Demopolis volleyball receives grant

The Demopolis High School volleyball program learned Thursday that it is the Class 5A recipient of the 2013 Wilson Volleyball Grant.

“I was very surprised. (DHS principal) Dr. Tony Speegle was the one who encouraged us to apply for it and since there are so many 5A schools out there, I knew we deserved it, but I didn’t know that we would be recognized,” Demopolis High volleyball coach Blythe Smith said. “It’s a blessing. I’m very thankful to Dr. Speegle that he encouraged us to apply for it.”

The Alabama High Schools Athletic Association offers the grant in conjunction with Wilson Sporting Goods, an initiative that has handed out more than $39,000 worth of equipment since 1994.

The grants total $3,000 annually with $500 in equipment going to one school from each AHSAA classification. Each recipient program gets volleyballs and a ball cart from Wilson Sporting Goods.

“These grants have been very important in helping some of our member schools develop volleyball programs for their student-athletes,” said Wanda Gilliland, AHSAA Assistant Director. “We can’t thank Wilson enough for their dedication to helping the game of volleyball in our state and for all that they do for our member schools.”

Thursday’s news marked the first time Demopolis has received the grant.

“It allows us to spend the money we do have on other things like travel and officials and we don’t have to worry about the equipment,” Smith said. “Like most other sports, we don’t have a lot of money. What we do have must come from fundraisers and ticket sales. We do without a lot of things that a lot of 5A programs have, so receiving something like this goes a long way for us.”