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Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Southeast valley junior Aaron Graves was named a Class 1A first team All-State defensive lineman for 2020. It’s the third time as an all-state selection for the future Hawkeye.

Carson Bower saw his junior baseball season come to an early end after finding out he needed Tommy John surgery.

For Bower, the decision was a difficult one to make, as it also put into question his senior football campaign.

The Manson Northwest Webster multi-sport athlete went under the knife and worked his way back to the field, cementing his comeback by being named to the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association all-state first team in Class A.

Bower was joined by his teammate, Chris Krueger, who earned third team honors as a junior linebacker.

“Coming out of surgery, I didn’t know if I’d ever get to play football again,” Bower said. “I knew I had to take advantage of everyday and just trust the process. It was very important to me to get back onto the field, even if it wasn’t the way I wanted it to be.”

Bower finished with an average of 31.8 yards per kick this past fall for the Cougars on 35 kicks overall. He would have also been a key player on the offense and defense had it not been for the operation.

“I knew rehab was going to be challenging both physically and mentally, but I also knew that I couldn’t give up and just had to keep pushing through it,” Bower said. “The goal was and still is to get better one-percent every day.

“Practices were tough for me but it was still better than doing nothing at all. Coach (Marty) Hart finally let me play scout team safety for our last practice of the year after asking him every day since Week 1.”

Bower now heads into basketball after leading Manson NW in scoring and assists last year.

“Earning a first team all-state honor means the world to me,” Bower said. “I never thought I’d be in this position after going through surgery, but now that it’s here, it feels like a dream come true.

“It also gives me so much more confidence going forward. I still have a long way to go, but I have confidence in myself to get back to where I want to be.”

For the third time in his career Southeast Valley junior Aaron Graves was picked as an all-state selection.

After a third team (freshman) pick and second last year, the Iowa Hawkeye commit was on the first team this season.

“It’s an honor,” Graves said. “As always, nothing is given. I had to work to earn this and there are definitely people who have put me in a position to be able to put the work in.

“My parents have always been a huge part of my success, paying for AAU basketball and driving me to practice from a young age to help me grown as an athlete. Them along with trainers, coaches, and family friends, particularly the Kruse family. They have always helped and motivated me to get where I am now.”

Also securing first team honors were South Central Calhoun’s Brennan Holder and Emmetsburg’s Ben Dunlap in 1A; and Webster City’s Truman Klein and Tyler Olson in 3A.

IOWA PRINT SPORTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION

(Messenger-area selections only)

EIGHT-PLAYER

Second Team

Hunter Christiansen, Newell-Fonda, LB, sr.

CLASS A

First Team

Carson Bower, Manson Northwest Webster, P, sr.

Second Team

Parker Oswald, St. Edmond, WR, sr.

Third Team

Brock Stanek, St. Edmond, OL, sr.; Chris Krueger, Manson Northwest Webster, LB, jr.; Kellen Murphy, Bishop Garrigan, DB, sr.

CLASS 1A

First Team

Aaron Graves, Southeast Valley, DL, jr.; Brennan Holder, South Central Calhoun, LB, sr.; Ben Dunlap, Emmetsburg, DB, sr.

Second Team

Blake McAlister, South Central Calhoun, RB, jr.; Carson Pibal, South Central Calhoun, OL, sr.; Dane Johnson, Pocahontas Area, DL, sr.; Blake McAlister, South Central Calhoun, P, jr.

Third Team

Cole Shirk, Emmetsburg, RB, sr.; Jayden Soard, South Central Calhoun, LB, jr.

CLASS 2A

Third Team

Bradyn Smith, Greene County, LB, jr.; Jackson Morton, Greene County, DB, jr.

CLASS 3A

First Team

Truman Klein, Webster City, OL, jr.; Tyler Olson, Webster City, DB, sr.

Second Team

Trey Mathis, Webster City, RB, sr.

Third Team

Caden Matson, Humboldt, U, jr.

CLASS 4A

Second Team

Sam Daniel, Fort Dodge, DB, sr.

Third Team

Dayson Clayton, Fort Dodge, RB, sr.; Tyler Schreier, Fort Dodge, Return, sr.

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