By Airman 1st Class William Tracy
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
For only the second time in 10 years, the Air Force Volleyball Team took home gold during the 2017 Armed Forces Volleyball Tournament — highlighting a successful Air Force Volleyball Season helped in large part by the service of two Schriever Airmen.
It wasn’t long before Capt. Stephen Welling, 50th Operations Support Squadron, and 1st Lieutenant Seth Miller, 1st Space Operations Squadron, were elected team captains for the AFVB team due to their leadership and sportsmanship abilities; guiding teammates toward victory.
“This is the first year I’ve seen where we had two Airmen from the same base who were handpicked by their teammates to be team captains,” said Capt. Karl Grosselin, Space Systems Directorate, and AFVB head coach. “They did a fantastic job providing much needed leadership.”
The team capped an undefeated record in armed forces play, beating out the other branches on their path to gold. Miller was selected for the All-Armed Forces Tournament team as the Armed Forces top outside hitter.
“The team meshed well, from our first scrimmage early in the month to the nationals,” Welling said.
Composed of both officer and enlisted, before Airmen join the team they must first make it past the selection process and prove their ability in tryouts.
“We have a two day tryout, where we narrow down the number of Airmen to twelve, from there, we train for about a month,” Grosselin said.
The training prepared Airmen for the high-level competition of the volleyball season.
Competition this year was fierce, Welling said — successfully making the team this year after trying out for the second time. Airmen regularly battled it out against the Army and Navy teams in heated matches.
“We pushed our guys really hard to get in shape to be ready to play Army and Navy,” he said. “We had a couple guys get hurt and play through some injuries. Staying healthy and prepared as a team was important.”
Aside from representing the Air Force during play, AFVB players helped extend positive outreach to local communities in the course of the season.
“I enjoyed representing the Air Force in a positive way; going out into the community, putting on youth camps down at Hulbert (Air Force Base),” Welling said. “We got to really put out a positive vibe for the Air Force to the community.”
The hard work payed off both on and off the court with a successful AFVB season for the team and for Schriever.
“This is my fifth year in the program, and it is by far the best team I have ever seen,” Grosselin said. “They (Miller and Welling) took everyone under their wing, focused their practice and it showed in the game scores and how we performed.”