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With youth and small roster, Mitchell Christian volleyball won't field a varsity team in 2022

Coach Cara VanZee described the program's plans as having a "gap year" in 2022.

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MITCHELL — Mitchell Christian School will not field a varsity volleyball team in 2022, according to head coach Cara VanZee.

In 2021, the Golden Eagles had only 13 participants in volleyball in grades 7-12, which included three graduating seniors. In an email to the Mitchell Republic, VanZee described the program's plans as having a "gap year" in 2022.

"As we have a young team, ... we only will be doing a junior high/junior varsity schedule this year," she said, noting the team only had one returning letterwinner set to come back in 2022.

Mitchell Christian finished with a 2-19 record in 2021. In the last four seasons of high school volleyball, the Golden Eagles have been 19-64 in varsity matches.

As a school, Mitchell Christian is the fifth smallest participating school in the South Dakota High School Activities Association's 180-school membership, with an average daily membership of 22 students (based on students in grades 9-11). Of those 22 students, 10 are females.

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MCS is the second-smallest among SDHSAA schools that regularly field varsity athletic programs on their own (without a cooperative), with only Sunshine Bible Academy in rural Miller holding a smaller ADM (nine total students).

Without volleyball, cross country will be Mitchell Christian's only fall high school sport that it sponsors on its own. MCS students that want to play football co-op with Mitchell High School and compete with the Kernels.

Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at bhull@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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