Their three-year run as state volleyball champions came to an end last season, but the Hayden Wildcats were determined to reclaim their crown in 2019. Saturday in Hutchinson, they did exactly that.
Hayden dropped just one set in five matches on the weekend and defeated Andale in the 4A championship match to wrap up the fifth state championship in school history.
The Wildcats easily handled Independence and Circle to begin pool play, and though they were pushed to a third set by Eudora, they cruised in that set 25-12 to ensure themselves the top seed in their pool heading to Saturday’s semifinals. They toppled Louisburg 25-14, 25-18 to set up the final showdown with Andale, which they won 25-19, 27-25 to capture the big gold.
Hayden had won the 4A-II championships in 2015, 2016 and 2017. When 4A became one class in 2018, the Wildcats lost to eventual state champs Bishop Miege in the semifinal round. That only solidified Hayden’s determination to return to the top in 2019.
The Wildcats concluded their season with a 30-14 overall record.
Elsewhere in state championship volleyball on Saturday, Washburn Rural’s bid for the 6A title came up just short with a two-set loss to Blue Valley in the championship match. Royal Valley brought home the gold in 3A, defeating Beloit in two sets to win the school’s first volleyball championship. And in 2A, Wabaunsee concluded a remarkable, 41-3 season with a two-set victory over Spearville to claim their first ever state title in volleyball.