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Top sports stories 2009, No. 1: Bringing home the hardware

Red Wing's Mark Giorgi won the Class AA title by one stroke June 4 at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan, Minn. - Republican Eagle file photo1 / 2
Turner Eckstrom receives his medal after winning the Class A 1-meter diving state title March 7. - Republican Eagle file photo2 / 2

Three Red Wing individuals -- juniors Turner Eckstrom and Kim Hovey and senior Mark Giorgi -- and the Ellsworth wrestling team all were crowned best in the state in 2009.

In 1-meter diving, Eckstrom repeated as Class A state champion with 430.40 points on March 7.

The junior experienced some early struggles in the preliminaries, but he began the second day of competition with a 41.60-point lead.

After Eckstrom nailed his final dive, six friends wearing white T-shirts that spelled out TURNER stood and cheered.

"Today went a lot better," Eckstrom said. "I think a lot has to do with the crowd. When the crowd's with me I can perform a lot better."

Hovey won the Class AA shot put title June 6 at Hamline University with her first toss of the day, which measured 42 feet, 8 1/4 inches. She bettered the runner-up by almost two feet despite cold, drizzly conditions that made the shot put ring slippery.

"I've thrown in rain a lot in the past and with my glide (technique) I had it pretty easy," Hovey said.

Giorgi captured the first individual championship in the history of the Winger boys golf program by carding a two-day total of 145. He won the Class AA title by one stroke June 4 at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan, Minn.

"I wasn't making as many greens as I usually do," Giorgi said. "I was just grinding it out."

The Panthers won the schools' fourth state wrestling title March 7 when they defeated top-ranked Lodi 35-23 at the WIAA Division 2 team tournament. Ellsworth trailed 17-3 after the 103-pound match.

Ellsworth also pulled off a come-from-behind victory in the semifinals. Down 15-0 against Pewaukee, the Panthers won nine of the next 10 matches to prevail 33-19.

"Even the kids who lost didn't give up big points," coach Jack Radabaugh said. "That's why our team has such a good dual meet mindset and why they are state dual meet champions."