Sport

Wasp Boys Volleyball Playing for Second State Title, Sport Recognition

Wasp Boys Volleyball Playing for Second State Title, Sport Recognition

Boys’ volleyball at Wasatch High School is more popular than ever by far. This year, 55 players have tried their hand, and 49 of them now form four club teams in high school, up from one team three years ago. They compete in the Utah Boys Volleyball Association along with 130 other teams from 75 high schools across the state.

“We look good,” head coach Duke Mossman said before Tuesday’s home opener after winning the Utah School Sports Association state championship last fall. “We are quite heavy on the seniors, so we have a fairly experienced squad, and we are hoping for good things. Our goal is to win a second state championship in the same year.

Games are held every Tuesday, but it’s rare for the Wasps to be the hosts. This is because most club league teams are in Salt Lake County, Utah County and others.

Issues like almost always having to play away games are part of why Mossman and his players want the Utah High School Activities Association to officially sanction boys’ volleyball. Last month, the Wasatch School District School Board also passed a resolution to encourage the association to do so. So far, it is the only school board in the state to send this type of official message of support.

Mossman says not all school administrations agree on sanctioning, especially principals of 5A and 6A schools who don’t want to add a new sport to an already busy time of year.

“Our biggest problem is that boys are basically discriminated against playing volleyball,” he said. “Volleyball is not a sport just for girls; it’s a sport for both genders, and they deserve the opportunity to play and represent their schools, and have the same opportunity to play volleyball as girls.

That decision on whether or not to sponsor the sport for boys starting in 2023 comes down to a vote by the UHSAA Board of Directors on Thursday, March 24. Last year, the council voted 10 to 5 against the sanction.

The council is made up of 15 school board members, superintendents, principals and other representatives from schools of varying sizes and regions. Wasatch School District Superintendent Paul Sweat is one such member.

More than 8,000 people have signed a petition to sanction men’s volleyball in Utah.

“Volleyball is a huge draw, and so we’re just saying, ‘Let these kids play and let them represent their schools. ‘” Mossman said. “We were lucky enough to play in this fall league, and it was the first time we actually played in the Nest in front of our home crowd, and it was life changing for some of these boys, just to be able to play in front of their friends and family and show them what they can do.

For some of his players, he said these home appearances changed the perception of the sport at school. Some of its players who have been picked to play a sport that is considered girls-only said it happens much less often after playing home games.

Colorado was the last to adopt men’s volleyball as an official high school sport before last year’s season.

On Tuesday at Wasatch High School, the varsity team plays Mountain View at 6 p.m. and Pleasant Grove at 7 p.m. JV has matches at the same times, first against American Fork, then Lone Peak.