Archive for HJ Sports

SWIMMING: Battle Royals goes to Hopkins

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

HOPKINS — A battle royal typically takes place in a wrestling ring, but, Jan. 4, there was a battle Royals, when Watertown-Mayer/Waconia/Delano (WMWD) went to Hopkins for a non-conference dual in the pool.

Wearing swim trunks that could double for wrestling trunks, the two Royals battled and traded blows the entire meet. The last team standing was Hopkins, who did just enough in the final event — 400-yard freestyle relay — to win the meet 87-83.

Maroon and Gold Invite

MINNEAPOLIS — WMWD finished in the middle of the pack at the Maroon and Gold Invitational jan. 6 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

The Royals placed sixth out of 13 teams with 291 points.

Blaine won the meet with 416 points, despite not winning a single event.

Timberwolves & Lynx Basketball Clinic coming to Delano Jan. 15

MN Timberwolves & Lynx Basketball Clinic | grades K – 8

The Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx Basketball Academy and Delano Community Education are proud to offer a basketball clinic designed to improve the skills of youth basketball players of all levels. Players will improve their individual offensive and defensive fundamentals, practice habits, and teamwork. Players will feel the energy while working hard and having fun. Each participant will receive a free ticket voucher for a 2017-18 Wolves game, an exclusive Wolves/Lynx poster, and other cool Wolves/Lynx prizes! There will not be a Wolves/Lynx player in attendance.Join us for a morning of FUN.

  • Monday, January 15 | grades | 9:00 – 10:30a | $20 | REGISTER
  • Monday, January 15 | grades | 10:30a – 12:00p | $20 | REGISTER

Tiger Kids Club Break Day Childcare - registration deadline: January 10
We Can Be World-Changers! - As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. on this date, we will relate his values, movement for change, and accomplishments to our own values, goals, and dreams of a world we’re proud to be a part of and take care of. You are a world-changer!
Monday, January 15 | grades K – 6 | 6:00a – 6:00p | $38 | REGISTER

PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Bulldogs’ balanced attack leads to blowout win in conference opener

WINSTED – There’s balance, and then there’s what the Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity boys basketball accomplished in their 63-30 victory against Legacy Christian Academy Thursday night. Not only did the Bulldogs have 10 players in the scoring column in the win, not one player scored more than nine points.

“That’s fantastic balance,” LP/HT coach Nat Boyer said. “The thing was, everybody stepped up. It wasn’t one guy. We saw the floor well.”

Not only did the Bulldogs have their most balanced attack offensively of the season, their defense came ready to play. Even with a slow start offensively, the Bulldogs were in control from the get-go because of their defense. The Bulldogs (4-5, 1-0) held the Lions scoreless for the first nine minutes of the game, and held them to just 30 points for the game.

“Defensively, we threw a lot of looks at them,” Boyer said. “That’s what we wanted to do. We want to see improvement throughout the year. That was a big part of it. We needed to come out and make a defensive statement.”

With a shaky start to the season behind them, the Bulldogs are officially on a roll. After starting 0-4 on the season, the Bulldogs are 4-1 in their last five games with the only loss coming to Glencoe-Silver Lake.

“That’s one of the reasons we scheduled the way we scheduled,” Boyer said. “We wanted to see where we were at, and what do we have to do to get that level. Now we start working our way up there. We’re 4-1 in the last five games. We’re continuing to gain more confidence and their starting to believe in themselves. We believe in what we do, but now they start believing in themselves and they keep building from there.”

“We kind of all got connected together,” junior guard Michael Ziermann said. “In practice, we work hard together and play as a team. When you’re together and you get that communication, that’s the biggest thing for us. We communicate well together, we play well together.”

Look for the rest of the story, as well as more HJ sports coverage, in the Friday, Jan. 12 edition of the Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.

 Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports

 

PREP ROUNDUP | Lakers drop conference opener in tough battle, White Hawks get back into win column

PREP BOYS BASKETBALL

HOLDINGFORD 59, HLWW 58

LAKERS: 28;30;-58

HUSKERS: 25;34;-59

HOLDINGFORD – In their conference opener, the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted boys basketball came up just short on the road against the Holdingford Huskers. Despite holding a three-point lead at the half, it was Husker who handed the Lakers a 59-58 loss Tuesday night.

The Huskers, also making their Central MN Conference opener, outscored the Lakers 34-30 in the second half to complete the win. The Lakers are back in action Thursday, Jan. 4 when they travel to Norwood Young America to take on the Raiders.

 

PREP BOYS HOCKEY

Mound Westonka/Watertown-Mayer 3, Providence Academy 2

WHITE HAWKS;2;1;0;—;3

LIONS;0;1;1;—;2

PLYMOUTH – A quick start offensively gave the Mound Westonka/Watertown-Mayer boys hockey a 3-2 win Tuesday night on the road. The White Hawks took a 2-0 lead after a period of play thanks to goals from Hank Nagel and Torsten Lee.

After watching Providence Academy cut the White Hawks’ lead to one goal in the second period, the White Hawks had the answer. This time it was Lee with the helper as LaTour put the White Hawks back up two goals shortly before the end of the period.

The WhiteHawks held off the Lions in the third period to get back into the win column for their ninth win of the season. The White Hawks return to the ice Thursday, Jan. 4 when they host Minnehaha Academy.

FIRST PERIOD: MW/WM— Hank Nagel (Carter Hansen, #34 Aleski Partio), 7:05 (pp). MW/WM— Torsten Lee (Jack LaTour) 15:17.

SECOND PERIOD: PA — Evan Spadafora (Kole DeRosier), 4:33. MW/WM — Jack LaTour (Torsten Lee), 14:32.

THIRD PERIOD: PA —  Jacob Giesler (power play) (Zach GIesler, Jordan Doucette), 16:17 (pp). SAVES: MW/WM — Cole Broome 25; PA— Bradley Koskie 37. PENALTIES: MW/WM—5-10; PA—6-12. POWER PLAYS: MW/WM—1-5 ; PA—1-6.

 

 

PREP SCOREBOARD

BOYS BASKETBALL – CENTRAL MN CONFERENCE

Holdingford 59, HLWW 58

Paynesville 66, Pierz 64

BOYS BASKETBALL – MN CHRISTIAN ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

Trinity 44, St. Paul Academy 40

BOYS BASKETBALL – WRIGHT COUNTY CONFERENCE

Farmington 61, New Prague 55

Jordan 60, Glencoe-Silver Lake 41

BOYS BASKETBALL – MN RIVER CONFERENCE

Jordan 60, Glencoe-Silver Lake 41

………………………………………………………..

GIRLS BASKETBALL – CENTRAL MN CONFERENCE

HLWW 71, Spectrum 64

Pine City 55, PIerz 47

St. Cloud Cathedral 63, Kimball 47

GIRLS BASKETBALL – MN CHRISTIAN ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

West Lutheran 37, Christian Life 34

Maranatha Christian 73, Columbia Heights 22

HLWW 71, Spectrum 64

GIRLS BASKETBALL – WRIGHT COUNTY CONFERENCE

Jordan 62, Glencoe-Silver Lake 44

New Prague 47, Kasson-Mantorville 39

Willmar 59, Hutchinson 51

Hopkins 77, Annandale 36

Litchfield 60, Morris 55

New London-Spicer 65, Montevideo 41

GIRLS BASKETBALL – MN RIVER CONFERENCE

Jordan 62, Glencoe-Silver Lake 44

Sibley East 66, North St. Paul 53

………………………………………………………..

BOYS HOCKEY – WRIGHT COUNTY CONFERENCE

Minnetonka 5, Orono 2

Hutchinson 8, Cambridge-Isanti 5

River Lakes 4, Litchfield/D-C 2

Mound Westonka/WM 3, Providence Academy 2

GIRLS HOCKEY – WRIGHT COUNTY CONFERENCE

Mound Westonka/WM 3, Park Center 0

Henry Sibley 3, Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato 2

 

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter:

@Kovar_HJSports 

 

PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Schumann, Lakers get back into win column with strong performance against Spectrum

HOWARD LAKE – It wasn’t pretty down the stretch, but the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted girls basketball team put a loss to highly-touted Holy Family behind them, and got back into the win column with a 71-64 win against Spectrum Tuesday night.

“We talked about getting off to a good start,” HLWW coach Rick Baumann said. “We talked about with the new year here now, we want to go out and set the tone for us right away, especially being at home. I think that was important. We knew they were a very good team coming in here, and getting off to a good start was something that we have been working on and talking about.”

It took a team effort for the Lakers to get off to that good start. While sophomore Alexa Schumann got limited minutes due to foul trouble in the first half, it was the bench and role players that gave the Lakers a much-needed spark.

“They’re huge,” Baumann said about his bench and role players. “Courtney (Long), Mariah (Anderson), and Erin (Luchinsiger) played some huge minutes tonight when Alexa picked up some early fouls. Even Abby Neisen has come around as a freshman playing some big minutes for us down the stretch or even just giving CJ or some of those other girls a quick breather. Our bench has really played a big role. They were huge again tonight and it just gave our starters a chance to just catch a breath.”

With Schumann limited with foul trouble, it was senior Lily DeBoer who stepped to the plate for the Lakers. DeBoer knocked down three of her first five shots of the game, and had her first double-double of the season finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

“Lily looked great tonight,” Baumann said. “I think she built off the momentum from the tournament where she had a really good game. It’s nice to see her shots drop. That just adds another option for us which is big and frees up Alexa and CJ (Decker).”

 

Look for the rest of the story, as well as more HJ sports coverage, in the Friday, Jan. 5 edition of the Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.

 Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports

A YEAR IN REVIEW: A look back at the top 10 moments of the 2017 prep sports season

The end of the year 2017 is closing in on us, and what a memorable year it was in the world of prep sports in the area.

Whether it was state titles and state tournament appearances, or individual accomplishments; whether it was thrilling games, or movements and stories that reminded us all that it’s more than a game, there were so many great moments from the year in the area.

Here’s a look at 10 of the best moments captured by the Herald Journal sports department.

10. MALLAK OVERCOMES INJURIES FOR STATE MEET BID

Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted’s Gracie Mallak has become one of the top runners in the area. The sophomore already had one state meet appearance when the Lakers went as a team in 2016, and despite a season filled with injuries in 2017, Mallak managed to get back their once again, even with her struggles all season long.

At the Class A state meet, Mallak tool 26th place overall, just missing her goal of making All-State.

Returning as a junior next season, you can count on seeing Mallak back at the state meet once again, and hopefully this time, it will be with her teammates Gwen Helgeson, Erin Brabec, Brooke Baumann, Danielle Wood, and Katelyn Routhier.

 

9. ROYALS, CARDINALS BATTLE IN SECTION 5AA SEMIFINALS

Anytime the Annandale Cardinals and Watertown-Mayer Royals meet in boys’ basketball, it’s always a treat. After splitting their pair of games in the regular season, Trae Berhow and the Royals met up with the Cardinals for one last game in the Section 5AA semifinals.

Their previous two matchups did not disappoint, and headed in their playoff matchup, I thought those previous two games would be tough to top. Boy, was I wrong.

In triple overtime, the Cardinals came away with an 82-76 victory in an absolute thriller. It was one of the most exciting games I’ve seen in a long time, and watching those two rivals go at it was something to be seen.

 

8.  HLWW FOOTBALL UPSETS NO. 2 CONCORDIA ACADEMY

It was a long and tough season in a stacked district for the HLWW football team this season. Going just 1-7 in the regular season, the Lakers were forced to hit the road and take on second-seeded Concordia Academy in the first round of the Section 4AA playoffs.

That was just fine for the Lakers, as they pulled off the upset with a 20-16 victory led by quarterback Brennan Barth.

Despite just winning three games in the regular season that past two seasons, it was the second-straight season the Lakers won a playoff game.

 

7. AREA TRACKSTERS COMPETE AT STATE MEET

When it comes to track and field, there’s no shortage of talent in the area between HLWW, Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity, Watertown-Mayer, and Mayer Lutheran.

Between the four schools, there were five athletes competing at the Class A meet as individuals.

Mallak represented HLWW, while Tyarra English-Paulson and Ailsa Gilbert were representing W-M. Mayer Lutheran also had a pair of athletes competing, Cole Hagen and Rebecca Manteuffel.

All five athletes found success, including Paulson, who came away with the title in the 300-meter hurdles.

 

6. ROYALS KNOCK OFF DELANO FOR SECTION 5AA TITLE

The last time the Watertown-Mayer volleyball team went to state, head coach Andrea Raser was in a uniform. The Royals changed that this season as they knocked off rival Delano in the Section 5AA title game in a thrilling five-set match.

Advancing to the Class AA state volleyball tournament, the Royals didn’t win a match, but with a core group of girls returning next year, the Royals are one of the favorites to claim the Section 5AA title once again.

 

5. CRUSADERS BATTLE KIMBALL IN SECTION 4A SOFTBALL TITLE GAME

With school out, the Mayer Lutheran softball team was busy trying to clinch their first state softball tournament appearance in school history.

Entering the seventh and final inning in a scoreless game, it was the Kimball Cubs who came up with the walk-off hit to advance to the state and end an impressive season for the Crusaders. With multiple key players returning for Mayer Lutheran this upcoming spring, look for them to be extra hungry to make school history this time around.

 

4. MAYER LUTHERAN FOOTBALL REACHES STATE SEMIFINALS

The Minneapolis North Polars have been a thorn in the side of the Mayer Lutheran football team the past three years. With the Polars out of the picture, the Crusaders took full advantage as they dominated Section 4A tournament to reach their first state tournament appearance in football since 2012.

The Crusaders didn’t stop there, though. Instead of being like the previous five teams that lost in the state quarterfinals, the Crusaders made their own legacy, knocking off No. 1 ranked Goodhue in the quarterfinals in convincing fashion.

The ride ultimately came to an end in the Class A semifinals against Minneota, but not before the Crusaders made school history with an impressive season.

 

3. WATERTOWN-MAYER GIRLS BASKETBALL MAKES HISTORY

Throughout the years of the Watertown-Mayer girls’ basketball program, there’s been great teams and great players.

No team can say they’re better than the 2016-17 team that took third place at the Class AA state tournament, a school history best.

Between Clair Killian, Kirstin Klitzke, and Monika Czinano, along with other key players who are making their names known this season, the Royals capped off one of the best seasons in school history with an exciting win against rival New London-Spicer to take third place at the Class AA state tournament.

 

2. GAVIN KRITZECK RETURNS STRONGER THAN EVER

If you ever need inspiration about overcoming the odds, look no further than HLWW’s Gavin Kritzeck. The now-senior overcame the odds of being severely hurt in a car accident, to being the leader once again for the HLWW track and field team.

This year, Kritzeck returns as a senior and will be looking to reach his ultimate goal of getting to the state meet, something he came up just short of last season.

 

1. CRUSADERS REPEAT AS CLASS A CHAMPIONS

There’s only word to describe the Mayer Lutheran volleyball team, it’s dominant.

The Crusaders posted a record 32-2 this season on their way to winning back-to-back Class A titles.

Who were those two losses against? Maple Lake, the Class AA champion, and Eagan, the Class AAA runner-up. Not too shabby.

There’s no doubt the senior class of Maddy Hucky, Mya Chmielewski, Sophie Heuer, Nicole Klaustermeier, Madi Beck, Lauren Wandersee, Martina Saulsbury, Haley Rowher, and Mallory Kuntz have left their mark on program history. In the past two seasons, they’ve posted a record of 61-8, and back-to-back state titles. Not impressed?

Along with that overall record and accomplishments, the Crusaders have just three sets in postseason play the last two years on their way to two state titles, including going a perfect 27-for-27 in sets won on the way to the title in 2017.

It’s been a fantastic year for prep sports in the area, and I look forward to another fun year in 2018, and being able to share the stories along the way. Until then, always remember it’s more than a game.

 

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter

Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports