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When the 13th grade was scrapped in 2003, speculation grew at the time that the fate of the Novice, or Dwarf as it was then known, age group would soon be sealed soon after.

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This was considered a disgrace at the time, especially since men’s basketball made its debut in this age group around 1961 (the others closer to the late 1980s or early 90s ).

It’s a lot of history to turn your back on, after all.

And while three of the four team sports have taken the path of no return very slowly, including the novice boys’ basketball loop mentioned above, one stands out as opposing firmly to this trend, perhaps even in the opposite direction.

Cue girls volleyball.

The 2022-23 roster of teams in the sport exceeds or equals their junior and senior counterparts with a grand total of 10.

When you consider that the sum total of the schools within the SDSSAA is 18, 10 novice teams in any sport should be considered a victory in itself, even before the first whistle blows.

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And 10 novice teams in 2022-23? This might be seen in some circles as a minor miracle, considering that five years of high school were cut to four some twenty years ago now.

So why is novice women’s volleyball an outlier in the trend towards the graveyard of novice team sports?

Good question, but I think the answer lies mainly in the school’s efforts to engage new high school students, most of whom tend to be shy and hesitant at this tender age, to get involved in school activities and to get the most out of their school. years.

The success of this endeavor, for this league at least, is evident.

The numbers don’t lie.

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The NOSSA Fall Team Sports Championships are scheduled for this week and, in a strange twist of fate, none will be hosted locally this season. A total of 14 SDSSAA teams will be competing for NOSSA gear at this event and you can view schedule details on the NOSSA website at

When one season ends, another begins. SDSSAA women’s volleyball and men’s basketball coaches met this week to develop a season schedule, which begins Wednesday and Thursday next week.

Dave Makela is the athletic administrator for the Sudbury District High Schools Athletic Association. His columns air weekly during the high school sports season.