The Wild Card
It’s a little hard to believe but the fall sports season has already come and gone. It seems like just yesterday the warm August winds and freshly cut grass that always make me think football season is near were still blowing.
But in just a few days time, the fall sports season ended about quickly as it began. For De Soto, the high school sports season officially began in the middle of August. Dreadful two-a-day practices for players soon became routine that week as coaches began working on basic fundamentals for each sport. In the days that followed coaches began implementing their various tactics and team strategies to get the most out of each student-athlete.
One of my first memories of the fall sports season was watching the girls volleyball team win game. A season ago, the volleyball squad won just five times all year. But this year the team doubled that win total by the end of September. The girls were ecstatic to be winning again, and though they struggled a bit toward the end of the season and finished 14-22, the team showed progress and battled throughout. The girls took fifth-place at the Frontier League tournament and were the No. 6 seed team at sub-state. The future looks bright for the squad. It will lose three valued seniors next year but should return the rest of the squad. And three players were All-Frontier League Honorable Mention picks this year, and two of them should return next season.
The girls golf and tennis squads also had successful seasons. In its first season, the golf team had two girls play at a high level, and one qualified for state. Look for the girls golf program to continue to grow in the future. The tennis team had two state contenders in doubles play and another girl nearly made it to the state tournament in singles. Though De Soto’s doubles team fell short in its quest to win state, Hana Lindbloom ended her playing career winning her last match and taking home a fifth-place medal. It was her fourth medal at state.
The boys soccer team took its fans on a thrill ride that was the best season in school history. The team won the Frontier League championship for the first time in school history and could have made a run at the state title if it hadn’t lost a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to St. James in the opening round of the playoffs. The future also looks bright for the boys squad, as it will return most of its team. Four players were first-team selections and another was a second-team pick. Look for the boys to make another run at the state title next year.
The cross country teams had another successful season and made their annual trip to state. The girls team outran eventual state champ Baldwin a few times this year and took home the second-place state trophy again. The team battled injuries and illness much of the season but showed toughness and battled through. The boys squad also battled injuries but finished fifth at state. Like the girls squad, the boys should return a good core of runners next year and the future looks bright for the program.
And last but not least, the football team went on a journey few might have believed possible after its first four games of the season. The team opened the year losing four straight but showed resolve in fighting back to win its next four games and make the playoffs. The team played for a district championship and nearly had it but just couldn’t quite hold on at the end. The team made the postseason for the first time since 2004 and could make return trip there next season.
And now as winter moves in, basketball and wrestling are upon us. I’ve seen some great games this fall and have met a lot of great people. I only hope that the winter and spring sports seasons are equally enjoyable.