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New Rocky coach introduces herself to the volleyball scene in Montana

BILLINGS – Aubrey Beaumont was hired in January to take over Rocky Mountain College's volleyball program and has spent the past few months immersing herself back in the scene in Montana.

Beaumont graduated from Great Falls High in 2013 and spent the next few years playing volleyball at the University of Jamestown. She then coached at NAIA school North Dakota, McPherson College (Kansas) and Lindsey Wilson College (Kentucky).

Beaumont said she “hit the ground running” nearly four and a half months ago after being named the successor to outgoing Rockies coach Yang Yang, getting to know her new program and its players and learning how the state's volleyball environment has changed since she left Montana.

“(A lot of) recruiting, really just getting out and meeting coaches from the area,” Beaumont said when asked how she's been spending her time. “I mean, I know a few, but it's been a while since I've been to Montana. So for me, getting back in, it's definitely just getting out and meeting people and new coaches from the area and really just reconnecting with some others.”

Beaumont received her first head coaching opportunity under Lindsey Wilson in January 2023 after serving as an assistant coach at Jamestown and McPherson.

As such, she believes she is familiar with the schedule for her first season in the Frontier Conference. While training camp for her first season with the Battlin' Bears is quickly approaching, the pace is picking up with the Midland Roundtable Montana All-Star Volleyball Classic scheduled for Saturday, June 15.

Head coaching duties for the first two Classics fell to Yang and Carroll College coach Maureen Boyle. With Yang's departure after four seasons with the Battlin' Bears, that position falls to Beaumont.

Although the coach has a lot to do in his first year, Beaumont is more than happy to be part of the All-Star festivities.

“I think it's going to be really fun,” said Beaumont, who has competed in six NAIA national tournaments as a player and coach. “I know quite a few girls and I know I'm going to learn more, get to know more kids, get to know more players, get to know their style and just build a connection with them.”

The first two editions of the Classic were won by the East All-Stars, who defeated their West opponents in five sets in 2022 and in a sweep last summer. This year, the game organizers decided to ignore the geographical separation and divide the selected players into teams of as equal size as possible.

“It’s been an interesting process,” says Laurie Kelly, the former Roundup and RMC coach who leads the Midland Roundtable’s volleyball efforts.

“We thought, why don't we get the best 18 kids, no matter where they're from, no matter what school they're from, no matter where they're going. Let's pick the 18 kids that we think are the best in Montana, right?” she said. “It was quite a challenge to figure out how to create equal teams.”

Each of the 18 players scheduled to play in the game at Lockwood High School has signed a contract to play college volleyball somewhere. Ten of those players will be heading to the Frontier Conference, so the game will be a good introduction to the league for Beaumont.

Sarah Johnson, athletics at Lindsey Wilson College

Aubrey Beaumont led Lindsey Wilson College to a 19-15 record last season, her first as head coach. The Great Falls High graduate has appeared in the NAIA National Tournament six times as a player and coach.

Unfortunately for her, there is only one player — Kirra Ban of the Huntley Project — who is a future Battlin' Bear, and Ban will play for the Boyle-coached red team. Beaumont jokingly lamented that she won't have any of her future Rocky players on her blue team, but that's OK with her.

She's just happy to be back on the sidelines for Montana.

“I'm happy for all the girls because they all move on,” she said. “Not many athletes get the opportunity to move on. … And either way, whether they come to me or not, it's a great thing and I'm just happy to be surrounded by such great talent.”

Midland Roundtable Montana All-Star Volleyball Classic

When: 3 p.m., Saturday, June 15. (Game 2 of the Montana-Wyoming All-Stars Basketball Series follows the game.)

Where: Lockwood High School

Blue Team: Austin Long, Billings West (Montana Tech); Savana Warburton, Joliet (Montana Western); Brynn Wandle, Huntley Project (Carroll College); Josie Blazina, Belgrade (Montana); Jenna Garvert, Belgrade (Montana State); Piper Jette, Billings Senior (Montana Tech); Sophie Madsen, Great Falls CMR (Montana Tech); Madeline Swanson, Billings Senior (Hawaii-Hilo); Bailey Casagrande, Missoula Sentinel (Carroll College).

Trainer: Aubrey Beaumont, Rocky Mountain College

Red Team: Addie Allen, Billings West (Montana State Billings); Sydney Pierce, Billings West (Montana); Karsen Breeding, Bozeman Gallatin (Colorado Mesa); Taylor Ketchum, Billings Skyview (Montana Western); Haven Spear, Kalispell Glacier (Southeastern University, Fla.); Trinity Tinsen, Belt (Providence); Macy Uffelman, Hardin (Montana State-Northern); Sadie Meier, Billings West (Northwest College, Wyoming); Kirra Ban, Huntley Project (Rocky Mountain College).

Trainer: Maureen Boyle, Carroll College

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