This weekend will be an absolute battle as teams descend on Milwaukee for the Prep Dig Gauntlet. We have five teams competing that qualified for the USAV Girls Junior National Championships at the Open division. This is no small feat.…
This weekend will be an absolute battle as teams descend on Milwaukee for the Prep Dig Gauntlet. We have five teams competing that qualified for the USAV Girls Junior National Championships at the Open division. This is no small feat. Here is a breakdown of the teams!
1st Alliance 17 Gold
This 1st Alliance team is absolutely dominant. They are ranked top 10 in the country by AES and won the Windy City National Qualifier, and placed 3rd at the Mideast Qualifier. Penn State commit, and liberojust returned from Puerto Rico, where she won gold at the U19 Pan Am Cup with USA Volleyball U19 National Team. She also won the Best Receiver award for the entire tournament. This team boasts three athletes ranked in the top 40 in the country. In addition to Ava, pin hitters (committed to Michigan) and (committed to Kansas) are nationally ranked. This team is stacked with talent, including setter . It has been a while since I have seen this team in action, and I am excited to see them compete again!
Circle City 16 Purple
This Circle City team is no stranger to tough competition. They are ranked 5th in the nation by AES. They won the President’s Day Classic in Saint Louis and then took second place at MEQ, Central Zone Invitational, and the Can Am Classic. They most recently won the 17 Open division of the Indy Cup. They have some of the top recruits out of Indiana on this team, including Logan Bell (OH), Resse Dunkle (MB), and Raegan Durbin (OH). Setter Ava Hunter runs the show and is a high-level athlete that can play in all six rotations. Libero Avery Freeman has also been turning heads as a leader and core player on this highly talented team.
Milwaukee Sting 16 Gold
This Sting team is absolutely stacked with talent and are currently ranked 14th in the nation by AES. They took third at MEQ and Central Zone and second at the Northeast Qualifier. Their back row alone,, , and could run circles around most teams in the country. Pin hitter, and middle blocker are both regularly invited to train with the USAV National Team Development Program. Middle blockers (2026) and have also been making waves this season.
Michigan Elite 16 Mizuno
This is a team that I have not had the opportunity to see play yet – and I can’t wait for this weekend to add them to my radar. They are currently ranked 8th in the country by AES and placed 6th at NIT, 3rd at the Can Am Classic and Central Zone Invite, and 5th at MEQ. I am excited to see this team compete at the Gauntlet. Some key players on this squad include setter Ella Craggs, libero McKenna Payne, middle blocker Shelby Ignash, and pin hitter Isabelle Busignani.
Northern Lights 16-1
Northern Lights 16-1 has had some big wins this season, including their regional qualifier and winning the ASICS Show Me Qualifier. They also placed 5th at the Lone Star Classic. Mesaiya Bettis is a key point earner for Northern Lights and is the top-ranked athlete in her class in Minnesota. Middle hitter Keira Schmidt is absolutely dominant in the middle. Libero McKenna Garr runs the back row and is a huge leader and impact player on the court. This team runs DEEP, and they have plenty of weapons on their roster.