GHS fields girls’ volleyball with limited numbers

Glendo volleyball team. Front row: Ryley Henrie. Second row: Jaiden Meredith and Madison Sanbor. Back row: Tess Palen, Rachel Hill, Kaylee Bauernfeind, Anjulina Kowlok and Emma Noyce.

WHEATLAND – In a small town it is sometimes a challenge to provide sports teams with limited enrollment.
What is amazing in Glendo is that there are only 11 high school students in the entire school and 9 of those are girls. Of the nine girls, seven are on the volleyball team.
Glendo volleyball coach Jennifer Eller has been coaching for 35 years. Through the years, coaches have had to see games canceled or postponed due to severe weather or sickness. If Eller has just one student call in sick, the entire night’s match has to be canceled for failure to have the required number of athletes on the court.
“I started in Glendo in ’85 and was here for four years and then I went to Goshen County and was there for eight years,” Eller said. “And then I came back here and It’s my 23rd year back here.”
With the fluctuation of enrollment, it’s tough to build a program on such uncertainty, but Eller has been able to notch a 50%-win ratio during her time as a coach. To realize that some coaches struggle to reach that ratio with full teams makes her feat all the more incredible.
Last year the Glendo team had won only two matches all season and struggled a bit in the 1A Southeast Wyoming Conference. This year the team is currently 1-1 and have had to cancel two games, one because of a power outage due to the snowstorm and in the other instance, one girl was sick and they didn’t have the required number of girls to compete.
So far, they have beaten the Torrington freshman team and have lost a very close game to Midwest from the Northeast Conference.
“This year we inherited a senior girl that played JV ball in Douglas,” Eller said. “She’s very talented and she’s going to step up and be my leader. She’s just the one who keeps the team going in a positive way.”
As for how COVID has affected the program, Eller said, “Obviously I don’t have many girls so we can social distance quite easily. When we went to Torrington we had to mask up for the game because they’ve had cases in their school.”
As for sports in Glendo that all depends upon the enrollment.
“It depends on the year,” Eller said. “We have had girls’ volleyball, girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, boys and girls track, but our enrollment is so low now that we are struggling. We only have two boys so last year we didn’t have any boys’ teams at all.”
Eller said that it was really strange because although the elementary numbers are remaining solid, by the time they get older, they choose to go to different schools that have other opportunities.


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