By KEVIN NEVERS
It took the
Chesterton High School boys volleyball team only four years, after it was
founded, to achieve the pinnacle of competition in the State of Indiana.
first-year record: 3-12.
In their second
year, the boys went 10-10 and made it to the regional final.
They went 15-7 in
their third year and advanced all the way to the state quarter-final.
And then this year:
the state championship, a nice finish to a 19-7 season.
Every senior on the
team--coached by Craig Cromwell--has been recruited to play volleyball in
college, including his son, Kai, who’ll be attending Lewis University in
Romeoville, Ill., to play on its team, ranked No. 1 in the country.
Here’s the problem:
boys volleyball is not technically a varsity sport in the State of Indiana,
it’s not sanctioned by the IHSAA, and so at CHS it’s a club sport.
Rich Whitlow, father of another member of the team, Adam--boys volleyball is
getting the high hat from the CHS administration precisely because its a
club sport, not a varsity sport.
before the Chesterton Town Council at its meeting Monday night, hoping to
get the boys some atta-boys. “I’m here,” Whitlow noted, “because the
Chesterton Town Council has open public comment. The Duneland School Board
Whitlow noted that
the team competes not just in Indiana but in Chicago, St. Louis. “We show up
undersized and we have to work harder than anyone else,” he said.
So when the team
won the Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association state championship in
2014, it was, and is, a big deal. “This is the first time Chesterton has
ever won a state championship in a bat or ball sport,” Whitlow said.
“And (CHS Athletic
Director) Gary Nallenweg won’t recognize them and it pisses me off,” Whitlow
added. “They won’t recognize these kids, so I’m going to do it. (Coach)
Craig (Cromwell) is putting Chesterton on the map and I think he needs to be
his comments by presenting Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias with a
volleyball signed by the boys “because,” as Whitlow observed, “we can
practice at Dogwood Park whenever we want but only get two days a week at
Cromwell told the
Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that the IHSAA will not sanction
boys volleyball as a varsity sport until at least 55 high schools in Indiana
field a team. At the moment there are around 35, he said. And at such time
as another 20 high schools do field a team, Title IX will require the
schools to establish another girls varsity sport as well.
The problem with
getting boys interested in volleyball appears to be this, Cromwell said: it
has the reputation--inasmuch as girls play it--of being a less than athletic
sport, which is offensive in all sorts of ways besides just being wrong.
“Volleyball is a very demanding physical and athletic sport.”