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Tom Mix, Published July 16 2012

Fargo North's Larson vying for spot on U.S. Junior National volleyball team

FARGO - It all started with 3,150 athletes trying out at 50 sites across the nation for 22 spots on the U.S. Junior A2 volleyball team.

One of the 22 is Fargo North senior Kira Larson, who has a chance to join an even more exclusive group this month.

Larson, who is committed to play at Nebraska, will be competing in a tryout at the

10-day High Performance Championships beginning Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa. That’s where the top 12 players will be selected to join the U.S. Junior National team. That team will compete in the NORCECA championships Aug. 19-27.

“I’m excited to go there,” Larson said of the tryout “It is nice to play with other girls that are at such a high level. You are getting trained by the best coaches in the nation so that is really nice and you are also playing against the best players in the nation.”

The event consists of five days of training and five days of competition featuring 103 teams, including squads from Chile, Peru, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic.

The U.S. Junior A2 team includes players born in 1994 and 1995 and is the second highest junior women’s team, just below the junior national team. Larson, who is 6-foot-3, made the A2 roster as a middle blocker.

Larson, a North Dakota all-state first-team selection in 2011, will begin her senior season at North this fall.

“I think it will definitely help me out, playing against higher level competition,” Larson said. “I think this is more going to help me in the future when I hit the next level.”

The next level is the collegiate ranks, and she’ll be training with some of her future Cornhusker teammates in Des Moines.

Kelly Hunter, Kadie Rolfzen and Amber Rolfzen are members of the junior national training team and play on the same high school team at Papillion-La Vista South (Neb.). Like Larson, they are members of Nebraska’s 2013 recruiting class.

“I’ve never seen them play before,” Larson said. “I’ve met them. I talked with them quite a bit, but you don’t really get a chance to see each other play because we live so far away. It’s going to be nice to play with them to see how well we work together.”

Larson is a three-sport athlete with the Spartans and also was an all-state first-team selection in basketball. She’s a three-time state champion in the high jump and also was a member of North’s 100-, 400- and 1600-meter relay teams that won state championships in the spring.

In Des Moines, it will be volleyball 24-7. The five days of training to start the event will consist of 5-6 hours of practices.

“It will be a lot,” Larson said. “It will be pretty tough training. This kind of training over 10 days is not just a couple hours of day, it’s all day, every day for 10 days … It’s pretty intense, but I’m not too worried about it. I’ve handled stuff like this before.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562