The Colorado High School Activities Association has voted to sanction a trio of new sports.

According to The Gazette, the CHSAA has agreed to accredit boys’ volleyball, girls’ wrestling and unified bowling.

The fight to garner accreditation for boys’ volleyball has been a long time in the works. The 26-year battle came to an end with the vote.

“There’s a lot of relief throughout the program,” said Mike Prusinowski, the athletic director at James Irwin High School and the president of the Colorado Boys’ High School Volleyball Association. “It’s been a long road presenting to all of the different committees but we’ve already seen about a 33 percent growth from last year.” 

The three sports are the first new sports added to Colorado high schools since lacrosse was added back in 1998.

“The whole purpose of the (CBHSVA) was to see today happen and to give kids as many opportunities as we can,” Prusinowski said. “With all three of the new programs, volleyball, unified bowling and girls’ wrestling, we are doing that. The representatives from the three groups are excited to see all the work come together.”

The Gazette reports that sports had to gain approval from the Classification, League Organization and Appeals Committee, the Equity Committee, the Sports Medicine Committee, and the board of directors. The committee’s approvals allowed for a legislative council vote on new membership.

Each sport also had to complete a pilot program. The 2019 season marked the fourth time boys’ volleyball had submitted for accreditation. In 2018 there were 60 boys’ volleyball teams from 40 high schools competing, with more than 700 athletes. Since the pilot program was approved, the state added 20 more teams with 80 in competition and more than 1,000 athletes in 2019.

“We’re hoping to set the season up a bit more like the girls to give the boys a look at what it’s going to be like under CHSAA,” Prusinowski said. “I have heard from athletic directors that have said they would get in if it is approved, so we are expecting new schools to get involved next year to get ready for first CHSAA season.”

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.