It's in the hole(s) -- FCHS gym sees installation of in-set volleyball poles, net

by Sean Dunlap

During June, work to drill a pair of holes into the Franklin County High School gymnasium floor was completed — allowing for the placement of removable poles and netting for the 2022 volleyball season.

FCHS Athletic Director Brent Calcote said plans had been in place for this small-scale construction for some time and he was glad to see the effort finally completed.

“Since the volleyball program began here, we’ve used temporary movable poles with weighted metal bases and rollers that were placed for practice and games,” Calcote said.

“The goal we had in mind was to make something a little more permanent that would hopefully mean less wear and tear on the existing gym floor.”

The old movable poles were often difficult to maneuver into place and caused considerable damage — in the form of deep scratches and scuffs — to the gym’s wood playing surface.

Calcote said mobility was always a key concern because the gym has many uses in the fall beside volleyball — notably preparations for the upcoming basketball season.

“The holes in the floor have metal caps that can be lifted to place the volleyball poles into with those poles being removed and the caps closed for basketball and other activities,” he continued.

The most challenging part of the work was to make certain the caps were level with the floor so as not to become trip hazards.

In addition, Calcote said the new volleyball poles came equipped with personalized padding — in an effort to make activities safer for all participants.

A drawback to what was in place was the old poles did not have built-in padding like the new ones and school personnel would spend time trying to attach some kind of foam material to prevent injuries if someone were to come into contact with them.

The gym got a significant facelift last year thanks to a new coat of paint to much of the interior, and Calcote said future plans — as funds permit — will include resurfacing the wood floor to add permanent volleyball court markings along with sprucing up existing basketball boundary lines.

Volleyball was added to Franklin County’s sanctioned sports in 2020 after the Mississippi High School Activities Association decided to do away with slow-pitch softball as a competitive high school sport across the state.

Since its inception, the FCHS volleyball team has been led by Coaches Ashley Weathersby and Tasha Scott.

Calcote said the MHSAA has set Monday, July 25 as the first official practice day for volleyball for the 2022 season with scrimmages permitted by Saturday, July 30 and regular season games starting Friday, Aug. 5.