Six Bolts earn postseason volleyball honors

TBHS senior Ellie Thomas, who signed with Northwest College last week, capped her senior year by earning All-State and Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the state after finishing with a school-record of 517 digs this season. (Photo courtesy of Thunder Basin Bolt Volleyball)

The final touches of the 2021 volleyball season are the accolades for a job well done. Thunder Basin High School was no exception as one of the best teams in Wyoming had several players named to the All-State and All-Conference teams.

TBHS Head Coach Wenette Martin expressed her sincere gratitude for all the recognition her players received this year in conference play and at state.

Leading the way for the Bolts were two of their many talented players on the roster that guided the team to a third-place finish at the Wyoming High School Activities Association’s 4A state tournament.

Joelie Spelts, a 6-foot-2 junior outside hitter, was a lethal presence on the court where she had a team-high 368 kills this season on her way to earning All-State honors. (Photo courtesy of Kellie Jo Allison Photography)

The most prestigious of the honors is the All-State award. To be considered, athletes must be selected to the All-Conference team and must be nominated by their coach. From there, the other coaches around the state vote on the selections and the Wyoming Coaches Association delivers the recognition.

For Thunder Basin, Joelie Spelts and Ellie Thomas were named All-State for the season. State champion Laramie had the most of any team with five of its six starters making the elite list.

It was twice as nice for Thomas as she was also named Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the state, which is the first such honor ever awarded to a volleyball player at TBHS.

From left, TBHS seniors Taylor Hamilton, Risa Pilon, Ellie Thomas and Hannah Durgin made a last impression in leading the Bolts by example in 2021. (Photo courtesy of Thunder Basin Bolt Volleyball)

Thomas, a 5-foot-6 libero, has committed to play at Northwest College next fall. As for this fall, she frustrated many opposing hitters as she made a living out of thwarting attacks to the tune of a school-record 517 digs this season and a team-best 62 aces.

Spelts caught the attention of every coach and opposing player in the state. The 6-foot-2 junior outside hitter is a two-time All-State selection who will be one of top returnees in Wyoming next season. She racked up 369 kills, 98 total blocks, 60 digs and 27 aces this season.

Earning All-Conference honors along with Thomas and Spelts were senior middle hitter Hannah Durgin and senior setter Taylor Hamilton.

Durgin capped her TBHS career with 213 kills, 73 total blocks and 18 assists. Hamilton was the quarterback of the attack and dished out 1,041 assists and chalked up 51 aces.

Second team All-Conference honors went to junior outside hitter Brooke Carroll and senior outside hitter Risa Pilon. Carroll punished defenses as she crushed 262 kills (second highest on the team), racked up 215 digs with 36 blocks and 17 aces. Pilon ended her career with big numbers as well with 196 kills, 26 aces and 230 digs.

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TBHS junior Brooke Carroll was a weapon at the net where she was second in kills with 262 to earn All-Conference honors. (Photo courtesy of Kellie Jo Allison Photography)

4A All-State

Thunder Basin

Joelie Spelts

Ellie Thomas

Cheyenne East

Elysiana Fonseca

Boden Liljedahl

Kelly Walsh

Peyton Carruth

Cydney Eskew

Abi Milby

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Anna Gatlin

Alexis Stucky

Maddy Stucky

Taylor Tyser

Megan Hagar

Natrona County

Alesha Lane

Erin Weibel

Rock Springs

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Emily Taucher

Star Valley

Mia Hutchinson


4A East All Conference

Thunder Basin

Hannah Durgin

Taylor Hamilton

Joelie Spelts

Ellie Thomas

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Brooke Carroll

Risa Pilon

Player of the Year

Alexis Stucky, Laramie

Co-Defensive Player of the Year

Ellie Thomas, Thunder Basin; Boden Liljedahl, Cheyenne East