Volleyball team places second at State, cross country runner wins individual title

Kelly Cordingley, Editor in Chief

Both volleyball and cross country State tournaments occurred the weekend of Oct. 26-28.
Blue Valley’s volleyball team placed second in State and cross country runner senior Colton Donahue won the 6A State individual title.
Donahue ran in the boys 5K race — the race he holds a school record of 15:18 in. “I did a lot of practicing and conditioning,” he said. “I trained really hard.”
Donahue was the only one on the cross country team to medal at State.
“I’m kind of disappointed no one else medaled,” he said. “For me, though, it’s a great feeling.”
Donahue said despite his minor nerves, he was prepared for his State title attempt.
“I felt good,” Donahue said. “I was well prepared and excited to run.”
Donahue was also selected for Metro First team for cross country and nominated for all metro runner of year. He is one of 3 finalists.
Athletic Director Matt Ortman watched the volleyball game and made it back in time to see Donahue receive the medal.
“[Donahue’s] performance was outstanding,” Ortman said. “He blew away the competition.”
BV’s volleyball team placed second in 6A, only losing to Washburn Rural High School.
“They played outstandingly,” Ortman said. “Volleyball beat two teams who had beaten us earlier in the year.”
Though the team was runner-up, the accomplishment of taking the volleyball team to State for the first time in 11 years resonated with the players.
This is also the first time in BV volleyball history the team has gone to Semifinals.
“I was definitely upset we’d lost,” volleyball co-captain senior Lexi Kuharich said. “I was so proud of what we’d accomplished. This was the best volleyball team to come through the school.”
Volleyball co-captain senior Anna Burton said the first hurdle for the team was beating Gardner-Edgerton High School in the Semifinals.
“I remember saying after we beat Gardner that I felt like I was on cloud nine,” Burton said.
Kuharich said she felt the team come together during the Gardner game.
“The Gardner game was, as a team, the moment it clicked,” she said. “After we beat Gardner, I had to keep calm because we had one more to go.”
With it being both Kuharich and Burton’s final season at BV, they said the team’s accomplishments are especially significant to them.
“I felt like I left my mark on the program,” Kuharich said. “This is such a legacy.”
Ortman said the success of the volleyball team will have a trickle-down effect for the program in years to come.
“Winning perpetuates winning,” he said. “I’ve seen it happen in other sports. There’s one really good season, then kids just expect to be at State next year. It is a great atmosphere to be a part of.”
Burton said this success for volleyball has made its mark on BV athletics.
“This is a volleyball school, not just a football school,” Burton said. “That is something we helped make.”