The Wapahani Raiders were back in familiar territory on Saturday.
After finishing runner-up in class 2A volleyball to Barr-Reeve two years ago, the Raiders hoped to capture another state championship for the school out of Selma.
As fans filed into Worthen Arena, both the Wapahani Raiders and Linton-Stockton Miners were focused on the task ahead as the electric atmosphere made its way around; winning a state championship.
Chants of “Miner Pride” from Linton-Stockton’s fans came to a “Wapahani Raiders” response from the Wapahani faithful.
The 2A No. 2 Raiders appeared in their eighth state volleyball championship match in 12 years as they took on 2A No. 8 Linton-Stockton in their first-ever state title game.
The first set saw the Raiders take the early advantage in a close-fought battle, outpacing Linton-Stockton 25-18 as the student section chanted “Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum” as Wapahani increased their advantage, in the style of “Jack and the Beanstalk." Six ties and three lead changes made up the set.
Wapahani fell behind early into the second set, with Linton-Stockton claiming a 5-1 lead before a Raiders timeout. Despite a rally of points with the game point on the line, Wapahani couldn’t pull through, as Linton-Stockton escaped the second set as 25-22 victors.
With a tied matchup, Wapahani regained their composure for the third set, starting with a strong 9-3. Three straight kills from Camryn Wise set the tone for the rest of the set, culminating in a 25-15 triumph for Wapahani.
The fourth set was a breeze for Wapahani, who rode a 10-3 start to a 25-8 match win and the sixth state championship for the Wapahani Raiders.
Camryn Wise led the Raiders with 22 kills and 45 attacks, while Macie Bowman had 41 assists on the day. Wise’s 22 kills almost matched the Miners’ 23 overall kills. Reese Baker, who also won the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award, had 24 digs, three off of the state record set in 2015.
The Raiders were effective when attacking, especially in the last set, when they set an 88% attack rate compared to Linton-Stockton’s 29% attack rate.
Head coach Kati Weir, who had won a state championship as a high schooler and played for Ball State on the same floor, now has her first state championship as a coach.
When the ball touched the ground for the last time, the Wapahani section of the arena became unglued, and tears and cheers were widespread. The group of seniors that had been runner-ups in their freshman and sophomore years finally became state champions.
All throughout Worthen Arena, the chant stayed true: “Stand up for the Raiders.”