Archive for HJ Sports

A PERFECT PAIR: Friendship for Mayer Lutheran’s Baumann, Schermann grows through relationship in sports

MAYER – There’s nothing better than to have a coach who is also one of your best friends. That’s that case for Mayer Lutheran seniors Anna Baumann and Lexi Schermann.
While softball is Baumann’s sport and basketball is Schermann’s sports, that doesn’t stop them from helping each other on the court and field.

“Sports is something that brings Lexi and I closer together,” Baumann said. “Of course, we would still be good friends without them, but our interest in sports is just one of the many things we have in common. It’s great that the two of us get to experience all the highs and lows that sports bring as we can cry together or celebrate together. Lexi is just a great teammate and friend to have.”

The beginning of the friendship for Baumann and Schermann came at the beginning of their junior year. Schermann just transferred in and played volleyball and basketball. Baumann just played volleyball and softball. From the start, the two hit it off and began to grow their friendship in more ways than one.

“During our summer volleyball workout program is when Anna and I started to become friends,” Schermann said. “During the volleyball season of our junior year, I began to convince Anna to give basketball a try even though she had not played since she was in grade school. In the fall, there was a 3-on-3 league and I told Anna she should play on my team so she could get an idea if she would be interested in basketball or not. At the 3 on 3 league, I immediately saw our relationship transition from off the court to on the court. Even though Anna hadn’t played basketball since she was in eighth grade I trusted her because I saw her hustle and heart to play hard. Whenever I play with Anna, I know she will give it her all. During the fall league she hustled after every loose ball which made it easy to connect with her. After one week of fall league she realized not only that she wanted to play basketball, but that she would need a pair of knee pads.”

With basketball being Schermann’s top sport, getting Baumann to come out for the team was just one of her duties.

“Anna knew that she could approach me with any questions she had, or if she needed something cleared up,” Schermann said. “It was easy to communicate with Anna because she wanted to grow and improve in basketball. When I told her something to try she would try it out the next time she had the opportunity to. Anna and I would have many conversations about basketball, so it helped her gain a better understanding of the game and it improved her basketball knowledge. It was super fun being able to teach Anna something I was passionate about, and watching her improve each season.”

Playing basketball wasn’t something Baumann planned on in high school. In the end, spending more time with Schermann became an intriguing option.

“Coming into my freshman year, I had my mind made up that there was no way I was going to play basketball in high school,” Baumann said. “But the summer before our junior year is when Lexi and I started talking and becoming closer friends. Junior year was also when I started missing basketball. Lexi would talk about basketball quite a bit and tell me of all the good times she had already had after only one year of Mayer Lutheran basketball. It did sound fun and I decided to pick the ball back up again and try out that winter.”

While getting back into the game for the first time since junior high, Baumann had a lot of things to catch up on. Right by her side was Schermann doing anything she could to help.

“Lexi taught me mainly how to strengthen my defense like how to use my speed to my advantage and how to read the offense,” Baumann said. “She shared a lot of her court knowledge with me, which is honestly something I did not have at all. I was trying to play varsity basketball with the basketball IQ of an 8th grader. There was much improvement needed.”

With Schermann’s help, Baumann was back playing basketball. Come spring, it would be her chance to return the favor on the softball diamond.

“Lexi helped me improve so much in basketball and I hoped to return the favor when spring came around,” Baumann said. “The coaches and I started by working with Lexi on her throwing, and once she got that down, I could see things starting to click. Even though this was Lexi’s first time playing softball, she learned quickly and her willingness to get better made the process even smoother. I saw her having fun and enjoying the season which I believe is most important.”

Softball was always a sport Schermann wanted to play, but her love for basketball got in the way early on. Playing AAU limited chances for Schermann to do both, that was until her junior season.

“I have wanted to play softball for the longest time, but I never had the chance because it always conflicted with AAU basketball,” Schermann said. “During my junior year, I was able to make my AAU schedule fit into the softball season. Before I knew this, every time softball was brought up Anna would ask if I signed up for softball yet, and after a while of Anna convincing me, I decided to play softball for the first time ever.”

Like Baumann during the basketball season, Schermann was now in Baumann’s world. Although playing softball for the first time brought a few hiccups, Baumann was right there to help her.

“I experienced many struggles during softball, especially my first week,” Schermann said. “I didn’t realize how hard it was to throw a softball until I actually started practicing, and I knew little to nothing about the game. However, Anna helped teach me the mechanics for throwing, batting, and my overall knowledge of the game.”

No matter what sports Baumann and Schermann play together, friendship is always there. Whether in the comfort zone of their own sport or in the others’, the friendship goes beyond the world of sports.

“I think this shows that the type of friendship that Lexi and I have is very genuine, which not all friendships are,” Baumann said. “We truly want to help each other improve and see the other succeed. It has never felt like a competition between us. I have nothing but respect for Lexi when it comes to her as an athlete. She works hard for what she wants and deserves respect and honor.”

“Before Anna and I played sports together, we had a really strong friendship because we shared similar interests,” Schermann added. “By playing sports with each other, it has expanded our relationship. Both on the field and on the basketball court, we experienced highs and lows. Something special about our friendship is that whatever we are experiencing, we are always there supporting one another. I knew that if I make a good play in basketball or softball, Anna will be the first person to give me a high five and say ‘nice job’, and when I make a mistake, she’s the first person to encourage me and tell me I will get the next play. I feel that for both of us it is so rewarding watching each other succeed. When I see Anna make a good play it makes me very proud of her because I realize the dedication and hard work she constantly puts in to get better.”

Sports have brought Baumann and Schermann together over the years. Even though they missed their last season after it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the memories and relationships built along the way can never be taken away.

“I could probably write a book on how many ways Lexi has impacted my life, and not just in regards to sports,” Baumann said. “Her friendship is very important to me. We have a genuine friendship that I believe can last a lifetime. She’s not one of those friends that just comes and goes. She’s a real one. I’m excited to see where her future takes her. She’s gonna do great things and I plan on being right there as she does.”

“Anna is my best friend,” Schermann said. “She always has my back, and she not only helps me grow as a player but as a person, too. Anna pushes me to be the best player and person I can be and whenever one of us does something well, we aren’t afraid to celebrate each other’s successes. Anna has helped me step out of my comfort zone and try new things and she was by my side through it all. Without Anna, I most likely wouldn’t have thought about playing softball, but knowing that she would be there to help me through it was a memorable experience I won’t forget.”

HLWW High School Graduation

HLWWGradSect-WEB.inddTo watch the HLWW Graduation live on YouTube on Sunday. May 31, 2020 please visit https://youtu.be/qFIxRly-BAI.

You can also listen to to the ceremony live on KRWC 1360 AM.

CLICK HERE to view a full version of the HLWW graduation tab.

Most Meaningful Athletes in Minnesota Bracket Elite Eight

After a few months of the sports abyss, it looks like professional sports might be returning in early to mid July. That is welcomed news for sports enthusiasts across the country as we have all been waiting for something to watch and talk about.

Seven weeks into the tournament, we are down to the Elite Eight of athletes to play in Minnesota. Most of the remaining candidates are ones that I thought from the beginning would have successful tournament runs. This round has some extremely interesting matchups.

As a reminder, the goal is determine who the most meaningful athlete to play in Minnesota is based on many factors: seasons spent in Minnesota, Championships and playoff appearances while in Minnesota, All-Star appearances and other awards won while in Minnesota, franchise stats and memorable moments that stand out as well as overall popularity.

Here are the official results from this past week. Not surprisingly, Kevin Garnett thwomped Kent Hrbek with 83% of the vote. In a case of a recent Twins legend against an old one, Joe Mauer garnered 92% of the vote against Tony Oliva. Lindsay Whalen edged out fellow Lynx legend Seimone Augustus with 58% of the vote. Lastly, Maya Moore and Adrian Peterson tied and I am going to have a revote this week. I was late posting this one and want to get legitimate votes, so we will repost that one this week!

Here are the Elite Eight matchups.

Matchup Number One: 1) Kirby Puckett vs 3) Alan Page

This is a matchup of Minnesota legends of old; a two-time World Series hero pitted up against an MVP.

Kirby Puckett: Responsible for potentially the most memorable moment in Minnesota sports history, Puckett is easily one of the most popular athletes to ever step foot in our great state. Puckett spent 12 seasons with the Twins was an All-Star in 10 of them and racked up six Gold Gloves, a 1989 Batting Title, a 1991 ALCS MVP and a 1993 All-Star MVP award. Even more importantly, Kirby led the Twins to two playoff appearances, both resulting in World Series Championships. Considering he had a walk-off home run in the 1991 World Series, the last title won in Minnesota on the men’s side,  Puckett still has a place in Minnesota sports fans’ hearts.

Alan Page: One of the most ferocious defenders in Vikings history, Judge Page had a storied career. In 12 seasons with the Purple, Page led the menacing elite Purple People Eaters defense to nine playoff appearances, along with four Super Bowl appearances. Page made nine All-Star teams, six All-Pro 1st teams and even was the 1971 league MVP, the first defensive player to ever win the award.

Matchup Number Two: 3) Randy Moss vs 4) Cris Carter

This is the intriguing matchup that I anticipated when the bracket was seeded, as two of the most popular Vikings of all time square up.

Randy Moss: Randy is one of the most revered Minnesota athletes to this day and had a storied eight season run with the Vikings. Moss jumped on the scene winning the Rookie of the Year and would go on to be a three time 1st Team All-Pro, a five time Pro-Bowler and would help the Vikings make the playoffs in four seasons. Behind Carter, Moss is 2nd in franchise history in yards, receptions and touchdowns with 9,316, 587 and 92 respectively. Moss had some of the most dynamic games in franchise history and the big personality to bring fans in. “Super Bowl Homeboy!”

Cris Carter: Carter had a major impact in his time in Minnesota as an elite playmaking wide receiver. In 12 seasons, Carter made eight Pro-Bowls, was a 1st Team All-Pro twice and helped lead a dynamic Vikings offense to eight playoff appearances. Carter remains the franchise leader in yards, receptions and touchdowns with 12,383, 1004 and 110 respectively, marks that are not going to be broken anytime soon.

Matchup Number Three: 1) Kevin Garnett vs 3) Joe Mauer

Two of the most popular Minnesota athletes of the past 20 years go head to head in a battle of longevity and heart with little playoff success.

Kevin Garnett: The Big Ticket just celebrated his 44th birthday which brought back a flood of awesome memories to social media. Timberwolves fans will always remember his gaudy statline in game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals at home against the Kings in 2004. Garnett played a cool 45 minutes, shot 52% from the field with 32 points, 21 boards, 5 blocks, 4 steals and was essentially running the Point during portions of the game. This was the final season of an eight year run of playoff appearances, where he racked up racked up 10 All-Star appearances, eight All-NBA appearances in a time where talented Power Forwards were plentiful (Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Webber, Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Elton Brand to name a few), and even was the 2003/04 league MVP, averaging 24 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 stocks (steals and blocks).

Joe Mauer: Perhaps the most beloved Twin in franchise history, the Minnesota boy had a wonderful individual career. In 15 seasons, Minnesota only made the playoffs four times during Mauer’s tenure and had virtually no playoff success. On a personal level, though, Joe made 6 All-Star appearances and is one of the most decorated catchers in MLB history. He was the 2009 AL MVP, won 3 AL Batting Titles, a feat rare to full time catchers, and won 3 Gold Gloves. Plus, who doesn’t have a memory of watching a Twins game with friends or family, seeing a runner on first base with Joe strolling up to the plate and someone saying “Here comes a double play” and seemingly every time it happened?

Matchup Number Four Rematch: 1) Maya Moore vs 4) Adrian Peterson

Maya Moore: Perhaps the most decorated Lynx player in franchise history, Moore had an exceptional career. In her 8 seasons in Minnesota, she led the Lynx to the playoffs all 8 seasons, winning championships in 4 of them. As an individual, Maya was the 2011 Rookie of the Year, 2013 Finals MVP, 2014 League MVP and made 7 All-WNBA teams and 2 All-Defense teams. Although she has pseudo-retired to assist in a social justice case, her career has been dominant, memorable and meaningful. If she ever returns to basketball, she’d make the Lynx instant contenders for a WNBA title, which shows her level of impact.

Adrian Peterson: I still remember my draft take on Peterson – “Why would we draft another running back when we have Chester Taylor? It doesn’t make sense to me.” After he was named the 2007 Rookie of the year, the 2012 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the year, made 4 1st Team All-Pros, rushed for the 2nd most yards in a season and a single game record of 296 rushing yards, I guess you could say I was wrong. AP was one of the most dominant runners in the past 30 seasons and provided Vikings fans with plenty of highlight moments. Peterson would be higher ranked if it wasn’t for the stain of his major fumbling issues (cough 2009 NFC Championship game) and his personal life issues. However, it seems that most fans have either forgiven Peterson or forgotten about these issues and have fond memories of his time in the purple and gold.

LEFT BRAIN, RIGHT BRAIN: Softball just one reason for the friendship of Mayer Lutheran’s Corrigan, Karels

MAYER – Spend any time with Mayer Lutheran’s Anna Karels and Riley Corrigan and you’ll see something right away. They click. They’ve even been given a unique nickname that sums up their friendship perfectly.

“Our moms always call us left brain, right brain,” Karels said. “We truly are. Riley and I will say the same things or we will be thinking of the same things at the same time. We also are always together and doing everything together. Riley and I work well together and see things the same. I think that ever since we were little, we have been that way.”

“We can read each other’s minds,” Corrigan added. “We finish each other’s sentences. Any idea we have, it always turns into something more adventurous when the other says another great idea, fitting into the other. Life is just so much fun being best friends with Anna. Yes, we do share a brain, and it can be creepy at times, but I would not want it any other way.”

Corrigan and Karels have gone to school together since preschool. Although they weren’t the best of friends early on, that quickly changed heading into fourth grade after a simple camping trip.

“Anna and I have been good friends since third grade,” Corrigan said. “In our younger years, we were more of acquaintances. In third grade, I was allowed to bring a friend on a family camping trip and I chose Anna. No reason why, but I sure am glad I did. Before that trip, we were no more than acquaintances, and friends I guess, but after the trip, we became best friends.”

Over the years, the friendship continued to grow between the two of them. What started back in grade school has evolved into a friendship that will last forever according to both of them.

“We are just always together and do everything together,” Karels said. “Growing up there really was no time where I wasn’t with Riley. We have just done so much together and our families have grown so close together that we are all like all one big family. Riley and I are just so similar it’s scary. She is just always there for me and always by my side. I am so thankful to have her as my best friend.”

“My friendship with Anna is indescribable,” Corrigan said. “She just gets me. We have been around each other so much from such a little age, that we grew up together, and faced all of life’s challenges together. We would, and always have, done anything for each other. Going to school together since preschool has provided us with a great base for a forever friendship, one that we continue to grow old with each other. I do not see a time where I want to be out-of-touch with Anna. She is the kind of girl that makes you feel comfortable in the body you are in. Your confidence levels go up, your happiness sky-rockets, and your quality of life is just enhanced. It is just the little things about our friendship that makes it so special.”

While Karels and Corrigan’s friendship had grown over the years, playing softball together has only made it stronger. Karels and Corrigan were a terrific infield-outfield duo for the Crusaders over the years as they knew where each other were and what they were thinking like they always do.

“Playing softball with her over the years has been so great,” Karels said. “We have so many great memories together through softball that I will never forget. During the softball season when she is playing shortstop and I am playing left field, we just work together and I know if she is going to get the ball and she knows that If she misses it I will be right behind her. We just always know exactly where each other will be. It’s like second nature. We just know exactly what each other is going to do.”

“Our friendship translates into softball perfectly,” Corrigan added. “We used to play third base and shortstop, the left side of the field together, which as any baseball or softball athlete would know, the left side of the field has a bond. A special bond. We both clicked and backed each other up as we have in our years of friendship. Playing ball with somebody like my best friend Anna gives me an environment to not be afraid. Softball with Anna has only made our friendship stronger.”

Both Karels and Corrigan were scheduled to suit up for their senior softball season this spring, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they both lost their final season being able to play together.

“When I heard that our season was canceled, it was devastating,” Karels said. “I was looking forward to softball season since last softball season had ended. Softball was a major highlight during high school. I am going to miss playing with all of my teammates. Our softball team was very special and I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else. I am going to miss the girls, our fun Fridays, the bus rides, and the coaches.”

While having their final season taken away in an instant was devastating, Corrigan isn’t going to let that define her or her high school career. While it hurt at first, she’s focused on the lessons and memories she’s learned and made over the years with everyone.

“I was devastated,” Corrigan said. “The times we had together all the years before were just made so much more precious. I would not trade a thing in the world for any of my teammates, even the newbies that came in this year that I practiced with for maybe a week. I still would not trade them. Mayer Lutheran’s softball program is a family – a family you enter the first practice you attend. Sure, this season was taken away from me, but this season has taught me more than any of the others. Do not take anything for granted. Do not be satisfied with having a good on-base percentage. Strive for a good, successful steals, and even home runs. Nothing you do will ever be enough, so you should never feel comfortable where you are at. Never feel comfortable where you are at relationship-wise too. Keep on fighting for who you want to be, what you want to accomplish, and what you want others to remember you by.”

While Corrigan and Karels are done putting on the Mayer Lutheran jersey for good, one thing remains the same – their friendship. Throughout all the highs and lows of their lives, their friendship remains at the top for now, and forever.

“I do think that all of the friendships and memories that I have created will make me stronger,” Karels said. “I will forever hold on to all of the memories and friendships I have made over the years. Playing for Mayer softball since seventh grade, it has brought me so many memories and so many great opportunities that I will never forget.”

“My friendships and memories created through softball will forever make me a stronger person,” Corrigan said. “Anna has always found a place in my high school memories. One of the best memories, that even (coach Kris) Gustin would testament to, would be creating a diving game in the hallway, called ‘The Whale.’ That dumb little game brought us so much happiness in the school. Each practice, we would run up to the coaches after we had worked our way through the hitting stations and ask, ‘Can we go play ‘The Whale?’ They would giggle and say, ‘Sure, just don’t get hurt.’ The reputation and legacy we created at Mayer Lutheran will forever live on, and I can see us in the future having our own softball team, with Anna and I as the coaches. ‘The Whale’ would for sure be incorporated at every practice.”

W-M’s Will McBee commits to Minnesota Morris

WATERTOWN – There’s a fire that burns inside of Watertown-Mayer’s Will McBee. On the court, fans watched all season long as the senior standout led the Royals to another exciting season.

While McBee has had the talent throughout his high school career, it wasn’t till recently he saw himself playing at the college level. Although he’s always wanted to play college sports, he just didn’t know where he would end up.

“It means a lot to me,” McBee said about being able to play in college. “I’m fortunate that I’ve stayed relatively healthy with my lanky frame, and I’m glad that I’ve been given the chance to pursue a college career in basketball. I always wanted to continue playing a sport in college, but I hadn’t envisioned it being basketball until this year.”

While McBee certainly caught the eye of college coaches around the state, he wasn’t sure if basketball was the road to take. Baseball has always had his heart from a young age.

“Ever since I started playing baseball when I was just four years old, I wanted to play in college,” McBee said. “Years and years of game time, extra practice, hitting with my dad, and attending a few showcases had me on a good path to becoming a college baseball player.”

While McBee had his sights set on playing college baseball, things changed for him during his junior basketball season. A breakout season for the Royals opened some doors for McBee that piqued his interest as a new love was formed with the game of basketball.

“Around the middle of my junior year in basketball, I just started to enjoy basketball a lot more and lost interest in playing baseball every day,” McBee said. “I also grew about eight inches from the summer before freshman year to my junior year, so my baseball frame quickly turned to a basketball body.”

McBee used that big frame to have a monster senior season for the Royals, averaging a double-double with 16.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. If that’s not enough, he was also fourth on the team in assists with 49.

“Will was our rock this season inside,” W-M coach Kent Janikula said. “Every team we played knew we were going to play through him. Teams scouted us to take him away. Despite that, he put up consistent numbers all season long. He is an unselfish player that makes the correct read in the post,” Janikula said. “He doesn’t force shots. When a double team came, he did a great job of finding the open man”

A big senior season put McBee on the radar for many college coaches. In the end, Minnesota Morris was the right choice for him on many levels.

“The three schools I was considering for basketball were Morris, Hamline, and Eau Claire,” McBee said. “The big thing with Morris was the University of Minnesota degree, as well as the opportunity with basketball. I’ll only be attending the college for two or three years because I have my AA degree, and Morris is giving me the best opportunity to have a big role on the team as a freshman.”

As McBee gets ready to try and contribute to the team from the start, he knows there are some things to improve on to compete at the next level.

“The biggest thing I need to work on is my confidence in being a scorer outside of the paint,” McBee said. “I’d also say I want to get more comfortable driving to my left and finishing with my left, as well as getting my legs more explosive so I can play at and above the rim more often.”

As McBee leaves W-M behind to start his college athletic career, he won’t forget those who have helped him get to where he is today.

“If there’s one coach who’s pushed me the most and made me realize that I have talent in basketball, it has to be coach (Tyler) Finkelson,” McBee said. “I never saw myself as a scorer, only someone who could rebound the ball and play defense. Finkelson helped me develop my game early on. Also, coach Jacob Wandersee has been working with me during the last three years, teaching me how to read defenses and different moves I can use to score. Coach Kent Janikula has taught me a lot on how to be a better leader. And lastly, I want to thank Tim Wabbe, who coached me several years in youth basketball and baseball. He helped me in enjoying and competing in sports. All four of these coaches have shaped me into a better player and a better person.”

Most Meaningful Athletes in Minnesota Bracket: Week 7

This week we take a look at round two of the Wolves and Lynx Regions, which have a few compelling matchups.

As a reminder, the goal is determine who the most meaningful athlete to play in Minnesota is based on many factors: seasons spent in Minnesota, Championships and playoff appearances while in Minnesota, All-Star appearances and other awards won while in Minnesota, franchise stats and memorable moments that stand out as well as overall popularity.

Here are the official results from this past week. In the Twins Region, the overall number one seed Kirby Puckett took care of business against Johan Santana with 93% while Alan Page upset Randall McDaniel with 70%. In the Vikings Region, the Vikings receivers both moved on in upsets. Cris Carter beat the number one seed Fran Tarkenton with 58% of the vote and Randy Moss beat the two seed Harmon Killebrew with 88%. This will be a very interesting faceoff between the two best receivers in Vikings history next week.

Matchup Number One: 1) Kevin Garnett vs 5) Kent Hrbek

Kevin Garnett: The Big Ticket just celebrated his 44th birthday which brought back a flood of awesome memories to social media. Timberwolves fans will always remember his gaudy statline in game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals at home against the Kings in 2004. Garnett played a cool 45 minutes, shot 52% from the field with 32 points, 21 boards, 5 blocks, 4 steals and was essentially running the Point during portions of the game. This was the final season of an eight year run of playoff appearances, where he racked up racked up 10 All-Star appearances, eight All-NBA appearances in a time where talented Power Forwards were plentiful (Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Webber, Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Elton Brand to name a few), and even was the 2003/04 league MVP, averaging 24 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 stocks (steals and blocks).

Kent Hrbek: In 14 seasons in Minnesota, Hrbek only made 1 All-Star appearance, but was a key piece to 2 World Series Championships. In 1987, Hrbek had a career best 34 home runs and helped the Twins capture their first title. In easily his most memorable moment, Hrbek was involved in a controversial play in the 1991 series, where Hrbek, a first baseman, applied a tag to the runners leg as he returned to first base and the runner ran into Hrbek. Without even knowing much about the play, I remember making jokes about Hrbek pushing the runner off the base when I’d play baseball with my cousins or friends and that play will live on for a long time.

Matchup Number Two: 2) Tony Oliva vs 3) Joe Mauer

Tony Oliva: Regarded as one of the best players to not be in the MLB Hall of Fame, Oliva had a decorated career with the Twins. In his 15 seasons in Minnesota, Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball, notching 8 All-Star appearances, 3 AL Batting Titles, 1 Gold Glove, 5 AL season hit leaders and was the 1964 AL Rookie of the Year. While still waiting for his call to the Hall of Fame, Tony-O will have to settle for a statue at Target Field.

Joe Mauer: Perhaps the most beloved Twin in franchise history, the Minnesota boy had a wonderful individual career. In 15 seasons, Minnesota only made the playoffs four times during Mauer’s tenure and had virtually no playoff success. On a personal level, though, Joe made 6 All-Star appearances and is one of the most decorated catchers in MLB history. He was the 2009 AL MVP, won 3 AL Batting Titles, a feat rare to full time catchers, and won 3 Gold Gloves. Plus, who doesn’t have a memory of watching a Twins game with friends or family, seeing a runner on first base with Joe strolling up to the plate and someone saying “Here comes a double play” and seemingly every time it happened?

Matchup Number Three: 1) Maya Moore vs 4) Adrian Peterson

Maya Moore: Perhaps the most decorated Lynx player in franchise history, Moore had an exceptional career. In her 8 seasons in Minnesota, she led the Lynx to the playoffs all 8 seasons, winning championships in 4 of them. As an individual, Maya was the 2011 Rookie of the Year, 2013 Finals MVP, 2014 League MVP and made 7 All-WNBA teams and 2 All-Defense teams. Although she has pseudo-retired to assist in a social justice case, her career has been dominant, memorable and meaningful. If she ever returns to basketball, she’d make the Lynx instant contenders for a WNBA title, which shows her level of impact.

Adrian Peterson: I still remember my draft take on Peterson – “Why would we draft another running back when we have Chester Taylor? It doesn’t make sense to me.” After he was named the 2007 Rookie of the year, the 2012 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the year, made 4 1st Team All-Pros, rushed for the 2nd most yards in a season and a single game record of 296 rushing yards, I guess you could say I was wrong. AP was one of the most dominant runners in the past 30 seasons and provided Vikings fans with plenty of highlight moments. Peterson would be higher ranked if it wasn’t for the stain of his major fumbling issues (cough 2009 NFC Championship game) and his personal life issues. However, it seems that most fans have either forgiven Peterson or forgotten about these issues and have fond memories of his time in the purple and gold.

Matchup Number Four: 2) Lindsay Whalen vs  3) Seimone Augustus

Lindsay Whalen: It wouldn’t be a most meaningful athlete in Minnesota bracket without the Hutchinson native herself. In her 9 seasons with the Lynx, she helped lead Minnesota to 8 playoff appearances and 4 titles as the point guard for the squad. Add in 4 All-Star appearances, 5 All-WNBA appearances, a 2004 NCAA Final Four appearance with the Gophers and the fact that she is the current head coach of the Gophers, and Whalen is Minnesotan through and through. How many other athletes who played in Minnesota have a local gym named after them?

Seimone Augustus: While Maya was the more decorated Lynx player, Seimone has put in a heck of a career in her 14 seasons with the Lynx. Augustus has been the rock for 9 playoff appearances and 4 championships, notching 8 All-Star appearances, 6 All-WNBA team appearances, a 2006 Rookie of the Year trophy and the 2011 Finals MVP trophy. Seimone was the player who set the table for the Lynx franchise and was the first player to form the core of their championship run. Maya and Lindsay were certainly important, but when you think of the Lynx, you think of Augustus.  Although this season Seimone is set to play for a different team for the first time in her career (if there is a season), Target Center will always know that “SEIMONE…. IS IN DA HOUSE!”