Blue Jay athletics on the rise
MINOT — As the saying goes, a rising tide raises all ships.
The white-hot spotlight is currently square on the shoulders of the Blue Jay volleyball team, and deservedly so. After Friday night’s 3-0 win over Fargo Shanley in the Class A state tournament semifinals at the Minot State Dome, the Blue Jays appear poised to become the school’s first state champion in any sport since the girls cross country team in 2005.
All that stands between the Blue Jays and the heaviest trophy is Bismarck Century. The Blue Jays went 2-0 against the Patriots this season, winning in five at home and sweeping in the Capital City.
But regardless of how tonight’s 8 p.m. title tilt shakes out, clearly JHS athletics is going in the right direction.
“These things don’t come easily, or without a lot of extra work from the coaches and student-athletes, but when it comes together your chances of being successful obviously increase,” said JHS athletic director Jim Roaldson. “Obviously, timing and having the right kids factors into it, but we’ve made steps that have made a positive impact and that’s certainly encouraging.”
In the last year, major strides have been made almost across the board.
Football, hockey, basketball, gymnastics all have shown well against other top-notch competition.
Baseball and both golf teams are headed in the right direction, too.
There will always be sports where it’s tough. The numbers, in terms of school size, are not on Jamestown’s side, but what the past couple of years have shown is that there is genuine hope.
“You see here today all the young kids in the stands. I think back to the days of those strong basketball teams. The stands were always filled with kids,” Roaldson said of the Jerry Meyer-era. “Even when you’re a kid, you see what’s going on. You see the success, and naturally, you want to be a part of it.”
But getting back to the elephant in the room: The numbers.
Short of Stutsman County all of the sudden hitting a gusher, or 50 — I’d happily offer up my backyard for drilling — the deck will always be stacked against the Blue Jays to some degree.
What that means is in the summer, extra work has to be put in. It can’t be optional, or just something to fill the time. Whether your sport is football, volleyball, soccer or swimming, the summer has to be about more than just sitting in the sun or listening to Taylor Swift. You have to mix in some squats, too.
The beauty of it is, the hard work often will be rewarded. Not necessarily with state championships, those will always be rare, but a continued return to relevance.
Regardless of how the Blue Jays do tonight, it is further evidence that momentum is headed in the right direction.
The blue tide is rising and it’s making for quite a ride.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or firstname.lastname@example.org