YAKIMA, Wash. – It’s been quite the journey for Wilbur-Creston’s McKenzie Arden.

Arden (Colville tribal member) one of two seniors on the Wildcat varsity volleyball team started playing as an eighth-grader and now ends her career with a trip to the WIAA 1B girls state volleyball tournament.

But don’t let her or anyone else tell you that it was an easy path.

“It’s crazy, it’s so wired the journey that I was on,” she expressed as she’s had to battle her share of adversity this past season.

“I just came off ankle surgery,” she said, as she would be forced to miss the first half of the season.

But she wasn’t quite ready to throw the towel in just yet as she made the ultimate comeback.

She returned just in the nick of time as she was able to play in the last five matches of the season and helped Wilbur-Creston get past that final hurdle.

“We’ve always been like one game away each year,” she expressed.

Would this be the year?

“We came into Districts and won our first two,” Arden said, as Wilbur-Creston beat

Republic (3-1) and Mary Walker (3-1) on November 4 in the Northeast 1B District tournament, earning them a spot in the state tournament.

“To get there this year, It was just amazing,” she said.

Wilbur-Creston entered the WIAA 1B girls state tournament as the 11th seed and would get Grace Academy in their first match where they would go on to win in straight sets 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-16) on Thursday (Nov. 11) morning, putting them in the quarterfinals.

But that would be as far as Wilbur-Creston would go as they lost to a tough St. John-Endicott/LaCross team in straight sets (18-25, 23-25, 5-25), ending their run for a state title and knocking them to the consolation bracket.

In a loser-out/winner advance situation, the Lady Wildcats would get a familiar opponent as they faced league rival, Mary Walker, for a chance play in the 5th/6th place match. Mary Walker would go on to hold off the Lady Wildcats winning a five-setter (25-13, 25-27, 17-25, 25-20, 15-4) and ending Wilbur-Creston’s season.

“I never thought I would be here, it’s amazing,” said Arden after the match against Mary Walker.  “I’m so proud of all these girls, we played amazing, If I was going to go out, that’s the way I would have wanted to go out.”

“Going to state, that was amazing,” said Arden. 

Wilbur-Creston returns practically their whole team as they lose Arden and fellow senior Sydney Robinson.

“We have a super young team,” said Arden as she has high praise for a fellow player who is walking down the same path.

“We have an eighth-grader Rocksie Timentwa, she did amazing,” said Arden who also played for the varsity team her eighth-grade year.

“I wish her luck, she’s going to have an amazing four years ahead of her.”

The last time the Wilbur-Creston high school varsity volleyball team reached the state tournament, was in 2016 when they went on to place sixth that year.

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