TBHS volleyball

Thunder Basin senior Brooke Conklin gets low to keep the ball alive after a Sheridan serve earlier this season.

The Cheyenne East and Cheyenne Central high school volleyball teams have canceled games in Gillette with both Campbell County and Thunder Basin high schools Saturday over COVID-19 concerns, said CCHS Activities Director Zach Schmidt.

The Cheyenne schools were scheduled to play at Thunder Basin and Campbell County at noon and 4 p.m. Saturday. Contract tracing prompted the Cheyenne East team to be quarantined for a two-week period, which started Oct. 9, according to Wyosports.net.

"The Cheyenne ADs have done a really good job of keeping in contact," Schmidt said. "We've basically had ongoing communication over the last week. When Central called last night and said they couldn't play, it didn't come as a huge surprise because we've been talking most of this week."

While this is the first high school sports cancellation to COVID-19 for Thunder Basin and Campbell County, the nearby Sheridan Broncs volleyball team also is in quarantine, said CCHS coach Marcy Befus.

With the regional tournament slated for Oct. 29 and the state tournament for Nov. 7, the volleyball playoffs could be in jeopardy if COVID-19 cases continue to surface in school districts across the state, Schmidt said.

"I think it can be easy to focus on the postseason with it being so close," he said. "But at anytime during our fall season where there's been a COVID concern ... whether it's Sept. 1 or Oct. 16, you have to take into consideration the safety of your coaches and your kids.

"To say it's not worrisome a little bit about the postseason, sure that's out there too, but we've been mostly worried this fall about whether our kids are safe and our staff are as safe as they can be."

Cheyenne East is ranked No. 3 in the WyoPrep.com rankings while Thunder Basin is No. 2, but the top-5 matchup is unlikely to be rescheduled with the playoffs so close.

"It's a tough situation," Schmidt said. "Anytime when you aren't able to play it's a tough situation, but we have to do what we have to do to make sure the kids and our coaches are safe."

While the Saturday games were outright canceled, Schmidt said the Campbell County volleyball programs will continue with their seasons as planned.

For the Bolts, the cancellations leave two regular season matches remaining. Thunder Basin is scheduled to host Casper Kelly Walsh on Friday before traveling to Sheridan Oct. 24. 

The Camels also are tentatively scheduled to play Sheridan at home Friday before traveling to Casper to wrap up the regular season against Kelly Walsh on Oct. 24.

Football, cross-country and swimming and diving events have not been affected by the volleyball cancellations.

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