Champion Kelly Walsh Volleyball Team Meets Natrona School Board
The gray sweatshirts on the dozen young women at the Natrona County School District's Central Services building on Monday said it all:
"WEOFEO Kelly Walsh Volleyball."
The state championship team met with the school district's board of trustees to show off what they accomplished in the name of their school and their city.
Team Captain Peyton Carruth said the team members started playing when they were young girls. When it came time to choosing a high school, the only viable option was Kelly Walsh because of its strong volleyball program.
That's similar to high school boys wanting to play football, because Natrona County High School is the only serious choice for them, Carruth said.
The 12-member team of freshmen to seniors started practicing in August, she said. That followed summer camps at the school and in Laramie, and a week in Ogallala, Nebraska, for a week-long tournament.
In the final rounds of the state tournament, Carruth said they defeated Thunder Basin High School in Gillette, then Laramie and finally Cody.
While they showed no fear on the court, they expressed some shyness when called forward to meet the trustees.
Kelly Walsh High School Principal Mike Britt said a few words, then Coach Jeff Barkell gushed about how well they played, with some having to work through some adversities.
"They are just a great group of people," Barkell said.
Barkell later said seven of the eight starters were seniors, so the team will go through a major rebuilding next year.
As for those who are graduating and off to college, Barkell said two will play for the University of Wyoming; one will play for Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota; one will play for Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska; and two will play for Casper College.
Referring to the adversities he mentioned while speaking to the trustees, Barkell said some of those adversities included a girl suffering a concussion and was out of commission for a while. She recovered and is doing well, he added.
Other adversities included some illnesses, and back, knee and ankle injuries, Barkell said.
But the team was tough, he said.
"They wouldn't be denied when it just got down to it."