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Exhausted Cole still contributes to Bucs' district win

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:16 PM

Abby Cole simply isn't used to looking up at the competition, since there's not many girls her age that are taller than 6-foot-5.

That changed during Cole's recent trip to Colorado Springs, Colo., where she showcased her skills during a tryout for the USA Volleyball Junior National team.

"I go to check in at the facility and right ahead of me is a girl that's 6-8," Cole said with a grin. "So seeing her, of course I'm nervous. I just don't feel short around a lot of people, but this was a little different."

Cole flew out to Colorado on Thursday evening, and missed playing in her Grand Haven's varsity girls basketball team's regular-season finale victory over Hudsonville on Friday.

Cole said her flight back to Michigan on Sunday was delayed a couple times, so she didn't arrive home until 2:30 a.m. She still had enough energy to play in Monday's evening's Class A district quarterfinal basketball game against Reeths-Puffer, in which the Bucs rolled to a 64-39 victory.

"I was so tired at school (on Monday)," she said. "But I was really looking forward to this game. It got my adrenaline going."

Cole finished Monday’s game with six points, seven blocks, seven rebounds and four assists.

Cole was one of approximately 250 of the best volleyball players in the nation at the junior national team tryout, ranging in age from high school to college seniors.

"There were probably 100 trying out for my team and to be eligible, you had to be born in either 1994 or 95, so even if I don't make it, I'll have another chance next year," said Cole, who has signed to play the sport at the University of Michigan.

Cole said the tryout consisted of "a lot of game play," with video cameras set up around the Olympic training center, as well as about 60 coaches keeping tabs on the talent.

"It was a little stressful knowing that you had all these eyes on you watching your every move, but it was a cool experience. I had the chance to share the court with some of the greatest players in the country, plus I met a lot of really cool people there,” she said.

"And the food was really great."

The freakish athleticism of the players in attendance was evident, especially during the individual evaluation session, which included a vertical jump test. Cole said she heard a scream of commotion after Michigan State University recruit Chloe Reining, a 6-4 middle hitter from South Lyon, touched 11 feet.

"I'll be going up against her in the future," Cole said.

Cole wasn't too shabby herself, touching 10-5 1/2 — an improvement of an inch and a half since the beginning of her final prep volleyball season at Grand Haven in the fall.

Since there were so many players to evaluate, Cole said she won't find out if she'll make the team until April. If she is selected, she'll spend a few weeks this summer traveling around Europe playing against other national teams in her age bracket.

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