SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sanford Pentagon is abuzz with volleyball.
64 volleyball teams are participating in the Summer Slam Invite, the largest turnout in tournament history.
“32, 48, up to 64 this year and the popularity seems to be growing every year, so it’s great,” Adrenaline Volleyball Owner Darren Tipton said.
The event serves as a summer tune-up for local teams with the regular season less than a month away.
“The purpose of it was to give South Dakota teams a premier volleyball event to end their summer as probably the last thing a lot of these guys will do heading into their season,” Tipton said.
This year’s tournament features nine state champions from two years ago, but Tipton says the level of competition and 16-team bracket are a good measuring stick for everyone involved.
“It’s really good for our South Dakota schools to experience what surrounding states do because the Midwest is such a hotbed for volleyball and South Dakota teams are getting better and better every year,” Tipton said.
“There’s good competition. I think you get a lot of out-of-state teams, you get the in-state teams, you play a mix of them so that’s helpful in regards to you see where your team is at, what you need to work on, what you need to do,” O’Gorman Head Coach Cale Hecht said.
O’Gorman is one of 32 South Dakota teams participating. Cale Hecht is entering his first season as Knights head coach and learning on the fly.
“How do I give feedback to whoever compared to whoever because each one of them is going to take something different, so just that mesh between players, what works for us, what’s going to be our identity as an O’Gorman volleyball team,” Hecht said.
Summer Slam is an important part of that process.
“I’m learning lots in regards to everything about it all, but it’s been fun,” Hecht said.
After playing three matches today, the 64 squads will compete in 16-team bracket play on Tuesday.