AUGUSTA — You don’t have to qualify for the Olympics to give beach volleyball a try. You can play the sport in Augusta at the new Olympic-sized beach volleyball court at the small park to the rear of the Buker Community Center off Capital St. Extension.

The court was completed three weeks ago and is open to the public. Community members Karen Wood and Sarah Dunckel, former officers in Cynergy, a group of young professionals, got the ball rolling, so to speak.

“Everybody’s watching beach volleyball right now,” Dunckel said.

The sand court is 50×80 feet with blue tape delineating out of bounds. It was built at a cost of approximately $13,000 and is owned and maintained by the city. About $10,000 was raised through a couple of grants, donations and various fundraisers. The city donated the remaining cost through in-kind services. Dunckel said Jim Goulet and Leif Dahlen of the Community Services Department were instrumental in the completion of the project.

Both Dunckel and Wood are members of a winter volleyball league at the Kennebec Valley YMCA, but it doesn’t run in the summer.

“We thought it would be a great idea to create a summer league,” Dunckel said. “We’ve got some people interested.”

Dunckel said those teams are considering play on Monday or Tuesday nights and would employ the regular six players per side instead of the two per side that we see at the Olympics. The sand on the court is an added impediment.

“It’s harder to move around and there’s more space to cover,” Dunckel said. “You’d be surprised how much energy you exert.”

The project was delayed for some time while workers waited for nets and poles to arrive. Special attention was given to installment of the poles.

“We talked to some people in Portland,” Dunckel said. “A year after they put the poles in they were bending inward. We wanted to make sure the poles were properly placed.”

Two nets were purchased, one for regular use and another for tournament play. Dunckel hopes to hold at least one tournament this year. The net will stay up as long as weather permits. Those who don’t have their own volleyball may get one at the front desk at the Buker Center on Armory St.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

 

 

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