After a one-year hiatus from the Class 3A volleyball state tournament field, Shakopee is looking to return to Xcel Energy Center, where it become one of the most revered programs in state history.
Senior middle hitter Claire Sames started on two of the Sabres' three consecutive state championship teams (2007, '08 and '09). She would like nothing better than to finish her high school career playing in St. Paul one last time.
Here is a closer look at Sames:
The best movie I've seen in the past year? This one is very difficult for me because like my father, I am a movie nut. I can watch countless movies and never find it boring, and the worst part is I'm not really picky. I basically like all movies besides scary ones because they are well ... scary and the endings are bad.
Three songs I never skip on my iPod are ... honestly I don't have any favorite songs! I let my iPod run on shuffle and I listen to every song. The only time I skip a song is if I don't know all the words and I can't sing to it.
Three words or phrases my friends or teammates might use to describe me? Energetic; enthusiastic; hard working.
How did you get started playing volleyball? I went to a Catholic school and I remember as a young girl watching the fifth-grade girls head off to their volleyball games on the bus, and I thought that they were so cool. So as soon as I had the opportunity to play in some camps and try out as a fifth-grader, I jumped on it.
How do you balance school and sports during the year? It can be very stressful and hard at times. The key is to not procrastinate on homework. When I have a huge project that is due later in the week, I will try to get it done on the Sunday before. When I am very stressed I'll have a giant glass of hot cocoa, and it seems to always melt away my stress.
What is your most memorable moment as a high school athlete? Being a part of two state championships and starting on both of those, and making the all-tournament team as a sophomore. But most importantly, meeting a great group of girls from all four years who I will be lifelong friends with.
At my first varsity practice, I felt ... nervous. Plain and simple. I was playing with an elite group of athletes and looking back I felt so young and inexperienced compared to them. However, once I got to know the girls, my crazy energy and spirit came out.
What is your favorite pre-game meal? Subway. Yum! I wish I could have it before every game. My mom always sarcastically jokes with me, saying, "Claire, you know you're getting enough protein when you order extra bacon."
Who is your favorite college or pro sports team and why? Southwest Minnesota State University volleyball team! Woohoo, go Mustangs. I think that year after year they are always a good team and their energy and work ethic makes them fun to watch.
What is the best sports advice you ever received? Never give up! I have been told many, many times that I am too short (5-9) to play the position I play, and I use that as motivation to make me better. You must have faith in yourself and know that if you always work hard good things will come.