CORALVILLE, Iowa – Every since the ground was broken on May 16th, 2018, of the new Xtream Arena in Coralville, rumors started that it could eventually be the new host of the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union’s State Volleyball Championships. Those rumors were vindicated Thursday when the IGHSAU announced its board had voted to make the change starting in 2022-2023.
“We are excited to bring the State Volleyball Tournament to Xtream Arena and Coralville,” said IGHSAU Executive Director Jean Berger. “Xtream Arena is the premier volleyball venue in Iowa. We look forward to our partnership with the staff at the Arena and Think Iowa City.”
The tournament has been held in Cedar Rapids since 1991, and the Alliant Energy PowerHouse has been the sole home. When the sport was first sanctioned in 1973, the tournaments were held at different high schools until it found its home in Cedar Rapids.
Lake Mills volleyball coach and activities director Jim Boehmer is also a member of the IGHSAU Board of Directors.
According to the IGHSAU, the new arena includes a capacity of 5,100 spectators plus additional floor seating and is connected to the five-court 53,000-square foot GreenState Family Fieldhouse that is accessible from the event level. The facility has two high-definition video boards, a 360-degree ribbon board, LED lighting along with 12 suites, and a 180 person club suite.
Boehmer highlighted that he is a traditionalist, which made leaving Cedar Rapids harder. He has taken in the tournament in many different capacities, including leading his teams to Cedar Rapids in three straight seasons from 2010-2012.
Xtream Arean is also the home of the University of Iowa volleyball team and the Iowa Heartlanders ECHL hockey team.
Boehmer says athlete experience is the highest priority for planning these events. Xtream Arena allows high school girls to play in a Big Ten environment, the top NCAA Division I volleyball conference. “Most of these kids won’t go pro or play in college, so let’s give them that experience now,” Boehmer also mentioned.
Though the setup may look different, Boehmer says they will continue to play on two courts at once. While at the Powerhouse, the courts were by side-by-side. But when downtown Cedar Rapids was flooded, and the tournament was moved to the hockey arena, the courts were played end-to-end, which Boehmer said they got good feedback. The new arena also allows for more modern technology, similar to things at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
According to Boehmer, the tournament will be locked into Coralville for a minimum of five years.
Boehmer also mentioned the move could result in a larger bill for the IGHSAU but says they didn’t want that to take away a chance at an improved athlete and fan experience.
Zarren Egesdal is the sports director for Coloff Media radio stations KIOW and KHAM. He can be reached daily at [email protected] or 641-585-1073. Do you have a story idea? Feel free to contact him. Zarren is an award-winning journalist providing coverage to all area schools. You will hear Zarren calling games as the ‘voice of the Forest City Indians’ on KIOW (107.3), the Indians’ flagship station throughout the year.