Love and volleyball fill the Tigers den in Janelle’s honour

Dave White
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Walter Brake, right of the tournament champions, puts up a block against Robert Lovell of Team Spikeaholics during the Janelle Blanchard Memorial Scholarship volleyball tournament at Templeton Academy over the weekend.

With 19 teams — and hundreds of family, friends and fans of  “Nell” — the third annual Janelle Blanchard Memorial Scholarship volleyball tournament proved another “huge success,” organizers said.

Players and fans came from Corner Brook and as far away as Robert’s Arm, Stephenville and Pasadena last weekend to remember Blanchard through a sport she adored.

Templeton Academy in Meadows played host to the open, four-player co-ed team tournament in honour of its star varsity Tigers player and community youth leader, who died after brief illness in winter 2012.

The players’ sportsmanship complimented the relaxed and congenial atmosphere among the crowds, who came “celebrating Janelle's memory and the fantastic, beautiful person that she was. (It’s) not just another volleyball tournament,” said event co-convener Fabian Lovell.

A standing-room crowd last Friday night watched musical tributes from Janelle’s friends, Sierra Lovell and Jacob Payne, along with an exciting finish on the court Saturday.

Janelle is daughter of Lori and Richard of McIvers. Her sister Gabrielle (Gabby) has led and played volleyball with Janelle’s Blue Angels since the tournament’s inception. Their mom and dad tried it in the second year.

Courtside now more their speed, Lori and Richie respectfully share personal moments, photographs and other Janelle memorabilia with players and spectators.  

Gabby shared the weekend half court with Blue Angels Rebecca Goulding, Leslie Pennell, and Andrew Oake.

Top of the net

On the courts of Templeton’s Tigers den, the tournament champions were a trio of Corner Brook High Level 3 students and a fourth of university calibre — Alexandra Porter, Laura Hillier, Ben Rogers and Philip Hillier. They proved a talented combination who put their skills and communication to work for them on the court as they overcame the team of Mary Burt, Mike Hawco, Charl Beaumont, Rachel Loche in three close games to take Saturday’s tournament championship showdown and the Janelle Blanchard Memorial Scholarship trophy.

Hawco was selected as the tournament’s most valuable player.

The tourney’s most sportsmanlike player was Sierra Lovell, who played on a squad also comprised of Brittany March, Stephen Brake and Nick Brake. They defeated  the team of Scott Parsons, Alicia Power, Jillian Wells and Devon Parsons in their playoff semifinal.

In the other semifinal, the eventual champions topped the foursome of Cassaundra Park, Samantha Morey, Jonathan White and Dylan Winsor to advance to the title match.

Community response

Under conveners Fabian and Lorna Lovell, with the help of players, volunteers and local and area sponsors, Templeton inaugurated the tournament in Janelle’s name and registered the honourary scholarship fund in memorium the spring following her passing. Dozens of family, friends, neighbours and mentors responded in short order.

The $500 bursaries given in each of the scholarhip’s first two years were awarded to deserving students from Cox’s Cove — Jillian Wells in 2012 and Shelby Bennett for 2013.

The conveners extended congratulations and gratitude to the winners, players, fans and volunteers, and to 20 sponsors who contributed to the cause this year.

Organizations: Templeton Academy

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Robert, Pasadena Cassaundra Park

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