Howells-Dodge began and ended the season as the No. 1 Class D team in the Daily News coverage area, and sisters Ellie and Grace Baumert were the main reasons why.
Senior Ellie and junior Grace transferred to the school before the 2020 season and led the Jaguars to the Class C2 state tournament before earning a return trip to Lincoln this season, this time in Class D1, and winning the big trophy.
For their efforts, the Baumert sisters are both members of the Class D Elite Eight with Ellie earning the added distinction of honorary captain.
Ellie Baumert, who last week signed a letter of intent to continue her education and volleyball career at Texas Tech, was a force to be reckoned with, finishing her senior campaign with 343 kills, 487 assists, 34 blocks, 279 digs and 68 ace serves.
Her coach, Taryn Janke, said her 6-foot-2-inch star did what was best for the team.
“Ellie started out as a setter, but this year she transformed into an all-around player of hitting in the front row, blocking in the middle and passing,” Janke said. “She is willing to do anything to help her team succeed.”
Ellie Baumert plans to graduate early and travel to Lubbock, where, in January, she’ll begin taking classes and working with her new teammates.
She is one of five seniors on the Class D elite squad. Grace Gansebom of Osmond, Karley Heimes of Wynot, Addison Schneider of Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family and Lexi Schroder of Stuart are the others. Meanwhile, Grace Baumert is one of three juniors along with Hadley Cheatum of Summerland and Kylee Wessel of Humphrey St. Francis.
Heimes and Schneider are both repeat selections from last year’s Class D squad. Both Baumerts were part of the Class C second team last year while Cheatum, Gansebom, Schroder and Wessel were all listed among the Class D honorably mentioned.
Grace Baumert, Howells-Dodge
Grade: Junior. Height: 6-1. Position: Outside. Statistics: 384 kills, 264 digs, 58 aces. Coach Taryn Janke: “Grace got her 1,000th kill this season and broke the record for serving points in a season (415). She is our go-to girl and has come a long way in being both an offensive and a defensive player. Grace has recently been recruited by Wayne State and South Dakota State. She was voted team captain last year after transferring in as a sophomore and has started the last two years. She has tremendous heart when it comes to playing the game and pushes her teammates to improve.”
Hadley Cheatum, Summerland
Grade: Junior Height: 5-10 Position: Outside/middle. Statistics: 202 kills, 27 blocks, 98 digs, 3 aces. Coach Rachael Cheatum: “Hadley was out for the beginning of the season with a knee injury but really helped the team and still managed to record more than 200 kills in just 17 games.”
Grace Gansebom, Osmond
Grade: Senior Height: 5-5 Position: Setter. Statistics: 313 assists, 188 digs, 142 kills, 29 aces. Coach Jennifer Wiseley: “Grace loves to be challenged and has put in many long hours dedicating herself to the sport. She was our team leader this year, always pushing herself and her team. She reached the 1,000 mark in assists this year, ending her career with 1,247 total.”
Karley Heimes, Wynot
Grade: Senior. Height: 6-0. Position: Outside. Statistics: 369 kills, 65 blocks, 339 digs, 48 aces. Coach Tammy Wieseler: “Karley is a very competitive athlete. She knows what she wants and goes after it. She makes everyone else around her better by her work ethic and her determination to be the best that she can be.”
Addison Schneider, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family
Grade: Senior Height: 6-1. Position: Middle. Statistics: 279 kills, 65 blocks, 65 digs. Coach Cami Oelsligle: “Addison will be exceptionally difficult to replace. She’s always been a leader with both her actions and her words. She’s faced adversity and come back from two knee surgeries. She is the definition of playing with heart and determination. She’s always been one of our most consistent offensive threats with few errors and high kill percentage. Her blocking also made it difficult for other teams to score.”
Lexi Schroder, Stuart
Grade: Senior. Height: 5-8. Position: Middle. Statistics: 435 kills, 397 digs, 47 aces. Coach Sandy Miller: “Lexi has been one of the most blue-collar athletes I have ever coached. She came through for us time after time, not only up by the net but in the back row with her passing and serving. With her height, she was more of a natural outside but became a force for us in the middle. Lexi is a four-year starter and is a great kid and teammate.”
Kylee Wessel, Humphrey St. Francis
Grade: Junior Height: 5-8 Position: Outside. Statistics: 304 kills, 347 digs, 29 blocks. Coach Dean Korus: “Kylee was our leading hitter and was passionate about the game. She was always willing to take chances either hitting or serving. She was also a very good passer and a three-year starter.”