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Kerry Collins, Published March 26 2009

One for the yearbook: Ada-Borup enjoys unparalleled success by making state tournament in four team sports

Ada, Minn. - Winning isn’t everything, but it’s pretty much the only thing going on at Ada-Borup these days.

Ada-Borup is the only school – in any class – to send teams to state in boys and girls basketball, volleyball and football this season.

Not bad for a school that has around 160 kids in grades 9-12.

“It’s really unbelievable,” activities director Mike Kolness said. “You can see on everybody’s faces the pride that we have with these kids.

“We’ve definitely been blessed with this group.”

It’s been a remarkable year for the little powerhouse on the prairie.

The football, volleyball and basketball teams have a combined record of 97-11 this season. The first three teams made it to at least the state semifinals and the boys basketball team starts its state tournament today.

The football team went 10-3, and the losses were impressive. A-B lost to Stephen-Argyle and Waubun – the two state finalists from last season – and Houston, this year’s eventual state champ, in the semifinals.

The volleyball team was 32-2 and took third at state, while the girls basketball team went 31-1 and won its second straight Class 1A title.

“The fans and the kids realize that this is something special,” boys basketball coach Trevor Stewart said. “I hope they’re living in the moment, and I’m just glad we can celebrate one more week.”

Win or lose, the boys basketball team gets to see what all the fuss has been about with the girls squad.

The 14 kids on the roster will hit Williams Arena today, becoming the latest group of Cougars to compete in one of the state’s primo arenas.

“Look at the venues these kids have gotten to play in this year,” football coach Mike Gullingsrud said. “We got to play in the Alerus Center and the Metrodome. The basketball teams got to play in Williams Arena and the Target Center and volleyball got to go to the Xcel (Energy Center).

“You’ve really got to relish every time you make it to state.”

The community has played a big role in the success, as fans have flocked to state and section tournaments no matter where they are.

A prime example of their dedication came last weekend.

After A-B’s girls hoopsters won in the state semifinals, carloads of fans bolted the Target Center and headed approximately 150 miles to Morris to watch the boys section title game.

Then the Cougars’ caravan trucked back to the Twin Cities to watch the girls win another state title the next day.

“There are fans going back and forth, and they’re having fun doing it,” Kolness said. “Everybody wants to be a part of it, and everybody is a part of it.”

This senior class has had a lot to do with it.

Nicole Smart, Katy Ness and Laura Kolness played key roles on both the volleyball and basketball teams. Only seven seniors were on the football team, but Mark Mitteness and Payton Kujava delivered on both the gridiron and the hardwood.

“They might not realize how rare this is right now, but they’re enjoying it,” girls basketball coach David Smart said. “It might be a few years before this group realizes what they really accomplished.

“They should have something to talk about at their 10-year reunion. That’s for sure.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins’ blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com