Thunder Mountain’s Kyra Jenkins Hayes leaps for a block of a shot by West Valley’s Sonia McGaffigan at the Dimond-Service Tournament at Dimond High School in Anchorage on Friday. Thunder Mountain won 25-22 and 25-21. (Michael Dinneen | For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Kyra Jenkins Hayes leaps for a block of a shot by West Valley’s Sonia McGaffigan at the Dimond-Service Tournament at Dimond High School in Anchorage on Friday. Thunder Mountain won 25-22 and 25-21. (Michael Dinneen | For the Juneau Empire)

Falcons fifth overall at Dimond tourney

JDHS struggles in Bronze Bracket

Thunder Mountain had yet to play teams from the volleyball hotbed in Southcentral before this week. The Falcons had fared well against Southeast schools, and were ready to see how their best stacked up against the state’s best.

“My big thing is that I want to run a program that when we come up to Anchorage, the teams respect us,” TMHS coach Julie Herman said. “Not saying that we have to win, but I want our kids to earn that respect.”

The Falcons did a little of both — winning and soliciting respect — with their fifth-place showing at the Dimond Service Volleyball Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Anchorage.

The tournament starts out with pool play Friday. Thunder Mountain finished 5-3 in Pool A to take second and make it to Saturday’s Gold Bracket. In Friday pool play, the Falcons won 25-22, 25-17 over Homer, 25-22, 25-21 over West Valley, split 25-16 and 22-25 with East and lost 25-13, 25-7 to Dimond.

In the Gold Bracket on Saturday, Thunder Mountain lost to South 25-8, 25-20 before topping Wasilla 25-21, 16-25, 16-14 in consolation. The Falcons then lost to Bartlett 25-21, 25-21.

It is the program’s first-ever top-eight finish at the tournament, which starts out with 20 teams.

“I was just expecting to get a high seed in the Silver Bracket,” senior Kyra Jenkins Hayes said. “But then (with) how we played, we ended up in the Gold Bracket, which was a pretty big accomplishment.”

Juneau-Douglas didn’t fare quite as well, finishing last in Pool C with a 1-7 record. Friday, the Crimson Bears lost 25-19, 25-22 to Kenai, lost 25-16, 25-15 to Service, lost 25-17, 25-11 to South, and split 18-25 and 29-27 with Kodiak.

The Crimson Bears fell to Soldotna 25-23, 25-21 and Lathrop 25-23, 25-21 on Saturday to take second in the consolation portion of the Bronze Bracket. JDHS coach Brandee Gerke said inconsistent serving hurt the team, but the Crimson Bears didn’t let it sap their spirit.

“So even though we got into some slumps we were good about rebuilding our energy,” Gerke said.

TMHS and JDHS close out the regular season this weekend with two big conference matchups. The Falcons host the Crimson Bears on Friday night at 8 p.m. before playing at JDHS on Saturday night. The Region V Tournament is the following weekend at JDHS.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.


Thunder Mountain’s Tasi Fenumiai celebrates a point against West Valley on Friday during the Dimond-Service Tournament at Dimond High School in Anchorage on Friday. Thunder Mountain defeated West Valley 25-22 and 25-21. (Michael Dinneen | For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Tasi Fenumiai celebrates a point against West Valley on Friday during the Dimond-Service Tournament at Dimond High School in Anchorage on Friday. Thunder Mountain defeated West Valley 25-22 and 25-21. (Michael Dinneen | For the Juneau Empire)

From left, Juneau-Douglas’ Gabi Griggs and Addie Prussing block a shot by Kenai’s Bethany Morris. The Crimson Bears lost to the Kardinals 25-19 and 25-22. (Michael Dinneen | For the Juneau Empire)

From left, Juneau-Douglas’ Gabi Griggs and Addie Prussing block a shot by Kenai’s Bethany Morris. The Crimson Bears lost to the Kardinals 25-19 and 25-22. (Michael Dinneen | For the Juneau Empire)

JDHS’ JoJo Griggs attempts to blast a return by Kenai’s Bethany Morris and Jenna Strieff. The Crimson Bears lost to the Kardinals 25-19 and 25-22. (Michael Dinneen | For the Juneau Empire)

JDHS’ JoJo Griggs attempts to blast a return by Kenai’s Bethany Morris and Jenna Strieff. The Crimson Bears lost to the Kardinals 25-19 and 25-22. (Michael Dinneen | For the Juneau Empire)

JDHS’ JoJo Griggs and Skylar Hickok combine for a return. The Crimson Bears lost to the Kardinals 25-19 and 25-22. (Michael Dinneen | For the Juneau Empire)

JDHS’ JoJo Griggs and Skylar Hickok combine for a return. The Crimson Bears lost to the Kardinals 25-19 and 25-22. (Michael Dinneen | For the Juneau Empire)

More in Sports

A roadside daisy displays a fasciated center. (Photo by Deana Barajas)
On the Trails: An odd plant malady, a clever duck, and more

I recently learned about a mysterious, relatively rare affliction of plants called… Continue reading

Juneau’s Jacob Thibodeau (right) takes a selfie with WSOP legend Phil Hellmuth in the background. (Photo provided by Alaska Sports Report)
Juneau’s Jacob Thibodeau and Mario Fata consistently cashing in at World Series of Poker

Anchorage pro Adam Hendrix remains Alaska’s most prominent poker player, but don’t… Continue reading

Heidi Reifenstein reaches Father Brown’s Cross to complete the Goldbelt Tram-Mount Roberts Trail Run on Saturday, setting a new women’s record for the 3½-mile race with a time of 37 minutes and 40 seconds. (Photo by Jeff Gnass)
A mother of a mountain: Heidi Reifenstein sets new women’s record for Goldbelt Tram-Mount Roberts Trail Run

Longtime Juneau resident returns to peak form after taking break from racing while raising kids.

After a morning hike, a satisfying breakfast for under $20 hits the spot. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Food for thought

To my left is a man with a thick British accent who… Continue reading

The Nogahabara Sand Dunes in the Koyukuk Wilderness Area west of Koyukuk River. (Keith Ramos / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Alaska Science Forum: Mystery of the glass tool kit in the sand

From space, the Nogahabara Dunes are a splotch of blond sand about… Continue reading

A bumblebee pollinates the flower of shy maiden, which will turn upward soon afterward. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Flowers, showy and otherwise

The spring and summer flower show at Cowee Meadows (way out on… Continue reading

Athletes compete in a swim event at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center on Sept. 16, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: It’s OK to say an athlete failed at obtaining a goal

During the telecasts of the 2024 Olympic trials commentators stated that around… Continue reading

A brush turkey on a mound the size of a car (Flickr.com photo by Doug Beckers /CC-BY-SA-2.0)
On the Trails: Nest-building by male birds

Most birds build some sort of nest where the eggs are incubated.… Continue reading

Insects like these flies clinging to a tent seem to be in ample supply in Alaska’s boreal forest. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Insects of Alaska forest humming along

Recent long-term studies revealed a three-quarters reduction of insects in parts of… Continue reading

An estimated 185 people, many dressed in unconventional attire for running or walking, take off from the starting line outside Centennial Hall during the Only Fools Run At Night on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau revives its summer solstice spirit with Only Fools Run At Night

Runners and walkers in madcap costumes fill downtown streets as race returns after six-year absence.

Lydia Jacoby, Alaska’s gold-medal swimmer, announced Tuesday she is withdrawing from the U.S. Olympic Trials. (Alaska Sports Report photo)
P.J. Foy does not advance, Lydia Jacoby withdraws from U.S. Olympic swimming trials

First-ever Juneau swimmer to compete in trials finishes 49th among 61 competitors Friday.

Trout Unlimited's Matt Boline holds a container with coho fry for official documentation of anadromous fish use in an unnamed creek in the vicinity of Juneau. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Survey says…

Our floatplane cleared the notch in the snowy ridge then turned slightly… Continue reading