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Fort Macleod athlete wins silver at volleyball nationals

Jamie Brown attacks the net in a game at the National Team Challenge Cup at Richmond, B.C.

Jamie Brown attacks the net in a game at the National Team Challenge Cup at Richmond, B.C.

Jamie Brown and her U18 Alberta teammates won the silver medal at the National Team Challenge Cup at Richmond, B.C.

Jamie Brown and her U18 Alberta teammates won the silver medal at the National Team Challenge Cup at Richmond, B.C.

For the second year in a row, Jamie Brown represented Fort Macleod — and Alberta — at a national volleyball competition.
Brown and her U18 Alberta teammates claimed the silver medal Sunday at the National Team Challenge Cup at Richmond, B.C.
When the volleyball season tipped off last September, the 17-year-old Brown had her sights set on making the Alberta team.
“Playing Team Alberta was definitely a goal for me again this year,” Brown said. “Knowing that I am one of the top athletes in my province really motivates me to keep pushing myself and display the talent that I have worked so hard for the past five years of my life. It’s a nice reward for myself and I know that I’m making my family proud.”
Alberta ripped through the round-robin portion of the tournament, knocking off teams from Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and B.C.
The Albertans continued their strong play in the playoffs, beating teams from Manitoba and Saskatchewan on Saturday to advance to the gold medal match.
It took another Alberta team to derail Brown’s team, as the U17 Alberta squad beat their older provincial foes 3-1 in the final.
“The skill level across Canada is unbelievable,” Brown said of competition at the national event. “Every single girl in this tournament has been trained for years by great coaches and we are all here for one thing — to be champions. Our skill levels are all so close at this age, so it comes down to how mentally strong you can be in high pressure times.”
Brown played middle for Alberta, and showed her versatility at the national tournament by also playing power and right side.
The Alberta U18 team formed a strong bond early in training, and that served them well at Richmond.
Brown and her teammates were quick to support each other when things weren’t going their way.
“In volleyball, you can’t rely on a single person to win a game,” the five foot 11, 130-pound Brown said. “Having such a natural sense of teamwork is a huge advantage for us. Also, we have amazing coaches giving us feedback left and right. They spend their free time watching and analyzing other teams for us so we know what to expect.”
This is her second year playing on the provincial team, and the significance is not lost on Brown, who will enter Grade 12 at F.P. Walshe school in the fall.
“Volleyball in Alberta is very competitive and there are hundreds of amazing athletes who fight for the opportunity to tryout every year,” Brown said. “Being chosen as one of 12 girls to represent my province is an incredible accomplishment and an honour.”
Earning a spot on the Alberta team, and winning silver at the national competition, does not come easily.
Brown and her teammates dedicated almost half their summer break to their chosen sport.
While the players are working hard on the court, friends and family are having fun taking part in other summer pursuits.
“It’s tough knowing that I”m missing out on certain things,” Brown admitted. “I’m young and will have lots of time to go do fun things with my friends and family. But for now I’m doing my best to set myself up for a successful future.”
“All of the time I have spent in a gym the past few years will hopefully result in a scholarship where I can further my education and play the sport I love while doing so.”
Brown chose to focus on volleyball in part for its unpredictable nature, with new balls, along with rule changes, introduced each season that make the game more challenging.
Adding to the challenge is that girls get bigger and stronger each year.
“It’s not just a physical game,” Brown added. “Volleyball is more mental than physical. A single moment of lost focus can alter the entire game. During the two weeks that I was in Edmonton training, we spent half the day practicing on court, and the other half in a classroom analyzing video or talking with a sports psychologist.”
After a successful summer with Alberta, Jamie Brown is looking forward to the next high school season with the F.P. Walshe Flyers.
“I want to make my Grade 12 year at Walshe unforgettable. We have an amazing group of girls coming in. I am hoping that with everything I’ve learned from playing provincial ball and having great coaches, Walshe can bring home a handful of gold medals, banners, and amazing memories.”

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