The Maine Principals Association named volleyball as a high-risk sport for spread of COVID-19 and pushed the prep season to late February.
They did give the okay for volleyball to be played outdoors during the fall and several donors recently helped Windham High School get a sand volleyball court installed near the stadium athletic field on the Windham High School campus.
The varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams used it for the first time on Oct. 8 and can now practice in preparation for their upcoming season.
When Sen. Bill Diamond heard there would be no indoor volleyball this fall, he felt there must be another way for these student athletes to enjoy their sport, especially the seniors, playing their final season.
Diamond contacted RSU 14 Superintendent Chris Howell, Windham High School Athletic Director Rich Drummond and Bill Hanson, school property engineer, and discussed getting a court up before winter so the team could get some practice in.In addition, Diamond also reached out to Tim Tandberg who donated employees as well as heavy duty equipment and materials, including sand for the project. Dan Shaw of Shaw Brothers Construction also donated employees, equipment and crushed stone and Scott Symonds donated equipment, employees, and product to help construct the court.
“Everyone made it their highest priority which is remarkable considering each one of these business owners had other jobs going on,” said Diamond. “As high as the cost of construction would have been to build this court ... that doesn’t come close to the ultimate high value everyone place(s) on our students in Windham and Raymond.”
began around the third week of September and was completed for use on Oct. 8.
the first night the two teams practiced on it.
Drummond said they wanted to get the net up and running as quickly as they could, so the teams could get at least get some skills and drills practice.
“This will be a great opportunity for the girls to get some play,” said Windham High varsity volleyball
coach Chris Cloutier, who began practice with the teams in late September using a pop-up volleyball net. “It’s staying open all summer long for the community as well. (The donors) wanted it to be open to everybody all the time.”
It was important for Cloutier to start what he called “open gym nights,” outdoors, of course. So much is up in the air, he wanted to give the teams something to look forward to. He wants to keep it simple. They learn the skills and get some touches on the ball. Then play, have fun, bond and socialize while also being safe.
“Honestly, I just love playing volleyball,” said senior Alexis Budroe. “I’ve played it for seven or eight years. It would mean a lot to finish my senior year with some sort of volleyball.”
Budroe wanted the donors to know how meaningful this is. “Thank you, a lot; we really appreciate it; more than they can imagine,” It really helps their team keep going she said. <