The College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball program continued to add gems from their own backyard on Tuesday, announcing the signing of two local players.
Currently playing for the Mount Baker Secondary Wild senior girls team, left-side hitters Katie Anderson and Sam Lautrup were at COTR to sign letters of intent to join the Avs next season.
Both players expressed excitement in joining the program they grew up watching.
“[I’m happy to] be close to home,” Lautrup said. “Our club team used to come out and watch [the Avs] a lot [and we even] had nicknames for everyone, which was fun.”
Lautrup and Anderson will join three of their Mount Baker teammates from last year — Brooke Lightburn, Morgan Charlton and Janine Harach — as the Avs continue to increase their Kootenay roots.
For Anderson, being familiar with the coaching staff was a big draw to joining the local college team.
“I love the coaching style because I’ve been coached by [Avs head coach] John [Swanson] before,” she said. “The team is [also] really strong and [it will be] really convenient to be close to home.”
While both play left-side at the high school level, Lautrop expects to move to the right side or play middle blocker for the Avs. The jump to the PACWEST is something that she is really looking forward to.
“I’m excited for the skill level jump because this year [with MBSS] we’ve played a lot of weaker teams and it’s not as much fun,” she explained. “Next year, playing stronger teams more often will improve [my play] and just be better volleyball in general.”
Lautrop said that she plans to take general studies in her first year at COTR, while Anderson will upgrade her courses before choosing an academic path.
The pair will join fellow Wild athlete Caleb Peters with the Avs next season, as the power hitter committed to the men’s team in early October.
While the COTR volleyball program is currently on it’s winter semester break, the Mount Baker teams are in the Lower Mainland for the B.C. High School Championships.
Last year at the tournament, the girls came in seventh place and now five of those players will be together again with COTR in 2018-19.
“I’m very excited to play with some former teammates from last year and [also] to meet and play with some new people,” Anderson said. “I’m excited [for next season].”