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Regional champions

Regional champions Regional champions

Marathon ousts Edgar to move on to sectionals

Marathon’s volleyball team beat archrival Edgar, 3-1, on Saturday night to capture its first WIAA Division 3 regional championship six years. The Red Raiders won the first set, 25-14, but the Wildcats rebounded to take the next set, 25-17, in Marathon’s gym. Marathon battled back to win a highly competitive third set, 25-20, before clinching the regional title match with another close 25-21 set victory. Marat h o n senior Hope Krautkramer possibly played the best match of her high school career, according to her proud father Mark Krautkramer. She played against her first cousin, Edgar sophomore Natalie Krause, in the regional title match. Hope Krautkramer and her junior teammate, Vanessa Krueger, recorded 13 attack kills apiece to lead Marathon. Hope, Vanessa Krueger’s freshman sister Ava Krueger and sophomore Ashley Phakitthong all served two aces against Edgar.

Marathon players jumped up and down to celebrate the team’s 25-21 win on Phakitthong’s serve to clinch the regional championship match victory. Hope Krautkramer is elated her team is moving on to sectional play.

“I’m very excited our team won the re- gional title because I haven’t been to sectionals for volleyball yet,” she said. “I’m looking forward to playing in a sectional match.”

The bright lights of playing in a big volleyball match like the regional title weren’t too much for Ava Krueger to handle, even though she’s already a starting varsity player in her first year of high school. She paced Marathon with two blocks against Edgar and with four aces in a 3-0 home regional semifinal win against Abbotsford on Oct. 20.

“It feels really good to win the regional championship and I can’t wait to see how we do in sectionals,” Ava Krueger said.

Edgar first-year volleyball coach Evan Krebsbach was proud his players gave it their all against Marathon in the regional championship. The Wildcats only lose three seniors in Makenna Guden, Jasmine Schnelle and Olivia Urmanski to graduation in spring.

The Wildcats return a promising group of young talented volleyball players next season consisting of freshmen Brooke Imhoff and Kyra Anderson, sophomores Leah Davis, Natalie Krause, Reagan Borchardt and Kendalyn Dahlke and juniors Malia Hoesly and Isabella Huehnerfuss.

“This was such a bizarre volleyball season because of COVID-19 but I think the girls really grew up both mentally and physically on the court,” Krebsbach said. “Our team’s youth showed in the loss to Marathon but there are brighter days coming for Edgar volleyball.”

Marathon’s volleyball team last won a regional title in the 2014 season, when the Red Raiders were WIAA Division 3 state runners-up with a 32-4 record. Head coach Carla Elliott retired from coaching after this memorable season.

This season’s regional volleyball champions on Saturday were reseeded for the sectional competition. Marathon, 9-3, received a No. 3 seed in its WIAA Division 3 sectional and will travel three hours to northwest Wisconsin to play at No. 2 seed Grantsburg, 13-1, at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 29, in a sectional semifinal match.

Should Marathon beat Grantsburg, the Red Raiders would then either play at No. 1 seed Fall Creek or host No. 4 seed Clear Lake in the sectional title match this Saturday, Oct. 31, for a chance to advance to the state championships.

Marathon’s sectional semifinal opponent, Grantsburg, has made 14 appearances at the WIAA state volleyball championships. The Pirates won Division 3 state titles in 2001 and 2009. Marathon, by comparison, has only appeared in the state championships twice in 2007 and 2014. The Red Raiders have never won a volleyball state championship.

ECSTATIC ABOUT WINNING THE REGIONAL- Marathon volleyball players celebrate the team’s WIAA Division 3 regional title match win, 3-1, against archrival Edgar on Saturday night. Red Raiders players, pictured from left to right, are Vanessa Krueger (1), Alyssa Hall (13), Ava Krueger (4), Allison Wokatsch (8), Jenna Aschbrenner (5) and Ashley Phakitthong.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER

SENIOR TIGER- Autumn Oertel of Stratford serves in a recent match this season.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER