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St. Mary’s athletes earn Winter Games spots

Posted on February 5, 2014 by Taber Times

St. Mary’s School volleyball athletes will be well represented at the upcoming 2014 Alberta Winter Games later this week.

St. Mary’s will have two female and one male player at the Games which go Feb. 6-9 in Banff and Canmore, representing Zone 1 Sunny South.

For the girls, Rae-Anne Vayro and Kennadi Bodnar will be playing on the zone U15 girls team.

St. Mary’s students Kaleb and Mason Muller have also qualified in speed skating for the Games.

Bodnar was a team setter for the St. Mary’s Storm girls volleyball team.

“She has good hands and mobility, she can get to the bad balls and still make good sets,” said Storm coach Pat Pyne, of the skills Bodnar will bring to her zone team for the Alberta Winter Games.

“She has good defensive instincts and digs extremely well. She is a strong consistent server who brings a variety of serves.”

Vayro played middle this past season for the Storm.

“She is a big jumper with great reach and has good lateral mobility to go with nice block timing,” said Pyne. “She’s a hard, effective jump server who adds solid passing.”

Jobert Cruz will be helping the U15 boys team as a player that has helped rejuvenate the boys Storm volleyball program with his love of the game.

“He has a lot of athleticism and excitement which is what he brings,” said A.J. Bergenhenengouwen, athletic director for St. Mary’s School. “It’s something we haven’t seen in a good three or four years. Lots of excitement and athleticism with a good overall idea of what’s going on out there on the court. We are really excited to see him be successful.”

Both Storm boys coaches Derry Kolody and John Muller agreed that Cruz’s versatility will aid his zone’s team.

“Even though going into the try-outs as a bit undersized, we knew he would

have to play big as he has done for us all volleyball season. Jobert’s athletic ability allows him to virtually play any position on the court,” said Muller. “He has the ability to create offence from front row or back row and if the set is not favourable he still can keep those balls in play. Jobert is a well rounded player. It didn’t surprise us that he made the team as he is also fun to coach.”

Kaleb Muller will be competing in the 13/14-year-old boys category while brother Mason is in the 11/12-year-old boys division for speed skating.

Their venue will be in Canmore, on an outdoor pond, which will be the first

time in Alberta’s history that they are having a short-track skating competition on an outdoor surface.

The duo are coming off the momentum of an outdoor long track meet in Red Deer late last month in which Kaleb Muller finished with a silver medal.

“They both have a very strong work ethic. Having limited resources in southern Alberta, they make the most of them,” said Tim Conney, head coach of the Lethbridge Speed Skating Association which the Mullers train out of, adding both skaters are ranked number-one provincially in their respective age categories. Mason this year I’d say is one of our most improved skaters in our club. Because they are both good skaters already, it’s difficult to improve. Kaleb is one of the more elite skaters who is still showing speed that other skaters his age didn’t show at this time last year.”

There will be both individual and team events at the Games for speed skating with a team relay for short track. Last Winter Games, Zone 1 took home two gold medals in the team relay.

“That put us on the map the last time around and Kaleb was part of that and this time around Mason gets a chance to be one of our best skaters there,” said Conney. “We don’t go in with expectations, if they skate their best then usually their results are quite good.”

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