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All-North Div. III volleyball: Condie pairs fun with on-court success

12:00 AM, Dec. 18, 2012 EST

Pershing County Mustangs Sarita Jo Condie goes on the offensive against the Yerington Lions in a Div. III state semifinal volleyball game played at Galena High in Reno on Nov. 9. / Tom Smedes/Special to the RGJ

Sarita Jo Condie is a prolific scorer on the basketball court. But put a net across the middle of that court and she was just as productive -- even if she doesn't think so.

Condie led Pershing County to back-to-back girls basketball state titles the past two seasons and anchored the Mustangs' first state championship in volleyball last month.

Coaches named her both the Division III Lahontan league and All-State MVP, which shocked Condie when it was announced at the team banquet.

"She has come a long way as a volleyball player and is so unassuming of her skills," Pershing County coach Shauna Bake said.

The senior also was taken aback a bit when told she is the 2012 RGJ All-North Division III Player of the Year.

"It's really an honor to be recognized as a volleyball player because I've never thought of myself as a volleyball player," said Condie, who will play basketball for Navy next year.

Condie didn't take up volleyball until seventh and eighth grade. Even then, it was a very short season. She played on Lovelock's Pop Warner football team in fifth and sixth grade -- with many of the boys who led Pershing County to three straight football state championships.

But Condie made the varsity team as a freshman and forced her way into the starting lineup midway through the season. She never left.

"It's really indescribable the way she plays," Bake said. "She plays just for the fun of competing. She is a basketball player. But when she plays volleyball she puts her heart and soul into it. She is a very skilled athlete no matter what the sport is."

What volleyball came to mean to Condie even surprised her.

"I like it because it's a break from basketball and makes me appreciate it more," Condie said. "It was more of just something to do until basketball season. But I did come to really love volleyball."

Condie, an outside hitter who had 324 kills and 245 digs this year, excelled not just because of her athletic ability. She also displayed tenacity and hustle that were infectious.

"I'll always remember as a sophomore when she dove head-first into the bleachers trying to save a ball," Bake said. "By time I got over to her, she was laying in a pool of blood with a badly broken nose. Her first question was, 'Did I get the ball?'

"She was like that all time. We made it to state her freshman year and didn't get back until this year. She took a heartbreaking loss to Whittell in last year's region tournament very hard. But it wasn't necessarily about winning. We never talked about winning this year, not even heading into the state championship game. It was always about having fun for these girls."

Condie was the leader of the having-fun crew. She dressed as a bottle of ketchup for a Halloween Nevada volleyball match. She would wear obnoxious headbands in practice. She made a music video from the behind-the-scenes footage of the team's trip to a Las Vegas tournament.

"Our philosophy is it's not worth doing if you're not having fun," Condie said.




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Who had the top performance in the state football championships?