Archive for ED Sports

DC track & field opens season at Rockford

By BRAD SALMEN

Sports Editor

The DC track & field team opened the 2019 season with a meet at Rockford Friday, April 5.

While team scores were not provided for the meet, coach Nathan Youngs said he and his staff were very encouraged by the results for the first meet of the year.

“The boys took a big step forward from last year, which is what all the coaches were hoping for. We saw an increase in effort, and we saw competitiveness in all areas, which will set us up to meet our goal of moving up in the conference,” said Youngs. “The girls showed some of the results that moved them up last year, and we saw a few new things that might set us up to move even higher in the conference. It was cool and cloudy, but the girls performed at a high level, and I cannot wait until the next meet to put a few more things together.”

Both the boys and girls had one first-place finish for the meet.

The boys 4×100 relay team of Joel Selseth, Eli Gillman, Erik Koller, and Blake Johnson took first in convincing fashion, with anchor Johnson crossing the finish line a good 20 meters ahead of the nearest competition.

Kezia Lee also took first, winning the girls 200m race.

Also placing in the top-three were:

• Josh DeBoer took second in both the disc and shot put.

• Lily Kraemer took second in the 400.

• Joel Selseth took second in the long jump.

• the boys 4×200 relay (Cayden Schmandt, Ethan Stertz, Christian Johnson, Prestin Bradley) took second.

• the girls 4×200 relay (Kezia Lee, Lily Kraemer, Marianna Aho, and Sophia Hillmann) took second.

• Sophia Hillmann took third in the 400.

• Emily Aho took third in the 800.

• Juan Severson took third in the 800.

• Aleah Vetsch took third in the long jump.

• Eli Gillman took third in the triple jump.

Coach Youngs indicated that for this season, each assistant coach will be providing analysis for their respective areas.

Coach Erica Lindquist (hurdles): I was pleased with the distance athletes’ performances, as it was a great start to the season and many athletes are already ahead of or right at their personal records from last season. I thought they came ready to race and did a great job of pushing past the first meet jitters.

Specifically, Henry Dahlman ran a stellar leg in the 4×800 of 2:16, and was just two seconds off that time in the open 800. He ended the season running that time last year, so he’s already ahead.

Also, Juan Severson ran a personal record of 2:10 in the open 800, which is a standout time especially this early on. I’m excited to see how fast he can go.

On the girls side Jewels Jorgensen ran a great leg in the 4×800 of 2:39 and I’m excited to drop that time closer to 2:30 as the season continues.

Coach Doug Asquith (throws): Overall I was really happy with the effort and results put forth by our throwers. Of the 12 throwers we had at the meet, there were 20 personal records set (some throwers set PRs in both Shot and Disc).  Josh DeBoer took second in both Shot and Disc making him the highest scoring thrower at the meet.

Overall it was a meet that confirmed my optimism for this season.

Coach Nicole Eldred (sprints): I thought the meet went well in many ways, especially with athletes stepping up to do events they had not done before.

There were some great races in the boys 100, with some matching their times from last year in the first meet of the season and some setting a new personal best. (New personal best was Joel Selseth).   This was spectacular to see in cold weather conditions.

Athletes also got experience with handoffs in the relays.  We had some strong times in the 200 also.  The boys 4×100 did very well taking first place. The girls 4×200 also ran a great race.

Coach Beau Gagnon (jumps): The meet was a good start to the season for the jumpers, highlighted by the underclassmen.

In the girls long jump, freshman Aleah Vetsch had a solid mark of 14’ 5.00” for 3rd place along with senior Marianna Aho just behind with a mark of 14-3 for 4th.

On the boys side, sophomore Joel Selseth covered 17’ 9.50” for a 2nd place finish and freshman Eli Gillman jumping 16-8.

In the triple jump, two girls nearly cracked the 30-foot barrier with Marianna Aho jumping 29-11. and junior Kiana Keith with a mark of 28-8. On the boys side, two boys had jumps over 37 feet, with Eli Gillman leading the way with a mark of 37-9 for 3rd, and Joel Selseth with a mark of 37-3.5 for 5th.

In the boys high jump, we are improving in our depth with Eli Gillman and 7th grader Monte Gillman both clearing 5-0 as well as three additional jumpers clearing 4-10.

Coach Beth Keskey (pole vault): In the pole vault, the boys both jumped at or near their personal records from last year. We picked up where we left off from last year, which is awesome!

The girls did a great job taking risks, as neither of them had ever jumped before.

I saw some good things. We still overall looked a little uncomfortable on the pole (which is common for the beginning of the season). Looking forward to getting a lot more reps in before the snow comes and back into the swing of things!

The next action for the track & field team is Tuesday at Waconia (weather permitting). The next scheduled meet after that is April 23 at New London-Spicer.

Early HS Spring sports cancellations & additions

The DC girls softball game against Kimball at home Tuesday, April 2 has been moved to Friday, April 12.

The girls golf meet at Litchfield Thursday, April 4 has been postponed, with no makeup date announced at this time.

In addition, the DC track & field team will have their first meet of the season Thursday, April 4 at Rockford. This is a late addition to the schedule. They will then be off until Tuesday, April 16.

Reflections on being a hockey dad

BY BRAD SALMEN

DC Enterprise Dispatch Sports Editor

Last year, I wrote a column that included a line about never wanting to become a “stereotypical hockey parent.”

The column was about the exprience of coaching my son Lars in baseball. How I wanted to always be positive, help the kids grow, make sure they had a good time, etc., while at the same time ensuring they grew as baseball players.

What was implied by that line was that hockey parents are basically entitled jerkwads.

It’s an easy line to throw out there. We’ve all seen  the online videos of youth hockey parents acting like well, jerkwads.

I might still be adhering to that line today, had not Justin McKinley convinced me at the last minute to sign my son Isaac up for Squirts hockey last fall.

Now here I am, an unabashed and unashamed hockey dad.

Sure, some people might think I’m a jerkwad, but that doesn’t have anything to do with hockey.

***

I’ll admit, I was nervous for Isaac when we joined the program last October.

For one, the program had started in September, and we were already behind.

For another, while I know Isaac’s a good athlete, most of the kids had a big step up on him after being in organized hockey for two or more seasons.

And sure enough, after a month of five-days-a-week practices, when the tryouts were held to divide all the players into the Squirts “A” team, and the Squirts “C” team, Isaac was put on the C team.

He was pretty bummed. Most of his friends, the kids in his grade, were on the A team.

But I wasn’t surprised, nor was I upset.

While Isaac made big strides during that month of practice, I am objective enough to realize he was still a half-step behind his classmates on the A team.

After the team announcements, I told him candidly that I thought this was the best thing for him.

“You’re going to get a lot more ice time, improve more rapidly, and gain confidence,” I told him. “Keep working hard, and you have a chance to be one of the best players on the team.”

***

Shortly thereafter, a bunch of strangers – parents of the kids on the Squirts C team – gathered into the LDC Civic Arena meeting room to meet the Squirts C coach, Jake Pettit.

Jake, as he always is, was candid.

I’m going to play kids evenly, teach them to the best of my ability, and let them have some fun, he told us.

And don’t be a jerkwad, he added. Your kid isn’t the next Wayne Gretzky.

I left the meeting with what I consider to be a prize – I volunteered to be the “Parents Rep.”

This meant, in essence, that I would be the team’s book- and stats-keeper.

While it meant I would have to be at every game, I was planning to anyway, and as a sportswriter I love keeping stats. As a bonus, it meant that I would be exempt from “Dibs.”

Dibs is the term used to describe the hours spent working in the concession stand. All families are required to have 20 dibs hours, unless you are a coach or Parents Rep.

***

From that point on, a bond was formed, and grew.

Both between the boys, and the parents.

For the boys, the bond came quick and easy. They were together 4-5 nights a week, in the lockerroom, on the ice.

Plus, they jumped out of the gate winning their first 10 games in a row, and nothing builds a bond like being part of a winning team.

For the parents, it was much more tentative. Initial recognition head nods and brief “How ya doin’s” slowly gave way to genuine conversations and connections.

By the end of the season, in which we had all seen each other for over 30 games, and taken a weekend trip to Hudson, Wis., we all felt comfortable together.

Most importantly, the bond between myself and Isaac grew stronger than ever.

I tallied it up, we spent over 40 hours together in the car driving to games and practices. And in that time, we talked about everything under the sun.

I wouldn’t take that back for anything in the world.

***

For the record, there was only one instance of the “stereotypical hockey parent” this season.

While we had a few parents on our team get excited about calls and non-calls this year, none reached the level of abuse.

The only instance of that I saw was at a tournament in Willmar. We were playing Waconia in the championship game, and late in the third period one of the Waconia kids went down hard into the boards.

As he was being tended to, the kid’s dad, who looked like he was on a strict regimen of steroids and regret, charged down the stands and started screaming at the refs.

When the refs refused to call a penalty (rightly so, the kid basically fell on his own), he took it as a personal affront to his entire lineage and became apoplectic.

Building security escorted him out of the arena, but on the way out this meathead threatened to “meet [the ref] in the parking lot.” Which led to the cops being called.

It was pretty wild.

Fun fact, our boys ended up squirting frosting on this madman’s cake by winning in a shootout.

That win was but just one of many for the boys. Overall, they had a great season – they won a lot of games, and scored a lot of goals, but it’s Squirts C, so who’s counting?

***

I was. I was counting. That was my job.

Our boys finished the year with an record of 30-4-1. We outscored our opponents by an average of 6-2, and finished second in our district tournament.

We had a great coaching staff of Jake Pettit, Matt Kadelbach, Andy Twardy, and Steve Black. They transformed a group of kids with raw talent into a team that connected with each other.

And as for Isaac? He took the advice and guidance of those coaches and ended the year as the team’s leading scorer, with with 48 goals, 27 assists, and 75 points.

I’m so very proud of you, bud.

 

 

Putting a wrap on the winter sports season

BY BRAD SALMEN

DC Enterprise Dispatch Sports Editor

So I blinked the other day, and the winter sports season had passed me by.

Simultaneously, in retrospect, it seemed to have been one of the longest seasons of my life.

The winter sports season is always the busiest – I have to cover seven teams, including two in Litchfield.

On top of my coverage, this season we also became hockey parents for the first time ever, as we put our son Isaac in LDC Squirts. This meant on top of attending games three or four nights a week, we also had to deal with 2-3 practices a week, and two games every weekend.

Put together, it was a whirlwind of activity in which I rarely seemed to surface. At the same time, being so busy doesn’t give you much time for introspection.

So now that it’s done, and I’ve had a chance to come up for air, let’s take a look at the DCHS winter sports teams.

•••

There’s no other way to put this: it was a tough go for both Dassel-Cokato basketball teams this season.

The Charger boys graduated four seniors from last year’s team that went 15-10, leaving only point guard Sanders Asplin as a returning starter.

And then, in the second game of the year, Asplin suffered an injury that would keep him out most of the year.

Without Asplin, coach Dave Chvojicek had to rely on a number of inexperienced players and underclassmen, and heavily lean on senior Collin Krick.

Krick shouldered most of the scoring load this season, averaging over 14 points per game, but the team’s inexperience was usually exploited by DC’s opponents, as the Chargers won just two games during the year.

Unfortunately, Krick will graduate this season, as will 6-9 center Noah Jenkins.

However, the boys will return seven juniors with extensive varsity experience for next season.

Like the boys, the girls basketball team was also bitten by the injury bug this season, and also had a young team.

Senior forward Katelyn Lee, a two-year starter, missed time due to injury, as did her sister Kezia, a sophomore starter. Several other players missed time due to injuries on coach Rob Walters’ squad.

The Charger girls graduate two starters from this year’s team, Ka. Lee and center Coriena Miller.

However, the team will return three juniors, four sophomores, and a whopping five freshmen with varsity experience for next year’s squad.

•••

For the first time in nearly a decade, the DC/L boys swimming & diving team did not advance a single member to the state meet.

Senior Sam Resop came oh-so-close, finishing just 0.5 second short of qualifying in the 100 Fly.

Like the DC basketball teams, the pool Chargers had a young squad. DC/L graduated five seniors, and have zero juniors coming up for next season.

I would anticipate the coach Pete Travis’ squad making strides next season as a team, and two years from now coming into their own in the section tournament.

•••

The Charger gymnastics team also struggled with injuries throughout the season.

It seemed like at each meet I went to, there were 1, 2 or more varsity gymnasts who were not participating due to injuries.

The good news is, there were a number of young gymnasts who stepped up and received varsity experience due to those injuries.

The bad news is, the Chargers will wave goodbye to two key senior contributors, Marianna Aho and Megan Nelson.

Nelson, especially, will be missed from a points perspective. She has been the team leader throughout the past three seasons, finishing a team-high 12th at the Section Tournament this year.

However, the Chargers have a young group of gymnasts who have been improving under coach Alex Halonen, which bodes well for future seasons.

This season was also different for me in that for the first time, I had a personal connection to the team. My daughter Kaisa joined the team as a seventh-grader, and even got to participate on varsity a couple times. [Cue proud dad beaming]. Needless to say, I spent a lot more time at gymnastics meets than in seasons past.

•••

Without a doubt, the team that made the biggest improvement this season was the LDC girls hockey team.

Last year, the Dragons finished with just two wins under first-year head coaches Matt Hogg and Brett Damerow. Their record was 2-23, to be exact.

To top it off, they lost their leading scorer in Jasmin Estrada.

Full disclosure, last season, I attended about a dozen or so games in part, and never captured a goal on camera. So I hope you’ll forgive me for coming into this season with low expectations.

Instead, I was very pleasantly surprised.

The Dragons made a huge step up from last season, finishing 8-16-2 and procuring their first Wright County Conference victories in four years.

I’m excited to see what the next two seasons have in store for the LDC girls. They graduate just two contributing seniors this season, and return their top five scorers and 10 out of their 12 point-getters.

Returning skaters include WCC All-Conference Honorable Mention skaters Alyssa Olson, Sophia Hillmann, and Sydney Braaten.

In addition, the Dragons return a stellar goaltender in sophomore Avery Stilwell, who was the only LDC player named WCC All-Conference.

Also big shout out to Matt Hogg, the “DC” side of the LDC coaching tandem.

Being spread across seven teams usually means I can attend just half a game if I’m lucky, and thus I rely heavily on coaches to send me information on their games.

Matt never once failed to provide detailed analysis, and quality quotes, from his games – win or lose.

Thank you, Matt.

•••

The LDC boys hockey team’s season can be boiled down to one problem: they simply could not put the biscuit in the basket.

The Dragons finished the 2018-19 season with a record of 12-12-3.

But if you were to award wins based on outshooting your opponents, LDC would have had nearly 20 victories.

After finishing the regular season 11-11-3, the Dragons received the #2 seed in the Section 3A playoffs.

LDC dominated Redwood Valley 6-2 in the quarterfinals. But despite outshooting #3 New Ulm 34-19 – a team they had defeated earlier in the season – the Eagles prevailed by a 2-1 score.

It was frustrating at times to watch the Dragons dominate zone time, but fail to score. They just didn’t have that goal scorer.

Unfortunately, the team will lose four out of their top-five scorers for next season, including their top-three scorers in Brandt Pedersen, Paul Raisanen, and Dylan Schutz.

Fortunately, the team will return sophomore goaltender Darby Halonen, who continued to stand out after a solid freshman season.

LDC head coach Chris Olson will need to get the most out of his returning varsity skaters, and a large number of new players, for the team to compete again next season for a state tournament berth.

•••

The Charger wrestling team also made big strides this season, finishing with their best season in eight years.

DC sent five wrestlers to state, and just missed on a sixth, as returning state entrant Jude Link took third.

In addition, the team had their highest team section finish in quite some time, finishing with a #3 seed in the section tournament. While they lost in the semifinals to #2 Becker, it was a very successful year.

The Chargers will also lose only two contributing seniors, although they will be big losses in four-time state entrant Prestin Bradley and Jacob Schmitz (fifth-place finish in state, and single-season DCHS record holder for wins).

But with a lot of returning varsity talent, and some promising youngsters, next season is highly anticipated.

A big thank you to coach Bryan Clemen as well, who also never failed to send detailed and insightful comments. His story on hosting tournaments in the aftermath of a blizzard was a fantastic read.

Thanks, Clem.

•••

And that puts a wrap on the 2018-19 winter season. Next week I’ll be previewing the five spring sports teams, and barring another late-season blizzard like we had last season, we’ll be off and running shortly afterwards. Bring on the sunshine!

DCHS Spring Sports first dates

Below are the first competitive games/meets for the five DCHS springs sports teams.

DC Softball – The DC softball team will be the first squad with varsity games this season. The Chargers will host Kimball Tuesday, April 2, and host Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Friday, April 5.

DC Girls Golf – The DC girls golf team will open the season at Litchfield for an Invitational Thursday, April 4.

DC Boys Golf – The Charger boys will open the season at an Invitational at Pebble Creek Golf Course in Becker Monday, April 8.

DC Baseball – DC’s first game will be at Watertown-Mayer Tuesday, April 9.

DC Track & Field – The Chargers track team will travel to Waconia for their first meet on Tuesday, April 16.

DCYWA sends four wrestlers to NYWA state tournament

The DCYWA (DC Youth Wrestling Association) had seven youth wrestlers participate in the NYWA (Northland Youth Wrestling Association) regional tournament in Lakeville Saturday and Sunday.

Out of the seven wrestlers, four advanced to the NYWA State Tournament, with three advancing to the NYWA Invite tournament.

The top four wrestlers in each grade/weight class at regions advance to state. Wrestlers who did not place in the top-four may be invited to participate in the Invite tournament.

Sixth-grade twins Nolan (130 pounds) and Spencer Henke (155 pounds) both took first in their region brackets to advance to state.

Second-grader Kenneth Franet (54 pounds) and fourth-grader Trayden Wright (64 pounds) both took third at regions to punch their state tournament ticket.

Fourth-grader Tucker Johnson took fifth and will participate in the Invite tournament.

Third-grader Anthony (AJ) Rasmussen (55 pounds) and fourth-grader Elijah Rasmussen (64 pounds) did not place, but will participate in the Invite.

The NYWA State Tournament, and Invite Tournament, will be held in Rochester April 5-7.