Area volleyball club teams join Fort Collins group

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Whiteout Volleyball Camp

  • Monday, July 28, 2008, 1 p.m.
  • Steamboat Springs High School, 45 Maple St., Steamboat Springs
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NORCO volleyball skills clinic

  • Saturday, August 2, 2008, time TBA
  • Steamboat Springs High School, 45 Maple St., Steamboat Springs
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— Darcey Miller couldn't find the words.

On one hand, she wanted to get across that the U-14 Steamboat Springs-area volleyball team she coached last winter had improved, worked hard all season and showed potential not only for successful volleyball at the high school level, but maybe even in college.

On the other hand, the team struggled. It didn't dominate any matches or blaze its way through any tournaments.

"It was a team of all beginners," said Miller, who played prep volleyball in Boulder and at the college level for Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. "We struggled because it was the first year for a lot of the girls, the first year playing club volleyball for all of them."

That's why Routt County's youth volleyball program, the Whiteout Volleyball Club, is disbanding, its life officially coming to an end Thursday afternoon when the campers from its final volleyball clinic disperse.

And it's why the local teams are joining up with NORCO Volleyball, a club program based in Fort Collins that Steamboat officials say has a lot more to offer.

"NORCO is easily one of the top three clubs in the state," Whiteout director Will Wiggins said. "They've asked to affiliate with us, so we'll be a NORCO volleyball club from here on out."

Wiggins said the move is great news for the Yampa Valley's aspiring volleyball players, because the association with NORCO will mean better camps, more and better coaches, better facilities and, most importantly, much greater exposure for any area player that dreams of playing in college.

The official transition from Whiteout to NORCO will come nearly before the Christian Heritage School gymnasium can be wiped clean from next week's camp, a Monday to Thursday affair that aims to continue the development of individual skills started at the program's first summer camp two weeks ago.

Campers still can register for the Whiteout camp at the door for $80 a player.

Registration still is open for the camp that will kick off the club's involvement with NORCO, scheduled for Aug. 2 and 3. Middle school and elementary players will go the first day while students in high school participate Aug. 3.

The NORCO camp costs $30.

"NORCO is bringing some of the top clinicians in the state for the one-day clinic," Wiggins said. "It's the transition to a new era."

A whole new ballgame

All that is NORCO will become available to Steamboat-area players when the two clubs join forces. That means the NORCO coaches will weigh in with advice for the Routt County coaches. It means local teams and athletes will be able to travel down to the club's new $6 million training facility in Loveland. It means more and better uniforms and equipment, without a hike in the fees players used to pay to Whiteout.

It's the chance for better exposure that has organizers buzzing, however.

Club volleyball success is an essential part of earning a college scholarship, and is particularly crucial in volleyball because recruiters gather at the giant club tournaments like mosquitoes on Howelsen Hill swarm to bare skin.

"If you want to play college volleyball, you won't do it without playing club," Wiggins said. "College coaches and scouts don't have time to go to individual matches and travel out to high schools. What NORCO does for us, they've been established for 20 years and they've already got all the connections. Exposure is really the bottom line, and they provide it."

Local teams will still be comprised of local players and led by local coaches. But Wiggins said just playing with the name "NORCO" across the uniform will help area girls get noticed by recruiters.

"We have athletes in Northwest Colorado that come through the pipeline with the potential to play in college," Wiggins said. "It will be much easier for that to happen now. That's the great advantage this brings."

Miller said she's hopeful the extra resources lead to better players and better results next time she coaches a team.

She has no trouble swallowing the NORCO elixir. It's a formula that she already has seen work once.

She played on a NORCO team after her junior year of high school, traveling and eventually playing at the Junior Nationals.

"Just to be able to travel and play on the national scene where the best teams in the country were playing helped a lot," Miller said. "With the NORCO name, we'll be known in the volleyball community and hopefully that will attract more players from around this area. It will definitely help local girls improve."

- To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253

or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

sunflowergirl9999 6 years, 4 months ago

After coaching volleyball in the Yampa valley for over 10 years, this statement is not entirely true.

"If you want to play college volleyball, you won't do it without playing club," Wiggins said.

We had several athletes play in college that were two and three sport athletes. I believe playing club helps, but it is not the end all be all!! I would hate to see some girls discouraged because they can't afford club or want to play other sports. It is possible to have a volleyball life after high school without club. Club coaches obviously won't tell you that. Just a thought. Susie Ritter

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