By Nelson Coffin
Claire Wagonhurst would have loved to have joined the celebration earlier this week at Calvert Hall College High School when the volleyball team played Notre Dame Prep in a charity exhibition match, which the host Cardinals “won,” 3-2.
The two teams and their fans raised $1,800 for the Claire Wagonhurst Scholarship at the all-girls Catholic School in Towson.
It was the kind of event that a person like Claire enjoyed because she would have been doing something for others while being surrounded by her friends.
Being "vertically challenged,” Claire, who died from complications from melanoma three years ago, never played volleyball, but she did play a variety of other sports.
Even when fighting cancer, after she was cut from the NDP field hockey team, Claire went out for cross country.
“She had to be engaged,” said her mother, Marianne Banister, noting that her daughter was also a member of the school’s Gym Meet committee despite being in the middle of cancer treatment.
The scholarship, which was begun as a gift by the Class of 2015, is offered to an art-inspired student who is beginning her journey at NDP.
Brooke Newell, a standout senior on last year’s A Conference championship squad, started the volleyball fundraiser last fall.
“It’s something Brooke and the team put together on their own,” said Banister, who spoke at the event.
NDP coach Jim Ishphording said that a good time was had by all.
“Play was very intense but it was just for fun,” he said, noting the lighthearted nature of the match. “Guys couldn't jump front row on a girls net. The refs may have looked the other way a time or two, but we held our own for the most part….”
NDP senior Mary Norris said that NDP fans donned camouflage to show their support for the Blazers.
"So happy to see everyone come out and support the scholarship,” she said. “Thanks to Calvert Hall for a great match and thanks to all the fans
who looked amazing in their camo.”
NDP junior Julia Franzoni was also pleased with the turnout.
"It was a lot of fun and amazing to see all the support from family and friends in the crowd,” she said. “The stands were packed.”