By Rich Winter
Had a pretty terrific Tuesday, which is rare these days. Cross country race in the afternoon in my own backyard and a volleyball match between rivals Winner and Todd County, in Winner, with China Buffet prior to attending the game and broadcasting a bit with Jody Brozik on Winner Warriors Live - Twas a pretty good day.
That said, the day had a bit of a Winner Lady Warrior feel to it and right from the get-go the Winner cross country team laid down a big effort at the Todd County Invitational to win the team title, their fifth of the season so far.
Happy to see Chloe Bartles enjoying some team success: I'm afraid to talk to Chloe Bartles, there, I said it. Not sure why, but it's been really interesting to follow her career at Winner over the last six seasons. While she's carried the torch a little more solo in her first five years, her skills have not diminished and she's enjoying the success that comes from having a team to work with and a team to work for.
Bartles finished 4th in a very competitive varsity race, 5k time of 21:32
Sidda Schulyler - 2nd place - 20:20 - Okay, Schulyler ran her butt off yesterday and finished 58 seconds behind the Class A wrecking ball, Ella Byers of Chamberlain. She laid it all out there on the track and gave a good effort on what is a more difficult course than at first meets the eye.
While Winner's top two runners have been making plenty of noise, it was everyone else that really got the team championship ball rolling as just about everyone on the Winner squad looked good Tuesday.
6th - Samantha Schulyler - 21:49
8th - Jaclyn Laprath - 22:27
9th - Aryn Meiners - 22:34
15th - Saige Schulyler - 24 - minutes
Team points: Winner 20, Todd County 36
You do not want to see the Winner volleyball team staring across at you in the Class A playoffs:
Alright, I'd seen the 4-9 record for Winner coming into the match, I'd also seen an early season schedule that was loaded with good teams like Bon Homme, Miller, Lyman, Mobridge/Pollock, Tea Area and Sisseton.
Like many of the teams in Region 7A, the Lady Warriors are young. Asked coach Jaime Keiser about that tough pre-season schedule prior to the match and she affirmed that it's been a bit of a challenge facing such a tough schedule with such a young roster. But, young rosters have a way of growing up by mid-season and Winner came to play in set one.
Really impressed with the hitting of sophomore,Abby Marts in that first set. Not only did she have the absolute ram it down your throat kill, but she had the misdirection kill, the down-the-line kill and the reach back and kill, kill, even when the set isn't perfect.
Winner clicked on all cylinders in set one and ran away with it, 25-6.
Todd county really battled though in set No.2 and the Lady Warriors had a little more trouble with the return game. Todd County led, 21-20 with sophomore, Alexis Richey serving, but just before the serve, Keiser called time.
Clutch serving down the stretch from Richey, who drove home five straight service points as Winner won, 25-21.
The third set, again, was a pretty good test for two teams playing at a good level. Marts started to find her range again, sister, Samantha Marts got active again, and Richey, just kept on being Richey.
Was really impressed with the hitting of No. 4, Madyson Frazier, who takes the cross court kill to a whole new level. Frazier isn't going to get all the sets but she handles enough to keep the blockers from ganging up on the Marts sisters. Most impressed with the play of outside hitter, Racher Sherman who is on the court despite suffering an ACL injury in basketball a year ago. Sherman does so many little things, tipped balls, blocks at the net, an effective hitter, and I think, someone who provides some much needed leadership for a youngish Winner squad.
Another tough contest, Winner prevailed, 21-19 to move to 5-9 on the season.
With the playoffs reseeding after teams reach their respective region finals, it will be interesting to see how much better/more dangerous Winner can get in the next month.