(RAPID CITY, SD) – This weekend, Rapid City will play host to the Women’s High School Hockey State Championships. Of the many teams competing for the ultimate honor of “State Champion” in the state of South Dakota, the Rushmore Thunder Girls Varsity team will surely be a team to watch in the bracket.
“On behalf of the coaching staff, players, front office staff, and ownership of the Rapid City Rush, I would like to extend our best wishes to the Rushmore Thunder Girls Varsity team as they compete for a South Dakota State Title,” said Rush Head Coach and GM Joe Ferras. “I would also like to congratulate the team on their opening round win. We are so proud of what they have accomplished this season and wish them the best of luck in their pursuit of a state championship.”
“Things are going well for us early. The girls have come together as a team and are skating hard. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for,” said Thad Bruhn, Rushmore Thunder Girls Varsity Head Coach.
The tournament began this morning, and lasts until Sunday afternoon, March 8th, where the last two teams of an eight-team bracket will play for a chance to be the South Dakota State Champion of Women’s Hockey. The Rushmore Thunder Girls Varsity Team handled the Watertown Lakers Girls Varsity team by an 8-2 score, advancing to the semi-final round tomorrow night.
“We haven’t beaten Brookings in a long time,” added Bruhn on his upcoming semifinal matchup. “It will be more of a mental challenge for our girls in defeating them\ for a berth into the state championship.” When asked about the advantage of hosting the state tournament, Bruhn concluded: “Home ice helps so much. There was such great fan support this morning. I think the girls skating great and the fans showing their support will help out in the long run on our way to a possible title.”
“It’s been fun to watch the growth of youth hockey in Rapid City over the last five years. Women’s hockey is no exception to that,” said Rush defenseman Riley Weselowski, who spends his summers hosting hockey camps in the Black Hills. “It is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of the girls from Rapid City and their parents throughout the winter and even the summer months. It won’t be long until you see local girls getting recognized nationally with college hockey and national team opportunities.”
“The team was seeded third and played the sixth-seed Watertown team. We were lucky to do as well as we did, considering how gifted the Watertown team is,” said Tracie Veazey, Tournament Director. “Brookings is next in the bracket for us. Our team lost to them all three times in league play in very close matchups, with the last one going to overtime. The girls are chomping at the bit to play them. The top seed is Aberdeen, and we haven’t defeated them either, so if we make it that far and play them I’m sure the championship will be unbelieveable. We certainly think the girls have what it takes to continue their journey to a championship.”
The Rushmore Thunder Girls Varsity Team will play the Brookings Girls Varsity in the state semifinals round tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. MST.
Weselowski concluded: “I wish the Rushmore Thunder Girls the best of luck this weekend. No matter the outcome, be proud of the work you have put in to get you to where you are today. You have represented youth hockey and women’s hockey in Rapid City admirably.”
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