Photo/Story Credit: Jessica Dempsey, Cranbrook Townsman
The College of the Rockies men's Avalanche volleyball team has found some local talent for their team.
Mount Baker Secondary School student Riley Byman has signed with the Avalanche to join them next year.
Head coach Cisco Farrero said he has been keeping an eye on the setter since he got here.
"He has really nice hands, and he can put the ball where it needs to be. I kind of like how he is a little bit of a late bloomer physically, so I'm curious to see how big he is going to get and how good he is going to be when he is 19-20," he explained.
Farrero would describe Byman as having "silky smooth soft hands," which will be an asset to the team.
"The ball always comes out clean, always comes out smooth and it's always in the right spot. That's really important, that's where setting the position begins. If the setter can't put the ball where the hitters need it's an issue, and Riley puts the ball where it needs to be," he said.
Byman has been playing volleyball since he was in Grade 5, and has strived to play at a post-secondary volleyball level.
"It's always a goal of an athlete to go to the next level. It's been a goal of mine for a very long time," he said.
As he gets ready to play for the Avalanche next year, Byman said he will have to work on his physical aspect of the game.
"I will definitely be watching what I eat, going to the gym and all the necessary things. I think I have the volleyball skills and the IQ, but I think it will also come down to my mental capability and performing mentally," he said.
Coming into next year, Farrero thinks Byman will have no issue fitting in with the team, especially when he already knows a majority of the players.
There is going to be a couple of things Byman will have to get used to as he prepares to play college volleyball next year.
"Our offence is faster than the one he is used to. He has the hands to be able to run that offence though, and he has the brain. I'm probably going to challenge him more than any coach that has challenged him before in terms of running an offence, but I think he's up to the challenge because he has that skill to rely on," said Farrero.
Getting local talent like Byman to play with the Avalanche is priority number one for the head coach.
"When there are guys that are good enough here, I need to do that first. That's the most important part of my job. We are in the smallest community in our conference, but it's a really good sports town and it's a really good volleyball town," said Farrero.
When Byman gets to put on the Avalanche jersey for the first time, he said he doesn't know if there is going to be words to express it.
"It's so baffling to me, I'm really excited," he said.