THE LATEST: ONE OF THE GREATEST

WEBSTER CITY – At some point – it may be 10, 15 or 20 years from now – Kaitlyn Biere is going to step onto the dirt at Lynx Field to a standing ovation.

There will be plenty of smiles and probably a few tears.

Waiting for her will be her very own Hall of Fame plaque.

You better believe it’s going to happen.

Biere, who just wrapped up her senior season in the pitching circle for the Lynx, cemented her legacy yesterday when she was named to the Class 4A all-state first team by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association. She’s the first Webster City player to receive a first-team nod since BreAnn VanDeer made the 3A squad in 2004.

It’s the eighth first-team all-state honor for the WCHS program over the last 18 years.

“I had a lot of goals this year and one of them was making first-team all-state because I’ve never done that before,” Biere said. “That’s pretty nice to be recognized that way statewide.”

Biere and VanDeer are the only Lynx ever to receive five all-state awards. Biere was an honorable mention choice as an eighth grader in 2009; she followed it up with a third-team honor in 2010, a second-team nod in 2011 and another third-team spot in 2012.

But being named as one of the best of the best, that’s something she’ll remember forever.

“I’ve had a great high school career and that’s one of the things I’ll remember,” Biere, who gave the program its 24th all-state pitcher in the last 25 years, said. “There have been a lot of great pitchers that came before me and to be included in that excellent group is pretty cool.”

As a pitcher, she was an easy pick.

As a hitter, well, she was an easy pick.

“She’s not one that I would trade for any other girl in the state and I think coaches took notice of that this year,” WCHS head coach Jess Howard said. “The time she’s put in the sport, she’s definitely deserving of the recognition. She’s earned it.”

Biere had her best season – and that’s saying something – this summer. Inside the circle she put together a 25-4 record with a 0.96 earned run average and 212 strikeouts in 189 innings of work. She ranked in the 4A top five in ERA and was sixth in strikeouts.

She authored 14 shutouts to help WCHS climb into the statewide rankings and win the North Central Conference championship.

Biere was just as dangerous with the bat in her hands. She hit .429 with a single-season school record 11 home runs to go along with 32 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .847.

She shared the 4A home run title with Ballard’s Kenzie Ihle, also a first-team pick. The two shared the No. 2 slugging spot.

“This was definitely my best season and I’ve grown so much over the past five years,” Biere said. “I think I’m at my peak right now going into college.”

Howard says she always knew what she’d get out of Biere when she toed the rubber. But her offensive prowess caught her a little by surprise.

“I thought she would have a lot more power, but I didn’t expect what we got this year,” Howard said. “I think it should show all the younger girls what it takes to be a great player and how to get there.”

Biere ranks second on the school’s all-time strikeouts list with 990, and her 98 career victories ranks third. Seven rainouts in 2013 eliminated her chance – and it would have been automatic – of reaching 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts.

But as one chapter ends, another begins. Biere will leave home later this month for Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne where she’ll become the low girl on the totem pole with its softball program.

And she can’t wait.

“I”m really excited,” she said. “It’s such a great opportunity and I’ll get to be a part of something really great. And I get to compete with another pitcher for that spot and that’s not something I’ve had to do before, so that will be an experience. I love competition, so that will be fun.”

Biere was one of three NCC players to receive first-team recognition. Iowa Falls-Alden junior Brittany Hammond landed on the top team in 3A, while Fort Dodge St. Edmond senior Allie Oberg made the cut in 2A.

The players of the year in the five classes included Katie Shoultz of Muscatine and Kendyl Lindaman of Ankeny (5A), Macey Wolfe of Dallas Center-Grimes (4A), Miles Ludwigs of Sergeant Bluff-Luton (3A), Allie Ingalls of North Union (2A), and Nicole Shutt of Martensdale-St. Marys (1A).