Quinte Christian High School’s (QCHS) boys’ volleyball team celebrated their first gold medal for a team sport as they went undefeated at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championships last month.
Physical education teacher and guidance counsellor Brent Smeenk says “it was an amazing thrill for the players especially, and also for the coaches.”
The team was comprised of several returning players who won the silver medal at OFSAA last season.
The team entered the tournament aiming to improve their silver-medal performance from last season.
Their championship required that they defeat their perennial rivals from St. Thomas Aquinas High School (STAHS) Kenora.
STAHS eliminated QCHS two years in a row.
There were nine Ontario Christian Secondary School Athletic Association schools participating and 19 other teams from 15 different regions across Ontario at the OFSAA championship. Three of the top four teams are Christian high schools.
Smeenk says seeing three Christian schools at the top of the standings is an award in itself.
“It looks like we’re doing something right and producing some good fruits in our students. It’s pretty awesome to see the fruits of our work in that kind of athletic stage,” he says.
Smeenk says the boys demonstrated great character in their march to the finals.
“The biggest thing that I noticed as a coach was the mental toughness, focus and maturity that they displayed under pressure and in tough circumstances,” says Smeenk.
“They were consistent and persistent and mentally tough, which I think was one of the most important factors to win the gold.”
Smeenk says any Christian high school’s athletic program focuses on mentoring athletes, and helping them grow in character.
He says he and co-coach John Bertelink were proud to see their players’ persistence and dedication under pressure.
“It’s a huge priority for us, so we were so proud of them,” says Smeenk.
Unable to be in attendance was assistant coach of 2 1/2 years Matthew Bombay. Smeenk says Bombay was an integral part of helping the team become champions.
Smeenk says he is grateful for the opportunity to go to the finals and win the championship.
“Our goal is to glorify God and give Him thanks for giving us the opportunity,” says Smeenk.