Prep Volleyball

Cedar Rapids Jefferson to play volleyball home opener Monday; Kennedy and Washington aren't as fortunate

Due to storm damage, Cougars and Warriors are highly unlikely to host a match this season

Cedar Rapids Jefferson volleyball coach Amy Norton gives instructions to players during a match last season against Ceda
Cedar Rapids Jefferson volleyball coach Amy Norton gives instructions to players during a match last season against Cedar Rapids Prairie. The J-Hawks are scheduled to host their first match Monday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Kids, generally, are resilient creatures.

“The girls have been great,” said Amy Norton, volleyball coach at Cedar Rapids Jefferson. “They’re rolling with it. They show up when and where you tell them to report.”

For the volleyball teams from the three high schools in the Cedar Rapids Community School District, the “when” and the “where” seem to change daily.

Home court? What’s that?

“Wherever we practice or wherever we play, we’ll try to make it our court and take it over, wherever that is,” Kennedy Coach Robin Fonck said.

The destructive windstorm of Aug. 10, termed a “derecho” by weather experts, damaged the gymnasiums of Jefferson, Kennedy and Washington high schools and displaced their volleyball teams. The J-Hawks returned to practice at home Monday, and are scheduled to host Iowa City West next Monday.

As for Kennedy and Washington:

“I don’t think we’ll be able to host anything in our gym until January,” Kennedy athletics director Aaron Stecker said.

Stecker’s contemporary at Washington, Grant Schultz struck a similar tone.

“January is what we’re anticipating, too,” he said.

Kennedy (2-2) is the only team among the three to have completed a match; the Cougars won their Mississippi Valley Conference opener at Iowa City West last Tuesday and went 1-2 in the MVC/MAC Challenge two days later.

Jefferson has had two home matches postponed, with makeup dates to be determined. Washington was at Linn-Mar on Tuesday, dropping the first two sets before a power outage halted play in the third.


Washington was scheduled to host a 12-team tournament Saturday. The event was canceled, with most teams finding multi-team round robins at other sites (the Warriors will play at Solon).

Each of the three teams have been scrambling for places to practice. All spent some time at Corridor Courts in Marion.

“For our girls that are farthest away, out in Palo, it’s 30 minutes away, quite a haul,” Fonck said. “But everybody has been very positive and hopeful for our season.

“There’s so much more drive, because they know that something could happen at any moment to end it all.”

Norton, who shares the Jefferson head-coaching role with her husband, Will, has found other training sites.

“Maggie (Willems) at Mount Vernon was awesome and got us into their gym,” she said. “Lynnette (Stecklein) hooked us up to go to Prairie Point (Middle School).”

Starting Monday, Schultz said, Washington will conduct practice at Harding Middle School, and will be “going to Harding today to check how conducive it is (for matches).”

Stecker has four matches, originally scheduled to be played at Kennedy, in which he is trying to locate a venue.


“We’re supposed to host Dubuque Senior (Sept. 29),” Stecker said. “Do we move that to a neutral site, like Linn-Mar? Or do we just move it to Senior?”

It’s those types of decisions that Stecker, Schultz and Jefferson AD Chris Deam are weighing on a daily basis.

“It starts at 7 in the morning and doesn’t end until after 10 at night,” Schultz said. “It’s crazy.”

It’s 2020.

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