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Two EHS players named all-state

Emmaus had two players earn all-state recognition in 2020. Senior Jaya Bhagat and junior Mia Pickering all received the nod on the team. It was the second straight year Bhagat was honored and first for Pickering.

“Being recognized as an all-state athlete is an honorable and empowering recognition,” said Bhagat. “I was named an all-state player both last year as well as this year, and I can tell you that it is super motivating. It unleashes a certain drive to get to the next level and push harder each day. It is reassuring that my hard work is paying off.”

“I think about past players at Emmaus like Caroline [Bond], Macy [Van Den Elzen], Megan [Forstburg], etc.,” said Pickering. “They are great volleyball players that made All-State. When I look at the list from PA, I see players from my club gym, rival teams, clinics, summer tournaments, and they work hard. So, I feel lucky and honored to be on the list.”

The duo have each worked hard to get to this point, and they both wanted to be able to call themselves one of the best players in the state.

“Volleyball has always been a major priority of mine since eighth grade,” Bhagat said. “I would drive an hour to King of Prussia for practice three times a week to train with an amazing group of girls. We would compete all around the country and always qualify for nationals every year. But it was never easy. We put all of our time and energy into this. There were a lot of setbacks and injuries, but that’s what shaped me into a better player and teammate. My teammates and I had to sacrifice so many things to follow our dreams. Dedication was the biggest part in getting to where I am. Consistency is also everything for improvement.”

“I have been playing volleyball with my family since I can remember,” Pickering said. “I’ve always loved the sport and my urge to play is what encourages me to work hard. At an early age I started competitive, club volleyball at East Coast Power which helped me grow as a player and teammate. I try to get as many touches on the ball as I can at indoor and outdoor tournaments and in my backyard. I appreciate having the opportunity to play volleyball, so I try to make training and working hard enjoyable.”

Emmaus reached the District 11 Class 4A final after another successful season. Bhagat and Pickering were ecstatic to just be able to put on the Emmaus uniform last fall.

“Originally I had the mindset we were not going to have a season during this pandemic,” said Bhagat. “Looking back, I am incredibly thankful that everyone pulled off a season this year. Even though it wasn’t like the others, it was still a very special season. I was able to appreciate the sport and everything it has to offer a little more this year. I am thankful for every opportunity I’ve had to play the sport that makes me happiest.”

“This wasn’t my senior season, but it is so important to celebrate our seniors and the work they put in for our team,” said Pickering. “It is amazing that we were able to have a season and a chance to play with the seniors one last time. So many people worked incredibly long hours to get us on the court, and many of us are extremely grateful.”

CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS Emmaus's Jaya Bhagat was earned all-state recognition for the second-straight season.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Emmaus junior libero Mia Pickering was selected to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association All-State team.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Emmaus's Ava Holden was named to the East Penn Conference First Team this season. Her name was mistakenly omited from a recent Press articles about the all-stars.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Emmaus setter Kassidy Hallman was named a First-Team East Penn Conference All-Star in 2020 and earned an Honorable Mention to the All-District 11 team.