Treasure Coast Essay
7:20 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Our own volleyball champs


It will be a very Merry Christmas for the young women on the Jensen Beach High School volleyball team and for their coach, Mike Sawtelle. Last month, the Falcons won their third state title.  In the Class 5A final, they beat Merritt Island.  Sawtelle also guided Jensen Beach to Class 4A state titles in 2007 and 2009.  He is one of only four coaches in the Treasure Coast’s 94 years of high school sports to win three state titles.  Surprisingly, he had only two years of playing volleyball with a club team in the 1980s.  At West Virginia University, he was a heavyweight wrestler.  In 1986 he was named assistant wrestling coach at Martin County High School.  In 1995, he was hired as volleyball coach at Hidden Oaks Middle School in Palm City.  For advice, he turned to his wife Lisa, who had played volleyball for Hillsdale College in Michigan.  After coaching Hidden Oaks to a 30-and-5 record, Sawtelle moved to South Fork High School.  In 2004, he came to Jensen Beach and has had only one losing season.  The Sawtelles are a volleyball family.  Daughter Kiana played on the Jensen Beach junior varsity team, and daughter Naiya, a fourth grader, plays recreational volleyball .  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.