PELLA — What a season it was for Pella athletics as they brought home one state title as well as a handful of state runner-up finishes and state appearances. Here is a look at home each sport stacked up for Pella in the 2021-22 school year.
An up and down football season saw Pella sitting on the bubble after their last game only to fall short of a playoff berth for the first time since 2006.
The Dutch had two boys selected to the IPSWA all-state teams as Nolan Clayberg and Luke Hardman both earned third team honors.
Clayberg split carries at running back this year but would lead a run-heavy team in rushing yards. He would finish with 721 yards (20th in 4A) on 93 carries, good for a 7.8 yards per carry average, with a team-best nine touchdowns. The senior also finished third on the Dutch defensively with 36.5 tackles including 4.5 tackles for loss.
Hardman proved himself to be one of the top kickers in the state this season. He made five of his nine field goal attempts including a season-long from 51 yards. The sophomore also showed off his leg with 21 touchbacks in 36 kickoffs and was a perfect 21-of-21 on extra points.
Pella entered their regular season finale against Cedar Rapids Washington with the winner earning a playoff spot and the loser sitting on the bubble waiting to see if they would earn an at-large. The Dutch would end up losing that game in a tight 23-21 battle and would wait for the RPI results to come in as they would fall to No. 17 in the rankings, just .0002 off of the final playoff spot to Carlisle.
Carlisle had one more win and a stronger opponents opponents’ record despite the Dutch posting the second highest opponents’ record in the class. All five of Pella’s losses on the season would come to playoff teams.
It was a great season for Mallory Peterson and the Lady Dutch volleyball squad as they amassed 29 wins and a share of the Little Hawkeye Conference regular season title. Unfortunately for Pella, they would have a couple of close loses at the end the season.
Senior outside hitters Avery Amelse and Bailey Van Voorst would both earn second team all-state honors in 4A for their strong seasons.
Amelse was second on the Lady Dutch with 257 kills and a .169 kill percentage while also finishing second with 274 digs along with 23 blocks and 38 aces. Van Voorst finished off her Pella volleyball career by passing the 1,000 career kills plateau. She would tally 348 kills with a .254 kill percentage. She also led the back line for Pella with 298 digs to go with 28 blocks and a team-high 53 aces.
Jasmine Namminga and Anna Vander Waal would also get postseason recognition as second team all-conference selections. Namminga had 160 kills (.293 kill percentage) along with 62 blocks and 33 digs while Vander Waal tallied 910 assists, 40 kills, 161 digs, 15 digs and 42 aces (94.7% serve percentage).
Pella would fall to Oskaloosa in a hard-fought three set match in the conference tournament finals and would face the Indians again in the regional finals with a trip to state on the line. Pella ended up falling short as Oskaloosa took it 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-16).
Boys Cross Country
The always-talented Pella boys cross country squad put together another strong season that saw them take third at conference, win the state qualifier and finish well at state.
Chase Lauman led the Dutch at the LHC meet with a third place finish and would follow that up with a runner-up finish at the state qualifier with a time of 16:32. Pella would secure their 16th state appearance in the past 17 years and would win the district title with 57 points.
The Dutch entered the state meet ranked fourth and would need to make a few improvements to get a top three trophy. Josiah Wittenberg ran well to lead Pella with a 17th place finish just outside of medaling at 16:39 while Akira Lopez (42nd, 17:27) and Nathan VanderWaal (45th, 17:29) followed behind him.
As the dust settled, Pella would finish in fourth place for a second straight year and eight points behind North Polk for third place.
Girls Cross Country
The Lady Dutch had a mixed year with a lot of good results including a third place finish at conference and a couple of state qualifiers.
Freshman Raegan Snieder had a fantastic season for Pella which included a second place finish at the LHC Meet and a third place finish at the state qualifier with a time of 19:52. Autumn Blink would also earn a qualifier spot after taking seventh with her time of 20:27.
Unfortunately for Pella, they ran against a tough field with five ranked teams with the Lady Dutch ending up in fifth and not qualifying for state as a team for the first time in over a decade.
Snieder and Blink would later run at state in Fort Dodge with the freshman running a great first race to grab a medal after taking sixth with a time of 19:27. Blink would run at state for a second time in as many years and would take 35th at 20:17.
Boys Basketball (17-7)
The defending 3A and Little Hawkeye Conference champs returned to the hardwood in the winter and although they were unable to defend either titles, they still enjoyed a lot of success in a 17-win season.
Karl Miller would earn first team all-state honors while Noah Allen was selected to the third team.
Miller finished off his senior year by crossing 1,000 career points. He would lead the Dutch by averaging 15.6 points per game on 48.4% shooting from the floor, 37.3% from three and 84.7% from the free throw line. He also added 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Allen started at point guard for the Dutch and finished second on the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game to go with 2.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
Both boys would earn first team all-conference honors along with Parker Elder being selected to the second team after being a playmaker and lockdown defender for the Dutch that would average 9.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
Pella was looking for a third straight trip to state but would fall 72-62 to Winterset in the substate finals.
Girls Basketball (13-10)
The Lady Dutch got off to a hot start under first year head coach Blaine Forsythe as they won seven of their first nine games before going up and down the rest of the way.
Senior point guard Anna Vander Waal was the only Lady Dutch to earn all-conference honors after being selected to the first team.
She proved to be one of the top playmakers in the conference after averaging 9.5 points on 43.7% shooting from the field and 37.9% from three with 3.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
Pella would top Waterloo East in the first round of regionals before falling 62-41 to Grinnell in the regional semifinals.
The Dutch grapplers had a good results on the season including sending one to the state tournament.
Pella would take fourth at the LHC Tournament with 194 points and would get four titles on the day from Damion Clark (120), Peyton Ritzert (138), Logan Bruxvoort (160) and Kieran Van Voorst (182).
The Dutch later competed at districts in Carlisle which featured 3A powerhouse Southeast Polk, who would send 11 boys to state. Jackson Van Kley would be the lone boy from Pella to qualify for state at 152 pounds with four of his teammates settling for third place finishes. Van Kley was able to win his wrestleback 6-2 against Norwalk’s Dominic Tigner, who Van Kley had lost to twice prior to districts.
Van Kley would head up to ‘The Well” as the 11th seed and would bounce back from an opening round loss to win his second match and head to day two and the blood round where he would need a win to stay alive in the tournament and earn a medal. Instead he was pitted against fourth-seeded Carter Cahill of Ankeny Centennial and would lose a 15-0 tech fall to get knocked out of the tournament with 1-2 record and finish 34-15 in his sophomore season.
The boys bowling team for Pella had a couple of good results on the year and they would also send one boy to state.
Pella would take fourth at Two Rivers Conference Tournament with 2,474 pins. Ben Steenhoek would lead the Dutch with a 500 series but would just miss out on a top 20 finish.
The Dutch would have a tough day at the state qualifier and would finish eighth with 2,358 pins. But the highlight came from Jayden Divelbiss, who would qualify as an individual for state after bowling a three-game series of 636, good for eighth place at the meet.
Divelbiss would head up to Waterloo to compete as one of 32 individuals at state. He would go through the qualifying round with the top eight moving onto bracket play but would finish 24th after bowling games of 115, 191 and 256 for a 562 series.
The girls bowling team for Pella picked up a couple of eighth place finishes in their postseason tournaments.
Pella would finish eighth at the Two Rivers Conference Tournament with 1,625 pins. Anna DeNooy would lead the way with a 436 series, good for 13th overall.
The Lady Dutch would later wrap up their season with an eighth place finish at the state qualifier with 1,667 pins and wouldn’t have any individuals in the top 20 as DeNooy’s 444 series would lead the team.
Boys Track and Field
Fresh off a 3A state title in 2021, the Pella boys track and field team were looking to repeat at the blue oval in 2022.
The Dutch started their late season run by winning the Little Hawkeye Conference Meet for the seventh time since 2012 with 177, 38 points ahead of second place. They would follow that up by winning the state qualifier with 214 points while getting automatic qualifiers in 14 of the 19 events. After the at-large bids would come in, the Dutch would eventually qualify in all 19 events and were looking poised to defend their state title.
Day one saw Karl Miller race to a runner-up finish in the 400 at 49.48 while their 4x800 (Josiah Wittenberg, Trey Van Hauen, Miller, Chase Lauman) and Brandon Fischer in the discus would both take fourth.
Day two would see Pella get a pair of top five finishes in the 400 hurdles thanks to Gage Huyser (2nd, 54.43) and Reece Thoreson (4th, 55.27). Their distance medley of Kenson Fuller, Quinn Gruver, Drake Van Hemert and Lauman would also take fifth with their time of 3:35.12.
Everything was still up for grabs on the final day of the meet and the Dutch were still coming through with their shuttle hurdle of Nolan Clayberg, Thoreson, Luke Fairchild and Huyser racing to a state title with their record time of 59.45. Clayberg and Huyser would also finish fourth and sixth respectively in the 110 hurdles while Pella’s sprint medley also took a top five finish.
It would all come down 4x400 again to decide the title between Pella and DCG. Pella’s quartet of Van Hemert, Fuller, Thoreson and Miller would race to a second place finish but the Dutch would fall 1.5 points short of DCG for the title and would finish second overall in the team race.
Girls Track and Field
The Lady Dutch track and field team also had a solid season with a lot of good results and several state qualifiers.
Pella made a late push at the LHC Meet to finish second overall with two relay wins and eight runner-up finishes for 135.5 points, seven points behind Norwalk for first place.
The girls would later head to Bondurant for the state qualifier where they would win the title by 30 points over Carlisle while getting automatic qualifiers in 10 events. They would get four more at-large bids to push their total to 14 events at state.
Jacie Trine was the only Lady Dutch to score points on day one after taking sixth in the 400 with a time of 58.62. They would then get another points finish on day two with Delanie Reynolds, Mara Schiebout, Emily McMartin and Trine taking seventh in the 4x200 at 1:45.57.
Day three saw Pella get a trio of points finishes with Reynolds, Calla Kerndt, McMartin and Trine finishing seventh in the sprint medley at 1:51.60. Raegan Snieder would then take eighth in the 1500 at 5:01.03 while Reynolds, Kerndt, Marissa Hackman and McMartin ran to a fourth place finish in the 4x100 with their time of 49.41.
Boys Soccer (19-3)
The Pella boys made their way back to the state tournament for a second straight year and make a memorable run to the finals where they were looking for their second state title in school history.
Isaac Semini earned first team all-state honors after helping leading Pella to state with his team-leading 14 goals and seven assists. He was also a first team all-conference selection.
Second team all-conference selections included Preston Rowe, Logan Solomon, Teddy Apostolopoulos and Connor Hamilton. Rowe brought physical play to Pella’s attack and finished second on the team with 10 goals to go with two assists. The Dutch had a couple of solid playmakers in the midfield with Solomon and Apostolopoulos. Solomon had nine goals and five assists while Apostolopoulos finished with a pair of goals and assists. Hamilton held down the back line for the Dutch and had one assist.
Pella had a heck of journey at state this year as they would come back from an early 1-0 deficit to tie it up and force overtime where Semini’s golden goal would send them to the semifinals against Gilbert. That game was equally as exciting with Gilbert scoring a late equalizer to force overtime. It would later go to penalty kicks with Pella taking it 4-3 on Semini’s game-winner to put them in the finals.
The Dutch would face Lewis Central in the finals and would trail 1-0 early before tying it up late in the first half to equal things at halftime. But the Titans would be the better team in the second half and would net two more goals to win it 3-1 as Pella would finish as the runner-ups with a 19-3 record.
Girls Soccer (10-7)
The Lady Dutch soccer team put up a solid season that saw them end one win away from state.
The girls had two receive first team all-state nods in striker Abby Warner and goalkeeper Haley Van Houweling. Warner capped off her sophomore campaign finishing 11th in Class 2A with 34 goals and one assist while Van Houweling collected 183 saves with an 86.3% save percentage.
Those two were joined by Mia Warner, who led the Pella defense and had one assist, on the all-conference first team. Claire Smock and Anneka Stoltzfus would receive second team all-conference honors. Smock had five goals and four assists while Stoltzfus finished with two goals and four assists.
Pella had a good postseason run before bowing out in the regional final with a 5-0 loss to Norwalk.
Boys Tennis (12-1)
Several new faces but very similar results saw the Pella boys tennis team finish their seasons at the state individual and team tournaments.
The Dutch sent five boys to the 1A individual state tournament. The doubles team of brothers Caleb and Jack Briggs entered the tournament as the number two seed and they lived up to that billing by dropping just four games in their three games on their way to the finals. There they would run into Coe and Courter from Cedar Rapids Xavier and would fall in hard-fought battle 7-5, 6-4 to take second. Fellow Dutch doubles team Cameron Rowe and Cashen Thompson would scrap to eighth place finish while singles player Joshua Roozeboom would fall one win short of a medal.
Those five would later compete in the state team tournament where they would once again find themselves in the final four in Des Moines. Pella would go back and forth with Wahlert in the semifinals before clinching it in doubles play to win 5-3 and send them back to the finals against Xavier.
The familiar foes would duke it out in singles play with the highlight coming from Caleb Briggs, who would knock off the newly crowned state singles champion Brady Horstmann with a 6-4, 6-4 victory as the Dutch entered doubles play trailing 3-2 needing to sweep all three doubles matches. All three matches were playing tight before Xavier closed it out with a 6-4, 7-5 win in the number threes match to win their third straight title and hand Pella their third straight runner-up finish.
Girls Tennis (12-1)
The Lady Dutch enjoyed a couple at state qualifiers and were able to bring back some hardware for their efforts this spring.
Pella was able to get one girl to state again this year with sophomore Emily Blom earning the top seed in the state qualifier and proved why as she only lost three games on her way to the finals where she win the district title with a 6-1, 7-5 victory.
Blom then went up to Iowa City to make her second straight individual state appearance. She would win her opening match but would then fall to the three seed 6-1, 6-2 to drop to the consolation bracket. She would bounce back on that side of the bracket and would work her way to her first medal finish after taking sixth place.
Blom also helped the Lady Dutch make another good run in team play as they would get revenge for last year’s loss to Pella Christian in the regional finals by sweep them 5-0 this year in the regional finals to qualify for state.
Pella would see their season come to a close after a 5-1 loss to Assumption in the state quarterfinals.
Troy signee Will Simpson and the Pella boys golf team racked up plenty of hardware in 2022 as they made their way to the state tournament this spring.
Simpson won a handful of tournaments on the year including the Little Hawkeye Conference tournament where he would shoot a season-low round of 67 (4-under) at Willow Creek Golf Course to take the medalist honors as the team would finish second, just two shots back of Inidanola for first place.
The team later advanced to districts where they would host the event at Bos Landen with their team score of 322 good enough to give them second place a berth to the state tournament as a team. Simpson finished the day with a bogey-free round of 70 to take home the medalist honors.
The Dutch made their way to Veenker Memorial Golf Course in Ames for the two-day state event and would leave with a fourth place finish with a team score of 97-over.
Simpson made a good push on day two shooting a 2-under 34 on the front but couldn’t quite keep up the momentum in the back as he shot a 3-over 39 to finish 1-over on the day, good enough to move into second place individually. Hogan Hansen of Waverly-Shell Rock would win the individual title at 5-under after the two days.
Ayden Gordon (16th, +19), Cade McGinley (T29th, +33), AJ Hoekstra (T49th, +40), Simon Thoreson (T55th, +47) and Tom Tangen/Keagan Miedema (63rd, +65) also put in rounds for the Dutch.
The girls golf team for Pella was able to send one individual to state and have a couple of solid finishes on the season.
The Lady Dutch finished fourth at the LHC Tournament at Pella Golf and Country Club with a score of 426. Karsyn Lyons’ round of 100 was good enough to earn her all-conference honors on the day.
The team would then go to Edmundson Golf Course for the regional tournament but the team would fall short of qualifying for state with a fifth place finish after shooting a season-low score of 399. But that didn’t mean the Lady Dutch would be represented at state as Lyons put a consistent round of 45 on both nines to shoot a season-low 90, good for third overall while earning an individual spot at state.
Lyons made her way to River Valley Golf Course in Adel and would shoot a solid round of 93 on day one before carding a 104 on day two to give her a score of 197 (53-over), good for a tie for 28th out of the 76 golfers that competed.
For the first time since 2016 and for the fourth time in school history, the Pella baseball team was able to make a great postseason run that ended up with a state tournament appearance.
Keegan Hansen and Isaiah Kettler both earned first team all-conference honors while Jason Knox was a second team selection.
Hansen was big-time for Pella on the mound and with the bat. Hansen pitched to a 5-2 record with a 2.02 ERA and 70 punch outs in 52 innings. He would finish second on the team with a .378 batting average and .421 on-base percentage with seven doubles and a team-best 32 runs driven in.
Kettler, a freshman, patrolled centerfield and led off the Dutch lineup in his first season up with the varsity team and he did not disappoint. He finished leading the team in batting average (.421), on-base percentage (.545), walks (28), doubles (11), home runs (4) and was tied for second in RBIs with 27.
Knox was the ace of a very good pitching Pella squad as well as one of their top hitters. On the mound, Knox posted a 9-4 record with a 2.38 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings of work. With the bat, he had a .298 batting average with seven doubles, one home run and 27 RBIs.
Pella advanced to the substate finals with wins over Knoxville and Newton but would have to make the trip to No. 3 Grinnell and beat the Tigers to go to state. They would do just that behind a fantastic shutout win from Knox and a clutch suicide squeeze by Quinn Rhamy to put the Dutch ahead as they eventually won it 2-0 to clinch a bid to state.
Pella earned the eight seed in the 3A tournament and would be pitted against top-seeded Assumption in the quarterfinals at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City. The Dutch would hang around early before the Knights opened things up and were able to down Pella 11-1 in six innings to end their season.
It was another summer of improvement for Katie Gravert’s Lady Dutch as the Pella softball team took another step in the right direction this year.
They were led by a huge year from their sophomore catcher, Ava Curry, who would earn second team all-state honors for her efforts. She would finish fourth in 4A with a .533 batting average and .590 on-base percentage. Curry also hit 19 doubles (second in 4A), three triples, six home runs, 23 RBIs and 108 total bases (sixth in 4A). Defensively, she would throw out 13 would-be base stealers which was tied for third in 4A.
She would earn first team all-conference honors while teammate Kylie Tauke was selected to the second team. The junior center fielder played good defense and would hit .376 with a .452 on-base percentage. She would also slug some with six doubles, one homer and 23 RBIs.
Pella would knock off Oskaloosa on the road in the opening round of regional play before traveling to face eventual state champion Winterset in the regional semifinals with the Lady Dutch falling 9-2 to end their season.