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updated: 3/16/2011 3:45 PM

Grant High School could add boys volleyball, girls golf

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Grant High School could add girls golf and boys volleyball to its athletic portfolio in the 2011-12 school year, officials said.

District 124 Superintendent John Benedetti said the school board will discuss the measure Thursday. It would mark the second time in 17 years Grant has added a sport, after bass fishing was added about five years ago, Benedetti said.

"We selected those sports after school surveys showed there was strong interest among the student population," he said. "Also, because we currently have the sport here at either the boys or girls level, we can utilize the same equipment, which helps keep the cost down."

Grant currently has girls volleyball and boys golf as sports, he said.

If the school board approves the additions, the two teams will play at club level in 2011-12, and join the North Suburban Conference in 2012-13, Benedetti said.

"So, next year, we would have to find nonconference games for athletes in both sports to play for the first year," he said.

District 124 conducted the student survey in 2010, and identified six sports that ranked high in interest. He said boys bowling, girls gymnastics, and boys and girls lacrosse also finished high on that survey.

Officials followed with a more comprehensive student survey to determine which sports scored highest in sustainability and popularity.

"We wanted to make sure whatever we chose would be sustainable and last for the long haul," he said. "The worst thing would be to add a sport, then have to fold the program because student interest was not high enough."

Girls golf and boys volleyball rated the highest on the list, he added.

Grant is one of three schools in the North Suburban Conference that does not have boys volleyball, Benedetti said, while six or seven schools offer girls golf.

Sports that were left off the list -- especially boys bowling and girls gymnastics -- will be reviewed in the future to determine if they should be included, Benedetti said.

"Boys bowling and girls gymnastics are really popular around here and will probably be discussed at length in the future," he said. "I'm really interested to see the level of competition that is out there in boys volleyball and girls golf, and whether our athletes will be able to come in right away and be able to compete."