CHERRY— The eighth-grade recognition night for the Cherry Comets volleyball team held an extra special meaning on Thursday evening.
Along with honoring its eighth-grade players, the night marked the end of an era and another last as the Cherry Comets played the last match to be held in Anton Demichelis Memorial Gymnasium. The Cherry students will be attending a new school at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
Cherry Grade School is being deactivated pending the referendum in Tuesday’s primary election. If it is approved, the Cherry students will go to neighboring Dimmick School.
“We look forward to wherever we will land,” said Deb Brokaw, the Comets’ head coach and former Cherry School board member. “There is a sense of small school pride here. It’s a family.”
Along with two eighth-graders, Courtney Kobold and Madison Soldati being recognized, the program also recognized Brokaw and assistant coach Jaquelynne Hendricks. Brokaw has been the head coach of the program for the past seven years while Hendricks has been helping the program for the last five years after wearing the red and white.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Brokaw about the last match being held in the gymnasium. “We have had some very good teams who practice hard.”
The Cherry Comets have not quite made their last stand. They will enter Prairie Conference tournament play this week at Dalzell Grade School.
The history of the previous four years in the conference is recognized on a banner with four A team conference championships, and three B team conference championships.
According to Brokaw, her A team this year includes the two eighth-graders, one seventh-grader and three sixth-graders including her daughter, Hayleigh, and have filled some big shoes over the years.
“They are tiny but mighty,” said Brokaw. “I couldn’t be prouder of the team.”
Since 2001, only two coaching staffs have graced the volleyball sidelines of the Comets program including Becky Hoscheid and Wendy Raef (2001-2006) and Brokaw (2007-2014). During Hoscheid and Raef’s coaching tenure, the conference and team played during the fall season while Brokaw’s teams have always played during the winter season.
“We have had some pretty terrific years,” said Brokaw of the Cherry Comets after the A team defeated Peru Catholic 25-8, 25-8. The Cherry B team lost a heartbreaker 25-10, 23-25, 17-25 and won the C game 10-minute contest 23-14.