What is all the hoopla around these Junior Olympic Qualifiers and what does it even mean to qualify? Â We throw around these terms all year long– nationals, junior olympics, qualifying, patriot, american, national, open, bids, trickledownâ€¦.what does it all mean? Â Donâ€™t worry, I got your back. Â By the end of this blog, youâ€™ll be slinginâ€™ JO vocab like you work for USA Volleyball, and youâ€™ll be all set for Vegas this weekend.
What is Girls Junior National Championships? (JOâ€™s)
So, as a USA Volleyball (USAV) affiliated club program, Junior Nationals (or Junior Olympics, as they are often referred to), are our end-all-be-all end of the year extravaganza we are all trying to get to. Â This year, they are in Dallas for the 18â€™s (in 2 weeks in fact), and Minneapolis for all other age groups. Â There are several different levels of play at the JOâ€™s – Patriot, American, USA, National and Open (in order of ascending competitiveness). Â The Patriot division is â€œsign up to playâ€ division, where any team that wants to come to the tournament, can simply register, and come– you do not have to qualify. Â In order to participate at JOâ€™s in any of the other divisions (American, USA, National or Open), you have to be the recipient of a â€œbidâ€ to one of those divisions.
How Do You Earn a Bid to GJNCâ€™s?
Ah, now the magic question! Â Why do we send all of our National teams to this tournament in Las Vegas? Â The tournament in Las Vegas is our Region of USAV (Southern California)â€™s Junior National Qualifying tournament. Â There are 12 qualifying tournaments…called so because they are where your team goes to attempt to QUALIFY for GJNC. Â To earn a bid and qualify, you have to WIN (or in some cases take 2nd in) the WHOLE tournament! Â The different divisions at different tournaments each have a different number of bids up for grabs. Â For example, at this tourney in Las Vegas, the American division (the one weâ€™re all playing in) for each age group, only has 1 bid available for JOâ€™s– that means you have to WIN the tournament to earn that American bid. Â Some of the more competitive divisions (like the OPEN), offer 3 bids – so if you take 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, youâ€™re goinâ€™ to the big show!
Teams travel all over the country to attempt to qualify for nationals. Â Our teams usually only attend the Southern California JNQ, but weâ€™ve sent teams to Chicago, Dallas, Reno and Seattle in the past!
You can also earn bids other ways:
Teams can also earn â€œtrickle-downâ€ bids, â€œreallocationâ€ bids and â€œat-largeâ€ bids.
At-Large bid: A GJNC bid awarded upon the completion of the Qualifier Season (both National and Regional) by a Committee of National Staff or its Designees based on performance during that season, in relation to other non-qualified teams in that age group.
Reallocation bid: A National, USA or American division bid to the GJNC that is unused and is returned for reallocation to a Region. Reallocation is performed by the Events Department.
Trickle Down Bid: A GJNC bid awarded at a NQ to a team finishing lower than a usual bid award position. This happens in some situations when a higher finishing team has previously accepted a GJNC bid from another NQ or a region process or a bid is declined from the National, American, or USA divisions.
Ok, now youâ€™re a professional with the GJNC lingo– what should you expect this weekend?
What to Expect at the Southern California Junior National Qualifier in Vegas
If youâ€™ve never been to a National Qualifier before, the scene can be a bit overwhelming! Â Imagine 100â€™s of courts, screaming girls, non-stop whistles and cheering. Â This tournament is one of THE most competitive in the nation, as Southern California is such a hotbed for great volleyball. Â Be prepared for heavy competition in every single match. Â Be prepared to watch your team thrive, battle and sometimes struggle.
Track your teamâ€™s results and schedules using the Advanced Event Systems app! Â Itâ€™s easy to favorite your team (or all of the SoCal teams)!
Remember this is a LONG weekend and you need to take care of your body and your mind. Â Take the time to step out of the convention center and do some deep breathing, or pop in your headphones and listen to some mellow, centering music. Â Visualize. Â Eat and sleep well…youâ€™re going to be exhausted (players AND parents!).
- Double check for ALL of your gear (especially 2 shoes and 2 kneepads)!
- Bring extra spandex, sports-bras, socks, hair thingyâ€™s, tampons for you and your teammates!
- Music & Headphones are CLUTCH
- Dress warmly (parents too)- the convention center is FREEZING!
- Print your monorail passes and activate them early so you donâ€™t have to do it in the morning before you play
- Stay energetic and positive for your team (and the college coaches!)
- Post cute pictures and videos to your Snapchat, Instagram and GroupMe so we can share in how much fun youâ€™re having!OK! Â Youâ€™re a Junior National Qualifier expert!! Letâ€™s have a GREAT weekend. Â See you all on the courts. Â XO – AimeeÂ