This is the sixth year for All-Metro teams selected by The Eagle, recognizing the best high school athletes in team sports throughout Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties.
The selection process
In October, Eagle high school beat writers Joanna Chadwick and Jonathan Long sent nomination ballots to all volleyball coaches at the 38 high schools in Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties.
Coaches were asked to return the ballots with nominations of the best players within those counties that they saw this season, including their own players.
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The team was selected by Chadwick after tabulating nominations, her own evaluation of players and additional input from coaches and other media members.
Along with the All-Metro team, The Eagle will publish all-league teams for the counties' major leagues: the City League, Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League, Central Plains League. Those teams are selected by the leagues' coaches. The MCAA has not had its league meeting yet.
Banwart led Andover Central to a one-loss season with her versatility. As a hitter she had 365 kills with a hitting percentage of .426. Also a setter, she had 431 assists. Banwart, a jumper server, had a .880 serving percentage with 80 aces. "It was, 'How in the world can we get her the ball?' " Jaguars coach Kelly Cook said. "She's just a fighter."
Chamberlin set a Maize record for digs with 515 as she led the Eagles to the 6A tournament and a 30-15 record. She had a passing ratio of 2.8 (on a scale of 3.0) and a .960 serving percentage. She had 34 aces. "Our serve-receive was solid all year, but there's a certain amount of comfort when you have her in the back row," coach Betsy Martling said.
Clark, a two-time All-Metro selection who will sign with Arkansas State today, led Collegiate to the Class 3A title and a 40-1 record. She had 376 kills, often overpowering blockers. "She took blocks away from the other hitters we had," Collegiate coach Donnie Wallace said. "Teams would overload on her and that would leave our other hitters open."
Otte led Valley Center (37-6) to an undefeated record in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division II, and a berth in the Class 4A tournament. She had 1,189 assists, 104 kills, 58 serving aces and a .937 serving percentage. "Her job is to keep us swinging.... She has to take some balls and fix them to keep us banging and keep us swinging," said Valley Center coach Bryan Otte, her father.
Rech led the Eagles (31-11) to the City League title and the 5A tournament. She had 723 assists and a .950 serving percentage. Carroll had a lot of offensive weapons, but Rech consistently made the right decisions on plays and who to set. "She could set the quicks, and she was very good at reading each player," Carroll coach Rita Mernagh said.
Traxson, who has committed to Kansas State, led Cheney to a 40-4 record and third place in Class 4A. She had 347 kills and had 72 blocks, 34 serving aces and 286 digs. Traxson is a powerful hitter but is intelligent about how and where she hits. "I sit in practice and watch her do things that I never dreamed of thinking about in high school," coach and former Shocker Sara Lungren said.
Whitten, an outside hitter, had 397 kills and led Heights to a second-place finish in the City League. She had such power that opponents had difficulty stopping her. Heights consistently used its middle hitters, which forced teams to use one blocker on Whitten. "I'll take that every time," coach Gary Thomason said. "You have to get a solid double block to stop her."
Wallace, in his second season, led Collegiate to the Class 3A title and a 40-1 record. The Spartans also won the MCAA title for the first time in school history. In Wallace's two seasons, Collegiate is 66-10. The Spartans' 26-win 2008 season was a 17-win improvement over 2007. They won nine matches in 2006.