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Wasatch High School boys’ volleyball coach applauds UHSAA decision to sanction sport

The Wasatch High boys volleyball team stands pregame on the court where it went on to win the USSA fall volleyball state championship.
Credit Duke Mossman
The Wasatch High boys' volleyball team stands pregame on the court where it went on to win the USSA fall volleyball state championship last October.

The Utah High School Activities Association approved boys’ volleyball as a sanctioned sport starting in 2024. The Wasatch High School Wasps coach says he and his players are happy, especially those who will be on the team when the decision takes effect.

It’s been a big year for the Wasatch Wasp boys’ volleyball program. For starters, it won the state championship in a club fall league. It’s also grown more popular, fielding twice as many student-athletes as last year, and has a record of 5 and 1 in the second half of its spring season.

Now, the team has learned the sport will soon have the official UHSAA sanction, after the association’s board of trustees approved that by a 10-4 vote last week. That will make it an officially sponsored sport statewide just like football, basketball and girls’ volleyball.

“The main differences, I think, will be consistency, I think that's the number one thing,” Head Coach Duke Mossman said. “Right now, there are three different leagues going on across the state, they're all run by different people, they are all charged different amounts. I think, in a lot of ways, boys’ volleyball has been looked down upon as, as you know, for volleyball in general has been looked upon as a girl sport. And that's because that's how it's been treated in this state. This will help validate the sport and validate the players and let them play in front of their peers where they can, you know, see what volleyball is really all about.”

The sanction will also enable the team to have access to the gym to use for daily practice, as other sports teams do. Currently, the varsity team is limited to one day a week.

He also said this will give his players more opportunity and exposure to play at the collegiate level.

He credited the Wasatch County School District for supporting the move.

Last year, the board of UHSAA trustees denied the sanction request by two votes. Not all schools and districts support the move, Mossman explains, because it’ll require more logistics planning, such as for drivers and supervisors, during what’s already the busiest time of the year for schools.

In February, Mossman and players spoke to the school board about the March vote. There, the school board became the only one in Utah to pass a resolution in support of sanctioning.

“The kids need to feel like they’re a part of the high school, and it’s a big programm” said Kim Dickerson, school board member. “There’s a huge interest for it statewide, obviously, and so we were at 110% in support of this for the boys. Kids need activities that they can relate to and be a part of, so if this is what helps them, then absolutely.”

Ahead of the vote in favor, a change.org petition to sanction boys’ volleyball in Utah amassed 10,000 signatures. Utah Representative Norman Thurstan of District 64 joined the team at the UHSAA board meeting and spoke in favor of sponsoring.

Also recently, for the first time, a Utah team cracked the USA Today boys’ volleyball top 25 list. That team was Springville High School.

With only a handful of games left in this regular season, Mossman said the Wasps will face tougher competition as they seek their second state championship this year.

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