While a new state tournament format awaits the qualifiers from this weekend’s regional play, the process for how those teams will punch their ticket into that field remains the same. Eight regional champions will automatically qualify for the state tournament, and four others will earn their way in based off the final RPI standing which will be calculated at the conclusion of the regional round.
REGION A – LA VETA HS (SATURDAY, NOV. 3RD)
This region could potentially send two teams to state, with the host La Veta (3rd RPI) and De Beque (10th RPI) each being in line for a wild card, if they do not win the region outright. However, the best bet for the Dragons would be to claim the regional title, as at least one automatic spot will be earned by a team currently outside of the top 12 in RPI. The final member of the region is Cotopaxi (22nd RPI) who must pull off a pair of upsets to keep its season alive. The only matchups between teams in this region had La Veta taking a pair of sweeps over Cotopaxi.
Some of the biggest hitters in the class will participate in this region, led by La Veta’s Kaylee Corsentino (307 kills) and De Beque’s Faith Novess (289 kills). Others to watch at the net include Nia Sciacca and Desi Ortivez of La Veta, who each have 169 kills, and Cotopaxi’s Koylynn Gulliford (124Vkills). All three teams also have excellent setters who help initiate the offense. Madi Scott of the Dragons leads all with 537 assists, while Mary Goins of La Veta has 397 assists, and sophomore Shealee Coleman leads the Pirates with 346.
REGION B – LAMAR CC (FRIDAY, NOV. 2ND)
Defending state champion Kit Carson (1st RPI) has to be considered the favorite in this region, but even if the Wildcats get upset, their RPI will put them in the state field. Kit Carson owns a pair of sweep victories over Eads (24th RPI), but did not play Walsh (7th RPI) during the season. Walsh and Eads hooked up once, with Walsh winning in three sets. Walsh could be in line for a wild card spot at state if the Eagles don’t win the region, but Eads can only get in by taking the title.
Tess Hornung leads a trio of Wildcats in triple digit kills with 231, followed by McKenzie Smith (178) and Olivia Isenbart (154). Walsh also has three players with more than 100 kills, led by Shiann Fritzler with 169. Tyree Jones (114) and MyKenzie Penick (107) are the other two. Brooklyn Jones is the lone Eads Eagle over that mark, pacing her squad with 137. Kit Carson has four players with at least 195 digs, led by Haley Johnson (358), while Fritzler (256) is one of six Walsh players with at least 178.
REGION C – OTIS HS (FRIDAY, NOV. 2ND)
Of the three teams in this region, only Otis (2nd RPI) can earn a wild card into the final field. Both Elbert (20th RPI) and Idalia (31st RPI) are too far back in the RPI and each enters the weekend knowing that they must win it all to continue their seasons. Otis beat Idalia twice this season, sweeping the Wolves both times. Neither team faced Elbert, who finished second in District 7.
Otis boasts the most explosive offensive attack of the teams in the region, with four Bulldogs having recorded more than 100 kills. Makenna Metzler leads that group with 232, followed by Becca Bleak (151), Apryl Tolson (140) and Ruby Halcomb (118). Sydney Reynolds leads the Bulldogs with 328 assists and has only made 12 errors in over 1400 ball handling attempts. Olivia Lay (123 kills) and Taryn Lee (101 kills) paced Elbert’s Bulldogs at the net, and Jocelyn Smith has 421 of the team’s 446 assists. Breann Shaffer is the top option for Idalia, registering 276 kills so far. Cloey Jones (157 kills) and Madisen Hoyda (103 kills) help provide balance. Megan Waitman is the main setter for the Wolves, recording 464 assists to date.
REGION D – HORIZON HS (SATURDAY, NOV. 3RD)
This region is one of the few in which the host may not be the favorite. Denver Waldorf (15th RPI) was scheduled to play Weldon Valley (4th RPI) two weeks ago, but that went down as a forfeit loss for the Spartans, who won the District 8 title. They were pushed to five sets by Front Range Baptist (21st RPI) in their lone meeting during the season. Weldon Valley’s RPI would most likely be enough to get the Warriors back to the state tournament, should they not win the region, but the other two are facing elimination if they do not claim the crown. Weldon Valley had won 16 straight matches before dropping two sweep losses to Fleming in the District 4 tournament.
Denver Waldorf has the state’s second-leading hitter in Ava Ahalt (410 kills), while Peyton Pearson and Sasha Binder-Hassen each have 106 kills for the Spartans. Kaybree Keating paces a trio of Weldon Valley players with more than 100 kills, having pounded 198. Kirsten Wood and Linda Amaglio each have 127 so far. Amber Bates (79 kills) and Anje Vander Dussen (74 kills) lead Front Range Baptist. Alexie Pearson handles most of the setting duties for Denver Waldorf, recording 620 of the team’s 783 assists, while Wood and Christa Sandoval share that role for Weldon Valley. Wood leads with 301 assists and Sandoval has added 249. The duo has committed just 19 errors in over 1600 attempts.
REGION E – DOVE CREEK HS (SATURDAY, NOV. 3RD)
Despite the difference in RPI, this region is considered by many as a toss-up between Dove Creek (9th RPI) and Sangre de Cristo (16th RPI). Dove Creek enters at 19-2 with its only losses coming to 3A Delta and 2A Ignacio. The Bulldogs faced Nucla (29th RPI) three times during the season, winning the first meeting in five sets and then picking up sweeps in the last two. Neither team from District 1 played the Thunderbirds.
Dove Creek and Sangre have some very similar numbers on the season. Cassie Gatlin leads a group of three Bulldogs with more than 100 kills, having recorded 221 on the season. Breea Meyer (163) and Madilyn Hankins (129) complete the trio. The Thunderbirds have been led by Jessica Slane’s 227 kills, while Avery Palmgren (136) and Kylee Christensen (127) have provided the balance.
REGION F – LAMAR CC (FRIDAY, NOV. 2ND)
One of the more intriguing regions has three teams that are very familiar with each other. Springfield (8th RPI) is the host after winning the District 3 title last week, while McClave (5th RPI) is the #2 seed as the second place team in District 2. Those two split a pair of meetings during the regular season, with the Longhorns winning in three sets early in the year and McClave taking a five-set victory later in the campaign. The third team is South Baca, who went 0-2 against Springfield, dropping both in three sets.
Springfield might have one of the deepest rotations at the net, with five players having registered 95 or more kills. Tatum Hall leads that group with 212. The Longhorns are also very good on defense, with all nine players on the roster recording at least 74 digs. Kylie Parks leads the team in that category with 391. Jordan Parker is the clear #1 option for McClave, checking in with 282 kills, 172 more than the next highest total on the team. She also leads the Cards with 44 blocks. The rest of the team has 33. Alissa Hebberd (142 kills) and Alison Wilson (118 kills) lead the Patriots.
REGION G – GENOA-HUGO HS (SATURDAY, NOV. 3RD)
Region G in another tournament in which the host could be in danger of not making the state field. Genoa-Hugo (13th RPI) finds itself outside of what would be a qualifying spot in the RPI, but the Pirates also know that they are in if they win the region. Haxtun (14th RPI) is in the same boat. The best record of the three teams in the region belongs to the #3 seeded Pikes Peak Christian (26th RPI) at 18-5, but the other two teams played much tougher schedules. Genoa-Hugo played 12 matches against regional teams, and Haxtun played 16, compared to four for the Eagles.
The Pirates have three players with more than 100 kills, led by junior Ryely Smartt with 342. Glorya Carr (150) and Brylee Miller (117) are the other two. Dawson Knode leads four Haxtun players in that category with 271. The other three are closely bunched, with Ciera Schelling (143), Mckenna Andersen (129), and Brooklyn Davis (126) separated by just 17. Kyler Sweat’s 123 kills is 60 more than anyone else on Pikes Peak Christian’s roster.
REGION H- NORTHEASTERN JUNIOR COLLEGE (FRIDAY, NOV. 2ND)
Despite a slow start to what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, Fleming (12th RPI) once again finds itself hosting a region as the District 4 champion. The Wildcats have won six straight since a three-set loss to La Veta two weeks ago. Tradition and a rugged schedule have the Wildcats as the favorite over Belleview Christian (23rd RPI), but they may need to beat Merino (6th RPI) for a second time in three meetings to earn a return trip to state. Merino beat Fleming in five sets a few weeks back, but the Wildcats took a sweep victory over the Rams last week during districts.
Fleming freshman Whitney Chintala is following in the footsteps of her three older siblings in being a standout athlete for the Wildcats. She leads the team with 371 kills, and is second with 418 digs. Jenna Lengfelder is second with 235 kills and leads with 433 kills, and Kendyl Kirkwood has 118 kills to go with 600 assists. Brooke Long leads the Bruins with 271 kills and 299 digs, while Sara Torres is second with 117 kills and 225 digs. Merino has the deeper, more balanced attack of all three teams. Brooke Mertens and Taysa Conger lead a group of five players with at least 92 kills, with 241 and 196, respectively. Lydia Stegner-Pejsa (169), Lauren Fritzler (131), and Ainsley Powell (92) round out the leaders. Faith Trenkle is the clear leader in digs, recording more than 20 per match (504 total).