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Beaver Athletics Build Record Turnout
Fans of Blackstone Valley Tech athletics might notice something about their Beavers this fall. There's a lot more of them than there used to be.
A total of 477 students came out for the eight sports offered by Valley Tech during the fall season, according to the school's Athletic Director Michelle Denise. The figure includes 90 members of the football program, 65 girls who came out for soccer, 58 who tried out for boys soccer, 53 members of the cross country team, and a whopping 108 girls who tried out for volleyball. The total number represents nearly 40 percent of the school's total enrollment.
"I don't know exactly why there is such a high turnout," Denise said, adding that the quality of coaches in some of the programs may deserve the credit. "Having 108 girls go out for volleyball is insane. I attribute that to Barbara King."
Denise said the summer programs King runs has helped develop a feeder system for the school and also get the word out about the team, which has been largely successful at the varsity level in recent years.
"Hundreds of girls both high school age and younger go to Barbara's summer camp and I think they come to BVT knowing that's what they want to be involved in," Denise said.
With 53 athletes in a no-cut sport, cross country has had to divide the team into home and travel squads since the usual bus isn't large enough to transport the entire squad to away meets, Denise said. She praised second year head coach Caitlin Forgit for the turnout.
"Kids don't run unless there is someone driving and supporting them," Denise said. "She was a D1 runner for UNH and that has helped spark the interest. I attribute it to the coach."
The girls soccer program is running a freshman team, a result of more girls applying and being admitted to BVT, Denise said. The AD pointed out that it's not just numbers when it comes to that girls soccer, the vast majority of the players in the program are also very talented.
"I watch the freshman class and think 'these girls are going to make runs for titles in a few years,'" Denise said. "They are that good."
The 43 girls who tried out for field hockey represents a new high water mark for the program and the 34 golf hopefuls necessitated cuts for that program for the first time, even with a JV team. Twenty-six girls came out for the cheerleading team this fall. 
Denise said she has seen a shift in some vocational schools over the past decade to 15 years. More athletes are drawn to schools they might otherwise have overlooked," she said.
"Historically, if you were an athlete, this is not where you went," Denise said. "It has changed...people used to book us to they could get the win, I don't think that's the case anymore. There are some excellent vocational programs all around the state."
"The next step," she said, is achieving more tournament success outside of the vocational realm.
"We are just starting to dig in and make it to the second or third round of the MIAA playoffs, or beyond," Denise said, adding that she is also starting to schedule tougher non-league opponents with getting ready for the tournament in mind. "We are not afraid to go after bigger schools in higher divisions and challenge ourselves." 




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