College girls gel together

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:00 20/02/2013
Breanna Whiting
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ
ONE FOR THE TEAM: Waimea College senior volleyball team member Breanna Whiting walks through a cold shower carrying puzzle pieces.

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With their sights set on a national top four spot, Waimea College A girls' volleyball side ventured outside the confines of the court and well outside their comfort zones.

The team spent Saturday morning at the Nelson Fire Station, getting soaked, blindfolded and left in complete darkness, all in the name of team spirit.

The Waimea College girls' side, along with boys and girls teams from throughout the Tasman region, will head to Christchurch this weekend for the South Island secondary schools volleyball tournament, the 2013 Mainland championships.

The exercise for Waimea College was about team building in the lead-up to the South Island tournament and, if their performance warrants it, the national finals in Palmerston North next month. The group of girls were tasked with completing a plywood jigsaw puzzle in complete darkness inside the training tower's smoke chamber, after being doused in a decontamination shower.

Then it was on with the blacked-out breathing apparatus mask to cross the yard with the guidance of team-mates.

Fire Station officer Craig Davies said "it was like trying to herd ducks", but they made it through.

Then for a change, it was back into the training tower, with a blacked-out mask. In teams of five, the girls were sent on a search-and-rescue mission to locate two dummies and bring them out again.

To complicate communication further, loud music was blasted into the tower.

While navigating around, one of the team was pulled out, and the rest were expected to recognise this and locate their missing member.

Under "all sorts of pressure" Davies said the girls gelled well.

Team captain Lucy Ingham agreed.

"At the start we were a bit shaky," Lucy said. "As we progressed our communication and team spirit really improved throughout the day.

"Sometimes on the court we can be a bit quiet, this will help us communicate better and develop as a team unit. Our goal is to make the national top four, this is all preparation and we are doing everything we can to get there."

The Mainland Championships begin on Friday, at both Pioneer Recreation and Sport Centre in Spreydon and Cowles Stadium, Aranui.

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- The Nelson Mail

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