told the audience why they enjoy being partners. Then, the entire 1st NCAA National Championship Beach Volleyball Team posed for this team picture.
Next, Coach Collier asked the Freshmen to come to the stage. They were given beautiful blankets to commemorate their first season. The Freshmen are Becca Dunn, Pearl Keane
(3/3/2016) and Abril Bustamante.
Now it was time to honor the 2016 Seniors. Coach Anna had Emily Young, Zoe Nightingale, and Alexa Strange come to the stage. Watch this memorable video of our three Seniors saying "thank you" and "good-bye." FIGHT ON, Alexa! FIGHT ON, Zoe! FIGHT ON, Emily!
Trophies were awarded by Coaches Anna Collier, Au Wood Lamberson and Dain Blanton in these categories:
Irwin Award: Has shown the most growth as a person and teammate to Terese Cannon.
Trojan Spirit Award: Displays the most heart, a passion for the game, demonstrates positive leadership and has exemplary attitude and work ethic to Nicolette Martin.
Most Inspirational Award (Comeback Player of the Year): Has overcome odds and challenges en route to have a positive impact on the team to Alexa Strange.
Most Valuable Player: Has best demonstrated the Trojan qualities of being faithful, scholarly, courageous and ambitious to Sara Hughes.
Coaches Award: Has overcome odds and challenges en route to have a positive impact on the team to Kelly Claes.
Trojan Candy was able to take a picture of each awardee with her trophy.
Alexa Strange with Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Nicolette Martin with Trojan Spirit Award.
Kelly Claes with Coaches Award and Sara Hughes with MVP Award.
Terese Cannon with Irwin Award.
During the program, Trojan Candy recorded two videos. The first video highlighted our Championship season.
The second dedicated our Victory to Athletic Director Pat Haden.
The Spirit of Troy played "Fight On!"
And, of course, "Conquest!"
With Conquest, the program ended.
Then I walked rapidly around the Founder's Room taking as many pictures that I could before everyone left.
Katie Fuller and Wandy Jung.
Kelly Claes, Kelly Dormandy, and Sarah Hughes with the NCAA Trophy.
Zoe Nightingale, Jenna Belton, Terese Cannon, and Marielle Baynard.
Paige Hines and Sara Hughes.
Leland Waters posed with the ceramic Trophy he had specially made for the Beach Volleyball NCAA Champions.
Emily Young, Tim Seno, and Leland Waters.
Kelly Claes, Emily Young, Wandy Jung, Alexa Strange, and Sara Hughes.
Dain Blanton and Zoe Nightingale.
Jenna Belton, Paige Hines, Terese Cannon, and Marielle Baynard.
Emily Young with her keepsake blanket.
Alexa Strange with her keepsake blanket and Coach Anna Collier.
Alexa Strange and her family.
Trojan Candy and husband Jim were almost the last ones to leave.
What a celebration!
Congratulations, Women of Troy Beach Volleyball, on winning the 1st NCAA Championship!
FIGHT ON, Women of Troy Beach Volleyball!