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THE FRONT ROW with MARK NELKE Nov. 25, 2010

| November 25, 2010 8:00 PM

Seeing a North Idaho team celebrate a football victory over a team from Boise on the Kibbie Dome rug in Moscow last Friday was a stark contrast to the previous week, when the southern Idaho school pretty much flattened the local squad.

Coeur d'Alene's first state football championship in 25 years was also a nice way to cap a fall high school sports season of state champions.

The state cross country meet was held at Kelly Park in Soda Springs - about as far away from North Idaho as possible and still be in the state. Kinsey Gomez of Coeur d'Alene capped an impressive prep cross country career with her third state 5A individual title in four years. The Viking boys, among the top teams in the state all year, finished third.

Timberlake's girls won the state 3A title for the second straight year, led by sophomore Ashly George, who was second overall after placing third last year.

In volleyball, St. Maries, which won its first state title in 16 years last fall, nearly repeated in 3A, but had to settle for second place after losing to Snake River in the championship game.

Post Falls, which in 2009 qualified for state for the first time since 1991, returned to state this year and took fourth in 5A, bringing home the program's first trophy from state in 19 years.

With the change in tourney format from double-elimination to single-elimination with a consolation bracket this year, Post Falls was not allowed the chance to come all the way back after losing in the first round. To the Trojans' credit, they overcame that loss by winning their next two matches to earn a trophy.

In soccer, there were no local state champions. The lone trophy was brought home by Timberlake's girls, who took third in the 3A tourney for the Tigers' first piece of hardware in their second trip to state in program history.

In the pool, Lake City senior Kjirsten Magnuson - who attends Gonzaga Prep in Spokane but lives within Lake City school boundaries - broke her own state records in winning the 50- and 100-yard freestyle at the state swim meet in Boise.

Brothers Joe and Patrick Loftus of Lake City also won state titles, as did Gus Koch of Coeur d'Alene. Lake City's boys finished second.

At North Idaho College, imagine stepping into a volleyball program which has gone to nationals three of the past six years with the instructions being, basically, to keep it going.

And Colleen Frohlich did. The former Coeur d'Alene High standout coached the Cardinals to a berth in the NJCAA tournament, where they finished fifth - their second-best finish ever. They lost their second match of the tournament to the eventual national champs and, like the Idaho state high school tournament is nowadays, had no chance to come all the way back and play for the title. Fifth was the best they could get after that, and they did.

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via e-mail at mnelke@cdapress.com.

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