It takes more than talent to succeed in sports. It also takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Just ask the New Castle high school volleyball team. Located a few minutes north of Draper, the New Castle Lady Trojans showed that winning combination throughout the 2017 season, but especially as they wrapped up a stellar year by sweeping to the Indiana 3A state championship.

That ethic of hard work and dedication was on display to the very end of the season, as the Trojans turned out for a 5:30 a.m. practice on the day before their championship match. Of course, we didn’t find this surprising at all. We know just how hard these kids work because it’s part of their family tradition; four members of the championship team have ties to hard-working Draper employees!

Freshman Mabrey Shaffmaster was the player of the match with 19 kills and a whopping .630 kill percentage.

Mabrey’s big sister, Melani, a sophomore, added 13 kills and 24 assists. You may remember Melani from a blog post last year where we told about her signing as an eighth grader to play college volleyball at Minnesota.

Melani and Mabrey are the daughters of Patrick Shaffmaster, a quality engineer at Draper.

“My wife and I are proud of the team’s accomplishments this year,” Patrick said. “We are happy that our girls could be a part of such a successful season.”

Cecily Jester, a senior who had eight kills in the championship match, is the granddaughter of Mark Jester. Mark works in Draper’s projection screens area.

“Her grandmother and me are very proud of her and the team,” Mark said. “We’re proud of her academic accomplishments, too.” Cecily has committed to Southern Illinois University.

Eliza Madden, daughter of residential market manager Amy Madden, CTS, LEED®AP, ISF, was also a freshman on this year’s squad.

“At the state banquet, they told us that the tournament started with over 5500 athletes. Only 144 made it to the state finals,“ Amy said. “Our girls were in the top 2 percent, and the Trojans took it one more step and brought home the title. It was an amazing experience, and we are proud of our team.”

The championship was New Castle’s first since 2007. The top-ranked Trojans ended the year with a 34-6 record.

Congratulations to all of the talented young women who worked so hard to make a dream come true.

Click here to read a wrapup of Saturday’s winning performance.

Below is a gallery pf photos from state championship day, taken by Amy Madden and Winning Shots Photography.

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