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Hill AFB lieutenant earns gold at Armed Forces tourney

First Lt. Keola Lacar, 508th Aircraft Sustainment Wing, sets a ball during the 2007 Armed Forces Vollyeball Tournament at West Point Military Academy, N.Y. (Courtesy photo)

First Lt. Keola Lacar, 508th Aircraft Sustainment Wing, sets a ball during the 2007 Armed Forces Vollyeball Tournament at West Point Military Academy, N.Y. (Courtesy photo)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- A few weeks ago at West Point Military Academy, N.Y., the United States Air Force men's and women's volleyball teams earned gold medals during the 2007 Armed Forces Volleyball Championships.

Hill Air Force Base's 1st Lt. Keola Lacar, 508th Aircraft Sustainment Wing, played a vital role on the men's championship squad. Lieutenant Lacar, who played the libero position, was selected for the 2007 Armed Forces All-Tournament team and helped guide the men's team to a 5-1 overall record.

"Our most difficult matches were against the Navy and a second round match with the Army," Lieutenant Lacar said. "The Army had a good squad this year, and they brought out their best to play us. We traded wins until the fifth set (fifth set is only played to 15) when we were down 9-13, but we staged an awesome comeback to change the tide and win 18-16. Things were really dicey there for a while but we pulled it together for the win."

In order to join the team, Lieutenant Lacar had to make it through a series of tryouts. In order to play Air Force sports, potential participants must first submit an Air Force Form 303, which is basically a resume citing athletic experience. After making it past the first pre-requisite, Lieutenant Lacar then participated in the official Air Force team tryout, which was held at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.

"The location is awesome and not just because it's Hawaii," Lieutenant Lacar said. "The accommodations were great and the gym staff was awesome. Also, there were some great teams to scrimmage against. We played against some alumni who played at the University of Hawaii."

Lieutenant Lacar is not the first person to represent his family on the Air Force Volleyball team. His father, David Lacar, also played on the team two decades ago.

"My dad used to play and I'd go watch him when I was little," he said. "He was the only real coach that I had until I started playing for the Air Force. He used to play for the Air Force team too back in the '80s, so there are still a lot of people who know him."
Lieutenant Lacar said he enjoyed the opportunity to compete head to head against the other military services.

"We were able to represent our service in direct competition against the other services," he said. "It isn't often that you get to do something like that. The friendships and camaraderie developed at camp and the tournament carry on beyond that and you create lifelong friendships."

Lieutenant Lacar, who also participated in 2006, said his experience at the Armed Forces Volleyball championships was one he will never forget.

"It has been just an awesome experience," he said. "The Air Force sports program is a great morale booster. It's challenging to get into some of the sports but it is definitely worth the effort. Not only do you get to travel to new places, but you get to meet other Air Force members from all different career fields and stations all over the world."