Aug 23, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorCoach Troi Larsen likes the potential of the 2012 Wind River volleyball team.
The Cougars played well in Larsen's first season at the helm, but WRHS didn't advance to the Class 2-A state tournament.
"Last year, we started off with a pretty decent team. We stayed as a pretty decent team," Larsen said.
The two seniors for the Cougars are Brett Groesbeck and Darlee Hyatt.
"I have a pretty good mix of older and younger players," Larsen said.
Hyatt will either be the outside or the right side hitter for the Cougars.
"Darlee is really good on the right side as a blocker, which we really need," Larsen said. "Darlee has come on as an outside hitter. "
The juniors are Taylor Gorden, Macayla Arrington and Tori Thoman.
"It looks like Macayla will play all the way around this year," Larsen said. "She is playing pretty good defense. She has improved a lot this year."
The sophomores are Deja Jones, Alex Kini, Darce Maddock and Ambrielle Brown.
"We have a lot of things that we need to work on," Larsen said. "There are a few players where I know exact spots where they are going to be. It will be a battle of who wants it more."
Bailey Wilson, Cara Longtime, Megan Longtime, Kit Vogel, Cora Johnson, Kali Keene, Tapaynga Hill, Hannah Blackburn and Millie Hopkins are the freshmen for WRHS. Larsen has asked Kristan Trujillo to be her assistant coach this year.
Trujillo and Larsen played junior college volleyball at Central Wyoming College under current coach Tiffany Stauffenberg.
"Kristan is a great asset to the team," Larsen said. "We both have the same coaching style. It's a good way that we have bonded together. We know the game the same way."
Wind River begins the season Friday and Saturday at the 14-team McDonald's Invitational. Pool play games will start at 10 a.m. Friday. Matches will be at Wolverine Gym and at Riverton Middle School.
"I'm happy that we are going there, so we can see some different teams that we don't see during the regular season," Larsen said.
The Cougars open play against Cody in the first match of the two-day tournament. Wind River's pool play games will be at RMS.
Cody won the Class 3-A state title in 2011. "I'm going to place players in positions that they are not used to, but I believe that they will grow in," Larsen said.
"This tournament is going to be an experiment for us to see where everybody fits."
Big Horn, Rock Springs, Lyman and Lander Valley High School will be the other pool play matches for WRHS.
The Tigers are in the Class 3-A league this year.
"I have about nine players, and they can all fit at different spots," Larsen said. After pool play, the tournament will feature a single-elimination bracket play.
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