Local sponsors have covered the tab for Gracie May’s beach volleyball team.

Local sponsors have covered the tab for Gracie May’s beach volleyball team.

Beach volleyball a personal game for Belmont athlete

Local sponsors pave the way for Gracie May

Had Gracie May known more of the young athletes trying out for the youth national team in June of 2017, she and Arden Copping, who she did know from having played against her here in Victoria, might not have spent as much time hanging out together.

They may not have become fast friends, and they may not have conceived of the idea of playing beach volleyball together.

That idea led, first, to entering the Beach Fest at Spanish Banks in Vancouver. Even though they had never played or practiced together, they won that tournament.

RELATED: Belmont girls net two out of three medals on the beach

They tried out for the U16 Team B.C. Beach, and came in second in the qualifying tournament, earning them a spot as representatives of B.C. In subsequent competition as B.C. representatives they won a silver medal in U16 provincials and did extremely well in another tournament in Seattle.

By then it was time to return to school volleyball, where, as part of Belmont Secondary School, May was part of the team that managed to win its third provincial title — an incredible achievement for the young athletes.

While at the AAAA school provincial championships, a representative of Volleyball B.C., who had followed May’s performance in the summer, extended an opportunity to attend the U19 FIVB World Championship Selection Tournament (FIVB is the world governing body for volleyball). The tournament will be held in Toronto later this year and the winners will go on to represent Canada at the world championships in China.

But, in order to be competitive in this high level competition, May and Copping would have to attend weekend winter training sessions in Vancouver with the caveat that they pay their own expenses while training.

Not to be deterred, the pair went to work with the same intensity with which they had approached their volleyball training and competition.

They prepared a presentation with the aim of securing sponsors for their training expenses and, in short order, May was contacted by a representative of three local companies (who wanted to remain anonymous). She underwent an interview with that representative and, when she was done, she was handed a cheque that would cover her expenses. In Vancouver, Copping was going through a similar process and secured the funding she needed to round out the training expenses.

“It was just amazing. I was very nervous during the interview and I thought it would probably take a while for them to decide, but as soon as we were done, she handed me the cheque. It was a dream come true,” May said.

“After Christmas I’ll be going to Vancouver every weekend to work with B.C.’s new beach development coach, Jamie Broder, who represented Canada in beach volleyball at the 2016 summer Olympics. It’s an incredible opportunity and I’m so grateful for this chance.”

May started playing volleyball at Gordon Head Middle school and, although she dabbled in lacrosse, swimming, and even horseback riding, volleyball has always been her first love.

Although she has one more year of high school volleyball ahead of her, and hopes to participate in the sport at a post-secondary level following graduation, her love of beach volleyball has opened a new dimension of the game to May.

“It’s a very personal game. You get to touch the ball every other contact and you really get to decide how the game is going to be played so it’s far more of an individual sport,” explained May.

Mike Toakley, May’s coach at Belmont Secondary, has no doubt about May’s future.

“She’s a phenomenal player with a lot of heart and I know she’ll be someone to be watching in the very near future. I’m just happy to have had a small part in helping her become the player she is today.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

beach volleyballBelmont secondary

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
VicPD arrest man at gunpoint after firearm call

Man faces charges for breaching condition not to possess replica firearms

Residents within the coverage area of Sidney-North Saanich RCMP will have to call Central Saanich Police Services at (250) 652-4441 for non-emergency calls for parts of Tuesday, Jan. 26. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney/North Saanich RCMP dials up police in Central Saanich for help

Non-emergency outage expected to last through the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 26

Coroner Andy Watson confirmed the death of a man in Chemainus Monday night.
Death at Victoria encampment for people who are homeless deemed not suspicious

BC Coroners Service now investigating death at Royal Athletic Park Jan. 23

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Second doses delayed as B.C. vaccine delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

Most Read