Over 9,000 athletes converged on Dallas for the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championship June 30 to July 3, and Oak Harbor’s Cami Bristow left her mark.
Bristow plays for the Seattle Juniors U13 team and, at 12 years old and 5-feet, 2 inches, is generally one of the youngest and shortest on the court.
Her team competed against older girls in the U14 division in Dallas, facing 11 teams from Texas, Colorado, California, Iowa, Indiana and Washington.
Bristow said, “It was exciting playing against teams from all over the nation. It was challenging and helped us improve as a team.”
She added, “It was a lot of fun; I hope I get to do it again.”
Bristow was one of the team leaders in service aces and digs and, despite her size, front and back row attacks.
Her jump floater serve was particularly affective, according to her father, Steve Bristow.
Cami Bristow and the Juniors started play in January and competed in roughly 50 matches prior to Dallas, many against U14 clubs.
Bristow travels to Woodinville twice a week for two and a half hour practices and plays in one or two tournaments a month.
The time is worth it, she said, because “volleyball is very competitive and I like to win, but I also like to have fun.”
The Seattle Juniors are coached by the mother/daughter tandem of April and Kylin Munoz. April is a former University of Washington player, and Kylin, a Monroe High School graduate, is a current Husky.
Steve Bristow said the combination of an experienced coach and player and current NCAA standout are “outstanding at teaching player and team development, plus competitive strategy.”
He added, “Cami learned a lot from them.”
Cami Bristow, who will be a seventh-grader at Oak Harbor Middle School, also joins summer workouts for the Oak Harbor High School team, holding her own with the older players.
Volleyball is in her blood. Mother Ranee Bristow teaches P.E. and coaches volleyball at Oak Harbor Middle School, and sister Katelyn helped OHHS qualify for the 2010 state tournament.
Cami said her goals are to start at setter as a freshman for Oak Harbor High School and to play for the University of Washington.
If one doubts her, check out the slogan on her favorite T-shirt: “If volleyball was easy, they would call it football.”