Silverwolves Volleyball Wins State ChampionshipJul 13, 2016 09:37AM ● By Greg James
The Silverwolves gather together after going undefeated in the 2016 boys state championship. –April Parady
By Greg James | [email protected]
Last fall a dedicated group of volleyball coaches and supporters started the Utah Boys Volleyball Association. In that time the UBVA organized its first sanctioned boys volleyball state championship. On May 15 Riverton earned a victory in that state championship.
“We had a unique group of guys this season,” Riverton head coach Mike Rogers said. “They were all willing to come to practice and work to get better every single time. We had a lot of success early in the season, and that painted a huge target on our backs. Our opponents always wanted to play their best against us. This group was made up of high-caliber kids.”
The state tournament was made up of 16 teams. The tournament featured the top six teams from Utah and Salt Lake Counties and the top four teams from Davis County. Riverton entered the tournament as the second seed. In the pre-tourney pool play, the team defeated Northridge, Skyline and Wasatch to advance to the final day.
Outside hitter Tristan Penrod earned tournament most valuable player honors.
“Tristan is from Southern California,” Rogers said. “He has been playing a little longer than some of the others. He was certainly a model of consistency for us.”
They defeated Bingham in three sets for the finals victory. Riverton won the first game 25-23, Bingham managed to win the second 25-17, and Riverton took over to pull out the win in the third and final set, 15-8. It was a repeat performance of the Salt Lake County finals the week before.
“That was gruesome for us; they beat us just like they did in the county tournament,” UBVA Director and Bingham head coach Jill Davis said. “It was a fun finish. Our kids relished in how much fun they had playing and how great the volleyball was.”
Silverwolves setter Brayden Penrod and outside hitter Trevor Sampson were named first team all-state.
“Trevor was the team’s only senior,” Rogers said. “He started out the tournament slower than he expected, but the second day he was unstoppable. Brayden was like our team’s quarterback. When things were not going well we looked to him to get us back on track. He made great choices.”
Boys volleyball is not currently sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association. Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties have each held its own versions of state tournaments for many years. The UBVA organized the county programs and centralized the control of boys volleyball. Games began in March and continued through April. The high school league is created around school boundaries; athletes should play for the school they attend or one approved by the UBVA.
“Title nine laws that passed in the ’70s really killed boys volleyball in this state,” Davis said. “The sport has struggled; in places like California it is alive and well. It was hard for me to find a place for my sons to play. For us BYU fans, we know we live in the shadow of one of the best men’s teams in the country, and people here still think that boys don’t play volleyball.”
Since the organization of the UBVA in the fall of 2015 the number of teams is growing. As an example the Bingham boys volleyball program grew to five teams this season. The Gold division team played at the top level. They also offered a developmental team for players with lower skill level.
The Riverton team is made up of Tanner Wright, Brayden Parady, Nick Bergstrom, Tristan Penrod, Trevor Sampson, Zane Minnick, Bennet Moody, Rilley Wooden and Parker Fillmore.