Archive for HJ Sports

Tjernagel’s record-setting season nets her HJ Volleyball Player of The Year

WINSTED – It didn’t end with another state title, but the season Mayer Lutheran High School junior Olivia Tjernagel had for the Mayer Lutheran volleyball team is one for the record books. The junior middle hitter set a new Minnesota State High School League record for blocks in a season.

Tjernagel finished with 165 blocks, shattering the old record. Cleveland’s Taylor Holicky had the previous record, with 151 blocks in 2012. While Tjernagel already has the MSHSL record for blocks in a season, she’ll be chasing another record and a milestone next season. Next year, Tjernagel will need 141 blocks to break the MSHSL record for career blocks. Belle Plaine’s Cassie Wolpern currently has the record with 461 kills.

If breaking a MSHSL record wasn’t enough, Tjernagel had plenty of other awards to add to her resumé. She was named All-State for Class A, as well as being named to the Class A All-Tournament team at the state tournament. At the Class A showcase, Tjernagel was also named to the All-Tournament team.

On the season, Tjernagel finished with 389 kills for the Crusaders. Starting next season, she’ll need 191 more kills to reach 1,000 career kills. Tjernagel averaged 3.4 kills per set this season, and was the consistent go-to player for the Crusaders. To go along with 389 kills and 165 blocks, Tjernagel added 13 aces and 78 digs, proving she can make plays all over the court.

Tjernagel capped off her monster season by dominating at the Class A state tournament. In three matches, she racked up 39 kills and  25 blocks to help the Crusaders win the Class A consolation title.

Next season, Tjernagel will once again be one of the top players in the state. As her and her team got some valuable experience at the state tournament this year, it would be no surprise if she and the Crusaders get back there for a fourth-straight season.

Scheevel’s versatility earns him HJ Football Player of The Year

WINSTED – When Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity High School senior Tyler Scheevel takes the field, you just know he’s going to do whatever it takes to get a win. Whether it’s blocking, running the ball, or catching the ball out the backfield, Scheevel will do it all, and do it with a smile. Scheevel’s versatility, skill set, and unselfishness makes him the 2018 Herald Journal Football Player of The Year.

Scheevel was big part of the run the LP/HT football team made to the Class A state tournament this season. After not winning a single playoff game in his career coming into this season, Scheevel and his fellow teammates found their groove at the right time, rattling off three wins in the postseason.

“I don’t want to be that team from Lester Prairie that had the guys and had the skill their whole high school career and never won a playoff game,” Scheevel said. “I want to get to that second round and more.”

In the Section 4A title game, Scheevel was nearly impossible to stop. On the Bulldogs’ first possession, Scheevel broke a 48-yard touchdown run to get LP/HT rolling early. He finished with 111 yards rushing on just 16 carries.

On the season, Scheevel topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark with 1,069 yards. To go along with that, Scheevel rushed for 16 touchdowns.

If Scheevel wasn’t busy running guys over and scoring touchdowns, he was making running lanes for his fellow running back, Dylan Ruzicka. When Ruzicka got his share of the carries, Scheevel would be his lead blocker and give Ruzicka huge holes to run through.

What makes Scheevel’s season so impressive is the he didn’t just do it on the offensive line. He led the team in tackles, with 127, and forced two fumbles this season. Scheevel has a knack for clogging holes in the running game, and was fearless on the defensive side of the ball.

A big part of Scheevel’s football talent comes from somewhere else. He’s a big time rodeo guy, and was won lots of awards doing so. While taking on calfs and other animals, another human dressed in pads is just something run over or wrap up.

Scheevel is one of eight seniors who made this memorable run to the state tournament after a slow start to the season. With his ability to take over a game on both sides of the ball, the Bulldogs will have a tough time trying to fill in Scheevel’s place next season on offense and defense.

2018 Herald Journal All-Area Girls Cross Country Team

2018 Herald Journal All-Area Girls Cross Country First Team

WINSTED – When you look back on the 2018 cross country season in the area, there’s no doubt that there was plenty of talent and impressive performances for each team. The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted girls’ team made school history with a second-place finish at the Class A state meet, while Both Watertown-Mayer and Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity/Mayer Lutheran had impressive performances throughout the season, as well.

Below is a look at the Herald Journal All-Area Girls Cross Country First Team.

Gwen Helgeson (HLWW)

All HLWW senior Gwen Helgeson did in her final season was help the Lakers make school history. Helgeson, who’s been a staple for the Lakers the past three seasons, helped lead HLWW to a second-place finish at the Class A state meet. It was a fitting end to her high school career for Helgeson, who’s been one of the top runners in Class A the past few seasons. At the Class A state meet, Helgeson finished in 23rd place overall, with a time of 19 minutes and 59 seconds.

It was an emotional ride for Helgeson as she capped off her impressive career at HLWW. With tons of experience, and, of course, talent, Helgeson was a big reason the Lakers made school history this season.

Erin Brabec (HLWW)

Erin Brabec was another veteran leader for the Lakers this season on their way to making history. Brabec, a senior who also brought experience and leadership to the squad, finished in 28th place overall at the Class A state meet.

Brabec found her groove late in the season, especially at the Roy Griak Invitational. She was the top runner for the Lakers at that meet, turning in a new personal-best for the season – all while being sick.

Brooke Baumann (HLWW)

While the Lakers lose two key runners in Helgeson and Brabec due to graduation, HLWW has a star on the rise in freshman Brooke Baumann.

After a strong season last year, Baumann burst onto the scene this year. At the Class A state meet, Baumann took 19th place overall, with a time of 19 minutes and 54 seconds.

Over the course of the season, Baumann continued to improve and quickly became a top runner for the Lakers. Being just a freshman, the Lakers have a talented runner they can rely on for years to come.


2018 Herald Journal All-Area Girls Cross Country Second Team

Jessa Heimerl (LP/HT/ML)

It was a season to remember for Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity/Mayer Lutheran’s Jessa Heimerl. With two All-Conference awards this season, Heimerl was the top runner for the Bulldogs all season long.

Heimerl had a personal best of 20 minutes and 27 seconds this season. Being just a seventh grader, Heimerl will be a key runner for the Bulldogs for years to come, and will be looking to improve each season going forward.

“Jessa is a hard runner,” LP/HT/ML coach Jacob Oie said. “She will be exciting to watch in the seasons to come.”

Katelyn Routhier (HLWW)

To take second place at the Class A state meet, a team needs depth. HLWW’s Katelyn Routhier was the perfect runner for the Lakers, as she gave them the depth they needed to make school history.

Routhier, a freshman who will be a key piece for the Lakers for years to come, stepped up big time for the Lakers this season. Whether it was her stepping up and being a top three runner at some meets, or simply adding some depth, the Lakers wouldn’t have made school history if it wasn’t for her.

Routhier stepped up her game even more at the Class A state meet. She took 22nd place, with a time of 19 minutes and 58 seconds.

Anja Gilbert (Watertown-Mayer)

There’s a bright spot for the Watertown-Mayer Royals, and it’s freshman Anja Gilbert. With her youth and talent, Gilbert will be a key runner for the Royals the next few seasons.

Gilbert found her stride midway through the season, and was running her best races at the end of the season. At the Section 5A meet, Gilbert led the way for the Royals, with a time of 22 minutes and 24 seconds, which was good enough for 61st overall.

LP/HT/ML’s Lee named Herald Journal Boys Runner of the Year

WINSTED – While it might not have been the most successful season for the Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity/Mayer Lutheran cross country team this season, that didn’t hold back junior Evan Lee.

Not only did Lee rack up two All-Conference honors (MN River Conference and MN Christian Athletic Association) this season, he reached the state meet in Class A, as well.

Lee was one of the top runners in the area all season. He finished in the top six in every single race, and capped off his impressive season at the Class A state meet. Competing against the state’s best runners, Lee finished 77th out of 176 runners, with a time of 17 minutes and 16 seconds.

By getting a taste of the state meet this season, Lee will be back next year for his senior season. There’s no doubt he’ll be looking to get back to the state meet once again, and use the experience he got this year to take his career to another level.

“He had an outstanding season,” LP/HT/ML coach Jacob Oie said. “In all of his regular season meets, he placed no worse than sixth place. His personal record for the season was 16:42. He received all conference in the MCAA and MRC. He placed in the top 11 for sections, which qualified him to run in the state meet. He was awarded the All-State Academic Award, too.”

HLWW’s Gracie Mallak captures Herald Journal Girls Runner of the Year

WINSTED – For Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School junior Gracie Mallak, a single race presents many challenges. Whether it’s hills or competing against other runners, Mallak enjoys the challenge.

Mallak’s ability and love for running makes her the 2018 Herald Journal Girls Runner of the Year after she helped lead the Lakers to a second-place finish at the Class A state meet, making school history in the process.

At the state meet, Mallak brought her best. She finished in seventh place overall, turning in a time of 19 minutes and 8 seconds. Mallak has been at the state meet before, but this time, she got to experience it once again with her teammates, and they took full advantage of it.

HLWW finished in second place with a team score of 99, nearly topping the defending champions Perham, which won the meet with 94 points.

What’s even more impressive for Mallak and the Lakers is that she’s just a junior. Mallak still has one last season left at HLWW, and even though the Lakers lose two key runners from this year’s team, she’ll be looking to lead the Lakers back to the state meet once again next season.

“Gracie is always putting her team first,” HLWW coach Wade Moravec said in a previous interview.  “She never wants to let her team down. She does a fantastic job of representing our team and school well in everything she does.  “This extends into her academics and other extra-curricular activities.  She is a leader by example and she understands the importance of having strong values.  She is a blessing to have on our team.”

2018 Herald Journal All-Area Boys Cross Country Team

2018 Herald Journal All-Area Boys Cross Country First Team

WINSTED – Another season of cross country has come to an end in the area. There was plenty of talent across the area, resulting in some impressive finishes. Some runners wrapped up their careers, while others burst on to the scene, and are poised for big years next season.

Below is a look at the 2018 Herald Journal All-Area Boys Cross Country First Team.

Will Elskamp (Watertown-Mayer)

There’s no better way to cap off your career than to run at the Class A state meet. That’s just what Watertown-Mayer’s Will Elskamp did in his senior season.

Elskamp, the top runner for the Royals all season long, punched his ticket to the state meet in impressive fashion. At the Section 5A meet, Elskamp recorded a new personal-best time of 16 minutes and 59 second, which was good enough for ninth place overall, and a spot at the state meet.

Elskamp also earned All-Conference for the Royals in the Wright County Conference West, and finished in 87th place at the Class A state meet at St. Olaf College.

Michael Dalheimer (Watertown-Mayer)

If there’s one runner to keep an eye on next year, it’s W-M’s Michael Dalheimer. Just a freshman, Dalheimer will be one of the top runners for the Royals for years to come.

After running about half the races last season as an eighth-grader, Dalheimer emerged as a solid No. 2 runner for the Royals. With a time of 18 minutes and 35 seconds at the Section 5A meet, Dalheimer took 58th place for the Royals.

Nick Czanstkowski (HLWW)

HLWW’s Nick Czanstkowski might not blow you away out on the course, but he always finds a way to get it done. The senior capped off his final season at HLWW as the top runner for the Lakers.

Czanstkowski was as consistent as they come, and he’ll get the opportunity to continue running cross country at the college level. He’ll be headed to Jamestown University to continue his cross country career after leading the way for the Lakers this season.


2018 Herald Journal All-Area Boys Cross Country Second Team

Simon Mendoza (LP/HT/ML)

While Evan Lee certainly had a season worth writing about, junior Simon Mendoza was busy quietly putting a strong season together. When the races became bigger, Mendoza had a knack for running his best. He earned All-Conference for the MN Christian Athletic Association, and was All-Conference Honorable Mention for the MN River Conference. At the Section 5A meet, Mendzoa finished with a time of 19 minutes and 5 seconds.

“Simon had a very strong season,” LP/HT coach Jacob Oie said. “He consistently ran well every meet. His fastest time was 19:01.”

Gerrick Prine (HLWW)

In his final season of high school cross country, HLWW’s Gerrick Prine was the leader the Lakers needed. Prine was consistently one of the top runners for the Lakers all year long, and finished his career on a strong note.

At the Section 5A meet, Prine finished in 56th place with a time of 18 minutes and 32 seconds.

Cole Leukuma  (HLWW)

Improvement is something Cole Leukuma did throughout his sophomore season. At the end,  Leukuma was running his best, and it paid off later in the season.

At the Section 5A meet, Leukuma finished with a time of 18 minutes and 21 seconds, which was good enough for 47th place overall out of 154 runners. That time was 18 seconds faster than his time at the Central MN Conference meet, where he took 22nd place.