Senior Thomas Beye Started a Journey with Volleyball his Freshman Year and Continues to Improve


By Claire Huss

As Thomas Beye watches his sisters from the sideline play volleyball four years ago, he grew an interest for a sport that took him farther than he ever expected.

“I knew I wanted to try it,” Beye said. “My friend invited to me an open gym, so I went and fell in love with the sport.”

Freshman year, Beye broke his arms two weeks before tryouts, so he was not able to tryout with the team. Luckily, he attended open gyms before the season started so the coaches knew how he played. This resulted in Beye making the freshman team.

“I was worried they weren’t going to let me play,” Beye said. “Luckily though, the coaches had watched me practice at open gyms and still let me play once my arm healed.”

Going into sophomore year, he knew he wanted to get better. He went to some volleyball camps over the summer that taught him some basic skills like hitting, blocking and serving. Thinking he didn’t stand a chance for making the varsity team his sophomore year due to the amount of seniors on the team that year, Thomas was taken by surprise. He made the varsity team.

“I was pretty nervous at first when I made varsity,” Beye said. “I was the only one on the team that wasn’t a senior.”

As time went on though, Thomas grew more comfortable with the team and they taught him techniques and skills that helped him get better.

“One of Thomas’ strengths is his hitting,” teammate and senior John Garrelts said. “Thomas has a lot of natural skill. He brings a lot of energy to the court. If you set him the ball, he will kill it.”

Beye knew, however, that he still had much more room to improve. The offseason of his junior year, he tried out and played for a regional club team. This was his first year on a club team.

“I was excited to how different club volleyball was from high school,” Beye said. “The season went really well and I had a lot of fun.”

He spent a lot of his summer going into his senior year going to the gym and making himself better. This year however, he decided he wanted to tryout for the travel team because he now believed he had more of a shot.

“I was going to some of High Performance volleyball club (HPSTL) Royal open gyms,” Beye said. “I wasn’t expecting to make the team or anything though because they are the top team in the club.”

Tryouts came around for HPSTL and Beye thought they went well. He thought he had a lot of nice blocks, hits and serves. Then the coaches pulled a group of them aside and told them the good news: Beye made 18 Royal.

“I was shocked that I had made the top team,” Beye said. “The coach kept asking me to come back so he could watch me play more. I was very excited though as well.”

Beye practices three to four times a week with his club team. He also gets to travel to Chicago, Anaheim and Dallas where Nationals will take place. They are currently ranked the number four team in the nation.

“His skills have amplified on the court,” Garrelts said. “He doesn’t mess around at practice and his skills show it. People follow in his footsteps.”

With such improvement throughout his four short years playing, Beye had a decision to make: Did he want to continue to play in college? He knew he loved the sport and wanted to continue to play.

On Jan. 24, Beye came to a decision. He verbally commited to play for Missouri Baptist University (MBU).

“One of the biggest things that drew me to choose MBU is all the players and coaches,” Beye said. “They welcomed me there and whenever I practiced with them I felt like I fit right in.”

Beye is looking forward to getting better. He has only been playing for four years, which is a lot less than most people who often commit to play volleyball at the collegiate level. Beye is also looking forward to being with his friends this high school season and winning some games.

“Thomas has grown a lot of confidence throughout the three years I have coached him,” varsity head coach Robin Yuede said. “He is not only a great player, but he is also a great role model to others. He always comes to practice ready to work.”