Volleyball tournament held in student's honor - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Volleyball tournament held in student's honor


Back in October, a Lake View, Iowa teen was killed in a fiery crash in Missouri.

18-year-old Chrystal Olerich was killed near Hopkins, Missouri when the pick-up truck she was traveling in overturned and caught fire.

An avid volleyball player, the news of her death left her friends and family in shock.

Two months later, a volleyball tournament was held in her honor.

The sound of whistles, tumbling athletes, and cheering crowds can be heard from the East Sac County High School as teams competed in a volleyball tournament.

But this tournament has special meaning.

It honors Chrystal Olerich, who was killed in a car accident back in October.

"I was speechless for the longest time and it took a while to totally sink in, but it was really, really terrible," said Morgan Olhausen, classmate and tournament organizer.

"It was just like devastating to me. I couldn't believe it. I was in complete shock," said Holly Nuetzman, Chrystal's teammate.

Soon after her death, Chrystal's classmates created the competition, and teams began to sign up immediately.

"Her love for volleyball was always evident. It was just her true passion," said Brad Pickhinke, classmate and tournament organizer.

"We had a lot to begin with. We had over 16 [teams] and some could not make it. All signed up really, really early," said Olhausen.

"It's going to a scholarship fund, in her name," said John Olerich, Chrystal's father.

The winners don't get a prize or trophy.

Instead, all of the participants gain something priceless.

"To have everyone come here, it just and overwhelming feeling of just happiness. It's the closest thing we could have to her bringing back," said Pickhinke.

"You just see how many people she touched with her joy and her high spirits," said Nuetzman.

"Everybody in the community involved with this any way they could, it's wonderful and we appreciate it so much," said Brenda Olerich, Chrystal's mother.

"She's up top smiling down on them all right now. She's up there rooting for every team right now, hopefully us the most," said John.

Organizers hope to make this a yearly event to support collegiate volleyball players.

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