Special thanks to the Biltmore Volleyball Academy for this press release:
Biltmore Volleyball Academy Hosts 19th Annual Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament
(Asheville, NC) Biltmore Volleyball Academy (BVA) will host the 19th Annual Jr. Hi Neighbor Volleyball Tournament in the Asheville area April 25-26. The tournament will bring almost 100 teams; girls age 13-18, to the Asheville area to compete. An estimated 3,500 players, coaches, and their families from throughout the southeast will travel to the mountains-some traveling from as far away as Virginia and Ohio. Matches will be held at university, college, middle school, and high school facilities in Buncombe and Henderson Counties including Mars Hill College, UNC Asheville, Asheville High School & Middle School, North Buncombe, AC Reynolds, and Hendersonville High Schools. The games are open to the general public at no cost and are an excellent opportunity to support the local players in their hometown. For some BVA players, the Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament is their last home game before heading to college, like James Macomson’s daughters Regan and Tory.
The Macomson girls played with BVA for many years. As a result, Regan and her sister Tory had the opportunity to play their beloved sport with Wofford College and Mars Hill University respectively. Like most BVA parents, James volunteered to support his daughters and the club. However, unlike most parents, James continues to volunteer for BVA despite the fact that both of his daughters are now in college. “It’s fun. I really enjoy being a part of it,” said James, who dedicates months of planning with Executive Director Rhesa Edwards. “James’s commitment is exceptional,” said Edwards. “He understands the complexity of the regulations, as well as the emotions of the hundreds of parents, family and friends that come to cheer for their team…and from time to time, emotions do rise,” Edwards grinned. “We simply couldn’t host this tournament without James’s leadership and support, along with the tons of other volunteers that live in a gym for a weekend from selling t-shirts to managing the gym.”
This year marks the first year BVA will produce the tournament without the support of the City of Asheville. The Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament was actually started by the Asheville Parks & Recreation Department in 1997 as a spin off from their Adult Hi Neighbor Tournament. It was also the first 2-day volleyball tournament in the Carolinas. As the City’s resources are continuously challenged due to growing needs, the partnership was terminated by the City. “It’s been a real challenge,” explained Edwards. “Fortunately, the [Asheville Buncombe Regional] Sports Commission’s Ben Van Camp [Executive Director] was able to help us out a little.” The Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament not only helps raise funds for operations, but for the Jordan Hodges Scholarship Fund.
Jordan Hodges was a promising young volleyball player. In 2009, at the age of 14, she was killed in an automobile accident. As a result of this tragedy, the scholarship was established in her honor to help others follow their dream to play volleyball. Since its first year in 2009, approximately 20 scholarships have been awarded to athletes that may not have otherwise been able to participate. The passion of these players has led to many victories over the years, and this season is no exception.
Sixteen teams have been competing in national and regional tournaments in BVA’s 20th anniversary season. For some players, they are driving more than an hour one way to practice two or three times a week, and traveling out of town for tournaments. For the Elite teams, their season has taken them as far away as Washington, DC and Louisville, KY. The 17 Elite Team under the direction of Head Coach Tony Fontanelle (Mars Hill University Head Coach) placed 2nd at the Capitol Classic Tournament in Washington, DC in one of the most competitive play this season. Cameron McAbee (Outside) was selected as the Most Valuable Player during the intense playoffs, and honorable mentions for Audrey Nash (Setter) and Sally Anne Johnson (Outside). During the Jr. Hi Tournament, volleyball fans can watch this exciting team compete on the courts of Mars Hill University.
Biltmore Volleyball Academy (BVA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 to promote and enhance volleyball in Western North Carolina by providing a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for all ages and levels to develop. BVA is the premier club in WNC offering the highest level of coaching, including UNCA, Mars Hill College and area high school coaches. For more information and the 2015 Jr. Hi Neighbor Tournament schedule, visit BVA’s website http://www.biltmorevolleyballacademy.org or Face Book Page: http://www.facebook.com/BiltmoreVolleyballAcademy?fref=ts.