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MHS boys volleyball: building a legacy

Mar 21, 2024 10:57AM ● By Liisa London Mecham

Morgan’s Jack Komenda and Christian Nunez go up for a block. Photos by John Heywood

Tuesday, March 5, Morgan took the court against Bonneville in the first-ever boys’ volleyball match at the school and came away with a victory–their first official step to achieve their goal of cementing boys’ volleyball as a strong sport at Morgan High and building a legacy.

“Legacy is our theme this year,” first-year coach Kyle Komenda shared. “We recognize the legacy of the girls’ volleyball program that Coach Liz Wiscombe and her teams have built at Morgan High and that this is the first, historical year for our boys’ team. We are building a program that we hope will leave a legacy.”

Coach Komenda, with his past experience building boys’ volleyball programs from scratch, is an excellent choice to head up the Trojans’ inaugural season. Komenda had his first experience building a volleyball program from scratch beginning his junior year in high school as he successfully made his first legal argument (Komenda’s day job is now an IP attorney) to petition the Mesa School Board in Arizona to allow boys volleyball. He worked with his coaches and teammates to build a team that placed first at state his senior year.

“I’ve had the bug ever since,” Komenda explained. “I’ve coached kids, girls, and boys pretty much since that time except when I was in law school.”

In 2015, Komenda, now a parent with a tall son, was living in Texas and helped create a Texas Boys’ Volleyball League from scratch. His latest efforts in volleyball have been at Weber High with their club team, and now Morgan is the lucky beneficiary of his knowledge and experience.

“I chose to apply to be a coach at Morgan because they have a rich history of volleyball. I’m excited to be somewhere where volleyball is something special. We hope to build on the tradition of volleyball here and create something special with our boys program,” he concluded.

“We have high goals for our program to not only compete in our region but at a state level,” Komenda praised. “We have a lot of great players on the team and a high level of athleticism, some of the best athletes in 3A.”

“In the first years of boys’ volleyball, the teams that will succeed will be those with the most players who have been playing organized volleyball like club teams,” he detailed. “These teams will have the advantage, and we’ve seen this so far at tournaments.”

“Our team has great athletes. Our setter, Caleb Stephens, has been playing club volleyball year-round. He’s naturally an outside hitter, but he has stepped in as our setter and is making great progress running our offense. He definitely has the most experience, and he is the right answer as our setter.”

“We have two seniors at middle block: Christian Nunez and Dex Wallin. Christian will be playing football this fall at a junior college and can ‘jump out of the gym.’ He’s our leader in kills.  Dex is another strong athlete who is learning volleyball.”

Another strong contributor to the team will be Komenda’s son, Jack, who is a junior. At 6’8”, Jack has been focused on AAU basketball the past few years and has not played volleyball year-round, but he is coming to love volleyball and plays outside hitter.

“We have a lot of great athletic talent on the team,” Komenda remarked. “We just need to develop our consistency and gain experience.”

Morgan currently holds a 6-4 record, but Komenda isn’t looking at the short view. He’s building a team that can run an offense with three contacts and compete against the top teams in the state, not just Region 13. 

“With high school boys volleyball in its infancy in Utah, we will and have played teams that are playing “low-risk” volleyball and just sending it back over the net. This may lead to some losses for us as we work to develop more high-risk plays and play above the net, hitting and blocking. It’s a risk we are willing to take [losses right now], so we can develop a highly competitive team.”

Tuesday, March 19, Morgan took a five-set match, 3-2 over 6A Fremont, 25-21, 25-15, 19-25, 20-25, 15-10.  Junior Madden Bell led the team with 10 kills followed by sophomore Kevin Wangsgard with seven. Senior Christian Nunez and junior Jack Komenda added five kills apiece.

Freshman setter Caleb Stephens led all servers with 24 including three aces followed by Komenda with 16 and four aces. Stephens recorded 20 assists.

On the net, Nunez and Wangsgard tallied five blocks each with senior Dex Wallin adding two and Bell, Komenda, Stephens, and sophomore Mason Williams each adding one block.

Morgan traveled to the Tooele Stampede tournament last weekend and earned high praise from other top teams. Trojans took sixth out of twelve teams, and Komenda reported that opposing coaches were quick to complement Morgan’s play and development.

Coach Komenda accurately summarized his team, “We’re going to be a handful when everything comes together!”

Morgan fans’ next opportunities to see the Trojans in action at home will be March 26 as they host North Sanpete and April 11 when Ben Lomond comes to Morgan for their first official Region 13 volleyball match! Both games begin at 6 p.m. λ

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