Wolsey-Wessington returns to B tourney with lofty goals
WOLSEY — After making its first ever state tournament appearance last season, Wolsey-Wessington is one of six teams returning to this year’s event.
The Lady Warbirds, who finished third a year ago, enter the 2023 tournament, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday in Summit Arena at the Monument in Rapid City, as the No. 5 seed with a 29-4 record.
“Competing in the state tournament last year motivated the girls to work hard in the offseason and set a goal to get back to the state tournament,” Wolsey-Wessington coach Lindy Uttecht said.
Leading the Lady Warbirds into the state tournament will be seniors Payton Kemnitz, Kate Hamilton, Kailynn Dorris and Lainey Uttecht.
Also providing Wolsey-Wessington with some experienced depth are juniors Tatum Luce, Roxy Glanzer and Samara Clemente. Sophomore Kendal Uttecht and freshman Shae Uttecht also have filled key roles this season.
“With only three returning starters, I feel all of our players have stepped up and played the positions we have asked them to play and assumed roles that were needed for our team to be successful,” Uttecht said. “I expect us to go into the state tournament with confidence and play as a team.”
The Lady Warbirds will open the tournament against fourth-seeded Burke, which is 31-4, at 12:45 p.m. MT on Thursday. The two teams met in the third-place match a year ago.
“We played Burke last year in the state tournament and the sets were very close and intense so I anticipate a repeat of last year,” Uttecht said.
Top-seeded Warner will be looking to cap a perfect season with its third straight Class B championship. The Lady Monarchs bring a 37-0 record into this year’s event and will face No. 8-seeded Gayville-Volin (21-11) at 11 a.m. MT on Thursday.
Second-seeded Chester, which battled Warner for the title last year, is 30-2 and will face seventh-seeded Faulkton Area (24-9) at 5 p.m. MT in an opening round matchup on Thursday.
Third-seeded Coman-Egan (28-5) will play sixth-seeded Castlewood (21-8) in the final game of the first round at 6:45 p.m. MT on Thursday.
The consolation semifinals will be held at 11 a.m., and 12:45 p.m. MT on Friday, with the semifinals to follow at 5 and 6:45 p.m. MT.
The seventh-place match is scheduled for 11 a.m. MT on Saturday, followed by the consolation title match at 12:45 p.m. MT; the third-place match at 5 p.m. MT; and the championship match at 6:45 p.m. MT.
The Class B Tournament will air live online at sdpb.org/volleyball and on YouTube throughout the duration of the event. The evening session on Saturday will air on SDPB1-TV.