Yakima Valley Girls AAU Team Headed to National Tournament in Or - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Yakima Valley Girls AAU Team Headed to National Tournament in Orlando

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YAKIMA, WA - Athletes live for the big stage and the bright lights, and even though East Valley elementary school may not be the brightest of lights, the "HD Game Changers," the #3 ranked team of 10-year-olds in the U.S., is headed to Orlando for the national championships. They placed 3rd last year, and it's because of all their hard work that they're back again.

"These girls actually put in time during the off season, together, outside, in the heat, working on the hardwood, they do their work. Practice four nights a week, two and a half hours a night, that right there is the reason they're competitive," said Ben Rodriguez, the coach of the HD Game Changers.

And at an age where it's hard to teach sports discipline, it's all about chemistry, which came naturally.

"We'll go out to the zoo, team parties, we'll go out and have fun with each other. For us, not only is it about the girls that get along, but the core group of family, it's an amazing group of people," Rodriguez added.

They learned some lessons a year ago, and they're ready for it this time around.

"Soon as this year came around, we had to practice harder. This year we're gonna go back ready," said 4th Grader Mia Rodriguez.

But no matter what, what's really important is being enforced.

"I've told them first of all that the love we have for them is not based on wins or losses. They're still young, even though they may come back without placing, they still have a bright future ahead of them," coach Rodriguez said.