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Weskan makes it back to state

Published on -10/25/2012, 9:59 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Weskan High School graduated first team all-state setter/outside hitter Jori Mote and all-state honorable mention setter/outside hitter Kellie Young. The Coyotes have had four starters miss time because of sickness or injury.

Weskan didn't have a healthy team until sub-state last weekend -- and managed to qualify for the state tournament for the fifth straight season.

"It's what we were hoping for, because they finally all played like how we wanted them to look at the beginning of the year," coach Morgan Welsh (formerly Richmeier) said. "We kind of struggled all season. We won games, but when you have change your rotation about eight times during the season -- it was nice to see that 'OK, now we are back and we know what is going on now.' We are gelling."

The Coyotes lost in pool play last season, finished fourth in 2010 and lost in pool play in '09 and '08.

"The girls know what it is like to go," Welsh, in her third season, said. "They just show up for sub-state."

Weskan is the No. 6 seed at 26-12 and is part of the four-team Poll II at the Class 1A, Division II state volleyball tournament. The Coyotes' first match is 9:30 a.m. against third-seeded Wilson (31-5) on Friday morning at Gross Memorial Coliseum. No. 2 Argonia (34-5) also is in Weskan's pool.

"We just kind of say, we have been practicing since August and it's tears and injuries and all that stuff to get to here and we are here now," Welsh said.

Weskan is glad it's not in the same pool as fifth-seeded Wheatland-Grinnell. The two are in the Western Kansas Liberty League and would like to match up Saturday in the semifinals or finals. Weskan went 1-2 versus the Thunderhawks this year.

"We have two of the toughest teams on our side," Welsh said. "With our injuries and everything, I don't think our record shows where we are at, which is good for us. I think it is going to be tough no matter what, because we are all a state qualifying team and all deserve to be there."

Weskan's problems started on the third day of the season when senior setter Shelley Wamsley fell ill. Wamsley is the leader in the 5-1 offense.

Then junior middle/outside hitter Robyn See and senior outside hitter Kassandra Herrera suffered concussions. Next, sophomore middle/outside hitter Shaelynn Compton suffered an ankle injury. In addition to those four, junior outside/middle hitter Kelsey Hale, sophomore right-side hitter Grace Purvis and freshman outside hitter McKenna Hale start. Younger players played well and some Weskan graduates, stepped in. They sent the current players letters telling them not to give up, which helped.

"They all fought it and came back," Welsh said.

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