Sand volleyball gains footing in local schools

cgrant@newsobserver.comMay 24, 2013 

  • 1st sand volleyball champions

    The North Carolina High School Sand Volleyball Association held club and pairs competition championships earlier this month. On May 10, the pairs competition championship was held at Green Road Park in Raleigh.

    The Cardinal Gibbons duo of John Krawczyk and Sam Rosso won the boys’ title 21-13, 22-20 against Athens Drive’s Grayson Cruse and Nick Keith.

    The top girls’ duo was Broughton’s Kati Smith and Tiana Butler, which defeated Middle Creek’s Kati McCullough and Lauren Durham 21-18, 21-14.

    On May 11 at Raleigh’s Jaycee Park, the club playoffs were won by Ephiphany School, which beat Apex I.

    Complete scores, photos, and videos of the finals can be found at the NCHSSVA website:

When the NCAA deemed sand volleyball an emerging sport in 2009, advocates saw it as an opportunity to introduce more high school students to the game.

In North Carolina, watching the growth of high school lacrosse prompted organizers to consider forming a sand volleyball league.

They hope interest in sand volleyball at the club level will grow to a point where the N.C. High School Athletic Association will consider making it a sanctioned sport; but the NCHSAA only sanctions sports that many of its schools – usually one-fourth – have made it a varsity sport or are close to making it one.

“Our goal is in five to 10 years that there will be enough interest in the sport of high school sand volleyball that it will be sanctioned by the NCHSAA,” said Joy Daniels, coach of Broughton’s sand volleyball club.

Apex, Middle Creek, Cardinal Gibbons and Athens Drive are a few of the of nine schools – most in the Triangle – that make up the N.C. High School Sand Volleyball Association.

In the league’s first year, sand volleyball association President Mark Nalevanko reached out to the handful of states that already have made moves to incorporate sand volleyball.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association began offering the sport two years ago. Competition started with five teams and grew to eight this season. Eric Hodgson, director of outreach for the Arizona region of USA Volleyball, said he expects the number of teams to grow again next year.

“It’s going in the right direction. It’s getting bigger,” Hodgson said. “We approached (the state association) four years ago about adding sand because that was the year the NCAA made it an emerging sport. We had a crunch with Title IX. .. .They needed to add a girls’ sport, and one that can be fairly inexpensive and quick, but we see it’s growing and it’s getting better.”

Broughton, Carrboro, (New Bern) Epiphany School, Ravenscroft and St. David’s are the other schools participating in the North Carolina league this year. Apex, Gibbons, Broughton and Athens Drive each have multiple teams.

Many local games were played at Green Road Park, North Cary Park and Green Hope Elementary School Park.

Grant: 919-829-4538

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