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THE FRONT ROW with MARK NELKE: Memories of another entertaining high school sports year

The reaction of the Coeur d’Alene High football players, watching a good-luck video by Kirk Cousins the night before their state championship game.
The joy — and skill — exuded playing volleyball by Kylie Munday.
Reese Strawn rising up for a 3.
Logan Orchard making the right play.
The eyes of Pete Reardon as the Post Falls High wrestling coach questions an official’s call.
Gia Janke taking a friendly-fire elbow just above the eye, getting it patched up and returning to help Coeur d’Alene qualify for state in volleyball.
Carter Rupp sticking a 3.
Shea Robertson closing in on an opposing ball carrier, then laying the wood to them.
THE JOY in Harrison Flats after the Kootenai High boys basketball team won its first game since 2019.
Girls soccer teams from Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland breaking in the new artificial turf at Coeur d’Alene High with the first varsity contest.
Arnold Brown dancing (sorry, no video).
Watching a team like Coeur d’Alene girls basketball play at less than full strength during the season because of injuries and wondering how good this team could be if completely healthy.
Looking at celebration photos from high school volleyball matches — and noticing that, in the background, the parents and other supporters are celebrating with the same joy as the players and coaches.
Lakeside’s boys making a valiant bid to defend their state basketball championship — only to be denied by one of the state’s legacy programs (Lapwai) and the state’s all-time leading scorer (Kase Wynott).
Kai Wheeler grabbing another offensive rebound — after showing glimpses of being a beast as a receiver on the football team.
Four years of watching Avery Waddington and Sophia Zufelt on the basketball court.
Watching the joy of a team (Bonners Ferry boys basketball, in this case) bring home to its community a first state championship in that sport.
Jamison Kizziar accepting the switch from quarterback, and making a contribution as a receiver, on defense and special teams to help Coeur d’Alene reach the state title game.
WE’LL NEVER know what would have happened if Coeur d’Alene’s boys basketball team had played mighty Owyhee in the state championship game, but we know one thing — the Vikings would not have backed down from the challenge. It would have been an intriguing matchup, but that stunning loss in the semifinals kept Coeur d’Alene out of the title game.
Lake City’s boys basketball team bringing home a trophy from the state 5A boys basketball tournament in a supposed “rebuilding” year.
Cooper Smith homering in the top of the seventh inning to bring Lake City from behind for a win at Coeur d’Alene.
Speaking of a supposed “rebuilding” year, the excitement shown by the Coeur d’Alene High softball team — with four freshman starters — after knocking off defending champion Owyhee of Meridian in the first round of state.
Also during that game, enduring a “snack” of infield dirt at Post Falls High, thanks to gusting winds.
Watching the marquee foursome — which included eventual champion Palmer Coleman of Priest River, runner-up Beau Jones of Lakeside and fourth-place finisher Seth Swallows of St. Maries — on the final day of the state 2A golf tournament at Circling Raven.
Enjoying the walk while following the players for a few holes on the back nine on a beautiful afternoon at Circling Raven — then coming to the realization that you were looking at a long hike back to the clubhouse. Many thanks to the coach in the golf cart from Cole Valley Christian, who just happened to be heading back to the parking lot as I was walking up 18.
Lake City looking to send a strong senior class out with a state title in baseball — but coming up short after a heartbreaking loss in extra innings in the semifinals. Sometimes sports goes that way.
The rarity of a shot clock violation.
The joy of friends and family watching a local star finally realize his lifelong dream of making it to the major leagues.
Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 208-664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at mnelke@cdapress.com. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @CdAPressSports.

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