Online Staff Report
Rockford Public Schools (RPS) will field boys’ varsity volleyball teams at all four of its high schools this year. RPS had two schools — Guilford and Jefferson — with intramural teams last year, and both announced last summer they will be IHSA-affiliated in 2014. Auburn and East have also announced they, too, will have IHSA teams when boys’ volleyball begins in March.
“We want to provide the best for all students,” said Mat Parker, director of Athletic Activities and Program Development for RPS. “We had a vision, and this is going to be a great sport for boys. This is another example of Rockford Public Schools accomplishing its goals.”
Boys’ volleyball has been an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) sport since 1991, but the nearly 200 teams that compete every year are from Chicago suburbs. After years of being dominated by teams like Wheaton Warrenville South and Orland Park Sandburg, boys’ volleyball is slowly moving west, with RPS leading the way. The district accounts for four of the five local schools that have IHSA boys’ volleyball in the spring. Lutheran is the fifth.
Under IHSA rules, volleyball teams are required to play six different teams during the season.
“This is such an exciting time for the sport of volleyball in the Rockford area,” said Jefferson Boys’ Volleyball Coach Derek Papich. “We knew that if we could just get a couple of teams started, the other schools would follow suit. Today, we celebrate with all four of our public schools having boys’ volleyball. This is going to be amazing, and I truly feel lucky to be a part of the excitement.”
Posted Nov. 13, 2013