Chesterton Tribune



Whitlow recognizes CHS boys volleyball before Town Council

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Credit where credit is due: The CHS boys volleyball team--the IBVCA state champ--appears before the Chesterton Town Council at its meeting Monday night. From left to right: Andrew Balon, Kyle Van Eekeren, Dominic Raffin, Sam Tilden, Evan Ruffner, Kai Cromwell, Jack Roach, Adam Whitlow, and Max Dille. Members of the team not pictured: Emilier DeJesus, Jared Gallina, Jake Weber, and Alex McGowan.                                                               (Tribune photo 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.

The team’s 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.

And--according to 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.

Whitlow appeared 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 does not.”

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 recognized too.”

Whitlow concluded 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 CHS.”

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.”



Posted 4/28/2015





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