Boys high school volleyball growing in popularity, hopes to become sanctioned sport

February 12, 2019 07:01 PM

The Minnesota State High School League is considering adding boys volleyball to its list of different sports and activities.

Tuesday was the first opportunity for those in support of boys volleyball to speak to the league about it, and the growth it has achieved as a high school club sport in just one year.


What started with 400 boys at 22 schools last year playing boys club volleyball has grown to roughly 1,000 boys and 51 schools registering this spring season.

"That's what we are hearing. When can we start again, when do we get going again and we're excited about it," said Krista Flemming, who helped coach the boy's club team at Shakopee last year.

Boys volleyball is growing in popularity not just here in Minnesota but around the country. High school boys volleyball is recognized as an official sport in the 22 different states highlighted in red on the map below. According to the National Federation of High School Associations, participation in boys volleyball increased by 3,767 students nationwide last school year compared to the previous year.

"There are kids coming out of the woodwork that are not necessarily track and baseball, tennis and golf [athletes]," added Jenny Kilkelly, President of the Minnesota Boys Volleyball Association.

Of last year's club players, Kilkelly said 80 percent had not played a spring sport or hadn't found the right one.

"That means last spring they weren't sitting on their phones or looking at their screens, and they were in a gym connected to their school doing an activity," she said. 

Russ Reetz is the Prior Lake High School Activities Director, where interest in boys volleyball is high.

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He wants to keep the boys volleyball discussions going but also acknowledged what is likely its biggest hurdle in becoming a sanctioned sport.

"There are some facility concerns from a lot of activities director's across the state. With a spring sport, it's really hard with indoor gym use," Reetz said. 

Hurdles accepted, this group says it will keep fighting for student opportunities.

"We are always hopeful and will continue to work at it and regardless of where we are, we want boys to play volleyball and we see that need is there," said Flemming.

The second season for boys high school club volleyball is set to begin soon, with a state tournament scheduled for May.

The process to become a sanctioned sport by the MSHSL can take a long time, but it will again be a topic of discussion next month where it could take another step forward.

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Jessica Miles

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