For the first time in 12 years, the Laramie County Community College volleyball team will host the Region IX tournament in Cheyenne.
The Golden Eagles volleyball team is coming off a Region IX title just a year ago. The Golden Eagles beat Sheridan College on its home floor, which gave LCCC a bid to the national tournament that was held in Hutchinson, Kansas.
The Golden Eagles hope to continue that success this year but at famous Storey Gym. Storey Gym has become famous for holding graduations, concerts, and athletic contests. The gym was built in 1950 for Central High School students, and for many years it was shared space between Cheyenne East and Central and later Cheyenne South.. The gym seats 4,500.
Due to the NJCAA ceiling requirements, the Recreation and Athletics Complex is disqualified from hosting postseason events. Men’s and women’s basketball also can’t hold postseason games due to the RAC’s non-regulation ceiling.
Sophomore standouts Kylie Martin and Avery Nelson said they’re excited to have the Region IX tournament in Cheyenne. Martin said even though it’s not on the LCCCcampus, she is excited for the tournament to be at Storey Gym.
“We’ve always had to travel to other places for the tournament, so now it’s going to be here every four years, and so i think it’ll get the community more involved and play in front of the hometown crowd,” Martin said.
Fifth-year coach Austin Albers agreed with Martin and said he hopes to see a huge crowd at Storey.
“It’s a great opportunity to host it, we will still have the home court advantage, fan support, be able to sleep in our own beds. The home team always has such an advantage,” Albers said.
According to Albers, LCCC was supposed to host the tournament in 2016 because the facilities in the RAC were supposed to be upgraded.
“Everything just kept getting pushed back due to talks of facilities upgrades, and by then it was too late due to the rules changing,” Albers said.
The Golden Eagles are having a successful season with a Region IX record of 10-4 as of Oct. 9. Nelson currently leads the region in kills and hitting percentage, and she said she hopes to repeat as Region IX champions in front of their home crowd.
“I think it’ll be huge, even like our coach says, we don’t want to be a one-hit wonder, and he’s been building this program up and it’s only gotten better since he started,” Martin said.
Nelson said that, on weeks that the team has away games, they practice at Storey Gym.