At fourteen years old, big-city girl Gracie Eckles made the move to the small town of Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Carlsbad warmed to Gracie immediately. “I felt so welcomed right away,” she remembers. “I love the community of Carlsbad. In about a month, I had made some friends and found a club volleyball team to join: Blackout.” Later that year, she tried out for Cavegirl Volleyball, and she has been a fixture on the team ever since. Now, as a junior, she helps lead the Cavegirl varsity team. At 6’1” tall with an impressive 25+ inch vertical leap, Gracie is a force to be reckoned with on the court. She can play every position but loves specializing in the outside hitting position when she can. “I enjoy the strategy and the competitive aspect of the game,” Gracie says. She’s hoping to earn a spot on a college volleyball team, so she can pursue her dream of becoming a physical therapist.
Gracie says she has thrived in the positive environment of Cavegirl Volleyball coached by Bill Niemeier. Cavegirl Volleyball is a large program with a place for just about everybody. The team is not about just sticking to the high school gym, either. The Cavegirls hit the natatorium next door for conditioning training, and regularly hit the sand volleyball courts at The Beach along the Pecos River to practice, especially during the summer months. It is easy to make friends on the Cavegirl court and in the region as well. Social media and regional tournaments help foster a larger sense of volleyball community across the state.