CEDAR RAPIDS — Enrollment numbers would indicate that Stanton High School is dying.
Participation numbers would offer a voice of dissension.
Twenty-eight girls — more than half of the female student body — are involved in volleyball at the tiny school in Southwest Iowa. Stanton qualified for the state tournament for the second straight year.
“It’s been this way for quite some time,” said Don Hicks, the school’s athletics director. “Volleyball is a very popular sport at Stanton. It’s gone back two or three coaches,”
Stanton’s enrollment is “about 85 to 90″ in grades 9-12, Hicks said. That includes about 50 girls. Twenty-five are volleyball players, three are volleyball managers.
“The girls really like to work together, and we have a lot of fun,” said sophomore Carmen Subbert, who led the Viqueens with 11 kills in Thursday’s three-set loss to Boyden-Hull in a Class 1A quarterfinal.
“We start off young. The elementary school coaches work with us, and it’s all paying off.”
The Viqueens have become the Corner Conference giant, so to speak. They’ve won the conference tournament eight consecutive years.
“We really have a great time,” said Stanton Coach J Browning (her first initial is short for Jessica). “It’s great that the girls get to be a part of something like this.”
Many small schools are fortunate to field a varsity team. Stanton has three (varsity, JV and freshman).
“It’s a really proud tradition,” Hicks said. “We’re a one-town school, and there aren’t many of those any more. Schools like this are very tight-knit.”
There is talk of a whole-grade sharing agreement with nearby Villisca.
Merger or not, the participation numbers don’t figure to drop any time soon. The team featured only one senior player (libero Paige Peterson) and three senior managers.
Why Saint Louis? Here’s why
Megan Gilbert hears it all the time.
Why Saint Louis Universitry?
“People ask me why I’m going there, why I’m staying close to home,” said Gilbert, who has led Tripoli to three consecutive 1A state championships and chasing her fourth title this weekend.
“I love it there. It’s perfect. I love the team, the coaches, the academics.”
Saint Louis (13-10) is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. There is nothing mid-major about Gilbert’s game. She collected 27 kills and posted a .658 kill efficiency as Tripoli routed Woodward-Granger in Thursday’s quarterfinal.
A 6-foot middle hitter, Gilbert ranks second in the state at 5.49 kills per game and enjoys a .459 kill efficiency.
The Panthers face Boyden-Hull in a semifinal Friday.