TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School volleyball team didn’t have to look far for its next head volleyball coach after Chelsi Jackson made the switch to become the next Lingle-Fort Laramie volleyball head coach.
The Lady Blazers promoted junior varsity coach Shaylee Mortimore to be the next head coach.
The move has been 10 years in the making since Mortimore spent two seasons at the helm of the LFL Lady Dogger program in 2011 and 2012.
During her short stint in Lingle, the team went from not making state in her first year to being Class 1A state runner-up the following season, falling to Cokeville in the state championship game.
She was forced to give up the head coaching role the following year after becoming a PE teacher at Torrington, which she didn’t want to do.
“In 2012, I really didn’t want to move down, but that teaching position came open in Torrington. They kind of said, if you’re going to be here to teach, we need you to step in and coach in Torrington,” Mortimore said. “I was so ready to be a teacher and had been waiting for so long, I’d do whatever it takes.”
As a result of the move, she became the THS freshman coach and worked her way back up to junior varsity ranks when Jackson took over as the varsity coach.
Mortimore said it was an easy decision to make to return to the varsity ranks.
“I’ve been literally waiting for 10 years to have this position,” she said.
Having been the JV coach, it will ease the transition for the players who will fill the shoes of the departing seniors from this past season.
“The girls know me. I’ve been their teacher. I’ve coached them,” Mortimore said. “They know my mentality for things. They know how energetic I am and how I like to have a positive feeling on the court and in everyday life.”
It is something the players have already bought into.
“All of these girls moving up to varsity have had me for the last two years for JV,” Mortimore said. “They know how I coach.”
She knows it will be a challenge to replace the large senior class, but Mortimore said the mentality will aid the team next year.
Mortimore said seniors Marissa Moorehouse, Kayla Dreiling and Avey Jesperson will be looked to for leadership next year as all three have had varsity experience last year, whether it be in a full-time role like Moorehouse or part-time like Dreiling and Jesperson.
“We are going to be missing a lot of big hitters and experience on the floor, but these girls are ready to step into that position and take charge,” Mortimore said.