Martin Sortun’s 6th grade boys and coaches pose with their first place ribbons. Photo by Ben Ray/Sound Publishing

Martin Sortun’s 6th grade boys and coaches pose with their first place ribbons. Photo by Ben Ray/Sound Publishing

Martin Sortun and Lake Youngs win Kent elementary schools volleyball crown

Martin Sortun and Lake Youngs were crowned champions at the Kent elementary schools volleyball district round-robin tournament on Dec. 10. Martin Sortun was the winner of the boys bracket and Lake Youngs won the girls side, breaking a three-way tie with Martin Sortun and Ridgewood.

Marla Taylor who teaches physical education at Martin Sortun Elementary, and her wife Guyla Kennedy, who also teaches PE at Ridgewood Elementary, took over the program in 2017. This year, there were over 200 kids with a total of eight schools represented at the season-ending tournament.

This is the end of the year for these volleyball teams, but it isn’t the only competition. There is also a regular season that the coaches of all the teams coordinate and schedule with one another. On average, the teams play about six games before this tournament.

“We are totally independent and do our own thing,” said Taylor. There isn’t any help from the Kent School District, as Taylor said: “Ms. Kennedy and myself get everything going, send everything out, and create the whole thing. We do all of it.”

It is the first season of elementary volleyball since the pandemic, and Taylor couldn’t be happier.

“It’s been wonderful to be back with the kids competing and playing again,” Taylor said.

At Martin Sortun, there is an extremely diverse student population, with over 70 languages spoken at the school. Most kids haven’t played different sports, Taylor said. One of the perks associated with playing volleyball is that 14 students got to go to UW and watch the Huskies play.

“It was so eye opening for them,” Taylor said.

When asked who her biggest rival is, a huge smile came over Taylor’s face, and she pointed directly at Kennedy, her wife. They take great pride in helping prepare the kids to play volleyball, not only outside of school, but for their future.

“I ask the coaches, ‘what do you want to see, what do you need?’ So I can help prepare them for middle school,” Taylor said.

As students move on and keep playing, Taylor said she tries her best to watch all of her former players at their next schools. And some of them even come back and help referee the elementary school tournament.

With all the students competing, it got pretty loud inside the Kentwood gym, which was a great sign for Taylor.

“There’s a lot of kids screaming and yelling and having fun,” she said. “Each student not only left with a ribbon, but a smile on their face as well.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

The crowd is packed into Kentwood High School’s gym for the first elementary volleyball tournament since the pandemic back in 2020. Photo by Ben Ray/Sound Publishing

The crowd is packed into Kentwood High School’s gym for the first elementary volleyball tournament since the pandemic back in 2020. Photo by Ben Ray/Sound Publishing

More in Sports

Niki Boris takes a three pointer at Issaquah High School in the regional playoff round. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentwood hoops update: Girls fall, boys face Olympia in Tacoma Dome

Girls can’t overcome Eastlake, while boys run out of gas against Mount Si.

t
Kentwood High welcomes Alanna Vann-Young as new athletic director

The University of Montana grad is coming from Bishop Blanchet.

2024_0131_GYMNASTICS PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBBY MULLIKIN
Kent Reporter Female Athlete of the Week: Natalie Quinn

Quinn has been a pillar of Kentwood gymnastics and led the team as an all-around.

Courtesy Photo
Kent Reporter Male Athlete of the Week: Brandon Tagle

Tagle help lead the Conk basketball team to its first district championship since 2017.

Kentwood swimmer in the fly section of the IM race. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentwood and Kentridge record points at state swim

Swimmer and diver recorded points at the King County Aquatic Center.

Oksana Galiant face-to-face with her opponent in the state championship. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Mat Classic XXXV breakdown: Kent School District

Kentwood’s Wright and Kent-Meridian’s Galiant just miss titles.

t
Kent Reporter Female Athlete of the Week: Jayda Sparks

Sparks had two touchdowns and two interceptions for Kentridge flag football team

Ben Ray / The Reporter
Giovanni Mora Zorrilla takes a shot against the Kent-Meridian.
Kent School District and Special Olympics of Washington are perfect match

KSD is striving to have every school be a unified champion.

Courtesy photo
Pictured: Kentlake High School’s cheer team. Kentlake won one category over Gig Harbor and 3A NPSL rival Auburn Riverside in the 3A Game Day Small event. The Falcons scored 77.6 just beating out the Tides, who scored 76.6.
Kentwood and Kentlake win state cheer titles

Cheerleaders bring home some hardware in three different categories.

Kentwood High School’s Sarah Wright and her father, Dan Wright. Courtesy Photo
All the Wright moves: Kentwood senior and father form super combo

Sarah Wright excels on the wrestling mat and the softball diamond - and has the support system to back it up.

Courtesy Photo
Kent Reporter Athlete of the Week: Logan Davis

Davis went 4-0 with a win at a Kentwood tournament

Courtesy Photo
Kent Reporter Athlete of the Week: Haley Engebo

Engebo has two interception returns for touchdowns and nine flag pulls