Area teams fight for chance to make state tournaments

By : 
BILL BENTSON
Wheein' With Web

Dateline: Fountain, Minn.

That’s right, we’re spending a few days in Fountain, dog-sitting for Campbell, while daughter Cori and her family, Keith, Cal and Kiel take in their annual Texas Longhorn football game. It is a tradition for them that started back in 2004. This is the 15th year they’ve seen their favorite team play. They’ve been to Iowa State five times, Kansas twice (that’s where it started), Kansas State twice, Missouri, Colorado, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech and Texas. They are returning to Austin, the “mother-ship” for the second time.

Are you a baseball fan? Are you sad it’s over for this year? The Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games to claim the World Series championship.

And how about that Adam Theilen of the Minnesota Vikings? He now has eight straight games of 100 yards receiving, tying the National Football League record. Wouldn’t it be just great if he could break the record and stand alone with nine straight games? You all know he’s from Detroit Lakes, Minn., right? All of the TV stations we get up in Halstad are either from Fargo or Grand Forks, N.D. And out our way they just refer to Detroit Lakes as “DL.”

The 2018-19 state championships and tournaments are starting. Soccer is going on right now and cross-country is this weekend (or last weekend if you’re reading this on Monday or Tuesday).

The Cotter and Lake City girls represented Section One A at the state meet in Northfield (St. Olaf) and Plainview-Elgin-Millville and Lake City for the boys. Perham is back on top (ranking) in both the boys and girls’ polls. All of the races, both classes, have a lot of returning teams and individuals and are loaded with younger runners. I’ve included the state preview that the Minnesota State High School League provides on their website.

Cross-country team preview

Boys, Class A – The Perham Yellowjackets return in search of their second consecutive and seventh overall team title. In addition to Mora, nine other teams from the 2017 field also return: St. James Area, which includes students from Butterfield-Odin, runner-up; Mankato Loyola/Cleveland, third; Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd, fourth; North Shore, a co-op between Cook County of Grand Marais and Two Harbors, fifth; Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin, seventh; West Central Area of Barrett, eighth; Staples Motley, tenth; Mora, 11th; and Heritage Christian Academy, which includes students from West Lutheran of Plymouth, 13th. 

Boys, Class AA – The two-time defending champions from Wayzata return in search of more gold. If they win, it would be their 10th title overall. Nine other teams from 2017 also return: Stillwater Area, runner-up; Edina, third; Mounds View, fifth; Red Wing, seventh; Buffalo, ninth; Forest Lake, 10th; Willmar, 12th; St. Michael-Albertville, 13th; and Cloquet, 16th. 

Girls, Class A – Eight teams, including the defending champions from Perham, return to this year’s team competition. If the Yellowjackets win, it would be their third title overall. The other returning teams are Cotter of Winona, runner-up; Luverne, sixth; Jordan, ninth; Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd, tenth; Belle Plaine, 11th; North Shore, 13th; and West Central Area, 15th. 

Girls, Class AA – The Wayzata Trojans are looking for their second consecutive championship. If they win, it would be their fifth title overall. Twelve additional teams return from the 2017 field: Edina, runner-up; St. Michael-Albertville, third; Willmar, fourth; Forest Lake, fifth; Farmington, sixth; Marshall, seventh; Andover, eighth; Lakeville South, ninth; Rosemount, tenth; White Bear Lake Area, 11th; Alexandria Area, 12th; and Stillwater Area, 13th.

I’ve talked about Section 6AA in the past, both boys and girls, and how “loaded” they are. In boys, the number-five (Hopkins), number-six (Eden Prairie) and number-12 (Minnetonka) ranked teams in the state will not be running in the state meet, because the number-one (Wayzata) and number-two (Edina) ranked teams are also in Section 6AA. In the girls the number-one (Wayzata) and number-three (Edina) ranked teams will be representing Section 6AA at the state meet, and the number-four (Eden Prairie) and number-nine (Minneapolis Washburn) ranked squads will be watching on the sidelines because only two teams from a Section can make it to the state meet. I bet the teams in Section 6AA think their section meet is the “real” state meet because of all the great competition they have.

Individual previews

Boys, Class A – Sophomore Geno Uhrbom of Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin, who placed third last year, leads a field of four returning Top Ten finishers. The others are junior Cooper Lennox of Mora, eighth; junior Jacob Bright of Staples Motley, ninth; and junior Harris Anderson of Math and Science Academy of Woodbury, tenth. 

Boys, Class AA – Acer Iverson, a senior from Roseville Area, is the highest returning qualifier. Iverson earned runner-up honors in 2017. Five additional Top Ten finishers return: senior Luke Labatte of Rosemount, third; senior Maxwell Manley of Edina, fifth; junior Nicholas Scheller of Chanhassen, sixth; senior Addison Stansbury of Stillwater Area, seventh; and senior Caleb Haugland of Minneapolis Washburn, tenth.

Girls, Class A – Two-time defending champion, sophomore Tierney Wolfgram of Math and Science Academy of Woodbury, returns in search of more gold. She will be joined by all nine of the additional Top Ten finishers from last year: eighth-grader Lauren Ping of Cotter, runner-up; sophomore Grace Ping of Cotter, third; sophomore Morgan Gehl of Murray County Central/Fulda, fourth; ninth-grader Tenley Nelson of Luverne, fifth; senior Makenna Thurston of LCWM/Nicollet, sixth; sophomore Marissa Whitehead of Martin County West/Martin Luther, seventh; junior Ava Hill of Mesabi East of Aurora, eighth; senior Kayla Christopherson of Pacelli of Austin, ninth; and sophomore Emma Fashert of Annandale, tenth.

Girls, Class AA – Defending champion, senior Emily Covert of Minneapolis Washburn, leads a field of eight returning Top Ten finishers. The other returning runners are Farmington sophomore Anna Fenske, runner-up; Wayzata junior Emma Atkinson, third; Lakeville South junior Brianne Brewster, fifth; Farmington senior Lauren Peterson, sixth; Wayzata junior Caroline Sasson, seventh; St. Michael-Albertville ninth-grader Ali Weimer, ninth; and St. Paul Highland Park ninth-grader Molly Moening, tenth. 

Former Preston-Fountain/Fillmore Central teacher, Chris Harder is the head cross-country coach at Rosemount, and has been for several years now. He did his high school running for the Austin Packers.

Football

Let’s take a look at the Top Ten and see how they are doing, or how they have done.

Nine-man- Number-one Spring Grove (10-0) playing number-seven Houston (9-1) for the Section 1 championship.

Number-two Stephen-Argyle (10-0) playing Kittson County Central (6-4, not ranked) for the Section 8 championship.

Number-three Verndale, 10-0, Section 4, Taking on Underwood (9-1, not ranked) for the championship.

Number-four Cromwell-Wright (10-0) will battle South Ridge (No. 6, 9-0) for the Section 5 title.

Number-five Mt. Lake Area (9-0), takes on number-nine Hills-Beaver Creek (9-1) for the Section 3 crown.

Number-eight Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal (9-0) plays Win-E-Mac (6-3, not ranked) in the Fargodome for the Section 6 championship.

Number-ten Cook County (8-1) will travel to Esko to play Mt. Iron-Buhl (8-2, not ranked) for the Section 7 title.

Class A — Number-one Minneota (10-0), takes on Number-two BOLD (10-0) at Southwest State for the Section 5 championship.

Number-three Mahnomen-Waubun (9-0) plays Polk County West (8-2, not ranked) for the Section 8 title.

Number-four Blooming Prairie (10-0) goes head-to-head with number-seven Goodhue (7-1).

Number-five Otter Tail Central takes on number-nine Ada-Borup/Norman County West.

Number-six United South Central (9-0) takes on Randolph (7-3, not ranked) for the Section 2 championship.

Number-eight Dawson-Boyd (8-2) lost out to Minneota in the Section 5 semi-finals.

Number-ten Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (9-1) plays Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity at St. John’s for the Section 4 title.

Class AA — Number-one Caledonia (9-0) plays Chatfield (No. 9, 8-2) for the Section 1 championship.

Number-two Minneapolis North (9-0) will play St. Agnes (7-3, not ranked) for the title in Section 4.

Number-three Redwood Valley (9-0) plays Pipestone Area (No. 8, 8-2) at Southwest State for the Section 3 crown.

Number-four Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (9-1), in another top-ten match-up as WEM goes up against New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (No. 10, 8-2) in the “alphabet bowl” at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.

Number-five Hawley (9-1) will play Barnesville (8-2, not ranked) at the Fargodome for the 8AA championship.

Number-six Royalton (9-1) will drive to Esko to take on the Rebels of Moose Lake/Willow River (7-2, not ranked) for the Section 7 title.

Number-seven Pillager (9-1) plays Osakis (8-2, not ranked) for the Section 6 trophy at the Fargodome. This one’s for you, Joe!

Volleyball

I really wanted to let you know what the top ten teams in volleyball were doing too, but am running out of room, so just need to settle for Section One match-ups.

In the 1A East sub-section, Mabel-Canton takes on Spring Grove for the championship. The winner will play either Medford or Bethlehem Academy (1A West championship) on Saturday for the trip to the state tournament.

In the AA tournament, St. Charles and Lake City play for the East championship and Kasson-Mantorville and Stewartville battle for the West title. The AA championship game is also on Saturday.

That will do it for me for another week. Sure has been fun. Good luck to all the teams and congratulations to all the great performances this past fall season. Hey to my wife, Carol, the Great Eight and the Fab Four, you are the greatest and getting better…greatester! Hasta luego, everyone. Have a great week, one day at a time. WEB

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