The largest of the Northeastern Texas High Schools, Allen High School, has really made a name for itself. The school stats are impressive with rankings at 142nd for Texas High Schools and 1391st nationally for public schools. They have the largest marching band in the nation. Now they have a new set of stat to include, the Men’s Volleyball Team championships.
Student enrollment has been steadily on the rise and sits at just over 5100 students. Allen itself has seen a population boom but both city and high school are rising to the challenge. The Advanced Placement participation rate is impressive 53% and there are astounding numbers of activities, clubs, and sports for students. Students can join clubs like the A-Team Robotics Club, the Junior World Affairs Council or the Orchestra.
Strike Up the Band
Allen High School has a band. This isn’t your average band. This is the largest marching band in the United States. It’s also the (unofficially) largest high school marching band in the world!
When a band invited to play in the Rose Parade, it’s a very big honor and in 2015, that’s exactly what the over 700 members did. Getting them there was no easy feat. They needed 8 flights and 15 buses with the cost totaling over a million dollars.
The students held car washes and sold mattresses to raise the money, and also got corporate sponsorships. It’s quite the production. This band, though, is used to putting on big shows every week in the country’s largest high school football stadium.
The trip was an experience of a lifetime for them, and that’s exactly what school is supposed to be about, learning and experiencing. Allen High School students do this one a grand scale. Below is a video of them in action:
The sports teams, as well, have been making a name for themselves.
Among them is the Men’s Volleyball Team. Usually, volleyball is a female-dominated sport, however, these men have created a name of their own.
Don’t Call It a Comeback
Call it a 3-Peat! It’s a back to back to back win for these talented men as the Eagles have dominated the sport in and won the championship again on May 15th.
They have an impressive recruiting video too! Talented new players are needed every year as senior players graduate and move on to college level sports.
Allen’s school newspaper publication, the ‘Eagle Angle’, wrote about the team last year:
The men’s volleyball team was started by a group of students in the 2015-2016 school year who asked Stevie Mayberry, the then, architecture teacher, to sponsor their club.
“The guys on the team the first year were a group of friends who really wanted to do it as an independent study project,” Mayberry said. “Then, last year after getting third [in the state tournament], we [thought] ‘hey, we can do better than this.’”
“It’s kind of weird because, here in Texas, it’s mainly football [that is popular] and not a lot of people know about men’s volleyball,” Guffey said.
According to junior Noah Brown, the men’s volleyball club has a diverse range of skill sets and levels of experience, but it still a fun and competitive club.
“It’s inclusive, anybody can join and everybody is welcome,” senior Justin Guffey said. “Even if you don’t know anything about volleyball, we will teach you, and we will get you to where you need to be.”
When preparing for tough games, the coaches take the time to help the players learn the techniques and improve at the sport, which they believe results in wins for the team.
“We just kind of gradually edge our way into it,” Mayberry said. “We want to get the kids to learn the fundamentals, learn the techniques, and learn the skills so they can be good at what they do.”
During the 2017 season, the team overcame their loss in the semi-finals the previous year to win the state championship against Prosper, which was a dream come true for both the players and coaches. This win was not only important to the players but also important to the group of friends who started the club, not knowing how successful it would become.
“It felt great because we had all the seniors from the year before watching us,” Brown said. “It felt good continuing what they started.”
The group displays a special bond that has allowed them to communicate effectively on the court, a skill that is crucial to play volleyball.
“Everyone is there to support each other, and whenever you win, it’s a win for everybody,” Guffey said.
Despite being a team that welcomes everyone from beginners to experienced athletes, the men’s volleyball club is able to maintain a competitive environment in practices and games.
“My favorite thing [is] the competition [and] playing against other good players,” Brown said.
Going into the next season, the team is ready for the competition and is shooting for their second state title.
“[We have a] target on our backs because Prosper has been the bridesmaid two years in a row,” Mayberry said. “For us to go from third, past them to first, they really really want [to beat us.]”
What Does the Future Hold for the Team?
It’s true that men’s volleyball isn’t as popular as girl’s volleyball..for now. The Eagles, however, are well on their way to becoming the champs to change all that. Each year with each win, their accomplishments shine a brighter light on and bring new focus to these talented men making a name for themselves on the volleyball court.
You can follow the Men’s Volleyball on Twitter
Want to follow the band? Here the Facebook page for the Allen Eagle Escadrilles
References: https://www.allenisd.org/site/Default.aspx?PageType=1&SiteID=1654&ChannelID=1985&DirectoryType=6 https://www.allenisd.org/site/Default.aspx?PageType=1&SiteID=1654&ChannelID=1985&DirectoryType=6 https://www.niche.com/k12/search/largest-public-high-schools/s/texas/ https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/texas/districts/allen-independent-school-district/allen-high-school-18562