KC’s young duo earns their place on the team


Among the veterans of Kirtland Central’s volleyball team is a young dynamic duo – Talia Ockerman and Gabrianna White-David.

Ockerman and White-David are sophomores who have learned to play with the big girls and learned behind the scenes.

Girls stand side-by-side in gym

Navajo Times | Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi
Kirtland Central High School sophomores Gabrianna White-David (left) and Talia Ockerman (right) are the young contributors for the varsity team this season. The two put in behind-the-scenes work to earn starting roles on the team that is filled with senior veterans.

Kirtland Central head coach Nadia Begay-Watson said the duo has become an asset to the team that is mostly made up of seniors.

“They’re really just behind the scenes type of girls,” she said. “They make it look easy, which is great, but at the same time nobody sees that they’re here for every practice, they’re here for every weight lift, they’re here in the summer, and that really shows as the season comes around. I think those two together they’re just really dynamic for us.”

The Broncos are 2-2 and tied for second with Miyamura, Gallup and Bloomfield. Farmington is first with an undefeated record at 4-0.

The Broncos are 7-6 overall and has picked up wins through the efforts of Ockerman and White-David.

Ockerman started on varsity as an eighth-grade player and White-David as a freshman.

Ockerman said it wasn’t easy fitting in.

“It’s really nerve-wracking playing up when you’re way younger because you feel like the girls are going to look at you different,” she said. “But they didn’t, they treated me the same as the other girls and that helped my confidence.”

White-David said when she first started varsity her experience mimicked Ockerman’s. She said after her freshman season she learned she had a place with the big girls.

“It was pretty difficult, because you’re trying to keep up with the older girls, you think they’re better than you, and you kind of evaluate yourself with them,” White-David said. “Afterword you realize you were put on the team because you were as good as as them.”

Begay-Watson said White-David leads the team in blocks.

“They rely on me to block and get some kills down,” White-David said. “I block for them so it will be easier for them to get the ball up, and try to get as many kills.”

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Categories: Volleyball

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com