By Kenn Rodriguez
RIO RANCHO — There are other volleyball teams in New Mexico that have won more state volleyball titles than Elida.
But the history books will always show that not only are the Lady Tigers four-time champions in Class B, but they will forever be the only champions in that class. Next fall, Class B will be discontinued next season and re-christened Class 1A.
“It’s going to be a great story to tell (my kids),” said a beaming Kaylyn Jasso, the team’s nearly unstoppable senior outside hitter.
The Lady Tigers were taken for five sets by Carrizozo, which has faced Elida in the Class B title match for the past three years, but were able to overcome the Lady Grizzlies – and the enormous pressure of history — to bring a fourth blue championship trophy back to Elida. The streak of titles began with the Lady Tigers’ 3-0 win over Grady in the inaugural Class B State Tournament. Elida has six titles in seven title game appearances, starting when the team won Class 1A in 1986.
“They’re it in Class B — it’s indescribable,” said parent and former Elida player Leslie Creighton, who’s daughter Kynzi is sophomore on this year’s squad.
Creighton, who played on that 1986 Elida squad, said she felt many of the same emotions as a player. And those emotions are eclipsed only by the pride the town of Elida has in their team.
“You can’t describe the joy you feel when you see the whole community pull behind a team like this,” she said.
Coach Darrell Chenault said because of that support, the program “builds and builds.”
“We’ve got girls in grade school that want to play volleyball because they see these girls,” he said. “It (making history) is going to have a lasting effect.”
Senior Haley Hunter, who along with Jasso is among four seniors who played in all four Class B title matches, said the history making accomplishment means a great deal to her, her team and her town.
“It feels great to know that people will someday look through the program you get at state and say ‘Those girls are the only ones to ever accomplish this,’” said Haley. “We’ll always remember this.”