▶️ High school sports are back and so are the fans

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A cross-town rivalry.

A packed gym.

A return to normalcy for high school sports in Central Oregon.

Tuesday night’s Summit Storm-Bend High Lava Bears girls volleyball game had everything you could want to kick start the fall.

“I have never seen a crowd this big,” said Summit senior Parker Meredith said. “It’s awesome!”

The Bend High student section wore nice shirts and backwards hats.

“It’s frat out tonight,” said Bend High senior Ocean Eisenberg. “They are all the rich kids, they all go to Summit. They are all the frat kids, so we wear our nice collared shirts and our nice shoes and nice shorts and we come represent at their house.”

The Summit student section wore camo.

“We are playing the Lava Bears, so we are going bear hunting tonight,” Meredith said.

Ahh…gold ole fashioned trash talk between student bodies.

Masks were part of the outfits for both student sections and everyone in the stands, per OSAA rules.

But they didn’t do much to drown out the noise or enthusiasm of a match Bend High ended up winning.

“Last year we were sitting in the classrooms, not doing anything,” said Bend High senior Ocean Eisenberg. “To get out there with your fellow students and cheer for your team is really great. Build character, you meet new people and it helps your team win.”

Last season, only a limited number of fans could attend games due to COVID restrictions.

“It was very quiet last year and very subdued, but it is great to get everyone back in here,” Summit High parent Dan Goodrich said.

“It just makes all the difference having the energy of a live gym,” Bend High parent Grant Hardgrave added.

The in-person crowd brought it up a notch.

“It’s hard to put a finger on it, but it’s just that energy that is there, it is hard to define and especially with these cross-town rivalry games, anything can happen,” Hardgrave concluded. “It is always a great game when the Bears and Summit play.”

The Bend Lava Bears beat the Summit Storm 3-1.

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