Cabarrus schools volley for a cure
Monday, Nov. 04, 2013

Cabarrus schools volley for a cure

    Mount Pleasant’s Tyler Carter taps the ball back over the net during the sixth annual King of the Court Volleying for a Cure benefit volleyball tournament for breast cancer at Jay M. Robinson High School in Concord.
    Junior Bobby Babson, in the light shirt and pink headband, joins the senior huddle as, counterclockwise, Cameron Salmon fires up Jay M. Robinson teammates Garrett Readling, Logan Seets, Joey Cotingnola and Bryant Hall during the sixth annual King of the Court Volleying for a Cure benefit volleyball tournament for breast cancer at Jay M. Robinson High School in Concord.
    Concord High’s team won the senior title at the King of the Court volleyball tournament for the second straight year. Team members are, from left, coach Alicia Stewart, Justice Cochran, Ben Twigger, Jacob Lowery, Conner Burchfield, Chance Clark and Graham Pruette.
    The team from Mount Pleasant High captured the junior division title at the sixth annual King of the Court volleyball tournament. Team members are, from left, Robert Johns, Carson Young, Austin Parker, Mitchell Robins, McCoy Black, coaches Jenna Cook and Bailey Osborne, and Tyler Rawson.
    First Assembly’s Sam Ireland returns a serve during the sixth annual King of the Court Volleying for a Cure benefit volleyball tournament for breast cancer at Jay M. Robinson High School in Concord.

Hoping to help cure breast cancer, eight Cabarrus County high schools recently competed in the sixth annual King of the Court volleyball tournament Oct. 26.

As of Oct. 28, this year’s tournament helped to raise more than $9,000 for Carolinas Medical Center–NorthEast Foundation’s Breast Health Center.

“It was really stressful leading up to this,” Jay M. Robinson student Rachel Rhodes said. “Now it feels awesome. I’m so happy that we did it … and it was really successful.”

Each school was represented by a senior-class team and junior-class team. Concord High’s seniors won their division for the second straight year, while Mount Pleasant High’s juniors won the younger division.

“It’s fun to win, but it’s all about raising the money for a good cause,” Concord senior Graham Pruette said.

Started at Mount Pleasant High in 2008, the all-male team tournament was the brainchild of English teacher Michael Landers.

“A group of kids wanted to rally around it,” Landers said. “In October that year, we had three teams interested, and we said, ‘We will raise money for breast cancer. It will be fun.’”

Volleyball was chosen as a twist on powder-puff football, in which girls play the sport sanctioned for boys, because boys’ volleyball is not recognized by the state high school athletic association. Each team was coached by female varsity players.

Over the next two years, the Mount Pleasant tournament expanded to a two-day, eight-team event. But Landers had a bigger vision for the tournament, and he didn’t have to look too far for help.

“I said, ‘You know, my wife works at Central Cabarrus (High School), and some of her students know some of our students right up the road,’” Landers said. “And they wanted in on it.”

The 2011 tournament featured four additional county high schools and helped raise $5,000. Other schools heard about and wanted to be a part of the tournament, so Landers sent an email the following year to all the county high schools. Within seconds, he said, all were onboard.

With the tournament now countywide, Landers decided to give other schools a chance to host the event.

“At last year’s event, Robinson spoke up (and) said they would do it,” Landers said. “And it was the best of both worlds. They are the largest school in the county. It’s right off (U.S.) 29 and centrally located. And they wanted it and said, ‘We can take it to the next level.’

“They have it for two years and will voluntarily pass it on to another school. And the money raised should go way up,” he added.

This year’s event also welcomed First Assembly in Concord, the first private school to participate. Joann Lampe, a three-time cancer survivor, was invited to speak before the competition. The Concord resident said all the students who have organized events were her heroes.

“For these kids to do this type of fundraiser, there is a lot of work involved,” Lampe said. “And for them to pull it off so successfully year after year, it is just incredible. They have put forth the effort and haven’t slacked off … and I’m really impressed.”

Robinson teacher Lindsay Kozak was amazed by what the event has shown to the community.

“We have a lot of middle-schoolers who are here that will be in ninth grade next year,” Kozak said. “It’s wonderful for them to see. … And the coaches that have sports right now have been wonderful in letting the boys come and practice as much as possible.

“It’s great to get that camaraderie among athletes and students,” Kozak said, “and just be able to come together and have fun (and) raise awareness for a worthy cause.”

Zach Morton is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Zach? Email him at

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