Blue Mountain Volleyball honored at Oregon Sports Awards

The Blue Mountain CC Volleyball team pauses for a photo in front of the doors to the Stanford Theater, just before the start of the ceremony. BMCC was honored with the George Pasero Team of the Year award for their accomplishments in 2012.

By John William Howard

BEAVERTON, Ore. – A little less than three months removed from winning their second NWAACC Volleyball title in three years, the Blue Mountain Community College volleyball program received yet another honor. Blue Mountain was presented with a a trophy as one of the George Pasero Teams of the Year following a 43-4 season, including 14-0 in the Eastern Region. As an at-large nominee, nominated by Athletic Director Brett Bryan, BMCC becomes the second consecutive NWAACC school to receive the award behind Clackamas’ 2011 NJCAA Wrestling championship.

Even amongst the sea of prep, college and professional athletes that filled Nike’s state-of-the-art Tyger Woods Center, the Timberwolves volleyball team stood out, a head or so above many of the dressed up ceremony-goers. Not just a throng of parents and friends, the audience was studded with the stars of Oregon athletics, including Joey Harrington, Bill Schonely and Kenjon Barner.

Timberwolves head coach Dave Baty holds the
trophy on stage at the Oregon Sports Awards.

“I watched [the team’s] eyes light up as soon as we  turned on to the campus,” said Head Coach Dave Baty after the ceremony, “and the closer we got to the venue, the more excited they got. We’re here making memories, and I’m lucky enough to come along for the ride.”

Neil Everett, co-anchor of ESPN’s western edition of SportsCenter and the host for the evening, greeted a lively crowd inside the Stanford Theater. The first number of awards saw many of the state’s top prep athletes recognized, including Westview High School’s Carson Kelly, who was drafted at No. 86 overall by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Then came time for the George Pasero Award, which is given to teams, regardless of the level of competition, that have won a national championship and/or achieved national recognition. Head Coach Baty, along with a representative from four other Oregon teams took the stage, each bearing the iconic Oregon Sports Awards Trophy.

“We’re awfully proud of the kids for making as much social and self sacrifice as they do because you can’t just snap (your) fingers and have success,” said Baty. “What [Everett] said during the program was true, there’s a lot of DNA and God-given talent, there’s a lot of hard work and there’s a lot of sacrifice.”

Having just left the stage after a group photo with his team and their new trophy, Baty shed the pride of the selection by the Oregon Sports Awards, and couldn’t say enough about the heart of the girls he had coached to a championship mid November.

“We’re lucky because we get to coach kids who understand the whole concept about sacrificing and becoming something bigger than themselves, and then sacrificing for the unknown,” said Baty. “You don’t know when your season is going to end. At the beginning of the season, and in the middle, you just have to give a whole lot, and these kids do.”