Athletics restock rosters with Cheyenne talent

The Laramie County Community College sports teams are gearing up for the 2018-19 seasons and already have signed a handful of local athletes from Cheyenne high schools.  

Vince Gibson, the men’s soccer coach, has recruited and signed four soccer players from Cheyenne, the most of any team at LCCC.

Liam Leslie, Parker Longbottom and Thomas Swainson have signed on for the upcoming season. These four players all played together at Cheyenne Central High School and ended up taking second place at the 2017 State Championship, losing to crosstown rival Cheyenne East. The fourth signee, Chayce Willett, was on that 2017 state champions squad at East.

“I have coached all four of these guys in club soccer and have known them since they were 10 years old,” Gibson said. “They’re going to know how I like to attack and how I want to play defense.”

Current Golden Eagle soccer players Aaron Barber, who played at Central, and Quinn Hunt, who played for East, will give the four incoming freshmen a sense of familiarity, and their history with Gibson will make the transition from high school to college slightly easier.

Women’s soccer team coach Jim Gardner has signed two athletes from Cheyenne. Amber Carlson from Cheyenne East and Faith Meredith from Central will join the reigning Region IX champs.

Gardner has a special connection to soccer in Cheyenne — in addition to coaching LCCC he is also the Cheyenne East soccer coach.

“We have had several local girls come through the program,” Gardner said. “They always bring experience and a sense of community. The ones that have played for me at the high school just transfer over the philosophy, tactics, and makes how we run things here less of a challenge for them.”

Meredith, the younger sister of University of Wyoming wrestler Bryce Meredith, will bring toughness and experience to the table for the Golden Eagles.

“I have seen her play since she was young,” Gardner said. “She has always been a hard player and has overcame some injuries, she keeps coming back tough. I think she will be a strong player at the college level and will give us a lot of depth and experience.”  

On the hardwood, women’s basketball coach Brian Ortmeier has signed Cheyenne East standout Makenzee Fagenbush for next season.

Fagenbush, who has been on Ortmeier’s radar for two and half years, will offer hard work and physical defense, he said.

“She works really hard on both offense and defense, she is a really talented outside shooter,” Ortmeier said. “She brings a lot of different things to the table and we are really happy that we were able to sign her.”

The upcoming year will be the third year for the women’s basketball team at LCCC, and recruiting locally has been a big part of Ortmeier’s program.

“You want to try to sign the best talent that we have locally,” Ortmeier said. “Sometimes that local talent can play just as well as someone from the East Coast or West Coast. The local kids understand Cheyenne and can provide some more pride to the school and the program.”

Over on the volleyball side of things, coach Austin Albers has signed Cheyenne East standout Jazzmine Espinoza to the roster for the 2018 season; Espinoza will help the Golden Eagles defend their Region IX title.

Espinoza came on a visit during the summer before her senior year and worked out  for the coaching staff.

“She honestly was even better on her visit then we thought she was going to be,” Albers said. “She really got us excited and will fill a big need for us and will be impactful in the middle. She is a player that is going to come in and elevate our athleticism and our physicality.”

There have been three local athletes playing volleyball for Albers during his tenure as head coach of the volleyball team.

“Local athletes tend to bring more community support to the college and allows us to put more people in the stands and shows that what we offer is really unique, special and high level,” Albers said.

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