A Trophy Case: Jills persevere for ’90 volleyball title


After hearing their names and receiving the flowers they put them on the ground.

Nicole Burckhardt’s mom thought it was a rather macabre sight.

“She said it looked like we were putting them on our graves,” Burckhardt said with a chuckle. “Because we thought we weren’t going to win.”

But once they donned their uniforms and took the floor, the doubt flew out the window faster than a Mandy Wean smash.

“We just came out and played like, ‘No big deal. If we get second, we get second. We already lost to them once. We have nothing to lose,’” Burckhardt said. “And just having the support of the community and the kids in the school — literally the whole entire side was full. It’s just an unbelievable feeling to have that.”

As it turned out, Sehome had no chance.

The Jills were a certified team of destiny They had overcome too much. A new coach. A bad start. Untimely losses. A lineup shakeup.

And through it all, the Jills rose. And rose. And rose again.

Soon the season was over. There were no games left to play, no hills to climb, and the Jills were champions.

As the Jills tell it now, the name “R.A. Long Lumberjills” meant something. It carried weight. To be defeated by RAL was to be defeated by champions. To be beaten by RAL was a regional rite of passage, of sorts.

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