Vail Mountain’s Somes and Wilcox named all-league
Vail, CO Colorado
EAST-VAIL, Colorado ” Too bad the Colorado High School Athletic Association doesn’t hand out trophies for determination.
The Vail Mountain volleyball team would have cleaned up.
The Gore Rangers battled injuries all season long, but still managed to finish with an 11-11 record. Lynnie Somes and Chanda Wilcox were named first team all-league for their efforts. Hilarie Bellis and Brigitta Gehl earned honorable-mention selections.
“It says a lot about the girls and their perseverance,” Vail Mountain coach Mike Garvey said. “There are plenty of other teams with their record that could have given up hope. They showed a lot of heart.”
Four of the seven regulars in the Gore Rangers’ lineup suffered from some sort of ailment during the year. That doesn’t even count the handful of backups who missed time. All the injuries made it hard for Vail Mountain to have full practices.
After an understandably slow start, the Gore Rangers started to get healthy. Wins quickly followed. On Oct. 11, Vail Mountain downed eventual league champs Meeker in five games in East Vail.
When Vail Mountain fielded a full squad this year, a theme developed. The Gore Rangers possessed some serious power. Somes, Wilcox and Gehl took turns spiking the ball.
The trio also developed another important skill ” leadership qualities. Garvey said no one stood out as a strong voice, instead the whole team encouraged each other. Somes even started sending e-mails to teammates the day of matches to pump them up.
“Lynnie brought a great presence to the team,” Garvey said. “She played with confidence. This year, she finally stepped up to being a really dominant hitter. She is an outstanding defensive player ” she’s very quick.”
Wilcox added her own talents to the team.
“As a player, we counted on Chanda to serve tough, play defense, and serve-receive,” Garvey said. “She was the total package as a player.”
Gehl excelled serving the ball, and being a force on the front row with her blocking skills.
Unlike her powerful teammates, Bellis had to learn a new position this season ” an unglamorous one at that. She spent most of her time diving on the floor for balls at her libero position.
“Hilarie ended up loving the position, and we ended up loving having her there,” Garvey said.
Sometimes, it’s best to not measure a successful season by wins and losses. That’s definitely true when you deal with as many injuries as Vail Mountain did.
“I think the girls sit back now and they realize it was a good season,” Garvey said. “They knew they did all they could (with the injuries). That’s all you can ask of someone.”
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.