Rocky Ford's Gracie Moreland shows she's good on the volleyball court and in the pool

Ken Hamrick
LA Junta Tribune
Rocky Ford High School's Gracie Moreland hits the ball over the net in Tuesday's match against Holly at the Melon Dome. Moreland had 12 kills and five service aces in the Meloneers' three-set win.

The Rocky Ford High School volleyball team was playing with a bit of a different lineup Tuesday after one of its top hitters, senior Lily Hancock, was injured.

But Gracie Moreland stepped up.

Moreland, who also swam for the Arkansas Valley girls swimming and diving team, proved that she is not only a good swimmer, but she is also good on the volleyball court.

"I love both sports," Moreland said. "It's fun to transition straight to volleyball season right after swimming. This is different, because I would normally go from volleyball to swimming. But swimming is a harder sport for me to get all the way through for me. So getting through the season and being able to relax and have fun during volleyball season was a good change."

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Moreland made a big difference in the Meloneers' win over Holly Tuesday at the Melon Dome. Rocky won in three sets by score of 25-12, 25-9 and 25-8. She led the team in both kills and service aces with 12 and five, respectively.

"We had a new rotation," said Rocky coach Tami Thomas. "We lost Lily last week with an ACL tear. There's nothing definite, but we're pretty sure she's out for the season. We had new people come in and they did a really good job today."

"We made some adjustments," Moreland said. "We have one of our best players hurt but we were able to move around and adjust how we needed to be."

"Gracie had some serves, great hits and everything," Thomas said. "She's a team player. She always serves well. She's my ace server."

Also contributing to the Meloneers' win was Teagan Mendoza-Werner with 15 assists and four aces.

Earlier this year, Moreland signed a national letter of intent to swim at the University of Northern Colorado. She is looking forward to competing at the NCAA Division 1 level.

"My coach knows that I love volleyball, too," Moreland said. "So I'm just trying to get through this season and in the summer I'll start swimming again and start training and preparing for college."

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Moreland will swim for her home team, the Rocky Ford Blue Marlins, during the summer.

"Hopefully, we'll get to compete this year," Moreland said. "Last year, we didn't have a season because of COVID. But we're hoping that we'll get some meets this summer and test myself out for swimming in the fall."

Rocky Ford (6-3, 4-2) will next play at Las Animas on Thursday. The Meloneers will make up their match with Rye, originally scheduled for this coming Friday, next Monday.

Tribune-Democrat reporter Ken Hamrick can be reached by email atKHamrick1@gannett.com