Sports briefly: Bechtel repeats All-TRC soccer

LEFT: Kaitlyn Bechtel (All-TRC soccer), RIGHT: Kai Bjerke (football Most Valuable Teammate). Photos by S. Lee Epps

Senior Kaitlyn Bechtel was named for the second season to the All-Three Rivers Conference soccer team. Two of her Caledonia/Spring Grove/Houston teammates received honorable mention - senior Vivian Seymour for the second year along with Tessa Pieper.


Spring Grove senior Kai Bjerke was honored as Spring Grove football's Most Valuable Teammate. He and Mountain Lake Area's Drake Harder received trophies at midfield just prior to the team trophy presentation at U. S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.


The Caledonia/Spring Grove/Houston gymnastics team opens the season at the Byron Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 1 at noon.  Although the Warriors return four of the seven girls who competed at last year's section meet, it is again a very young team. With no seniors in 2016-17 and only one senior last season in 2017-18, there are only two seniors on this year's roster - Kourtney Olson and Becky Meyer.

Freshman Brianna Johnson (from Spring Grove) plus eighth graders Kylie Staggemeyer and Ayshia Gay are also back from last year's section tournament. Sophomores Emma Ranzenberger and April Bauer also made key contributions last winter.

So there is considerable experience, and numbers are strong with 24 names on the roster. However, with only two seniors, no juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen - most (16) are eighth graders and seventh graders.

Battling injuries and illness with a young lineup last year, the Warriors were winless in 10 dual meets and finished ninth (last) at section.

Following the Saturday trip to Byron, the home opener is Tuesday, Dec. 4 with La Crescent-Hokah. Look for the complete schedule in next week's Herald.


The Spring Grove girls faced the defending state basketball champions when they hosted Lyle/Pacelli (0-2) on Tuesday of this week (after the Herald went to press.) The Lions begin with four conference games. A trip to Lanesboro closes this week on Friday, Nov. 30. Look for the complete schedule in next week's Herald.

11-27 Lyle Pacelli

11-30 at Lanesboro

12-06 at Schaeffer Academy

12-14 Mabel-Canton

12-15 vs. Charles City (at Decorah)

The power in the conference will reside in the West Division where Grand Meadow (23-6) was state ranked at No. 9 in last year's final Class A poll. The Superlarks bring back both First Team All-SEC players - senior forward Jordyn Glynn and junior forward Riley Queensland plus Honorable Mention senior guard Skylar Cotten who had been First Team the previous season.

Lyle/Pacelli returns two all-conference performers from last year's 32-1 state title squad - junior forward Olivia Christianson and senior guard Abigail Bollingberg. The Athletics dropped their first two games to Class AA clubs Zumbrota-Mazeppa (60-38) and Dover-Eyota (50-42).

The Glenville-Emmons girls begin a shared program with Alden-Conger and will compete in the Valley Conference instead of the SEC.

In the SEC East, Houston (22-5, 11-2 SEC) attempts to defend its first-ever girls conference championship with a pair returning starters, including two-time All-SEC senior guard Alyssa Rostad. 

Mabel-Canton (9-18, 6-7 SEC) returns four starters including two-time All-SEC junior guard Payton Danielson and Honorable Mention sophomore guard Kenidi McCabe. Spring Grove (10-14, 6-7 SEC) returns three starters. The Lions and Cougars tied for second in the SEC East along with Schaeffer Academy (16-11, 6-7 SEC). Schaeffer moves over to the West Division this winter while Kingsland will become the fifth team in the East. 

Conference newcomer Kingsland could contend with high-scoring Lauren Buchholtz. Last place Lanesboro (5-20, 2-11 SEC) should improve with three starters coming back.


Due to the extended state championship football season, the Spring Grove boys begin basketball workouts sometime this week, at least a week later than other area boys. The first two games versus Decorah and Kingsland have been rescheduled in January. 

The Lions will now open with a Friday, December 7, conference road trip to Glenville-Emmons. The home opener versus Houston follows on Dec. 13. The Lions then face Charles City (Iowa) in the Dec. 15 Border Battle at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Look for the complete schedule and the season preview article in next week's Herald.


Right after Spring Grove's 9-man state championship victory, Caledonia defeated Barnesville 21-0 in the Class AA title game. The victory gave the Warriors (13-0) their fourth consecutive Class AA championship and ninth since 2007. It was the program’s 10th football crown overall. The win also was Caledonia’s 54th in a row, the longest active streak in the country. The Warriors couldn’t breathe easy until the final minutes of the fourth quarter when they scored two touchdowns in a one-minute span to seal to decision.