By Jennifer Eisenbart
For years, Burlington High School boys volleyball coach Tim Gesteland has waited for his players to get the kind of recognition he felt they deserved on the state stage.
Before the start of last week’s state boys volleyball tournament, the coach not only got his wish for his players – but got a little credit for himself as well.
The Wisconsin Boys Volleyball Coaches Association announced its All-State team before the start of state, and not only did the Demons end up with four players honored – two on the first team – but Gesteland earned Coach of the Year honors.
“That’s very flattering,” said Gesteland, who received the award named for long-time Racine coach Gary Sorensen. “He was one of my idols.
“I got like 10 years to coach against him, but I did more listening as he coached his team,” Gesteland added. “He’s just an amazing guy.”
In addition to being a proud coach, Gesteland got to be a proud father. His son, senior setter Zach Gesteland, was a close second in Player of the Year voting, finishing just behind Appleton North’s Connor Gross.
North beat Burlington in four sets for the WIAA state title Saturday.
Gesteland was named to the first team, as was BHS libero Garrett Schilling.
Rounding out the first team were Luke Fischer of Germantown, Adam Martell of Kettle Moraine, Ben Plaisted of Wauwatosa East and Nick Wildes of Waukesha West.
Coach Gesteland said both his son and Schilling, in addition to being best friends since kindergarten, both had a “nose for the ball.”
“When he was 7, 8, 9 years old, he was constantly setting a volleyball,” the coach said of his son. “Same thing with Garrett. He’s just always been a kid with a nose for the ball.”
From there, Burlington junior Nolan Rueter – the team’s best hitter – earned second team honors, while senior Carson Biedrzycki was an all-state honorable mention.
“I didn’t want to make it a big deal,” said Gesteland when he found out about the Coach of the Year nomination. “I was hoping more for my players.”
The coach said, after his team won a summer league that featured many of the top teams in the state, it became apparent the Demons – along with North – would be two of the top teams in the state.
“It was very gratifying that we were able to come to that” in the state final, the coach added.