Place Of Pride: Sibley East’s New Facilities 8/30/2017
ARLINGTON – Chip Wolverton used to have it so easy during volleyball season. The coach at Sibley East High School lives in Gaylord – which joins the communities of Arlington and Green Isle in the school district – and that’s where matches were played until this year.
Wolverton’s home is a block from the school in Gaylord, which was home to a small, old gym. A multi-million-dollar facility renovation included the construction of a new, spacious gym in Arlington, which means the coach now has to drive eight miles instead of walk one block.
He’ll take the tradeoff.
“It’s big. The gym is big,” he said before the Wolverines hosted Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop in the first event inside the new space Tuesday evening. “It’s been amazing these first couple weeks for practice. We have space.”
Space indeed. The Wolverines’ new home is bright and spacious, even though the walls are a bit spartan in these early days. There is no clock in the gym (other than the scoreboard) and when the teams and fans stood for the national anthem Tuesday, there was no flag on the wall. No problem: members of the Sibley East football team carried in a large flag, which they spread out and held in front of them; it covered much of the volleyball court.
Getting the gym ready for competition was important. A nearby commons area, office space and other sections of the new construction are works in progress, and school will start one week later than normal so finishing touches can be applied. It will be a showplace and point of pride.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said senior volleyball player Taylor Brinkman, who was talking about the gym but could have been speaking of the entire building.
The Wolverines opened the gym in high style, defeating G-F-W in a drama-filled five-set match. Sibley East won the first set 25-18 before the Thunderbirds took the second and third games, 25-15 and 25-22. After Sibley East won game four 25-22, the Wolverines ended the festivities with a 15-12 decision in the deciding set.
Afterwards, the Wolverines and their fellow students gathered together on the court for a photo, with index fingers held aloft.
“We were literally just hyped for like three weeks straight, getting ready to play,” said senior Morgan Stearns.
Wolverton, a sixth-grade teacher who also is an assistant girls basketball coach, joked that since he now has to drive rather than walk, “I have to be a little more organized. I can’t just run home to get something I forgot.”
--To see a photo gallery, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
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