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Jackson Kiburis

Gladbrook-Reinbeck

Senior

Football

Kiburis has been a key playmaker for a Gladbrook-Reinbeck team that recovered from a pair of season-opening losses to secure its first district title in year one of 8-player football. During Friday’s 44-19 win over AGWSR, Kiburis scored a touchdown on a power run and another with a 60-yard pass to Aiden Wyatt. He’s thrown for eight touchdowns versus one interception this season. “He wasn’t even sure if he wanted to play quarterback at the beginning of the year,” G-R coach John Olson said of his captain. “After practice number one he told me, ‘Coach I love playing quarterback.’ It had nothing to do with throwing touchdowns, he just loves the camaraderie and is an awesome kid. ... He’s really stepped up.” Kiburis is strong academically and also competes in basketball, soccer and baseball and is active in drama and chorus.

Laura Bates

Waverly-Shell Rock

Senior

Volleyball

Bates has become a difference-maker in her first season as a varsity starter for Class 4A’s No. 9 Waverly-Shell Rock. The senior outside hitter and six-rotation player finished with a .292 hitting efficiency and an average of one ace and two digs per set as W-SR secured a Northeast Iowa Conference tournament championship last weekend. “She’s a first-year starter who has continuously improved,” W-SR coach EaVon Woodin noted. “She’s a powerful lefty hitter and has teamed up with the middle hitters for an effective dual block on the right side.” Bates is an honor student who also competes in basketball and track and field.

Dakota Southworth

Cedar Falls

Senior

Football

Southworth helped Class 4A’s No. 2 Cedar Falls secure its fifth shutout of the season Friday with a 41-0 win over Dubuque Senior. Only No. 4 Bettendorf has scored more than one touchdown on this year’s 8-0 Tigers. Southworth has recorded 41 tackles this season for Cedar Falls from a linebacking position, including three for loss. “Dakota has been a solid addition to our starting linebacker group this fall,” Cedar Falls coach Brad Remmert noted. “He brings another physical player to our linebacking corps and special teams units.”

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Jacob Murray

Hudson

Senior

Football

A third-year starting quarterback, Murray helped Class A’s top-ranked Hudson improve to 8-0 Friday. He passed for 135 yards, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion during a 55-21 win over Grundy Center. Murray has thrown for 721 yards with 10 touchdowns with just four interceptions this season. “He’s become a student of the game,” Hudson coach Justin Brekke said. “He puts the extra time in to be a better quarterback. He does a good job of preparing himself and scouting. Overall he’s evolved every year as a leader and is someone we can depend on during crunch time. He’s willing to do whatever it takes.” Murray also competes in basketball, baseball and track and field.

Julia Meister

Janesville

Junior

Volleyball

Meister helped Class 1A’s top-ranked Janesville close out a 4-0 run through the final week of the regular season. A second-year starting middle blocker, Meister was efficient with 12 kills on 21 swings in two Thursday matches. She ranks third on the Wildcats’ team with 1.4 kills per set. Meister also serves at 90 percent with 27 aces, 65 digs and 25 blocks. “At just under 5-foot-6, those are great numbers, especially considering the fact that she goes up against much taller blockers and hitters in the front row,” Janesville coach Shelly Sorensen noted. “She works very hard and does a great job of getting touches when blocking.” Meister is also a state softball qualifier and National Honor Society member active in jazz band.

Austin Zaputil

Waterloo Columbus

Senior

Football

Zaputil has anchored the offensive line from the left tackle position for 6-2 Columbus. On Friday, he helped provide protection for a Sailor offense that totaled 125 yards and two touchdowns through the air and 174 yards and three scores on 35 rushes during a 35-34 win over North Fayette Valley. “Austin is a gifted athlete that went all-in this offseason,” Columbus coach Brad Schmit noted. “He has an extremely high football IQ and is like having a coach on the field. When Austin speaks, his peers listen. This group of guys have bought into what we’re selling and are one of the main reasons for our turnaround.”

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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