ADD VOLLEYBALL to the expanding list of youth sports in the county that give kids chances to play and learn, not just during a traditional season, but also over the course of many more months.
The Howard County Youth Program, which for years has operated the only youth volleyball program here for prehigh-schoolers during the fall, began registration last week for a new spring season.
Play in the all-girls program is to begin in April at Volleyball House in old Elkridge, said HCYP volleyball commissioner Paul Rizzo, who also had other news to report.
That is, he said, the club will definitely start a boys program in volleyball - a first in the county - this fall. More on that in a moment.
Rizzo said the spring program for girls derives from demand, especially from a number of girls who did not make travel teams operated by the Columbia Volleyball Club and other clubs in the area.
CVC teams are primarily high school players who compete for their schools in the fall but then, in December, form to compete in tournaments that continue until nearly summer.
"We're attempting to fill a need [by offering a spring program]," Rizzo said. "In a way, it's going to be an experiment, because we're not sure exactly how many girls we'll have. But we think it will be about 100, maybe more, most of them 12 and under."
Rizzo said he expects the spring program to be "a little more informal, with more fundamentals being taught and stressed - more relaxed." The plan is to have two sessions a week.
Two spring leagues - one for seventh- and eighth-graders, another for players in fourth through sixth grades - will begin play April 5, with teaching and competition continuing through May 27.
Registration for the spring season is being conducted via HCYP's Web site, www.hcyp.org. The Web site also is soliciting volunteers to be coaches. Rizzo can be contacted about coaching through the Web site as well.
While the spring program will be conducted at Volleyball House, Rizzo said he expects HCYP's fall program to continue to operate mainly in high school gyms, as a convenience to parents who have other youngsters in fall sports programs.
The boys program this fall is in early planning stages for youngsters in fourth through sixth grades, Rizzo said, but the club has committed to starting it.
"We really don't know what to expect," he said. "I'd like to see at least 50 boys, but we need to stimulate interest, and then we'll see what we're able to do."
Rizzo, who is from Pennsylvania and played varsity volleyball in college in Pittsburgh, said that Maryland is one of few states that has little or no instruction and competition in the sport for boys.
Some private schools in the Baltimore area offer boys volleyball, as do Harford County public schools.
Montgomery County schools also offer boys, as well as co-ed volleyball at the varsity level during the spring; girls teams compete in the fall.
Along the sidelines
RANKINGS: Three Howard County residents have found themselves nationally ranked in duathlon, the sport that combines running and cycling.
The rankings were posted by USA Triathlon, which governs American participation in triathlon (running, cycling, swimming) and duathlon.
They are Adam Forgione of Ellicott City, ranked 11th in the 20-24 age group; his father, Don, ranked 10th in the 50-54 age group; and Clarksville's Judi Carbary, ranked eighth in the 50-54 women's age group.
The group also ranked Columbian John Elliott second in the 65-69 age group for triathlon.
All are members of Don Forgione's Du2R duathlon team, which found itself with seven other members from outside Howard County also ranked in their duathlon age groups.
SWIMMING: Last week's item here on masters swimming at the Columbia Swim Center left out mention of Matt Goode, the coach who got the program revived about three years ago.
Know anyone or anything interesting occurring in amateur sports of any kind - winter or coming up this spring - in Howard County? Tip us off. Call the writer at 410-332-6525 or send e-mail to lowell.sun firstname.lastname@example.org.