Kamloops's high school girls volleyball teams are hammering home breast cancer awareness this week, capping things off with the 2013 Spike Pink Volleyball Challenge on the weekend.
Spike Pink will take place Friday and Saturday at Sa-Hali Secondary School and will involve junior and senior girls teams from Westsyde Secondary School, Valleyview Secondary School, South Kamloops Secondary School and Sa-Hali Secondary School.
The tournament is being used to raise money and awareness for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and to showcase high school volleyball.
"This is our way of showing off our local talent, as well as getting involved in a community cause," said Wai Ma, event organizer and head coach of the Sa-Hali Sabres junior girls volleyball team.
Ma went on to add: "Everything that we raise is going to be donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation but our focus is awareness."
He said Spike Pink will be an informal city championship and will hopefully grow into an annual event involving more Kamloops high schools each year. This year there are just over 100 athletes participating and Ma hopes to have 250-300 spectators in the stands for the gold medal final on Saturday.
"I think to be the starters of the tournament is really cool and for it to have such meaning," said Mieke DuMont, 17, of South Kamloops Secondary. "It'll be fun to play in."
Erin Flanagan, 17, will be part of the Sa-Hali Sabres squad playing host to the tournament. The Sabres won a 29-team tournament at the Tournament Capital Centre on the weekend and Flanagan was named the MVP in the final.
"For me, I think it's really exciting - it's my senior year and playing at home is an awesome feeling," she said, adding it's a wonderful cause to be able to play for. "I've played club volleyball with two girls whose moms have been affected by breast cancer so it hits close to home for me."
Flanagan said the Sa-Hali girls have been raising awareness by including information and statistics in the school's morning announcements this week. The four schools involved have also challenged their staff and students to wear pink throughout the week.
As part of the fundraising, teams will be raffling off baskets filled with pink items on the weekend as well.
"We've all been friends for so long - I've known Mieke since I was about seven years old, so playing against her is really fun," Flanagan said, when asked about playing in an all-Kamloops tournament. "There's a great competitive spirit."
The Spike Pink Volleyball Challenge will run from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday and from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. All games will be held at Sa-Hali Secondary School.