By Ken Rutan
Starlings Volleyball Clubs, USA is a nationwide volleyball club for girls. The club was initially formed 20 years ago in San Diego by former USA Men’s Team National Team Member Byron Shewman with a single team based out of Lincoln High School. It is now the nation’s largest girls volleyball club with branches in states across the nation, and one in Tijuana.
Fifteen years ago, the Allied Gardens Starlings branch of the club started with a single team based out of the Allied Gardens Recreation Center. As local interest in the club grew, with girls from a larger geographic area participating in the club, the name was changed to San Diego Navajo Starlings.
From the club’s inception through today, it has been run by Allied Gardens residents Ken Rutan, Dennis Herrmann and Marv Coppess, all of whom were instrumental in founding the volleyball leagues that have thrived at the Allied Gardens and San Carlos recreation centers. This season, the club had nine teams with girls in fourth – 12th grade.
The club holds its National Championships in San Diego and this year the tournament was held the weekend of June 16 – 19. The San Diego Navajo club made history with one of its four 14-and-under teams being crowned the national champion. No other San Diego team had accomplished that feat in the 20-year history of the national club.
The team’s final victory, ironically, came against an accomplished team from Shonto, Arizona (a Navajo Reservation).
For more information about Starlings Volleyball Clubs, visit starlings.org.
—Ken Rutan is director of the Navajo Starlings Volleyball Club.