Pioneer Spirit: Boys Volleyball

School News
April 2, 2018- Some of them come from backgrounds in competitive skiing. Others are soccer and basketball players. There’s a go-kart racer, the captain of the VMS golf team, and even a handful of students who hail from high schools that normally play against VMS. They are a mixed bag, the VMS boys volleyball club; a team as motley as they are bent on dominating the ball court. A task they’re undertaking with tenacious lightheartedness.

The club, which is currently classified as a pilot program by the Colorado High School Acativities Association (CHSAA), burst out of a volleyball void in Colorado – not a single high school boys volleyball team existed, not just in Eagle County, but in the entirety of the Western Slope. It was a niche Whitney Armistead noticed during the volleyball season last year.

“We had a very strong following of boys that kept coming to the girls volleyball games,” explained Armistead, coach of the VMS girls volleyball team, and new boys volleyball club. “They would stay after and play and hang out… So, I took all of these boys and got them into a club program last spring.”

That club, in its infancy, was just a chance for the boys who participated to get PE credit, says Lisa Isom, the athletic director at VMS. But, she said, the response was so strong, and the players, so motivated, that it quickly became apparent: there was a serious need for boys volleyball in the Vail Valley, that wasn’t being fulfilled.

So, VMS stepped up to the proverbial service line, and put together a team that’s giving the game some fresh pizzazz.

“They are the most fun people I have ever worked with,” Armistead admitted, with a chuckle. “They don’t take themselves too seriously, they work really hard, but they really enjoy everything that they do.”

Their cheers are unique, their style is quirky, and their carefree eccentricity bleeds into all that they do. They’ll sometimes play ball in outrageous volleyball shorts, or show up on game day clad head to toe in white, which inspired the team photo above.

“It just kind of lightens the mood since they are learning this sport basically from scratch,” notes Armistead. “It’s helping them maintain the fun, while they’re working hard to accomplish this goal.”

That goal, goes beyond their next tournament on April 7th, and even beyond this Spring season. The team is aiming to achieve their full-fledged CHSAA status by next year, says Isom. They want to establish themselves as the first legitimate boys volleyball team, this side of the Continental Divide. And there’s nothing stopping them. Their path gets clearer with every passing game, and success seems more like a matter of when than if.

This story was contributed by freelance writer, Will Brendza.