Cowgirls sent off in style

Sue Smith, a member of the 1980 Breckenridge volleyball team, addresses the Cowgirls. Smith told them, ‘enjoy the journey,’ ahead of Thursday’s state tourney.

The Breckenridge Cowgirls received a champion’s sendoff Tuesday, Nov. 9 at Breckenridge Senior High School as a pumped-up precursor to Thursday’s Class 1A Minnesota State Volleyball Tournament.

Festivities began with the Breckenridge pep band rocking the gym while Cowgirl players, coaching staff and managers were introduced. Sydni Roberts and Maddie Beyer of the Breckenridge-Wahpeton Storm swim team were also celebrated after qualifying for the state swim meet.

Section 6A Coach of the Year Margaret Wilson delivered opening remarks, before handing the microphone to Sue Smith, a key cog of the last Cowgirls team to reach the state tourney in 1980.

Smith had three simple words for the 29-2, Section 6A Champion Cowgirls — “Dominate. Eliminate. Celebrate.”

Wilson told the crowd that the “S” term, as in section championship, was never mentioned during a playoff run that included two nail-biting, five-set victories over top-12 teams in Class 1A. Breckenridge won 22 straight to begin the regular season. Wilson hopes staying present in the moment will result in what they’ve done all year — winning.

“We wouldn’t talk about it,” Wilson said. “Going undefeated was never a goal, but playing to our full potential was.”

Adelle Heggem and Belinda Slettedahl, Breckenridge Public Schools, delighted the Cowgirls with a motivational poem in front of a large crowd in attendance and Heart O’ Lakes Conference MVP Riley Finkral thanked fans for providing an electric atmosphere during section playoffs.

The Cowgirls sprinted through a tunnel of supporters on their way out of the school, before huddling together for one last pregame chant before departing for the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Camryn Kaehler, whose 980 kills are the most in school history, was selected to the Class 1A All-State Team. Kaehler joins Geralyn (Terfehr) Matejcek ('78) and Sue (Abel) Pauly ('79) as the only Cowgirl volleyball players to make the all-state team.

The No. 5 seed Cowgirls face No. 4 seed Bethlehem Academy at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11 in the quarterfinal round.

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