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Optimism, refinished gymnasium big parts of Murray HS volleyball program

Jul 31, 2018 03:24PM ● Published by Carl Fauver

Murray High School volleyball players will see a completely different look from this one, after work crews complete the refinish on the school’s gymnasium floor. (Murray HS)

By Carl Fauver | carlf@mycityjournals.com

Murray High School volleyball team members will be selected following tryouts August 6-8. But as of press time, it wasn’t known exactly where those tryouts would be held, due to a massive refinishing project on the school’s gymnasium floor. 

“That old floor has not been changed in 15 years, back when I was still coaching girls’ basketball,” said Lisa White, now the co-athletic director at Murray High. “The work crews are replacing some of the wood that was damaged when a fire sprinkler went off three or four years ago, after being hit by a softball. The new gym floor will also have a completely different color scheme, with our new Spartan logo painted on center court.” 

Murray High School Principal Scott Wihongi added the school’s logo also had to be changed for legal reasons. The previous logo looked exactly like the one used by Michigan State University. 

“Due to copyright issues, we had to come up with the new logo,” Wihongi wrote in an email. “The new color scheme will include black borders, black (basketball) keys, with orange lettering and lines. The black will contrast better with the orange bleachers (which are not being changed or redone). The floor will also be much lighter, which will brighten the gym up.” 

The new Spartan-head logo was designed by school art teacher Eric Himle to commemorate Murray High School’s 100th anniversary, celebrated in the 2016-17 school year.    

Second year head volleyball coach Danielle Humphreys is as excited as everyone else that her team’s home floor will have a sparkly new look. But since hers is the first team that will make use of it, she just hopes it will be finished in time. 

“The work is supposed to be completed in time for our tryouts, August 6 to 8,” Humphreys said. “But the last time I spoke with our head custodian he said ‘Good luck with that.’ So we’ll see. If it’s not, we’ll hold tryouts in the auxiliary gym.” 

Like the floor they will be playing on – at some point –Humphreys believes this year’s volleyball team also has potential to provide fans with a sparkly new look. 

“We only lost two seniors off of last year’s varsity team and have a lot of strong talent coming back,” the coach said. “Three seniors I expect back are Abbie Hughes – who the girls elected as a team captain last year – along with Isis Beh and Emily Mears.” 

However, Humphreys does admit, the two graduated seniors were her most valuable players last year and are a big loss. Charity Brower fielded volleyball scholarships before choosing, instead, to attend Utah Valley University on a track scholarship. And the coach said, “Cassidy Ross could have also received a volleyball scholarship, but chose to attend Southern Utah University on an academic scholarship instead.”  

Prior to being named head volleyball coach a season ago, Humphreys was an assistant in the program while Cheryl Jones was the head coach. When the school reshuffled things, Humphreys moved up to the varsity team, while coach Jones remained with the program, taking over as head coach of the freshman team. She returns to that roll again this fall. 

“Since our freshmen don’t actually attend our school yet, they play matches once a week in a separate league,” Humphreys explained. “Coach Jones does a great job preparing them to move up to the next level.”

Once the new teams are selected – varsity, JV, sophomore and freshman teams – the girls will participate in a four-day volleyball “camp,” leading up to their annual appearance in a Skyline High School pre-season tournament, August 17 and 18. The Spartans first home match, on that new floor, is August 21, hosting Maple Mountain. 

After placing sixth in state in 2015, the Murray girls are 0-4 in state tournament matches over the past two years. But coach Humphreys is confident they can reverse that trend this season. 

“We should place in state this year,” she predicted. “And the region championship race should be between Skyline, West and us."

 

 

 

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