RVAA Has Amazing Volleyball Season

December 12, 2019 | Education | Brad Parmenter

Sports ministry is at the heart of Rogue Valley Adventist Academy (RVAA) culture in Medford, Ore. RVAA teaches student athletes to “unite your two passions, faith and athletics, to impact the world for Jesus Christ” (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). Team prayer is where RVAA athletes begin every practice, trip and match, and these kids are encouraged to “win or learn,” for there are no losers with Christ. 

“Hey, would you guys like to pray with us at center court?” Paris Quave, RVAA’s spiritual captain shares about what she says to invite other teams for prayer following matches. “If they ask ‘why?’ I tell them it’s in thanks to God for creating our ability to enjoy playing this game together.”

RVAA’s 2019 1A varsity volleyball team included four freshman, four juniors and two seniors, making them one of the youngest teams in their league. They were also one of the shortest squads, with an average team height of 5 feet, 4 inches, and from one of the smallest high schools in the Oregon Schools Athletic Association (OSAA), with only 42 students in grades nine through 12. Nineteen of RVAA’s students are girls, and 10 of those are members on the varsity volleyball team. When those facts combined with last year’s graduation of two highly skilled seniors and the retirement of RVAA’s beloved athletic director of 13 years, Mike Glasgow, the school had what most coaches would call a “building year” … and build they did.

The team’s first practice began with the introduction of RVAA’s new athletic director, Natalie Diaz, a recent Southern Adventist University graduate, who quickly inspired the team with her love of sport, music and Christian education. Coaches Brad Parmenter and Steve Day then initiated the building process: practice, practice, practice.

RVAA started their season with a thrilling “come from behind victory” against Hosanna Christian, which won the last four Mountain Valley League (MVL) championships. The Lady Hawks' amazing year was off to a strong start, but continued building. The year continued with:

  • Fourth place in Walla Walla Fall Classic Championship bracket, which hosts 20 Adventist 1A–3A high schools from five states and Canada;
  • First place in OSAA MVL at 12–1;
  • OSAA Sportsmanship Nomination by MVL referees;
  • Champions of MVL Conference Tournament;
  • All-Conference awards including First Team (2), Second, Honorable Mention and Coach of the Year;
  • Seventh place finish at Oregon 1A State Volleyball Championships Elite 8 Finals (among Oregon's 70 1A schools).

On Oct. 31, 2019, K.T. Emerson, OSAA assistant executive director, after congratulating RVAA for making it to the finals, sent out this notice to principals, athletic directors and volleyball coaches: “Rogue Valley Adventist Academy has qualified for our 1A state championships. … As per the Oregon Supreme Court ruling (May 2008), we would change our schedule to accommodate the RVAA team because of their religious restrictions, which will not allow them to compete after sundown on Friday and until after sundown on Saturday.”

Throughout the state tournament OSAA representatives were kind, professional and respectful without limits. Though the team wished OSAA’s administration had emphasized their Sabbath observance as “due to a desire to honor God’s seventh-day of rest,” rather than their “religious restrictions,” they knew they were impacting the world for Jesus Christ. 

The RVAA Lady Hawks want all to know that every season of life can be amazing with Jesus on your team. And remember, for you to impact your world for Jesus Christ, you must practice, practice, practice.