Photo courtesy of Mark Cone

LPHS volleyball player goes national

Rising junior Maddie Cone joins 16U Montana state volleyball team for national tournament

“I was super excited.”

These were the words used by Maddie Cone when she was approached to join the Montana U16 state select volleyball team. This past winter Cone was approached by the state select coach to join their team and play in a national showcase tournament in Orlando, Florida. The rising junior volleyball player was a standout on the LPHS volleyball team last year. However, this was a new test, she would be playing against some of the best volleyball players the nation had to offer at the showcase tournament in Orlando this past weekend. The experience was one to remember for Cone, “It’s been great to play at the highest level of volleyball for my age,” Cone said.

The Montana U16 state select team is made up of girls 16 and under from across the state of Montana. The majority of which however, are from large AA schools from across the state. Cone was just one of two girls on the team from a Class C school, the other was a member of the Bighorns 12C foes Manhattan Christian.

The team had a rigorous schedule while in Orlando. They played three or four games a day, with the possibility of playing up to 15 games this past Tuesday in the single elimination tournament.

The Montana state select team had some success while in Orlando. Cone states that they had won a handful of games over the past weekend, including all of their games on Saturday, however the competition was stiff. She recalls playing a tough team from the Detroit area in which every girl seemed like they were at least six feet tall. 

The tournament was littered with Division 1 caliber talent, as well as Division 1 scouts and coaches. Cone recalls spotting coaches from Louisiana State University, University of Utah and the University of Colorado Boulder in attendance. She believes that many of the girls could end up at a school of that caliber, “A lot of girls that I played with and against could play D1,” Cone said.

Cone believes that she performed well in Orlando and has grown significantly as a player through this experience. She explained that she had to switch positions once she joined her new team because of her height. “I’ve been playing right side(hitter) during the tournament, when I usually play middle hitter at Lone Peak because I am one of the tallest,” Cone said.

The Orlando tournament is the last time that the select team will play together in 2021. Cone states that she hopes to play with the select team next year and expects many of the same girls to be back next year as well.

Cone believes this experience isn’t just an accomplishment for her, it’s a win for all young athletes in Big Sky. She hopes this trend will continue for Lone Peak athletes going forward,  “People from small schools like Lone Peak can compete at the highest level, which I think is really cool to see,” Cone said.

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