After much anticipation, this coming spring Los Altos will add a boys volleyball team to the season roster. Spearheaded by senior Alex Blackburn, this team has been in the works for three years. In the past, roadblocks such as gym space, lack of interest and low funds have prevented its possibility. During his final year in high school, however, Alex was determined to add boys volleyball to Los Altos athletics.
“It’s been a long time,” Alex said. “But it’s finally happening.”
In order to begin a new sports team one must first get approval and charter a club for their team through ASB. Alex confirmed his charter in early September and now is focused on the future of the team. Although the club is official, the team will not be official until they gather the remaining half of the nine thousand dollars they need. The first half of the funds have been obtained through donations from athletes who have committed to play on the team.
“We need to get nine thousand dollars in order to officially have the team,” Alex said in early September. “So basically I have about half the money and I still need the other half…So we won’t have an official team for another two or three weeks.”
Los Altos High School parent and volleyball team supporter Elizabeth McDermott said funding is an essential part of creating a new team. For the first year the team must be funded solely by parent and community donations.
“We have to prove that we are sustainable, that we can do this on our own and that there is enough interest,” McDermott said. “Then boosters will help us along.”
Although funding for the team is still in the works, many of the roadblocks that were in the way previously have been overcome. For one, Athletic Director Kim Cave has found a slot of practice time in the large gym after the badminton team finishes their practice. Alex said that depending on the availability of gym space, preseason practices will begin in the middle of January. Furthermore, the team is lucky in the fact that it does not have to fundraise for basic equipment.
“Part of the benefit is that most of the equipment is already there,” McDermott said. “We will need to help improve it and replace it, but right now the women’s volleyball has everything that we need.”
The team will, however, need to provide funds for balls, uniforms and the coach’s salary. McDermott says they plan to do this through hosting tournaments, working at fundraising events and gathering donations.
Interest has also spiked. Senior John Dai said that at a meeting for the team last spring there were 13 students last year who were fully committed to playing. These students include those who play competitively on club teams, as John does, and also those who have not played volleyball but that are highly athletic and interested in the game. Both John and Alex will play key roles on the team as seniors and as seasoned club players.
“I first started playing volleyball in middle school,” John said. “I found out about [club volleyball] in sophomore year, so this will be my third year playing. I think I’ve improved a lot playing club. It’s great experience.”
Freshman Nathan Smith, another club player, will also join the team. Due to the short amount of gym time and number of students interested there will be no JV team, only varsity. Depending on the turnout at try outs the team may or may not be cut. McDermott said that if interest in the team continues to grow and there is gym space available, there is a potential for the creation of a JV team in the coming years.
Despite the enormous success and momentum of the team, they are lacking one key element: a coach. Recruiting for a coach, said Alex and McDermott, will begin this fall and involve Cave and Principal Wynne Satterwhite. However, no search is taking place at the moment.
It’s clear that all members of the effort are enthusiastic about the new team’s potential. They are aware that despite the effort it has taken to get the club and team started, the job doesn’t end here.
“I’m pretty excited,” John said. “I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of work though.”