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High school showcase chance for new Rocky Mountain College coach to reacquaint herself with Montana volleyball

Rocky Mountain College volleyball coach Aubrey Beaumont at Lindsey Wilson College
Posted at 9:25 AM, Jun 10, 2024

BILLINGS — Hired in January to take over the Rocky Mountain College volleyball program, Aubrey Beaumont has spent the past several months re-immersing herself in the Montana scene.

A 2013 graduate of Great Falls High, Beaumont spent her ensuing years playing volleyball at the University of Jamestown and then coaching at the North Dakota NAIA school as well as at McPherson College (Kansas) and Lindsey Wilson College (Kentucky).

Beaumont said she “hit the ground running” nearly four and a half months ago after she was named to replace outgoing Rocky coach Yang Yang by getting to know her new program and its players and catching up on how the state’s volleyball environment has changed since she left Montana.

“(A) lot of recruiting, really just kind of getting out there, getting to meet coaches from the area,” Beaumont said in answer to how she’s been spending her time. “I mean, I know a few, but it's been a while since I've been in Montana, so getting back into it definitely is just about me getting out there and meeting people and meeting new coaches around the area, and really just kind of reconnecting with some others.”

Beaumont was given her first head coaching chance in January of 2023 at Lindsey Wilson after stints as an assistant coach at Jamestown and McPherson.

As such, she thinks she’s familiar with the timeline she’s under for her first season in the Frontier Conference. While camp for her inaugural Battlin’ Bears season is fast approaching, the pace picks up with the Midland Roundtable Montana All-Star Volleyball Classic, scheduled for Saturday, June 15.

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

Though there is plenty on the plate of the first-year coach, Beaumont is more than happy to play along with the all-star festivities.

“I think it's going to be really fun,” said Beaumont, who has made six NAIA national tournament trips as a player and coach. “I know quite a few girls, and I know I'm going to learn more, learn more kids, learn more players, learn their styles and just kind of connect with them.”

The first two incarnations of the Classic were won by the East All-Stars, who bested their West counterparts in five sets in 2022 and with a sweep last summer. This year, game organizers decided to forego the geographical divide and divvy up the selected players into as equal teams as they could.

That was an interesting process, said Laurie Kelly, the former Roundup and RMC coach who spearheads the Midland Roundtable volleyball efforts.

“We thought, well, why not 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 what we think are the best 18 kids in Montana, right?” she said. “It was kind of a challenge to figure out how we could make equal teams.”

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

Aubrey Beaumont at Lindsey Wilson College practice
Aubrey Beaumont guided Lindsey Wilson College to a 19-15 record last season, her first as a head coach. The Great Falls High graduate has made six trips to the NAIA National Tournament as a player and coach.

Sadly, for her, only one player — Huntley Project’s Kirra Ban — is a future Battlin’ Bear and Ban will be playing for the Red team coached by Boyle. Beaumont jokingly lamented that she’ll have none of her future Rocky players on her Blue team, but that’s OK by her.

She’s simply happy to be walking a Montana sideline again.

“I'm excited for all the girls, because they're all moving on,” she said. “Not a lot of athletes get the opportunity to move on. ... And so, either way, whether they're coming to me or not, it's an awesome deal, and I'm just excited to be around 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 after the match)

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).

Coach: 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 Speer, 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).

Coach: Maureen Boyle, Carroll College