Volleyball prizes safety above all

Wranglers only team to not be shut down by the pandemic

Staff Writer, Staff Writer

Nothing was easy in 2020.

The varsity volleyball team could attest to that.

The team had five seniors on the team, three of which were first-year varsity. The coronavirus held them  and their other varsity teammates back.

While other teams played during the summer, West Mesquite took the safe road. What they lost in opportunity to play was gained in their staying healthy.

Coach Rene McKibbin was proud of the fact that her team defied the odds in staying well.

“We were the only school in the district that didn’t get shut down,” McKibbin said. “Every other team got shut down by the virus.”

That, by the way, wasn’t by accident.

The players wore masks, practiced social distancing and disinfected the practice area every 30 minutes.

After the players left the locker room, McKibbin and other coaches strapped on the school’s Ghost Buster – the backpack used by the custodians nightly – and fogged the area to make sure it was disinfected. McKibbin took her B-day task of sanitizing the locker rooms personally.

While the team didn’t have a lot of wins to brag about, the girls did have some special moments.

One was facing perennial force Highland Park.

This year the team scored 15 points on the Scots, a team that had eight of its 13 girls going to Division I colleges. In previous years, West was lucky to score five points against HP.

“I saw a side of the girls I’d never seen,” McKibbin said of the ferocity with which they attacked the opponent.

One of the West girls, Skye Harris, will get her chance to compete for a scholarship as well. She will make several college visits so the coaches can see her play.

McKibbin was proud of her girls academically.

Junior Mercy  Okoughobdu is second in her class. Teammate and junior Ashly Tercero is eighth.

Another point of pride, Okoughobdu and Harris made the All-State academic team.