Ten Clay County players have booked reservations to Dallas this weekend to compete with various travel volleyball programs at the Junior Olympics.
Add Clay City seventh-graders Chloe Kittle and Callie Dayhuff to the list that includes Crossroads Volleyball players Audrey Clark, Whitney Halfhill, Ashley Heck, Emmie Kittle, McKenzi Kumpf, Shelbi Morris and Morgan Stearley of the 12-Red team. Madison McDonald competes for the Circle City 12-Purple team.
Both Kittle and Dayhuff are members of the first 13-year-old Crossroads team to qualify for the Junior Olympics.
The 13-Red team placed third at the regional qualifier held May 3-4.
Madison Hayne is the 13-Red coach and the former Terre Haute South star is no stranger to the rigors of travel volleyball and has plenty of insight to offer her players.
"My first club experience was when I was 13-years-old and was playing for COA in its early stages," Hayne said. "Playing competitive club volleyball provided me with the opportunity to continue playing in college."
The 2005 South graduate played for the Indiana State Sycamores her freshman year before transferring to Oakland City University to continue her volleyball career.
In a record-breaking season she was a member of the Oaks' team that placed sixth at the NCCAA National Tourney and was named Second-team All-American.
Hayne hopes to share her experiences on the court with her players and teach them what it takes to excel.
"Club volleyball takes a lot of dedication," Hayne said. "Learning how important dedication is is crucial to the success of these young ladies in volleyball and life! I teach the girls how to become better volleyball players, but I also want to teach them how to become better people.
"I really enjoy working with the younger players. I like teaching the beginning skills, as well as teaching the strategies of the game of volleyball," Hayne continued. "They are all eager to learn which makes my job easy! Being a player has given me lots of experience that has helped me become a better teacher of the sport. I am able to recall quite a few things that helped me when I was still playing that I can use to help my players now."
Dayhuff and Kittle were each members of the 12-Red team that placed 35th at the AAU Nationals last season.
This year, the pair get the opportunity to compete at an even more prestigious tourney in the Junior Olympics.
"Qualifying for the Junior Olympics is a very prestigious honor and I am very proud of the girls," Hayne said of her team. "Competing at the next level will help these girls continue to develop. Competing at these national tournaments helped me learn how to perform and play under stress and pressure. Learning how to adapt to these situations as a player, has also helped me as a coach and as an individual.
"Playing a wide variety of teams gives us the opportunity to improve our skills and it often exposes you to teams that are sometimes more experienced," continued Hayne.
Dayhuff and Kittle are the lone players outside of Terre Haute on the 13-Red team that includes players from Honey Creek, Otter Creek, Woodrow Wilson and St. Patrick's.
Hayne has enjoyed her second season as a COA coach and is looking forward to helping her squad compete as a team.
"Volleyball is the ultimate team sport, Hayne said. "Each of the girls has a part to play and they all have contributed to the success of our team. All of the team members have shown improvement throughout the season and I look forward their successes as they continue in their volleyball careers.
"As a coach I hope that we can end the tournament with a winning record, added Hayne. "However, as long as we play up to our potential I will be happy."