That's no small accomplishment, especially considering the team graduated eight seniors last year.
"I'm really happy for these kids," Gehlen coach Mike Meyer said. "It's been a struggle at times. We had so many shoes to fill, so many kids who were first time varsity players."
Three of this year's four seniors were playing B squad one year ago, he said.
"For them to come in and still be the top 1A team in this area is a real credit to their desire to compete and work to accomplish something," Meyer said.
This year's seniors are Abby Freking, Emily Holtgrewe, Katelin Langel and Shannon Smith.
After Wednesday night's victory at the Class 1A region finals, they were celebrating the upcoming return to state for the Jays.
"It's pretty awesome," Langel said. "It's finally our year to make our own footprints. The seniors last year made great footprints for us to follow, but it's nice to know we made our own this year to go to state. We did it ourselves."
Smith said she felt the team's accomplishment was "awesome."
"Last year's seniors had been carrying us for the last couple of years," she said.
The team's desire to make a fresh bid for state fueled them to a victory in their close matchup with George-Little Rock Wednesday, Smith said.
"We just wanted it so bad for ourselves, to prove that we could do it," she said.