Sherry Belmer took a courtside seat in the Tony Conigliaro Gymnasium before the Lynn Classical-Lynn English volleyball match Saturday that would determine the 2018 city high school champion.
You couldn’t really tell which team she was pulling for as Belmer politely cheered for players on both teams.
It wasn’t until the reporter asked Sherry Belmer what brought her to the gym in a torrential downpour that she replied, “I’ve here to watch my daughter and the team. I’ve been to most of her home games. It’s been a really good season.”
Her daughter is Shanelle Belmer-Barry, an outstanding 5-foot-9-inch athlete at Classical who didn’t take up volleyball until her sophomore year. In two years, Belmer-Barry has developed from a beginning player on the junior varsity team in to one of the Northeastern Conference’s best under the guidance of Classical volleyball coach Frank DeLuca.
Belmer-Barry and the other seniors on the team, Skyler Crayton, Maggie McHale, Jenna Tobin, and Keysha Chavannes, and junior Amber Crayton, who was named Tournament MVP, helped Classical defeat English in three straight games to claim the city title.
“This is my third year so I’m glad we won all three years,” said Belmer-Barry.
The story of her entrance in to volleyball is rather interesting. “I was a cheerleader and my best friend, Soraya Thomas, played volleyball her freshman year and she was the inspiration,” said Belmer Barry. “And ever since I took up volleyball, I’ve loved it.”
A former West Lynn Pop Warner cheerleader for six years, Shanelle credits coach DeLuca for making her a better player.
“He’s a good coach. He pushes us when we need to be pushed and I love that about him,” said Shanelle. “I’m thankful for having him as a coach.
DeLuca said Shanelle and the other seniors are “the heart and soul of the team.”
Shanelle has the best kill-rate and is among the team’s best scorers.
“Shanelle has made amazing progress as a player,” related DeLuca. “She was on the JV team as a sophomore and she started separating herself and I brought her up to varsity. She’s been great.”
DeLuca said Shanelle’s technical skills, combined with her athleticism and leaping ability, make her a talented all-around performer.
“She can really jump and do it all – she can serve, she can dig and play on the front line,” said DeLuca. “It makes me feel great to see all that she has accomplished, and she’s also earned the honor of being one of the captains.”
Shanelle said the sacrifices that her mother has made on her behalf have inspired her.
“My mother is my influence,” said Shanelle, who works part time at Starbucks. “She does a lot for me. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be able to go to the volleyball camps to prep for high school volleyball.”
Shanelle likes Lynn Classical High School a lot. “I didn’t know my options until I got there and once I got there, they gave me plenty of opportunities to excel academically and athletically,” said Shanelle. “I miss [former Principal] Mr. [Gene] Constatino, but I love Ms. [Amy] Dunn, too. She’s a really good teacher and vice principal and now principal, so that’s even better for us.”
Sherry Belmer enjoyed Saturday’s championship game immensely. She’s proud of her daughter and what she’s achieved as a volleyball player and an honor roll student.
“She’s takes AP Classes and Honors Classes,” said Belmer. “She’s a smart and talented girl and I’m proud of her. She’s very competitive. Her philosophy is, ‘do it right or don’t do it at all.”
Shanelle Belmer Barry’s next goal in her volleyball career is to play in college and based on her determination and drive the past three seasons at Classical, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see her competing and excelling at the next level.