Kristin Sato is making a name for herself in volleyball and track.

The Valley Christian High School student recently went to the National Junior Olympics, where her Stingray Volleyball 15 Black team placed fifth.

It was the third year in a row the 15 Black team had been to the Nationals, the second-highest level in Junior Olympics competition.

"It was fun" Sato said. "The gyms are always really big because the different age groups are playing at the same time, so we played a lot games in a row sometimes."

Sato said the team played an average of five games a day over a five-day period. The Nationals were held June 29 through July 4 in Miami.

In order to go to Nationals, a team must earn points for winning throughout a regular Northern California Volleyball Association season to get a bid. The team with the most points at the end of the season can go to Nationals, while teams with fewer points can go to the American Junior Olympics, the lowest level of the competition.

Sato's team played squads from King City, Redding and other Northern California towns.

After the Junior Olympics, Sato took part in the NCVA's Beach Volleyball Tournament Aug. 8 at West Valley College, where she and a teammate placed first in doubles competition.

While she's used to playing volleyball on a standard indoor court, Sato said she had to warm up to playing on sand at the five-match tournament. There's really no place in the immediate area to practice for beach volleyball, but


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West Valley College does have sand courts, she said.

"It was exhausting, but I've been conditioning the entire season," she said of the tournament. "We had to make sure we were accurate, and if we weren't having fun we weren't playing well."

Now that the Olympics and tournament are over, Sato can concentrate on making Valley Christian's team. Tryouts begin this week.

Last year she was the school's most valuable player on the junior varsity team, and was the only JV player to be placed on the varsity team for the postseason.

Sato is also on the school's track and field team, where last year as a freshman she set Valley Christian's all-time record of 16 feet, 4.75 inches in the long jump.

She's also third all-time in the high jump and eighth all-time in the 100-meter dash. She placed first and second in those two events respectively in the West Catholic Athletic League Finals last year.

She earned the Most Outstanding Field Athlete award last year as well.