Elliott column: Sartell volleyball coach keeps at it

Elliott column: Sartell volleyball coach keeps at it

News

Elliott column: Sartell volleyball coach keeps at it

By

SARTELL

Talk all you want about the Sartell volleyball team. Head coach Ronell Uran is more than ready to accommodate.

But milestone wins? She doesn’t want to talk about it.

“I really don’t care,” she said.

Uran is the winningest coach in the area, having been a head coach at Rocori from 1988-93 and then at Sartell since 1994.

Her team is 1-1 this season going into the Litchfield tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday. Uran has 384 career wins. Her teams are consistently good, usually middle-of-the-pack or better in the Central Lakes Conference.

The Sabres have never been to the state tournament under Uran, but are always competitive. This season’s squad, she hopes, will turn out to be one of her better ones.

“So far, it’s been a blast,” she said. “They work hard and they get along, which isn’t always the case. It’s been a good ride.”

This season’s squad has a nice mix of juniors and seniors.

Amelia Barkley and Kia Grindland are junior middle hitters that Uran said have put in the time in the offseason to get better.

Mikayla Gessell and Abigail Gessell also are juniors. They are cousins; Abigail is a setter, as is junior Hailey Winter.

Seniors Kylee Bommersbach and Brooke-Lynn Grasswick also are key players.

“I think our biggest strength is that we’re very balanced,” Uran said. “We handle the ball well.

“We may not be the showiest team out there, but we know what we can do with it.”

Fergus Falls and Alexandria look like the conference favorites. Sartell’s in a group with Brainerd, Rocori, Willmar and St. Cloud Tech that should be in the mix after those two.

“The conference is going to be jacked with good teams,” she said. “The conference overall is going to be really tough.

“There’s not one fluff team. Everyone’s got some quality players. The overall quality of play is very high.”

Sartell finds out all about that after Saturday. First, the Sabres are in a pool with Dassel-Cokato, Annandale and Upsala, all good teams. The other pool has host Litchfield, Paynesville, Watertown-Mayer and Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City.

Then, Sartell plays Tuesday at Fergus Falls before facing Rocori on Thursday at Sartell. Because of schedule changes, that’ll be the Sabres’ home opener.

Uran’s daughters, Kasey (2007) and Kirsten (’09) have both been through the program.

Kasey, a former Times player of the year who played at Southwest Minnesota State, is an assistant coach at Upper Iowa University. Kirsten is a St. Cloud State graduate working in the Sartell school district.

The veteran coach could easily move on after a long career. She doesn’t want to.

“The kids keep me coming back, to be true and honest,” she said. “I love the kids and I love practice.

“Mike (her husband) thinks I need a new hobby. But if I coach, he gets to golf.”

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports