The Starlings National Championship commences this Thursday, June 21st at San Diego City College's Harry West Gym, where we will celebrate our Starlings at our annual Opening Ceremonies event. After all of the teams make their procession, dancing into the gym and waving team banners, we will present our Literature, Art, and Starlings Spirit awards and hear from Keynote Speaker, former indoor volleyball player and Olympian, Alisha Glass.
We are immensely honored to have Glass at our Opening Ceremonies this year, and are excited to hear about her personal journey, as well as her journey as setter for the US Women's National Team. While on the team, Glass racked up numerous accolades, including a gold medal in the 2014 World Championship, a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympic Games, and a bronze medal in the 2015 World Cup. Not to mention, she was named Best Setter in the 2014 World Championship and the Rio Olympics. All of this was only after she led Penn State to three consecutive NCAA Championships.
Glass is undoubtedly an excellent role model for our passionate young Starlings girls, as she has demonstrated incomparable talent and determination. Her speech will be the perfect way to kick off another awesome Nationals tournament!
Not only has Dr. Richard Paat been hard at work as director of Toledo Starlings, but he has also has dedicated his time to providing medical services for emergency relief around the world. While on a medical mission in Yabucoa, a small Puerto Rican town left devastated by Hurricane Maria, Coach Paat, along with fellow Starlings Coach Trudy, helped to develop the volleyball skills of four young Puerto Rican girls who proved their commitment and passion for the sport as they often practiced without electricity. Coming up later this month, these four girls will participate in the 20th Annual Starlings National Championships. Among them is Adriana De Jesus Serrano, whom Coach Paat was greatly impressed with as she was adamant in helping set up the medical clinic and was helpful in distributing water and working in the pharmacy. Further, she proved herself as a leader on the court, providing support and advice to her teammates that yielded better collective efforts. We cannot wait to see Adriana and her teammates at Nationals!
On May 6th, the Southern California Indoor Volleyball Hall of Fame (SCIVBHOF) will induct Board Member Steve Salmons and will honor our founder Byron Shewman with a Lifetime Service Award. Shewman, the second recipient of the Lifetime Service Award, will be recognized for his work with Starlings and his efforts to make club volleyball accessible to girls of lower socioeconomic backgrounds across the country and even across the border. Once an assistant editor for Volleyball Magazine and the author of Volleyball Centennial: the First 100 Years, Shewman has had an incredible impact on indoor volleyball not only as a player, coach, and benefactor, but also as a writer of the rich history of the sport. Not to mention, he has first hand experience as a former USVBA All-American and starting outside hitter for the USA National Team from 1971-1975. It was after an all star Volleyball career that Shewman dedicated his life to service, working with the blind and mentally disabled in France, with amputee patients in Santa Barbara, with natural disaster victims around the world, and finally with inner city girls in the U.S. who just wanted to play competitive volleyball.
As part of the second class of inductees that is “representative of the best in both playing and coaching on the high school, college, and international levels,” Salmons will be celebrated for his accomplishments ranging from Pacific Palisades High School all the way to the Olympics. Salmons started off his volleyball career as the LA City Player of the Year when he lead Pacific Palisades to a Regional Championship. With momentum rising, he went on to be named College Player of the Year in 1979 after bringing UCLA the NCAA title and the first undefeated season that college volleyball had ever seen, and later in 1981, another NCAA title for UCLA meant three consecutive All-American titles for Salmons. Soon after his college career ended, he became a pivotal player for the National Team, earning Olympic gold in 1984, World Cup gold in 1985, and a World Championship title in 1986. He was named a member of Volleyball Magazine’s All Century Team, inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame, and accordingly, will be inducted into the SCIVBHOF this Sunday.