Very big news from the Des Moines Register:nn

Pella High School finally gets its championship.

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The Little Dutch didn’t win a state title all season, but had enough all-around success to win The Des Moines Register’s All-Sports Award for medium schools for the first time. Pella scored the most points – based on qualifying for and succeeding in state tournaments in every varsity sport.

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Iowa City West won the large school division, ending a five-year run by West Des Moines Valley, while Davenport Assumption was the runaway winner in the small-school division.

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“It was a pretty good year all the way around,” Pella athletic director Bill Van Horn said. “We have excellent coaching staffs, and good families that support their kids.”

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Pella’s cross country teams posted their highest-ever finishes, with the girls’ team placing third and the boys’ second.

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“It wasn’t really a surprise to our kids or our coach, but I think we surprised some other people,” Van Horn said.

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Pella’s girls’ basketball team also finished second at state, losing a heartbreaker to Sioux City Heelan in the Class 3-A final.

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Heelan was fourth in a highly competitive race. Pella scored 42.5 points, last year’s medium-school champion Cedar Rapids Xavier was second with 40, and Dubuque Wahlert was third with 38.5, one more than Heelan.

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Iowa City West, which won the initial large-school division in 2000, edged Valley by 2.5 points, buoyed largely by its success in spring sports. The Trojans scored 39.5 of their 59 points in the spring, including a state title in girls’ track and three runner-up finishes.

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“Our goal is not to be a one- or two-sport school, but to be well-rounded,” West athletic director Marv Reiland said. “I can’t say enough about the kids and the coaches.”

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Second-place Valley won four state titles – girls’ swimming, girls’ soccer, boys’ golf and softball – and finished well ahead of third-place Bettendorf.

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“Valley had a first-class program, and when we try to compete, we try to compete at the same level they do,” Reiland said.

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Assumption started the school year slowly, but roared to the finish, placing in the top eight in nine sports after the first of the year. The Knights won the girls’ basketball championship, and last week took the top spot in the Class 2-A state baseball tournament to finish with 57 points. Solon was second among small schools with 33.5 points.

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MEDIUM SCHOOL POINT STANDINGS

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1. Pella 42.5 (football 2.5; volleyball 2.5; girls