Warren County shows its true, wonderful colors

The PIAA Class 3A volleyball runner-up trophy takes its rightful place at Joseph A. Massa Gymnasium, the sight of so many amazing moments for the Warren Area High School volleyball team in the 2018 season.

Driving through Warren during the weekend, it would be easy to see why the Five Man Electrical Band might suddenly pop into people’s head.

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign…”

There were signs posted on various businesses all the way down Pennsylvania Avenue. But the signage didn’t stop there. At points along Route 6 all the way to Sheffield, signs.

And they all had a variation of the same message.

“Good luck Warren volleyball!”

Those in attendance at the watch party at YEMS show their love for the Dragon volleyball team.

As the Dragons drove away from Warren Area High School Friday morning, they were greeted by these signs. But not just the signs.

There were people too. Lots of people.

Family, friends, fans and community members left their homes and businesses to cheer on the Dragons as they made their way to Mechanicsburg for the PIAA Class 3A state championship match.

Of course, their peers at WAHS sent them on their way. But then more gathered on the streets down Fifth Street. Beaty students, some of them sure to be Dragons themselves, lined the fence along Third Avenue to add their voices to the throng.

Down Liberty Street, more exited their places of business, taking a few minutes away from their jobs to show their support as well. There were more pockets of people along the way as the bus made its way down Pennsylvania Avenue East. Once across the Glade Bridge, it was out through Clarendon. Then a pit stop at Sheffield as students there left their classrooms to show that, on this weekend, Wolverines and Dragons were one. A single entity bound by commonality.

Warren libero Julia Lobdell is introduced and shares a high-five with teammate and fellow senior Kadee Merenick.

The support was heartfelt, and it touched the players.

“I literally started crying on the bus because there were so many people,” senior libero Julia Lobdell said.

A great send-off to be sure. But that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Two buses made the trek to Cumberland Valley High School Saturday, one for students and another for the community at-large. Both were full. Before Warren was even able to take the court for warm-ups, the stands at CVHS were nearly full. And most all of the spectators were there to support the Dragons.

They weren’t the only ones watching either. Volleyball players and coaches from Eisenhower, Sheffield and Youngsville have been in attendance for all of Warren’s state playoff games. For those unable to attend in person Saturday, Eagles head coach Barb Lutton came up with the idea for Youngsville to host a watch party.

Lex Nyquist (5), Lydia Latimer (2) and Grace Wortman (1$) get set before teammate Julia Lobdell serves.

The Warren County School District, and Youngsville Elementary principal Elizabeth Kent agreed to allow the party to be held at YEMS. The turnout there, especially on short notice, was impressive.

“We had just under 100 fans that came out to YEMS to cheer on the Warren Dragon volleyball team,” said Ronda Darling, a YEMS teacher and WCSD coach. “We are so proud of them and all their accomplishments. A big shout out to WCSD for allowing us to make this happen. Building community spirit. I love it!

“A big shout out to Barb Lutton for coming up with this great idea,” she continued. “Mrs. Kent and I were happy to help her make this happen. We both think it’s important to support one another.”

That support didn’t end with the final point either. The Class 3A runners-up journeyed back into Warren County late Saturday night. As they reached Sheffield, they were greeted by trucks from the Sheffield Fire Department. That escort was soon joined by other vehicles from Cherry Grove, Clarendon, Glade, Pleasant and finally, as they came back across the Glade bridge, Warren City police and fire departments.

People again lined the streets with signs, cheering and honking horns as the Dragons made their way back to WAHS. The caravan seemingly picking up more members as they went.

“It was awesome,” senior outside hitter Celia Chase said. “We loved having the support.”

Finally, as the bus came to a stop outside the entrance to the WAHS gym, a crowd of family, friends and fans cheered as the team exited the bus, cheered more as they came into the gym a final time and shared with them tears, hugs, laughter and smiles as this incredible journey came to its final stop.

“Thank you to everyone who supported us this year,” Warren coach Mike Dolan said to those in the WAHS gym as Saturday night bled into Sunday morning. “We appreciate it so much. Thank you.”

For a community so often divided along arbitrary lines dividing cities, townships, boroughs and villages, this team found a way to blur those lines. They brought people from every corner of Warren County together. Perhaps then, it would be more appropriate for the county to offer its thanks to Warren volleyball.

A thank you for giving us a glimpse of what can happen when the entire county comes together. A thank you for this incredible run.

And a big thank you for showing all of Warren County what true legends are made of.


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