There’s a new sports team in town — the Pine River Area Renegades Junior Olympics (JO) 17s volleyball team.
JO volleyball — or club volleyball — is competitive youth volleyball that allows kids ages 10-18 to continue to play and improve their skills during the off-season.
Although JO is not affiliated with the school (a JO team can be organized and started by anyone with the desire to do so), one major end-goal is to help build a highly competitive high school team.
The club season lasts approximately five months and the teams are small. This allows players to receive many hours of focused skills training and development.
There are significant fees to participate in a program like this, but the Renegades have received generous donations from the Pine River Ladies Auxiliary, Dave Mrocek and ERC Staffing.
The JO structure affords local volleyball players an opportunity to face-off against teams with which they would not normally compete. For example, the Pine River Area Renegades have matched up against the likes of Rockford, Little Falls, Becker, Litchfield, Central Lakes College and others, and travel to places like the College of St. Benedict, Bethel University, Bemidji, Monticello and more.
Jen Howard coaches the Pine River Area Renegades, which consists of area 16- and 17-year-old volleyball players.
The team will play April 14 at Bethel University and April 28 at Bemidji.