DENVER – The last two years have been painful for the Wiggins volleyball team. Twice the Tigers had watched Sedgwick County go on to win a Class 2A state title that they felt belonged in Wiggins.

They were not about to settle for a third.

In one of the best matches of the entire weekend, the Tigers held off the two-time defending champion Cougars to get a 25-22, 25-10, 20-25, 27-25, 15-9 win to win their first state title since the 2020 season – which was actually played in the spring of 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been practicing for that all season,” senior hitter Tyleigh Fehseke said. “Our motto has been ‘weak things break’ and that’s not us. From the beginning we’ve worked and worked and knew what we were capable of and in the end, that’s what shined through that we’re not weak.”

And that was signaled early. The Cougars took a 21-17 lead in the first set thanks to a great blocking effort from Abigail Dille and Chloe Thode.

But then something happened. Fehseke got into a groove and Riley Hunt followed suit and the Tigers outscored the Cougars 8-1 to close out the set.

(Dan Mohrmann/

And for a moment, it looked like that first set had actually broken Sedgwick County. The Tigers cruised through the second set and could almost feel the state championship trophy in their hands.

“They realized that they worked so hard all weekend long,” coach Michelle Baker said. “All weekend, we’ve seen a different team, and it started last week at regionals. We’ve been ready to have this moment and opportunity since November of last year.”

Last November, the Cougars bested the Tigers in the semifinals, sending them home empty-handed. The year before that, it was Holyoke who eliminated Wiggins.

After winning a state title as a freshman, Fehseke watched as someone else raised a trophy she thought she would get her hands on multiple times.

“From my freshman year, I’m the only one left on this court,” she said. “It’s kind of like a homecoming, starting out one way and finishing the exact same. They kicked us out of the tournament last year and this year it wasn’t going to happen.”

The matches between the two teams are always well contested and that was the case when they met on Sept. 21 where it was Wiggins getting a five-set win.

“It’s a great battle,” Baxter said. “I respect the program and I respect the coach. And it’s always a fun match. They’re great competitors.”

These are the only two teams to win a 2A volleyball championship for the last four years. The last team that wasn’t Wiggins or Sedgwick County was Yuma.

This was the second championship for Wiggins in its program’s history and also the second time it has made it to the championship match. For Sedgwick County, it was the fourth trip to the championship. Of the four, the two times they didn’t win the state title was because they were beaten by Wiggins.