Bella Stevens, Sr., Klondike
Finishing runner-up is not where Stevens, nor Klondike, planned to finish at the end of the season.
But, that was the result following a Class 1A state semifinal loss Nov. 16 to eventual champion Blum at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.
It ended a magical run for Stevens and the Lady Cougars (35-13).
Stevens did her part, totaling 14 kills, three blocks and seven digs in Klondike’s final contest of the year. The senior battled adversity on and off the court en route to the state’s biggest stage.
Stevens suffers from complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS. CRPS, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is a general term that describes “excess and prolonged pain and inflammation that follows an injury to an arm or leg.”
The Cleveland Clinic defines POTS as “a condition that causes your heart to beat faster than normal when you transition from sitting or lying down to standing up,” which can be a problem in a sport like volleyball, which involves plenty of jumping up and down .
Stevens never complained, helping her squad enjoy a trip to Garland — a nice parting gift from the senior to the program.
More:Bella Stevens, Klondike volleyball cherishing run to state tournament
William Wall, Sr., Idalou
Despite changing to a pass-friendly offense, the Wildcats can still adjust and hand the ball off with success.
Wall is a the perfect example, rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts in a win last week in a second-round Class 3A Division II playoff game.
The two-way standout, who’s dealt with injuries and a coaching change throughout his career, also helped on defense by adding an interception and four tackles to help Idalou down Crane 28-0 last week.
The team captain, who tore his ACL last season and was not cleared until Week 2 in the 2022 campaign, garnered 49% of the vote en route to Male Athlete of the Week honors.
While rehabbing from his knee injury, Wall switched from the quarterback position he manned as a junior and into more of a full-time running back — as well as being a defensive back.
The Wildcats (9-3) are scheduled to take on Wall (11-3) in a Class 3A Division II regional semifinal contest set for 1 pm Friday at the Mustang Bowl in Sweetwater. Idalou is looking to advance to its first regional championship since 2015.