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First Boys Volleyball Team Finally Hits the Court

Boys volleyball program makes its debut this spring after years of waiting
By Henry Sartain Zander Killian

This spring, Liberty has officially added a new sport to the season: boys volleyball. After a long, and difficult process, the school was finally able to get the green light to officially coach our own school’s team.

Fort Zumwalt, Francis Howell, and other schools, have each had a boys volleyball team for years. Liberty had been trying to establish their own boys team for many years, trying to go to the board to make it an official sport. The board, however, could not permit it without the idea going through MSHSAA, the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

Wentzville had to go through many challenges to get this sport added. One major reason was that there needed to be a total number of 50 schools to support this idea. After many years of trying, the goal was finally reached and all requirements were filled. Now, not only Liberty, but the Wentzville District was given permission to coach boys volleyball.

Liberty’s Activities Director, Cary Eldredge, oversees every sport that is played at the school. Mr. Eldredge worked with the district to help establish the sport. He was tasked with finding a coach and changing the schedule for the boys to be able to play. Mr. Eldredge has hopes that boys volleyball will be as well known as our other sports.

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“I hope that this becomes one of our sports, just like every other sport that Liberty is known for,” Eldredge said.

Mr. Eldredge also wishes that boys volleyball will open another door for athletes of different sports. If their season is over, maybe they would want to try out for the boys team.

From Feb. 26 to March. 1, the first ever boys volleyball tryouts at Liberty took place. The coaches were examining which players would make the C, JV, and Varsity spots. During those days, the coaches and athletes were able to get a clear view on how the team was going to turn out to be as the season would continue to move forward.

The boys have been doing great. They have been working really hard. They’ve been spending time off the court to be prepared for today. They’re excited, I’m excited.

— Veronica Kirkpatrick

Head coach Kirkpatrick always wished for there to be a boys volleyball team at Liberty. She realized that when it comes to boys volleyball, there aren’t that many teams around us, and hopes that we will catch up. Kirkpatrick has already been teaching the girls’ varsity volleyball team, but hopes that by teaching the boys team that she can inspire them to become great players. Just three days into tryouts, Kirkpatrick was able to share some encouraging words about the players.

Brody Breen practices spiking with coach Kirkpatrick. (Caitlin McDonnell)

“The boys have been doing great. They have been working really hard. They’ve been spending time off the court to be prepared for today. They’re excited, I’m excited,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick hopes that this new addition to Liberty’s sports will give male players more of an opportunity to play sports, as well as to earn some potential scholarships for those who wish to continue playing after school. Overall, Kirkpatrick hopes that the boys will get a lot from this sport and is certain that they will do an incredible job when the season really takes off.

Mark Herkenhoff, the second boys’ volleyball coach, shares the same idea and views as Kirkpatrick. Herkenhoff also wishes that boys volleyball will bring something new, not just to Liberty, but to the players as well. 

Coach Herkenhoff was a part of the first ever boys team at his high school and college and is now excited to be teaching the first ever team at Liberty. He has shown enthusiasm towards the turnout of athletes for tryouts and has shown excitement about what this sport will provide them.

Along with boys volleyball, Liberty is proud to welcome the new assistant coach, Andrew Weddle. Coach Weddle currently works at Frontier Middle as a social studies teacher, but is excited to help teach this new group of players. This will be coach Weddle’s first ever time coaching a team, but when asked about how he feels, he gave us a positive and comfortable response.

“I’ve always played sports throughout my whole life. So coaching has been a great experience to pass down my love of volleyball on to kids who still love playing,” Weddle said.

The final boys volleyball coach is Danielle Althage, another teacher from Frontier. Along with coach Weddle, and the new athletes, Liberty wishes coach Althage good luck with the first ever season of boys volleyball.

Senior, Ryan Pettig, decided to try out for the boys volleyball team as a way to end his senior year. He was intrigued to hear that Liberty was getting its first ever team and decided to end his final year by being a part of a sport that has always been “interesting” to him.

Junior Logan Hinds sets up a ball to his teammates. (Caitlin McDonnell)

Junior, Logan Hinds, has always had a passion when it comes to volleyball. He started playing volleyball in 7th grade and after that moved on to club. For a long time he has been waiting for Liberty to get its first team, so that he could play in high school, and know the time has come. “I’m pretty confident just doing what I know I can do.” Hinds said. Hinds has shown some real comfort in this sport and seems ready for the season to get going.

Freshman Carlos Lopez-Campos is both new to the school and the sport. Campos decided to try out this sport as a way to begin his first year at Liberty. While he is one of the younger athletes, he is showing just as much confidence as the other juniors and seniors.

Liberty has been waiting for this sport to arrive, and now that it has, no one is wasting a single moment. The coaches are ready to see what this team will become and the players are ready to show everyone what they can do. Those of you who are interested in how the team will turn out should watch the first ever home game on Thursday, March 21.

This story was originally published on LHStoday on March 18, 2024.