Kremmling " West Grand volleyball team has high hopes for season |

Kremmling " West Grand volleyball team has high hopes for season

Larry Banman
Sky-Hi Daily News
Photo by Larry Banman

The West Grand High School volleyball team returns four starters from last year’s squad, which was coming on strong at the end of last year’s season.

Danette Billington, Rose Hargadine, Renea Ellison and Brook Cecil lead the team in a season of promise for the Lady Mustangs.

West Grand entered the district tournament with a legitimate shot at getting out of pool play and challenging for a berth in the regional tournament. The Lady Mustangs were defeated in a three-game match with Vail Mountain to fall just short of their goal.

From that squad, the Mustangs lost setter Jordan Davidson, Jessica Elliott, defensive specialist Chelsea Lassaline and an off-the-bench spark plug in Stephanie Stubbs.

Head coach Laura Gore said she is excited about this year’s team. The number of girls is a bit down, she said, as there have been 22 players going through two-a-day practices since last Monday. However, the overall quality of the team is very good, she said.

The senior leadership has always been outstanding at West Grand, coach Gore said, and this year is no different. In addition to Ellison, Hargadine and Billington, the senior class includes Katie Keck and Rebecca Roller.

The team participated in clinics during the month of July, and Gore said she appreciates the sacrifices players made to improve individually and as a team.

With an eye toward Western Slope League play, coach Gore said she anticipates that Meeker and Vail Mountain will be strong. The league will see some changes this year as Grand Valley moves out of the league and into a higher size classification.

DeBeque and Vail Christian enter to give the league a total of 10 teams.

Teams from Soroco, Hayden, Rangely, Plateau Valley and Paonia join the teams mentioned above and West Grand to constitute the biggest league in recent memory.

West Grand’s traditional rival, North Park, will continue to play in the league.

However, the Class 1A team will not be in the district tournament with the other 10 teams in the league.

There have been a number of coaching changes this year in the Western Slope, coach Gore said, so she isn’t quite sure what to expect from some of the other schools.

The volleyball team will begin play the weekend of Aug. 29-30. The varsity will participate in a tournament in Glenwood Springs with the junior varsity hosting a junior varsity/C-team tournament in Kremmling on Aug. 30. Since the squads will be split that weekend, there will be only one Mustang team in the Kremmling tournament.

For the remainder of the year, the coaching staff of West Grand will be able to move players around and field both a C-team and a junior varsity squad. The situation lends itself toward giving a significant amount of playing time to the entire team.

Coach Gore is assisted this year by Cheryl Brown and Susan Billington. The coaching staff is working hard, Gore said, to help the players realize their potential. In a recent interview, Gore said several times, “I’m excited for this year.”

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