Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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Neal Newman poured his life into coaching volleyball at Red Wing High School but playing trumpet in two weddings stands out from the wins and losses during his 29 years as head coach. The weddings are cherished experiences and Newman said they occupy a special place in his memory because he was invited by former players. He played trumpet in the pep and marching bands at the University of Wisconsin-Madison but having Tara Nelson, wife of Red Wing head cross-country coach Jesse Nelson, and Mary Popp include him in such an important day is evidence of the legacy he is leaving in Red Wing.
Attitude is everything for the Red Wing swimming and diving team as it prepares for the Section 1A meet today in Austin. The Wingers have reason to be positive as multiple individuals and a relay team prepare for a possible state berth. Ashley Thompson, diver Jess Klosky and Abbey Schnaith all have an opportunity to qualify for state competition, coach Kevin O'Brien said. The team's 200-yard medley relay also is expected to qualify. Schnaith has competed in the state meet since seventh grade, but Thompson and Klosky are in search of personal bests at the section meet.
CALEDONIA - Same teams, same result. The Zumbrota-Mazeppa football team succumbed to Caledonia in the Section 1AA championship game for the fourth consecutive year, losing 41-6 in Caledonia. Last year, the Cougars (6-5) had the Warriors on the ropes before falling 17-0. This time around the defending Class 2A state champions controlled the game from start to finish. "They found out what it takes to be a really good team tonight," Z-M head coach Willie Rauen said.
It is beginning to feel a little like deja-vu for the Zumbrota-Mazeppa football team. For the fourth consecutive year, the third-seeded Cougars (6-4) will make the drive to Caledonia to face the first-seeded Warriors in the Section 1AA title game Friday night. This time, they're hoping for a better result. Last year, Z-M put a scare into Caledonia, but two failed fourth-and-goal attempts kept them off the scoreboard and led to a 17-0 loss. The year before, Z-M lost 20-12. Cougars' head coach Willie Rauen said that those losses are irrelevant.
ROCHESTER - Lake City lost a five-set marathon match to third-seeded Chatfield Saturday at the Mayo Civic Center 20-25, 25-17, 25-21, 19-25, 20-18 in the 1AA East subsection semifinals. "It's hard to be on the losing end of a game like that," Lake City head coach Kim Bobb said. Junior Taylor Koller had a team-leading 15 kills and four ace blocks for the second-seeded Tigers. Junior Tiffany Hoops added 13 kills and one ace block while senior Maggie Balow led the team with 36 set assists.
LAKE CITY - An aggressive Lake City volleyball team attacked the La Crescent defense Thursday night during the first round of the 1AA East subsection playoffs and came away with a 25-20, 25-18, 21-25, 25-13 victory. The second-seeded Tigers (14-13) started slow but found their rhythm behind the dominant play of middle hitters, Tiffany Hoops and Taylor Koller. Hoops, a junior, led the team with 20 kills and had two ace blocks. Koller, a junior, added 11 kills and a team-leading five ace blocks.
An energetic Red Wing volleyball team jumped to early leads in every set and went on to defeat Farmington 25-23, 25-17, 25-9 in the first round of Section 1AAA playoffs Wednesday in Red Wing. The Wingers (11-14) had two great practices leading up to the match and played with renewed energy, knowing it was the seniors' final match at home, Red Wing head coach Neal Newman said. The seventh-seeded Wingers started all three sets with at least a 4-0 lead. "We started well in every game," Newman said.
GOODHUE - Goodhue pounded the ball on the ground at home against Kingsland Tuesday night in the first round of Section 1A playoffs and came away with a 48-22 victory. The Wildcats (6-3 overall) played with intensity after a tough last two weeks, losing back-to-back games at Lake City and at Winona Cotter. "We came out and played with a lot of emotion tonight," Goodhue head coach Tony Poncelet said. "It was nice to bounce back." Goodhue was led by its seniors in what is expected to be its last home game of the season.
Even after running 13 marathons Dr. David Asp still needs to coax himself mentally through work-outs. Now, a volunteer assistant coach for the Red Wing cross-country team, Asp is helping the Wingers prepare for meets by training their minds. Asp, a psychologist in the Behavior Health Department at Fairview Red Wing Medical Center, focuses on using positive coping thoughts to push through difficult and stressful situations.
Section 1AAA playoffs No. 1 Rochester Lourdes (7-1, 5-1 HVL Blue) - 2010 state champions, the Eagles begin the playoffs with a home matchup against La Crescent. The Lancers had Lourdes on the ropes last week but the Eagles scored 21 second-half points to win the game. Lourdes brings playoff experience and a "rock-solid defense" to its title defense. "They're just well coached," Cannon Falls head coach Josh Hofstedt said. "They don't make mistakes. They're a very disciplined team." The Eagles also possess plenty of talent.