• 3 Pirates volleyball players cut hair

• Auction held to trim hair

• Team plays doubleheader Saturday

Olathe High volleyball head coach Emily Wolverton said she tries to give her players advice that could go beyond the court.

She noted she was moved with their high character when three of her players decided to donate 8 inches of their hair to chemo patients after Thursday’s Pink Out volleyball match, which is designed to raise awareness for breast cancer awareness in honor of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

But, she noted her players were nervous before their haircuts.

“I think it’s amazing,” Wolverton said. “I’ve been hearing them talk in the locker room about how they are concerned with looking bad with short hair — and things that a high school girl would be concerned about.

“But they are doing it anyway because they believe in this tradition and they believe in the good of what donating their hair does. I’m really impressed. This is very adult and mature that they are willing to do that.”

Following the 0-3 (25-10, 25-17 and 25-9) loss to Paonia, Pirate players Janelle Salazar, Janalyn Barba and Ashlie Fraser took part in the hair trimming, as well as seven other ladies. An auction was held where people could pay to cut any of the girls’ hair.

Some of the participants decided to donate their hair for a special reason. According to Salazar, she was determined to do so because she wanted to honor a family member.

“My aunt had breast cancer and she unfortunately didn’t make it through it,” Salazar said. “So I thought in my mind that it was for her.”

She acknowledged she was worried before her hair was cut, though.

“It was very nerve-racking because my hair has never been this short before, so it’s a new thing,” Salazar said. “I feel very great about it (now) because I know it’s a good cause and it’s for people everywhere.”

Like her teammate, Barba noted she was anxious. But, after seeing her hair afterward, she said she was enjoying the new look.

“I almost started crying about how much my hair was to be cut off,” Barba said, noting her brother took out a little more hair than was required. “But it’s good. I like it. It’s less heavy on my head and it’s for a good cause.”

In addition to the hair donation, the volleyball team was selling pink t-shirts throughout the night, according to Wolverton. She added before the varsity match, the sales of the shirts were around $1,500 in total, and the proceeds will go toward the support group Bosom Buddies, a breast cancer support group serving Montrose and surrounding communities.

The first-year Pirates coach isn’t a stranger to Pink Out games. As a former Montrose High volleyball player, Wolverton herself participated in several such matches during her four years.

“Pink Out is always a cool game,” Wolverton said. “It’s a great opportunity for the girls to realize there is more to life than this game. There are bigger things out there and I’m really proud of the support that we rallied to Bosom Buddies.”

The Pirates (3-10) next play a home doubleheader at noon and 4 p.m. Saturday. The two teams they will battle will be Coal Ridge and Grand Valley, respectively.

Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ education/sports reporter. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.

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