Robinson blazing own trail as leader of YHS volleyball

Jamie Robinson is definitely going to do things her way.
She is embarking upon her first season as the head volleyball coach at Yuma High School, taking over after a highly-successful run by Yuma native Jenny Noble, who resigned as coach and teacher after the last school year.

“Jenny is a tough person to follow,” Robinson said. “I’m just changing everything, just to be fair to the girls and myself. It’s new for everybody.”
The changes include the practice schedule, the drills run in practice, her own rules and expectations, and even the way the team “numbers” different sections of the court.
“I just felt I needed to put my own stamp on everything,” Robinson said.
That also likely includes the type of attack Yuma will employ on the court this year, though Robinson was not going to reveal many details.
“I think we’ll surprise some teams,” she said. “I thought they showed a lot of heart this summer.”
Robinson, a math teacher at YHS, has been an assistant coach with Noble for the past several years. She has been coaching volleyball for more than 20 years, including a long stretch as the head coach at Liberty in southern Yuma County. She also was an accomplished player at Platte Valley High School in the 1990s, but her college playing days were cut short by injury.
Noble had announced after last season that she would be resigning. However, Robinson did not throw her hat into the ring until late in the school year.
“I held off on offering to do it because we had a lot of teacher openings and I wanted to see if the coaching job would help attract someone,” she said. “There were no bites, and it was going to be the kids that were going to get punished (if there was no coach by summer). We talked about it at home and decided to do it.”
YHS volleyball’s long stretch of state tournament appearances — including two 2A titles and three runners-up — finally came to an end last season. However, many key players return and there are about 30 overall out for volleyball.
Veteran assistant Jamie Nighswonger still is on the coaching staff, and YHS graduate Mariya Mekelburg also returns to the staff.
The players and coaches got in some work over the summer, the “varsity” players winning their division at a tournament at Adams State College, and the JV and C players competing for two days at Hi-Plains. There also have been several open gyms.
Robinson noted this has been the first time since 2019 there has been any kind of summer program.
The team officially began 2022 season practices this past Monday, including three days of two-a-day practices this week.
Practices will continue next week, as school begins on August 16. The varsity opens the season at the Kit Carson Tournament on August 20. The JV and C players will join the varsity for their first games August 27 at Sidney, Nebraska.
Yuma’s first home matches are September 2 against Pine Bluffs, Wyoming.
“These girls are blue collar workers who take care of each other,” Robinson said. “I think we’re off to a good start.”