The 2021 Sequoyah Classic is slated to begin across four Cherokee high schools on Friday, Aug. 13, at 5:30 p.m.
Locations for the event include Sequoyah, Creekview, Etowah and Woodstock. There are also four separate tournament pools based on site. The Classic consists of 24 teams this year from across the state.
At Sequoyah, the Lady Chiefs will play in Pool A, consisting of North Paulding, Starrs Mill, Cambridge, South Forsyth and Lassiter.
“You get to see people you would not normally see,” Sequoyah coach John Edwards said. “It is good because there is no scouting. You just have to line up and figure it out.”
Although some Cherokee teams have already played a game or two, the Lady Chiefs use the annual volleyball tournament as the official start to its season.
“There are a lot of teams where this is their first one,” Edwards said. “It has been going on for nearly 30 years now. We usually use it as our beginning.”
All six Cherokee County teams will participate in the tournament. River Ridge and Woodstock are part of the second pool, which competes at Woodstock. Cherokee and Creekview will play on the Lady Grizzlies’ home court in Pool C, and Etowah will play at its home in Pool D.
Putting the tournament groups together, Edwards took region, location and last season’s rankings all into account to disperse the talent as much as possible.
“Once I have all the teams, I look at all the regions and I try to space everybody out,” Edwards said. I usually go through and look at last year’s rankings, how many seniors they have had. Every gym has been pretty competitive every single year.”
The Sequoyah Classic will feature three of the final four from last season's Class AAAAAA state tournament, including runners-up Pope. Kennesaw Mountain, Pope and Sequoyah went a combined 98-17 overall last season.
Edwards said many teams joining the tournament are perennial playoff contenders. He added that teams are also bringing back some of their most talented players from a season ago.
For most teams, the Sequoyah Classic is an excellent opportunity to find out where they stand heading into a long season.
“It is seeing how you are going to do against a lot of competition in three days,” Edwards said. “You get up to seven matches in a weekend to get a good idea of where you are at, as a team.”