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Challengers’ Hawkins named top 3A player

When it comes down to it, Cascade Christian received all it really wanted from the volleyball season when the Challengers secured their first-ever Class 3A state title two weeks ago.

This week, however, Cascade Christian found itself rewarded yet again in voting by the 3A volleyball coaches as senior outside hitter Claire Hawkins was named state player of the year and the Challengers' Rob Kleker was named coach of the year.

“It’s kind of the icing on the cake to end things,” said Kleker, whose team went 31-1 and lost a total of only seven sets all season. “We had a pretty nice ending in the sense that we got to bring home a state championship, and to get these additional honors after such an amazing season is over is really special.”

Hawkins finished with 316 kills to help pace the Challengers, averaging 9.8 kills per match to go with a .590 kill percentage.

Hawkins was joined on the 3A all-state first team by Westside Christian's Chloe Brown (who has committed to the University of Miami), last year’s player of the year in Vale’s Preslee Jensen and her teammate, Drew Dobney; Glide’s Sierra Mauro, Rainier's Breana Edwards and Creswell’s Cassie Cunningham.

“There’s some pretty outstanding volleyball players in this state on that list,” said Kleker. “With that caliber of kid, you just never really know how (player of the year voting) is going to turn out, but I’m happy for Claire.”

Hawkins and sophomore outside hitter Caroline McMahon, who was a second-team all-state selection, served as a two-headed monster for opponents all season for the Challengers.

Junior setter Allison Winter was also a second-team selection, while sophomore libero Aubrey Kievit was named to the all-state third team for Cascade Christian.

3A All-State Volleyball

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Claire Hawkins, Sr., Cascade Christian.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Rob Kleker, Cascade Christian.

First Team

Claire Hawkins, Sr., Cascade Christian; Chloe Brown, Jr., Westside Christian; Sierra Mauro, Sr., Glide; Preslee Jensen, Jr., Vale; Drew Dobney, Sr., Vale; Breana Edwards, Jr., Rainier; Cassie Cunningham, Jr., Creswell.

Second Team

Caroline McMahon, So., Cascade Christian; Sydney Brown, Jr., Salem Academy; Rebeka Preston, Jr., Santiam Christian; Allison Winter, Jr., Cascade Christian; McKya Filley, Sr., Glide; Abby Hamilton, Sr., Vale.

Third Team

Lindsey Taylor, Sr., Burns; Hannah Wheeler, Sr., Creswell; Aubrey Kievit, So., Cascade Christian; Paige Boles, Jr., Salem Academy; Carli Feist, Sr., Burns; Simone Gordon, So., Portland Christian.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@mailtribune.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Cascade Christian senior Claire Hawkins reacts to a fan during the state championship match. She was named 3A player of the year. PHOTO BY NORM MAVES