Prep Athlete of the Week: Rylee Jo Ward

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 12:34 AM CDT
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BURNS, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - No doubt about it, it has been a historic year for Burns Volleyball. The Lady Broncs (16-17-2) went into last week’s 3A East Regional Tournament as the one-seed out of the 3A Southeast. It was Burns’ first time as a one-seed in a regional tournament since 1985.

The Lady Broncs made the most of their opportunity too. Burns defeated Hot Springs County (Thermopolis) 3-0 and then took down Douglas 3-2 to clinch a spot in the program’s first state tournament since BHS was at states 2014.

At the center of it all is Burns Senior Setter and this week’s Wyoming News Now Prep Athlete of the Week Rylee Jo Ward. Ward was a freshman when the Lady Broncs moved up to 3A. Therefore, she was there for the growing pains that ensued over the first few years as Burns reached the ten-win mark just once before this season. But, like the Lady Broncs grew, so too did Ward’s ability on the court.

“She’s probably the best setter I’ve ever seen him as far as high school setters go,” said Burns Volleyball Head Coach Shelle Rostad. “It doesn’t matter where the ball is passed, she will go, I mean, she will kill herself to get to a ball and she will put the ball where the hitter needs to hit it and it’s just amazing to watch her.”

This season, Ward has compiled 621 assists, 85 digs, and 47 service aces. All of those numbers are the most on her team or tied for the most (digs). Despite the impressive stats, Ward said her leadership is what has improved the most in 2021.

“I’m talking to them 24/7 before the whistle is blown, between serves,” said Rylee Jo Ward. “I’m [telling] them constantly, like “they got it” or “just one pass” or “one ball” and just constantly speaking to them.”

In addition to volleyball, Rylee Jo also runs track and plays basketball at Burns. After high school, she will continue her volleyball career at Chadron State College.

Congratulations to Rylee Jo Ward, Wyoming News Now Prep Athlete of the Week.

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