2A girls volleyball: Wiggins claims first championship in program history

(Brad Cochi)

COLORADO SPRINGS – They picked one heck of a year to have an historic season for their program, but the Wiggins volleyball players finished of a challenging Season C by accomplishing something special.

Just the way they wanted it.

At The Broadmoor World Arena on Thursday night, the top-seeded Tigers won in three sets – 25-17, 25-17, 25-21 – against No. 3 Sedgwick County, another team seeking its first title, in the Class 2A state championship match. In their fourth straight year at the state tournament and coming off back-to-back finishes in the Final Four, Tigers like senior Bre Gilliland can finally call themselves champion.

“We’ve worked so hard for this all four years we’ve been to state,” Bre Gilliland said. “I’m so honored to finally be champions. We’ve been so close and every year, we kept putting in more and more work to get to where we wanted to be, which is here.”

While neither had won before, both Wiggins (17-2) and Sedgwick County (16-2) knocked off former championship teams to reach the finals. Wiggins swept No. 4 Fowler, a program with 10 titles to its credit. Sedgwick County came from behind to win 3-1 over defending champion No. 2 Denver Christian despite dropping the first set.

In the first game, Wiggins led by a dozen before going on to win by eight. Wiggins prevailed by the same score in the second set and had to hold off a late charge from Sedgwick County to prevent the match from extending into a potentially life-giving fourth set. But considering how close the Tigers have come in recent years to capturing that elusive first title, they weren't taking any chances.

“We’ve been here for the last few years and Wiggins has never won a state championship,” Wiggins head coach Michelle Baker said. “We fill out goal cards at the beginning of the year and they all said, ‘Let’s go back to state.’ I said, ‘You know what, forget that. Cross that out. I don’t want to go back to state, I want to win state.’ That’s been our goal all year long and my girls have done a heck of a job. I’m super proud of them.”