Westwood Collegiate’s Westwood Warriors have bumped, volleyed, and spiked their way into being two of the province’s highest-ranking varsity volleyball teams.
According to the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association’s website, the varsity girls’ team is ranked No. 2 in Manitoba, while the varsity boys are ranked No. 4.
Brian Schmeichel, varsity boys volleyball coach at Westwood Collegiate, said the varsity girls have always done well but the boys have struggled in the past. This is the first time both varsity teams are ranked highly at the same time.
Schmeichel believes the reason the boys haven’t always done as well as the girls in volleyball is because "we have always lost our better (male) athletes to hockey."
Varsity girls volleyball coach Erica Reimer said she credits the girls’ high standings to the previous varsity coach, J.J. Ross, with whom she worked closely while she was junior varsity coach.
"We kind of worked together, instead of considering (the varsity and junior varsity teams) as separate teams," Reimer said.
Because Reimer was junior varsity coach in previous years, she has worked with the majority of the current varsity roster since they were in Grade 9 and 10, keeping track of their strengths and weaknesses as well as knowing them better as both athletes and people, including Grade 12 student Emily Hollins.
"It’s pretty unbelievable," Hollins said about the ranking. "We have really good coaching and really good players that know how to play well together."
"They’re a talented group," Reimer said. "We have to defend (the title) and make sure we can keep that ranking. It doesn’t come easily. We have to earn that, and every time we play a game, we’re defending that spot."
Ryan Bisignano, of the varsity boys team, is proud of his team for earning a top ranking.
"It’s a great opportunity for us to make a new name for Westwood," Bisignano, 17, said.
Bisignano eventually wants to play volleyball for a university team, specifically the University of Manitoba.
Hollins, however, is uncertain about her future in volleyball.
"I enjoy it, but I’m not sure if I’ll pursue it after high school," Hollins said.