Next stop, college court

Robert Greeley Special to The Packet
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Clarenville High grads sign with university teams

It takes a lot of hard work to be the best you can be in any sport. For three athletes at Clarenville High, the rigorous training, hours of workouts and practice have paid off.

Robert Greeley photo - Morgan Gregory, Marcus Baker, and Brent Wareham of the Clarenville Cougars volleyball team have signed deals that will see them on university teams next year.

Colleges have come knocking and Brent Wareham, Marcus Baker and Morgan Gregory have signed deals that will see them on college teams after high school graduation.

Wareham and Baker have signed with the Memorial University Sea-Hawks of St. John’s, while Gregory will play with the Lakeland College Rustlers, a team located in Alberta that competes in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

Morgan, originally from Saint John, New Brunswick, is a player who lays it all out on the line. Playing libero, he never gives up on a ball, and sometimes that goes against him.

He recently suffered a shoulder injury but that hasn’t stopped him getting to where he is today; it’s only made him work harder.

The injury is now healed and Morgan is playing some of his best volleyball to date, which is vital because the expectations of the Clarenville High senior will be big once he hits the college court.

Taylor Dyer, head coach for the Lakeland Rustlers men’s volleyball team, spoke about the prospect’s expectations in an interview with the Packet.

“Not to put any pressure on Morgan, but we really hope he’s going to come in and really push for that starting spot. We have a second year coming back (but) it’s been a position were we’ve had a little bit of turnover in the last couple of years and we want to bring someone in to be here and run the back court for us.

“So we’re really hoping he can come in right away and make a real significant impact and really fight or at least push for that position to be the starter from day one. Hopefully he’s up to that challenge.”

Marcus Baker, born and raised in Clarenville, has dominated the volleyball court from his time as a Clarenville Middle School Tiger right up to his senior year as a Cougar.

He’s known to always work hard, fitting in extra repetitions at the gym, and being on the court as much as he can.

Baker not only has the ambition to make an impact for the Sea-Hawks but to hopefully take down his older brother someday. Nathan Baker a 6’3 outside hitter is currently playing with the Dalhousie Tigers. In his third season with the team Nathan is averaging 0.25 kills per set and has picked up his defensive game with seven digs on the year, equalling the combined number of digs from his first two years.

However, friendly family competition aside, Nathan had nothing but support for his younger brother and his decision to join the Sea-Hawks.

“I'm really proud of my brother for committing to MUN for next year. MUN is a great school and it seems like their volleyball program is in good hands with their new coach (Cisco Farrero). It's going to be a lot different from high school, but he knows that he can talk to me if he ever needs advice.”

Brent Wareham is originally from Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. He moved to Clarenville when he was in Grade four and fell in love with the game of volleyball.

The setter/libero has been known to be a very diverse type of player.

Current Clarenville Cougar head coach Keith Randell said, “Brent is very diverse. He’s got a good set of hands and he can play defense; I think Brent he can almost do anything. You could probably throw him in setting, right side, left side, libero . . . probably wouldn't play middle because of his height but . . . Brent is very diverse.”

SeaHawks head coach Cisco Farrero looks to take advantage of Wareham’s defensive skill and have him in the libero position.

Clarenville Cougars are known to be a dominant force on the volleyball courts.

Taylor Dyer says he has his eyes on a few more players from the area, and Seahawks coach Ferraro says, “Clarenville has been traditionally the capital of boys volleyball in Newfoundland and every time that there is a player that is of calibre from Clarenville I want them to play at Memorial.”

Clarenville High principal Ian Davidson is proud.

“As principal, a huge fan, and a big supporter it makes me feel very proud that from such a small school and such a small place we can consistently produce such high calibre of talent.

“That’s really amazing but all the credit goes to the coaches that have worked with the boys over the years and finishing up with Mr. Randell, Mr. Blackwood, and Mr. White have done exceptional work with them. It’s hard work on the boy’s part and dedication from the coaches.”

These Cougars have the well wishes from friends, family, and teammates and the respect of the town for their hard work.

No matter where the sport takes them, they say they will never forget where it all began.

Baker said,  “No matter where anyone on our team or any of the guys in this room (Brent and Morgan) go, we’ll always just have the same thing, that we came from the same high school, we all came from the same gym. No matter where we go in Canada or in the world we’re always going to have each other as a teammate.

“It doesn't matter how many years go by or how many miles go by or how much time passes we’re always going to be friends on the court. And I’m sure every time we come home will take that time just to get together and go for a little scrim in the gym and catch up just like old times.

“We’ll always be teammates, no matter where we are.”

Organizations: Lakeland College Rustlers, Sea-Hawks, Clarenville Middle School Tiger SeaHawks Dalhousie Tigers

Geographic location: Clarenville, Alberta, Saint John New Brunswick Bridgewater Nova Scotia Newfoundland Canada

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