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Three freshman make waves at national, regional levels

By NNJ Staff, 09/10/18, 10:45AM PDT

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Finley, Harper are chosen for the USA Volleyball Junior training teams, McLauchlin gets pick for Regional High Performance Team

Three NNJ freshman are making waves at the regional and national levels.

Rian Finley (Setter-Opposite - Reno High) and Tori Harper (Middle Blocker - Bishop Manogue) were both chosen for the USA Volleyball training teams this summer. Hannah McLauchlin (Outside - Virginia City High) was picked for the NCVA's regional High Performance Team. All three players traveled outside of Reno to train and compete with their summer teams; Rian and Tori headed to Colorado Springs, Colo., where the national team competes, and Hannah headed to Tulsa, Okla. to train and to Ft. Lauderdale, Flor. to compete against teams from other regions  in her age group.

The High Performance model was built by volleyball legends Karch Kiraly and John Speraw. The teams are used as a pipeline to the US National Team, with nearly every player who competes for the US having come through the program. Players try out regionally at High Performance tryouts, and are then selected to different teams based on their playing level.

Rian Finley, setter/opposite freshman at Reno High was chosen for the Girls' Select A1 National Training Program. While there, she was coached by Alyssa D'Errico (assistant at Dayton, played at Penn State) and many other big names of the college world. Rian was among six players selected to the A1 group from the Northern California region.

Rian said in a text message, "The coaches are incredible, I got to work with the head coach of Oregon, and they are making us set the ball faster than I thought was possible! My roommate is going into 9th grade and is  verbally committed to Minnesota as an outside...she's super good! Our coaches told us that we will be playing in the junior division against Canada, Dominican Republic, and Australia, which means that we play two age groups up and play against people who are in college...so that's pretty exciting and nerve-wracking!"

Tori Harper, middle blocker and freshman at Manogue, was invited to the Youth A2 National Training Program. She was coached there by Anthony Elizondo (Santa Monica Volleyball Club, USA Volleyball) as well as many other USAV-qualified coaches. Tori was among eight players selected from the Northern California region.

Tori's mom, Tiffiany, writes that those who participated in the program trained for four days in all skills and focused on position-specific areas throughout each day. On the fifth day, the players split into teams and trained in international rules and opponent scouting. The final two days of the program featured an international-style tournament, during which the teams played against international teams. 

Hannah McLauchlin, freshman outside hitter at Virginia City, was selected to the regional High Performance Team. This marks Hannah's second year in the High Performance system; last year as a 13's she attended the training program in Colorado Springs and was then asked to play in the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in Florida. She tried out again this year, and was again selected to compete for the region in the High Performance Championships!

"The level of competition at the HP Championships was tougher than anything I’d experienced and I was challenged more in that week than before," Hannah says. " We played teams from all over the US and cheered for the older teams as they played against teams from around the world.  Norcal had the largest delegation there with 5 boys and 4 girls teams.

"I came home with a new perspective about volleyball - I feel I have a better understanding about the sport and the competition – and I want to take it more seriously.  I bonded with those on my team and made friendships that will last, on and off the court.  Overall I’d rate my HP experience a 10 out of 10 and plan to tryout again next year."

For more information on the USAV Training Team Program, click here.
For more information on Regional High Performance, click here.