(AP) — Arizona has become the first state to make girls' beach volleyball a high school sport.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association voted unanimously Monday to formally adopt a proposal brought forth by the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball, with competition set to begin next spring.
"I think it shows the traction that the sport is likely to have going forward as more and more NCAA institutions adopt sand volleyball," USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal said. "Arizona could easily become the model for the direction other states will follow in making this a sanctioned high school sport."
Teams will be made up of 12 girls forming five doubles teams ranked Nos. 1 to 5. Two alternates will be on the roster for match day in the event of injury or sickness. Rules will be consistent with college and international rules, and players will wear uniforms similar to those used in indoor volleyball.
"The A.I.A. is looking forward to working with USA Volleyball in creating this groundbreaking opportunity for our students," said Chuck Schmidt, A.I.A.'s associate athletic executive director.
Regional USA Volleyball officials got the idea to add beach volleyball at the high school level after the NCAA added it as an emerging sport for women.
"We looked around and couldn't find any other states with high school sand volleyball," said Eric Hodgson, outreach director of the Arizona Region.