D 49 boys volleyball team photo April 2023
El Paso County Colorado District 49

A new team in town

By Deb Risden

New this spring in the El Paso County Colorado School District 49 sports lineup is boys volleyball. Three years ago, the sport was sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association, and the district began the process of building a team.

Jared Welch, athletic director at Sand Creek High School, said boys volleyball has been played in the district only as a club sport until now. Players from five D 49 schools have come together to form one D 49 team. “A concern is always being able to sustain a sport,” Welch said. “If each high school has their own, would we have the numbers to sustain year to year? So we started as a D 49 team to see what kind of interest we are going to have and then build from this year.” The team’s home court is SCHS; the volleyball team is also called the Scorpions and will wear SCHS colors. Welch said the plan is to remain as one team in the district for at least the next two years. 

The district is starting its first season with 11 varsity and 18 junior varsity players. Varsity Coach Jada Crook said she has only two seniors on the varsity team and many of the players have been playing together in club sports since they were freshmen. The team has two players nationally ranked through club team competition: Evan Brownsberger, junior, starting center; and Joseph Tran, sophomore, starting right side.

“The biggest challenge in having a new team is getting them to play cohesively as a team,” Crook said. “Volleyball is a team sport where you have to work together or it’s not going to work. They are learning to trust their teammates to do what they are supposed to do, and everybody pulls their weight so we can be successful.” 

Participation in club volleyball has helped many of the players develop a high level of skill coming into the new team. “These players are awesome. They are natural athletes. Once I teach them the technique, they can do the rest,” Crook said. “They are strong and fast. It makes the games more intense and they are able to compete at a higher level, even though some players don’t have a lot of volleyball experience.” 

The team will play about 25 games, with playoffs winding up the season in early May. Crook said she has every intention of taking the team to playoffs in their first year.

D 49 boys volleyball team photo April 2023

Caption: Players from five schools in District 49 have come together to form one volleyball team, the first for the district: Sand Creek High School, Vista Ridge High School, Banning Lewis Academy, Power Technical Early College and Springs Studio for Academic Excellence.

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