By: Shawn O’Brate

RIVERTON – Fall sports are slowly-but-surely getting revved up for the upcoming 2022-23 season but not very many coaches and athletes in Fremont County are as excited to return to their field of expertise as the Central Wyoming College (CWC) Lady Rustler volleyball team.

This year, head coach Darshaya Gallard will start off the season like she has for most of her six-year tenure as CWC’s volleyball guru and guide to the promised land, but she won’t be alone. She will be joined by CWC Lady Rustler volleyballer, Cali Simms, who is coming back as her assistant coach for the ‘22-’23 season.

“She’s going to be my right hand girl,” coach Gallard said about Simms. 

Simms won’t only help during the season but she’ll be a major help during the upcoming volleyball camp this week from August 3rd through the 5th. Anyone can join the volleyball camp, on any day as well, so if you or someone you know is looking to learn from some of the best volleyball players and coaches in the region this is the week for them.

But don’t just take our word for it, look at the CWC Lady Rustler’s record since Gallard took over as head coach six years ago. As she came into the program she inherited a team with zero conference wins, and no chance at digging themselves out of last place, but now she has girls coming off a 9th place finish in Nationals last season.

Darshaya Gallard (left) and Cali Simms (right) smiled before putting together one of the best volleyball camps in the county, maybe even the state, this Wednesday, August 3rd through the 5th.

“Slowly we built our record back up, we kind of doubled our wins every season,” Gallard said about her time at CWC, “[Two seasons ago] we finished second in our conference, runner up to go to nationals, and last seasons we finished first in our conference with a 13–0 record.”

It’s obvious that CWC volleyball is on a different plateau than other volleyball programs in Wyoming, which makes the upcoming camp even more exciting. At that camp girls and boys from Kindergarten through high school will learn the basics of volleyball and will have fun while doing so, learning everything from current and previous CWC volleyball players as well as coach Gallard herself.

“I just love the K-5th grade camp, it’s just fun. We play games, we do relay races, and just teaching them ‘hey this is how you do this sport’ is so redeeming,” coach Gallard said, “it’s really fun we get the balloons out, we get pool noodles, we have yoga balls, we have a candy pass game, it’s super fun for the little ones.”

A young girl learned the basics of how to serve a volleyball at last year’s CWC Volleyball camp

Just young children aren’t the only ones joining the volleyball team at camp though, there are “sometimes 60” middle school aged children and the high school camp is “very competitive” because coach Gallard runs it “just like a college practice” which can lead to some serious growth in skill and knowledge of the sport.

Over the three day camp coach Gallard and new assistant coach Simms are hoping to bring some elements of the camps they previously participated in to the CWC courts.

“I was only a front row player before CWC,” Simms said about her past, “then when I came to Darshaya I think I play back row better than front row.”

And Simms wants to reciprocate what her coaches have done for her now that she has the coaching title on her name tag instead of ‘player’.

“It’s interesting when you’re on a team and you’re an athlete and you do a kids camp, you see what you want to do as an athlete,” Simms continued, “then you kind of filter the kids through the coaching you got when you were younger, you figure out how much you know and what you learned from your coach when you coach someone else and show them the basics. I love that part of camp.”

The camp will not only be about athletics and what makes student athletes successful in volleyball, but it will also shine a light on how to dominate the ‘student’ aspect of being that confident student-athlete.

“Some of these girls might be distracted or overwhelmed, or don’t know what to focus on so I’ll definitely have the girls share how important academics are,” coach Gallard said. 

And Gallard’s girls would know a thing or two about being successful off the court as well as on the court, especially considering their 3.6 cumulative GPA last season earned them one of three honor roll distinctions in the nation. 

Gallard’s camp is sure to be chock-full of information and knowledge about volleyball and everything that it has to do with. Not only the basics and the act of just ‘touching the ball’, but all the fun that comes with the sport as a whole.
So, if you or anyone you know is interested feel free to give coach Gallard a call at (307) 855-2322 or you can email her at, or you can show up to the CWC court any of the three days and pay nothing extra. Coach Gallard even mentioned possible help for those that may not be able to financially make all three days of the camp, which makes the camp even more inclusive than it already has been.