San Gabriel Mission High School competed in the 2015 Nike Volleyball Tournament of Champions in Chandler, Arizona, Oct. 1-3.

This year’s eighth-annual Tournament of Champions for girls’ volleyball was the most powerful field in the event’s history and it all began with a visit from legendary female volleyball player and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Misty May-Treanor.

San Gabriel Mission made the six-hour trek in vans and competed against some of the top programs in the nation, with athletes hailing from Washington, Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, Oregon, New Jersey and even Alaska. More than 1,000 athletes from 64 teams competed for two 32-team divisional championships in the tournament, which were held at two sites in Arizona.

San Gabriel Mission’s 8-2 record in league play last year earned them the invitation to compete.

“This national platform definitely served as yet another positive opportunity to highlight San Gabriel Mission High School, our spectacular student-athletes and our community,” said Ivan Barajas, San Gabriel Mission’s athletic director and varsity volleyball head coach. “This was a great accomplishment, honor and privilege for all of us. We are very thankful to our principal. Marielle Sallo, and our administration for giving us the opportunity to attend.”

San Gabriel Mission High School ended up seventh in the Ruby pool.

“As a senior, this was a great opportunity for us to be the first for our school to do something like this and to be able to be a part of the start of something that will hopefully continue for years to come,” said Carolina Cardenas.

Rosie Morgan agreed, and noted, “It meant a lot because we are such a small school.”

Emily De La Torre said the competition was tough.

“To see the world like that, that was very scary and to see how big the girls really are [was eye-opening],” she said.

Sarah Reyna said it was good to be back on the team for the tournament;

“It was a great opportunity to reconnect with my team and feel like a part of a family again,” she said.