GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Conference tournaments start this week in high school volleyball and in the OK White, four tames are state ranked.
Byron Center finds itself ranked second in Division 1 while Lowell and Forest Hills Central come in just behind the Bulldogs, respectively.
Meanwhile, in Division 2, defending state champion Grand Rapids Christian comes in as the top ranked team in the state.
"It's the best in the state," said Forest Hills Central senior, Tatum Otolski, "having four teams state ranked, we get to use that to our advantage. We get better every time we play them and I love it, I don't think we could have a better conference."
And teammate Morghan Tilton couldn't agree more.
"They're all amazing teams in our conference," Tilton added, "I think it's really important for us to take these games and learn from them and use them to our advantage for the postseason."
For the Rangers and Byron Center, they understand they're the underdogs of those four teams in the conference after the Red Arrows finished runner-up and the Eagles won it all in Division 2 last season.
"You have these big names who have been to state and won state," said Byron Center senior Abigail Boyle, "Byron Center didn't have that opportunity, we weren't at that level but I think we're starting to prove ourselves. We should be at that level and we should be talked about as much as those teams."
Forest Hills Central senior Julia Bauma says the Rangers have been overlooked a bit this season.
"I think it really fuels our fire," she said, "we can use that to our advantage and come in as the underdog. I think a lot of teams think they're going to roll us when they come in and then they get caught off guard when they play us."
The Rangers were familiar with Lowell before this season but now, Grand Rapids Christian joins the conference from the OK Gold while Byron Center enters from the OK Green. Now, things are much different.
"We have good competition in the OK White and that's okay," added Forest Hills Central head coach Natalie Roelfzema, "I think all of us coaches in this conference should want that and want that for our girls, for them to succeed and get better."
The Bulldogs were in a competitive OK Green with Hamilton and Holland Christian over the past few seasons, but this season is definitely a step up in overall schedule.
"The OK Green last year was some solid competition but going into the OK White this year brought it to a new level," said Byron Center head coach, Katie Vander Meer.
And Vander Meer says the bigger conferences also have some great teams but the OK White might be the best volleyball conference in the state.
"They have great competition in there, too, but we have four state ranked teams and maybe five getting recognition, it's a gauntlet every single day," she added.
The OK White semifinals will be played on Thursday evening with the championship coming on Tuesday.