Three Tehachapi girls recently took part in the Junior Volleyball National Championships in Texas, representing Tehachapi and Kern County in a prestigious tournament that features the best young volleyball talent in the nation.
Destiny Julye, Kim Smith and Elayna Cramer earned the right to play the junior nationals at the Dallas Convention Center in late June -- early July after winning regional tournaments this past club season for the Bakersfield Volleyball Club.
"There are a lot of tournaments in the club season and you have to be physically and mentally ready for it," Julye said. "It's a chance (with scouts) to show what you have to offer with the hope of getting a volleyball or academic scholarship."
Smith and Julye participated in the 17s tournament -- American Division, while Cramer was a member of the 15s, which played in the Patriot Division in the four day event.
The 17s team finished in 17th place in the American Division overall and first place in the bronze division. Bakersfield Volleyball Club defeated Arizona (Storm Thunder) 25-21, 21-25, 15-11 and Northern California (Xceleration Blue) 25-14, 25-17 in their final two games. Smith and Juyle were two-time national returnees, leading their BVC team to a fifth place showing out of 187 teams in 2012.
"I've been playing volleyball since I was five years old. To be the little girl from Tehachapi and grow up to go to Junior Nationals two years in a row has been an amazing experience," said Smith.
Cramer's 15s Bakersfield Volleyball Team took second in the nation in the Patriot Gold Bracket, defeating Missouri (Summit Asics) 25-15, 25-21 and Wisconsin (WA Lightning) 25-22, 23-25, 15-6 to reach the championship, which ended in a close 24-26, 25-19, 15-7 loss to Hawaii (SAS Red).
Smith, Juyle and Cramer have a combined 15 years of club volleyball experience and have all ended their second season with BVC.
"It's good to have your hands on the ball year-round and have the practice," said Cramer. "It's an honor to have the opportunity and represent the area and Tehachapi."