It’s not every season a team can make a state tournament, just ask the Chinook Sugarbeeters. The Beeters are going to the Class C state volleyball tournament for the first time since 2005, but with a lot of great athletes on the squad, including senior Emily Dennis, it was only a matter of time before the Beeters were back in the top tier of the Class C ranks.
Dennis is a three-sport varsity athlete in Chinook but is also heavily involved in several clubs.
Over the years, Dennis has been involved in Pep Club, BPA (business), DC Club, International Travel Club and choir. Dennis will get the opportunity to travel first to Washington, D.C., followed by a trip to Greece and Italy in June with the International Travel Club.
And Dennis has juggled the clubs while also earning Academic All-State honors every year during the volleyball, track and basketball seasons. Dennis also garnered All-Conference honors from her accomplishments on the basketball and track teams last season as a junior. Dennis competes in the long jump, high jump and triple jump on the track and field team.
But even with ample success over her years as a prep athlete, Dennis has an opportunity to continue finding success. Her track and basketball seasons are still ahead of her, but Dennis, as well as the rest of the Chinook volleyball team, is headed to the state C volleyball tournament this weekend. It is the first trip to state in nearly a decade, and Dennis has been crucial in the teams’ success from the libero position, as her improved passing helped her transition from an outside/middle hitter two seasons ago.
There is still plenty of time for Dennis to work out the details, but college may also be in her future. Dennis hopes to attend college in Bozeman, where she can study Health and Human Development.
As Dennis prepares for the state tournament this weekend in Bozeman, the Havre Daily News caught up with her for a handful of questions.
HDN: What kind of competition are you expecting at the state tournament this weekend?
Dennis: “We are preparing for very good teams like Belt that we played at divisionals. We know there is going to be a lot of tough competition and that we are going to have to play our best and never be satisfied by going half way. We need to go all out for every ball and let nothing hit the floor because the teams are definitely well rounded. But when you get to the state level there is a lot of quick play so you quicker passes and quicker sets, and teams are hitting the ball harder.”
HDN: Is there a song or playlist on your iPod that gives you motivation or fires you up before a match?
Dennis: “We do have a playlist that we listen to everyday at practice, but I wouldn’t say there is a certain song that stands out. It is just stuff that helps get us in the zone and gets us ready.”
HDN: What was it like beating a rival like North Star to get to the state tournament?
Dennis: “Just because they were rivals it didn’t make the victory over them any sweeter. Qualifying for state was indescribable. But it kind of sucked for North Star because they are in our district, and we were pulling for them when they played other districts, and we thought it would be cool to see two 6C teams out of the east go to state. But we were definitely jacked up for that win.”
HDN: When you get to relax and have a break from school and athletics, what types of movies or television shows do you like to watch?
Dennis: “Well I have Netflix, so pretty much anything you can think of. One of my favorite TV shows is “New Girl,” but my all time favorite movie would have to be “Pitch Perfect.” I do like the comedies.”
HDN: Is it enough to just get to state, or does the team have high hopes and goals while there?
Dennis: “You can’t go into a state tournament and just be satisfied because you are there. You have to reset your goals once you get there, they have to be even higher so you can bring home some hardware. And I think we have all the skills that we can ask for, so honestly I think it will just take us stepping on the court and being ready for whoever we face. Volleyball is such a mental game, it is just a matter of who is ready to play and who isn’t."