H.E.A.T. Volleyball Classic

More than 120 kids from Texas and Oklahoma filled the floor at Midwestern State's D.L. Ligon Coliseum for the first annual Home Educators Across Texoma (H.E.A.T.) Volleyball Classic.

The H.E.A.T. volleyball league, the Wildcats league, is made up off eight teams, 62 home schooled students in all from 7th to 12th grade.

"We decided that we would put on a tournament for some of the kids that aren't able to go (to tournaments outside the city) because of financial reasons," tournament director Dawn Schaffer said.

All eight Wildcats teams competed in the Classic, joining teams from Duncan, Edmond and Lawton, Oklahoma. The 17 total teams were broken into three different brackets.

For the kids, it's an opportunity to make new friends and test out their skills.

"Some of them are better than me," sophomore Chris Schaffer said. "It just helps me improve as a player, to where I can get to the form I need to get to."

For the parents, it's an opporunity to see their kids compete in tough, tournament play.

"As a parent, it's a real source of pride," Keith Pond said.

Keith's son, Austin, competes for top-tier (Silver Division) Wildcats squad. Austin, like many of the other kids, knows the importance of tournaments like these.

"It just gets the home school name out and shows people that we're normal just like everybody else," the junior said, "We can go out and play with the best of them."

Chris Schaffer agrees, saying that he hopes people watch tournaments like these, to see what home school athletics is all about.

Dawn Schaffer hopes that today's tournament is the first of many more to come in the future.

"We want people around the community to see what we have to offer as home schoolers," she said.