HAGERMAN — Hagerman High School senior Elly Yore and her head volleyball coach, Katie Knight, had to endure a nine-hour drive that had them “going insane,” according to Knight. However fighting through that trip was the reason they were in the Hagerman gymnasium on Thursday afternoon.
The final destination of that drive was Casper College in Casper, Wyo. A visit with the volleyball team there impressed Yore, and an offer to continue her athletic career with the Thunderbirds came in. She took it.
After deliberation over, not only where she wanted to attend college, but what sport she wanted to play at the next level, on Wednesday, Yore signed her letter of intent to join the Casper College volleyball team next season.
“I was torn between basketball and volleyball for a really long time,” Yore said. “It just came down to this coaching staff, the good programs they have at this school. They have a good athletic training program, so I was interested in that.”
Yore, who was the Sawtooth Conference Offensive Player of the Year in volleyball this season, visited schools for both volleyball and basketball, but elected to go with Casper, which offered her a full scholarship for the two years she will attend.
The offer came in around Nov. 5, Yore said. She made her decision about two weeks later, after she was taken aback by the offer being a full ride.
Her coach was less surprised at Casper’s evaluation of Yore’s talent.
“Just practicing against her, it’s punishing,” Knight said. “She is so strong. She has the grit. She’s a player that’s going to run through a wall. She’s just never going to quit.”
Knight said Yore has always been a stellar athlete, but it’s been impressive to watch her grow and pick up the coordination and timing to excel at volleyball. Plus, Knight said, Yore’s determination pushes her even further.
When it came time to make a decision, Yore felt that she could do more with volleyball in the future. Her plan is to grow and develop with the Thunderbirds and, hopefully, an opportunity to transfer will eventually come.
Between everything that factored into her decision, her coaches and teammates played an enormous role in helping Yore to make it final.
Knight said she even teared up while watching Yore play on her visit to Casper. It was a bittersweet moment for the coach, who said she could see that Yore was where she belonged, but it was tough to realize her standout player was leaving.
“I definitely could not have done it without them,” Yore said. “It’s like a family here. Everyone’s got your back.”
Knight said she will definitely be making the drive again—stressing that it’s not actually too bad—to watch Yore play in Casper.
The two became closer and closer during the volleyball season, and Knight can’t wait to keep her eyes on Yore as she continues to grow into the player her coach believes she can become.
“I told her she could be a Division I athlete,” Knight said. “She hasn’t played a lot of volleyball, like club as other players do. The more time she puts in, she’s gonna be incredible to watch develop over the next two years.”