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.
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.
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.
4A East All Conference
Player of the Year
Alexis Stucky, Laramie
Co-Defensive Player of the Year
Ellie Thomas, Thunder Basin; Boden Liljedahl, Cheyenne East