Chastin Martin

Thunder Basin senior Chastin Nelson sets a ball to a teammate during a win over Sheridan earlier this season. Nelson has signed with Sheridan College to play volleyball next year.

The loss in the state volleyball championship wasn’t all bad for Chastin Nelson, despite the heartbreak and misery directly afterwards. It ended up being a bit of extra motivation she needed to continue playing.

Nelson had already verbally committed to Sheridan College before state, but it wasn’t a done deal yet. The taste of defeat in the title match made her realize more than ever that she needed to stay committed to volleyball.

“When we lost in the state championship, that furthered my wanting to play volleyball even more,” Nelson said. “That would have ended my volleyball career on a loss and I didn’t want that for myself.”

Nelson took her visit to Sheridan a week later and signed on the spot to play setter for the Generals. She held a signing party at Thunder Basin on Tuesday to celebrate with friends and family.

Nelson had two other schools that reached out to her with interest, but Sheridan coach Casey Quiggle was the one that made extended efforts.

One thing that Quiggle had going for him was that Nelson really wanted to stay close to home. Her visit also went well, with Nelson bonding with her future coach and teammates as well.

“I’m glad it’s this school. … It’s only an hour and 30 minutes away and the coach is really nice and the girls are really nice,” Nelson said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

Now that Nelson has made the decision, she knows it was the right one. However, she wasn’t so sure during the process.

The official offer came in a little before the regional volleyball tournament and Nelson agonized for hours at a time over what to do.

“I’m talking about my life and my future. I was really scared and didn’t want to commit. I was second guessing myself,” Nelson said.

A long discussion with her parents ended up being the difference maker. They told her to be selfish — something she’s not usually good at it — and make sure it was the right decision for her.

As far as the volleyball part goes, neither her current nor future coach have many doubts that her talent will translate well to the college game. Nelson finished the season with over 700 assists, a service rate of 91 percent and just one vote shy of an all-state selection.

She is the picture of what college coaches are looking for in a setter, TBHS coach Wenett Martin. She thinks Nelson has all the tools and “will do great in Sheridan.”

“She’s what everybody’s looking for — a tall setter, who can block, who can run an offense, who’s a leader and plays defense,” Martin said. “She’s exactly what (Quiggle) is looking for to get that program going.”

Nelson didn’t catch Quiggle’s eye until late in the season when the Bolts played at Cheyenne Central. Despite being sick in that game, Nelson stood out with her athleticism, court sense and volleyball IQ, Quiggle said.

Her on-the-court abilities were on display in Cheyenne, but Quiggle didn’t really get to see the intangibles until Thunder Basin’s deep run at the state tournament.

“I just like her leadership. … the way she leads the team both on the court and in the huddle. She’s definitely a leader,” Quiggle said.

The Generals have a freshman setter who is recovering from an injury, but Quiggle expects there to be a battle for the starting position when Nelson steps onto campus.

“In my eyes, she’s coming in and competing for a starting spot,” Quiggle said. “Chastin can come in and can push for a starting spot right away.”

Nelson will see how her two years at Sheridan go, but she’d be open to moving on and playing at a four-year program. Until then, she’ll be focusing on Generals volleyball and furthering her studies in elementary education.

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