William Byrd is not enjoying its best year ever on the volleyball court – the former state champions have a young squad this year – but off the court the Terriers are making their mark in the community. Members of the team and coaches recently spent a morning at the Roanoke Rescue Mission, preparing and serving meals, and making up beds in the sleeping quarters.
Former Byrd standout Blair Bullock, now an assistant coach at her alma mater (she played club level volleyball at Virginia Tech) supervised on the early shift. “We think it’s a good thing for the girls to give back to the community.”
The Terriers had spent time at the Rescue Mission earlier, reading stories and doing craft projects with children who stay at the mission with their mothers. “[They] will be good role models for the rest of the kids at the school who want to help,” said Bullock.
Byrd player Macie Hoback, a junior, was upbeat as she chopped potatoes, despite the early hours – showing up at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday. “It helps us bond [and] we think it’s good to give back to the community. I think its good for us.” Hoback said the Terriers have participated in Angel Tree and Relay for Life events in the past, raising money for various causes.
“Getting up early, coming out here to help other people, I think it really brings them together,” said Bullock, who didn’t get involved with community projects like this when she was at William Byrd. “It’s good – I think all the sports should have to do it.” Bullock is in her first year of coaching and also attends Jefferson College of Health Sciences, pursuing a degree in the nursing field.
The junior varsity team showed up with head coach Amanda Stump later on, making up beds. “I’m very much for community service,” said the coach, a former volleyball player on a Byrd state title team herself.
“I firmly believe that community service is something that they need to be doing. When they get to college, especially as athletes, they’re going to have to do it. You have to get them out there.” Like Bullock, Stump values the team bonding aspect. She’s a busy woman these days; Stump teaches at the school and coaches tennis at Byrd.
Stump also organizes the annual Miss Smith Mountain Lake scholarship pageant, which will be held this year on November 13 at the Dumas Center in downtown Roanoke (7 p.m.). The winner goes on to the Miss Virginia competition in June. There are also teen and preteen events on the 13th.
As for competition on the gym floor, the third year coach remains upbeat about the future of the Byrd volleyball program. “we lost some of our primary people,” said Stump, “[but] we have a lot of talent coming up.”By Gene Marrano [email protected]