Manke and McCoy, both 16-year-old juniors, are cousins from a big volleyball family. Their mothers have volleyball backgrounds. Hunter’s mother is Timberline coach Krista Manke, and Jensyn’s mom is Kim Manke, formerly Rochester’s coach.
And their grandparents Tom and Cherie Manke are always in the stands.
Hunter Manke is the Blazers’ starting setter and the reigning co-MVP of the 3A Narrows League. McCoy is the Wolves’ starting libero (defensive specialist) and was a unanimous pick as an all-2A Evergreen Conference libero in 2011.
Being on separate sides of the net usually is just for the three-month high school season; the rest of the time you can find them playing together. From this past December through July, Manke and McCoy played on the Lake Tapps Volleyball Club and led their 16-and-under team to the national tournament in Columbus, Ohio.
The two are as close as sisters and are only months apart in age. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, thanks in part to their days on the same teams for the Olympia Volleyball Club and Capital Ice Volleyball Club.
When they are opponents instead of teammates, it gets loud in the gym.
“When you see us playing each other,” Manke said, “we basically compete as to who is louder. Most people know we’re related and look at us because of how energetic we are. We both have the fire and energy.”
“We’re both leaders and both loud,” McCoy said. “A few times, we got caught both calling the ball really loud.”
Krista Manke, in her eighth season as Blazers coach, is a club coach with Lake Tapps. When she’s not coaching her 15s team at Lake Tapps during the club season, she was in the stands watching her daughter and her niece for the Lake Tapps 16s.
“You’re looking for those players out there who have the competitive drive, and they both have that,” she said.
Timberline and Black Hills faced off in the season opener Sept. 4, and the Blazers swept the Wolves, 3-0.
Manke and McCoy each guided their teams to the state tournament as sophomores in 2011 – the 3A tournament at Saint Martin’s University for Manke and Timberline, the 2A tournament at The Evergreen State College for McCoy and Black Hills.
But the hometown flavor at the state tournaments made things a bit tricky for the families of players, particularly their grandparents. Tom Manke, the starting quarterback at the University of Washington in 1967 (he still holds the school record for longest run by a QB with his 81-yard touchdown against Stanford) who is superintendent of the Morton School District, and his wife, Cherie, traveled back and forth between the two campuses over the two days of the tournaments, missing only a set or two along the way.
“Our grandparents make every single game,” McCoy said.
And both families got to celebrate with Manke and McCoy at state as each guided their teams to trophies in 2011 – Timberline’s eighth-place finish was the first state trophy in program history, while Black Hills (seventh place) earned its seventh state trophy since the program started in 1997.
“We want the best for each other, even though we go against each other,” Hunter Manke said.
3 STORY LINES TO WATCH
CAN 2012 TOP 2011?
Last season was a banner year for volleyball in South Sound. Five teams (Olympia, Tumwater, Timberline, Black Hills and Centralia) earned state trophies among 4A, 3A and 2A, including a state champion (Olympia, Class 4A) and a state runner-up (Tumwater, Class 2A). Olympia graduated a lot of talent but returns 6-foot-4 middle hitter Michaela Berendt, who is bound for Villanova. Tumwater made a big impression after winning the Adidas Puget Sound Invitational last weekend, defeating 4A Auburn Riverside in the title match, 2-0.
NEW FACE IN 2A EVCO
Since the 2A Evergreen Conference began in 2006, Tumwater and Black Hills have either won the league title outright or shared it. With the addition of Capital coming down from 3A, it could make the league title race more interesting. The Cougars have made three consecutive state appearances at 3A and feature Dani Tabor, the reigning co-MVP of the 3A Narrows League.
STATE VOLLEYBALL BACK IN LACEY
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association approved Saint Martin’s University’s Marcus Pavilion as the location for the 2012 4A and 3A state volleyball tournaments. The 2A state tournament, however, will be moved to Pierce College in Lakewood. The Evergreen State College was host of the 2A state tournament in 2011. 10 PLAYERS TO WATCH
MH Michaela Berendt, 6-4, Olympia, sr.
S Courtney Bowen, 5-7, Tumwater, sr.
OH Rachel Erickson, 5-11, Capital, so.
MH Hannah Hanson, 6-2, Tumwater, sr.
S Hunter Manke, 5-5, Timberline, jr.
L Jensyn McCoy, 5-6, Black Hills, jr.
MH Hope Mortensen, 5-11, Black Hills, sr.
MH Riley Podowicz, 5-11, Timberline, jr.
OH Brittany Rutherford, 5-10, North Thurston, sr.
OH Dani Tabor, 6-0, Capital, firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports email@example.com