This summer got off to a good start for Sammee Thomas and Tressa Buckland, a pair of soon-to-be senior volleyball players for Park City High School.
The duo, who also play beach volleyball when not on the court for the Miners, won an AAU qualifier tournament for junior players 18 and under in Salt Lake City in early June.
Sunday, Thomas and Buckland added another first-place finish to their list of accomplishments, this time in Ocean Beach, California, at a juniors tournament.
Between the two victories, the pair has had a solid summer a fifth-place finish on June 14, third on June 19 and another fifth on June 28.
Thomas said the reason she and Buckland play so well together goes back all the way to middle school.
"We've known each other forever," she said. "We've gone to school since sixth grade together and started playing club volleyball together in sixth grade. We just train together all the time. You know what they say practice makes perfect. It really helps to play with your partner for a long time to know their strengths and weaknesses."
"When you play with someone for that long, you know their tendencies," Buckland added. "You know what they have to compensate for and you know what you have to compensate for."
Thomas is still training in California as of this week, waiting to play in another tournament.
"I'm training every day," she said. "I train at the beach in Huntington every morning, take a nap, go lift weights for about an hour and train again."
Buckland, meanwhile, is back in Park City, where she'll participate in the doubles volleyball tournament at City Park on July 4.
"I'm staying here to play in the women's open tournament and then going back to California on July 6," she said. "Summer's got a lot more tournaments left nationals, junior Olympics then high school starts. I'm really excited for all that."
She added that the Miners have lofty goals for themselves this season.
"We want to win state this year," she said.
Thomas agreed, saying this year's senior class is one of the strongest Park City's ever had.
"Our high school team, the senior class the varsity for next year is going to consist of all the girls I've grown up with since sixth grade," she said. "Last year, we just started getting to our peak. We got sixth at state that was like tied for the best we've ever done at state before."
Thomas added that she and her teammates are excited to make the 2014 season one to remember.
"We're excited to see what happens this year," she said. "I'm going to be captain and I'm excited to lead the team to a victory at state."