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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Men’s recreational volleyball team sees rise in interest following pandemic restrictions

There has been a rise in interest in men’s volleyball teams around the country, and it has reached Wichita State within the last four years as they began to rebuild the recreational team on campus following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), boys’ volleyball has been the second fastest-growing sport since 2012. This acclimation of interest has poured over into the university scene. Although there are 57 universities that have NCAA men’s volleyball teams, Wichita State is not one of them. 

The men’s recreational team on campus was established in the fall of 2020 with interest from students at the time. Teams initially were co-ed, but this year the women’s club team got their own president, Morgan Zimmerman. 

Wesley Horner, president of the men’s rec team, said there are multiple reasons why men’s volleyball has been on a rise; he pointed to popular anime “Haikyuu!!” which follows a team of men’s high school volleyball players.

“I think there’s also just a lot more opportunities to play volleyball,” Horner said. “It’s more televised sometimes; there’s a lot more social media.” 

At its start, the team had eight players and rose to around 12 by the spring semester of 2021. Horner has been playing since its creation, and when he became president in the summer of 2021, he began advertising more for the club. 

“We had our open gyms (fall of 2021), and we got a bunch of interest and made an Instagram; we made the Facebook accounts all the social medias,” Horner said. “I think we got two men’s teams set up by the end of the fall and one women’s team because we just combined it all because there was no women’s club, and girls were interested as well.”

Following this, the club joined the Midwest Plains Volleyball Conference as a part of the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF). This federation is a non-profit whose goal is to “promote health, education and leadership for male and female collegiate club volleyball student athletes.”

The national tournament for the NCVF will be held in Kansas City this year; Horner described the atmosphere as similar to NCAA tournaments.

“When you get into that scene, you realize how big it actually can be and how there’s opportunities out there to play high-level volleyball,” Horner said. “There’s some of these club teams that would give Division I teams a run for their money.” 

Tryouts for the men’s team took place early in the fall, and there are currently 20 players rostered that float between two teams. One of the team’s main recruitment strategies are open gyms, which take place in Heskett Center.

One area of concern for the team is funding. The Student Government Association allots a budget that is split between all sports clubs offered by campus recreation.

“It’s really unfortunate that since I’ve been here, we’ve expanded the amount of sport clubs we have but our budget hasn’t gotten any bigger,” Trent Koehler, coordinator of sports programs for campus recreation, said.

The men’s volleyball team holds fundraising events, takes donations, and provides concessions to earn money. The team is currently doing a Krispy Kreme “Digital Dozen” fundraiser. 

For $13, a certificate for a dozen glazed donuts can be purchased through their Venmo @zrod26 or with cash. The certificate will be sent through email, and 50% of the purchase will go to the club. 

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About the Contributors
Jennifer Anima
Jennifer Anima, Reporter
Jennifer Anima is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower. Before joining staff, she served as editor-in-chief at the Butler Lantern, the student newspaper for Butler Community College. Anima uses she/her pronouns.
Mia Hennen
Mia Hennen, Editor in Chief
Mia Hennen is the current editor in chief for The Sunflower. Before becoming editor, Hennen was the news/managing editor. They are a junior at Wichita State majoring in English and minoring in communications and Spanish, hoping to pursue any career involving writing or editing.

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