SportsEvents Magazine

NOV 2017

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November 2017 32 t SPORT Report operations and not exhaust their resources to run it, unlike other junior colleges across the country," said Linsy Hoosier, opera- tions coordinator for the Rochester sports commission. "In addition, our city supports the event by providing an operations sub- sidy so that we can focus on improving the athlete experience every year. Our hoteliers have proven greatly beneficial with the success of hosting the championship by providing the teams with an exceptional experience as soon as they arrive." Hutchinson, Kan., is serving as the first-time host for the NJCAA's Division I Women's Volleyball Championship. The city has hosted the Division I Men's Basketball Championship for the last 70 years and it's the success of that event— combined with a $30 million renovation to Hutchinson Sports Arena—that helped the city get the bid. "Hutchinson is very passionate about NJCAA and we're excited about what that community can do for vol- leyball," said Krug. "I know they will rally around it like they have with basketball." Though volleyball is growing organically around the country, USA Volleyball is still doing all it can to continue to grow the sport. To help school-aged kids learn more about the sport, the organization started STEM (science/technology/engineering/ math), a program that helps middle and elemen- tary schools get 18 volley- balls, a radar gun and long "net" system. "Most school gyms have one volleyball and a net, and because of that, kids have to play 10-on-10 games and most kids just stand and watch the ball fly around and never get to touch it," Kessel said. "With STEM, the schools can get this kit and end up with enough volleyballs and a ribbon that looks like the top of the net that can run about the length of the gym so kids can play doubles or triples, which lets them learn the beauty of doubles volleyball. It gets the sport on the kids' level and lets them enjoy it more." USA Volleyball hopes to grow all disciplines of the sport, especially sitting volleyball. The United States Women's Sitting Volleyball Team won gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games and, building off that success, the organization created a unique cash tournament to raise awareness of the fast-paced game: the 2-on-2 Narrow Court Sitting Volleyball Cash Tournament. The tournament is open to both athletes with disabilities and able-bodied athletes. "We are constantly working to grow the sport and create new opportunities for more people to play, and because of that, we created this tournament," said Elliott Blake, manager of sitting volleyball for USA Volleyball. "Sitting volleyball is just as much fun as indoor volleyball and that's what we are hoping to illustrate with the tournament." Essentially, the tournament creates a very narrow court, which is already much smaller for sitting volleyball than courts for indoor volleyball, to extend the play. The first annual tournament was held last year in Tulsa, Okla., and the response was so positive that this year plans are to host tour- naments in four locations across the coun- try. "Sitting volleyball is another example of how volleyball brings together people of all ages, sizes and abilities," said Kessel. "Volleyball is unique in that way. You can play with different numbers of players on teams, you can play just women, just men or co-ed. It can be played by disabled and able-bodied people. No other sport offers the opportunities to play like volleyball." n NJCAA/Bob Bird FIVB Nick Lucena Digs vs. Brazil in Gold Medal Match NJCAA Championship

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