From a Buff to a Battling Bear

Nathan Oster

McColloch commits to play volleyball at Rocky Mountain

From a Buff to a Battling Bear, Greybull High School senior Kelsie McColloch has signed a national letter of intent to play volleyball at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont.
A signing day ceremony Thursday at Buff Gym was attended by Rocky Mountain’s first-year head coach, Aubrey Beaumont; Kelsie’s high school coach, Sara Schlattmann; members of Kelsie’s family and number of students and staff from Greybull High School.
McColloch was a two-time all-state selection for the Buffs.  Described by Schlattmann as a “steady force” and the team’s “speaking captain,” McColloch played every position on the floor and starred on the 2023 team that won its conference title and claimed the school’s first Class 2A West Regional crown since 2018.
The team’s state tournament appearance did not go as planned as the Lady Buffs dropped a pair of five-set heartbreakers. Even worse, McColloch dislocated her shoulder and tore her labrum while diving for a ball in the team’s final match. She did not return to the lineup.  Surgery followed. Soon after, she began physical therapy.
“In the back of my mind, I thought college volleyball might be off the table,” McColloch admitted.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way.  She attacked the rehab, made highlight reels and shared them with area coaches. Beaumont was among the first to respond and invited Kelsie and her family for a visit, which occurred in February.  Kelsie said she loved the campus, the coaches and how everyone welcomed her.
Beaumont is a graduate of Great Falls (Mont.) High School who played collegiately at the University of Jamestown, where she was a setter on two teams that qualified for the national tournament.   Prior to being announced as Rocky’s new head coach, she was the head coach at Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky.
The Battlin’ Bears finished the 2023-24 season with a 21-13 record and runners-up in the Frontier Conference Tournament Championship. They earned an at-large birth to the NAIA National Championship Tournament, where they fell in the opening round to the University of Saint Katherine.
Seventeen players from that team are expected to return next fall, but the coach said she’s excited to add McColloch to the roster, noting that she’s her first recruit from Wyoming.
“I see her playing a role where she’s an aggressive hitter — she really seems to have that in her. Like she’s a player who will really get after it,” Beaumont said.
Kelsie’s parents are Michael and Michelle McColloch. “Bittersweet” is how Michael described his emotions on signing day. “Excited for her,” he said, “but sad (her career at GHS) is over.”
While Kelsie also participated in track and field, volleyball was her first and true love.  It began as a third grader, when her mother coached her rec league team.  It got even better the next year when her younger sister, Aleksey, joined the team.
Before ultimately signing with Rocky Mountain College, Kelsie briefly considered Northwest College.
“We were wanting her to play there — that way, she could see her sister’s last year,” said Michelle. “But that changed when we met (Beaumont) and got to visit with her.  Her morals and values are in line with ours and the college has small classes.  The max is one to 25, which is what she needs coming from a small school like ours.”
Kelsie’s goal is to become an orthodontist, which also lined up well with Rocky Mountain College.  She plans to pursue a degree in health and human performance with the intent of eventually attending dental school in Washington.
“Rocky Mountain checked every box,” said Michael.
From a health standpoint, Kelsie said she played volleyball two weeks ago with her mother and sister. She has regained her full range of motion and her strength is returning, but she admitted that she was sore afterward, which was to be expected.
Practices at Rocky Mountain begin the second week in August.
“I should be pretty close to 100 percent by then,” she said.
She hopes to eventually become versatile enough to play all six rotations at the college level, just like she did in high school.