Cheney Tech sports part of budget volleying

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Wed., Aug. 31, 2011
The Cheney Tech girls' volleyball teams practices passing and setting on Aug. 26, team try-out day. Photos by Martha Marteney.
The Cheney Tech girls' volleyball teams practices passing and setting on Aug. 26, team try-out day. Photos by Martha Marteney.

Just a week before the fall sports season was scheduled to begin, Howell Cheney Technical High School received word that its sports programs will continue, at least for the fall season. In the governor’s original budget, all technical schools would have lost funding for sports.

“If I wasn’t able to play volleyball, I don’t know what I would do,” said Cheney Tech senior Aubrey-Ana Echevarria. She might have considered even changing schools, said the returning girls' varsity volleyball setter and outside hitter. “I like playing a lot,” said Echevarria. “It’s my favorite sport.” She values the confidence the sport gives her, along with the lessons on teamwork.

“The state has done this the past two years,” said Fred Huhn, who has been the team’s coach for seven years, about the budget cuts. “You can’t keep doing this,” he added. “We’ve established a reputation of having a fairly good sports program.”

Last year, his team went to the division semi-finals, but has since lost six seniors and one team manager. This year’s team of about 30 has 10 seniors and a couple of juniors with varsity experience. Huhn admits that 30 members is good for developing the overall program, but does not allow all the members, especially the underclassmen, to have quality playing time.

Middle hitter Paige Marshall, a senior, enjoys the team’s fun atmosphere, as well as the competition. “I know that if we work together, and work hard, we’ll get places,” she said. If the sport had been cancelled, Marshall said she feels she would have lost her focus and motivation. She also plays softball and will try basketball for the first time this winter.

“A lot of our friendships are built around volleyball,” said senior and middle hitter Ingrid Van Alstyne. “We already have good chemistry,” she said, “we just need to get to know the freshmen.” The first week or so of practice usually weeds out the few newcomers who do not have the energy level and commitment to stay on the team.

The team starts its season with two home games. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, Cheney Tech takes on Terryville, and on Wednesday, Sept. 14, the girls play East Hartford. The junior varsity games begin at 4 p.m., followed by the varsity matches at 5:30 p.m. For a complete schedule, visit the website

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