Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.
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For five years, Shakopee's Lauren Hespenheide and Amy Menke have been one of the top duos in the Missota Conference. Building up to Thursday's conference opener, Red Wing head coach Scott Haley admitted he was nervous. "It was probably one of the most stressful weeks I've had trying to stop No. 6 (Hespenheide) and No. 9 (Menke)," he said. But with outstanding play at the blue line and a 29-save night by goaltender Ashley Corcoran, the No.
The Red Wing defense did everything it could to stay in the hunt against East Ridge. For the bulk of Tuesday's non-conference game, the Wingers and the Raptors traded the lead, with no team going up by more than three points until the end of the game. Forcing an athletic East Ridge team into 18 turnovers, there was plenty to be excited about for Red Wing head coach Doug Toivonen.
Wrestling in its first tournament of the season, Goodhue finished in fifth place in the 11-team Winona Invitational tournament with 101 points. Holmen (Wis.) won the invite with a score of 190.5. Arrowhead (149.5), Dover-Eyota (132), Wabasha-Kellogg (128) and Goodhue rounded out the top five. Getting the lone first-place victory for the Wildcats was Matthew Lexvold, who took top honors at 126 pounds after pinning Dover-Eyota's Dakota Welsh in 3 minutes, 37 seconds.
ELLSWORTH - Though the Ellsworth Invitational has gone on for 49 years, Saturday was the first time the Lake City wrestling team took part in the 10-team tournament. "We weren't really sure what to expect, other than Ellsworth has a lot of tradition," said Tigers head coach Lonnie West.
ELLSWORTH - Like it has done in the last 10 years, the Ellsworth wrestling team dominated its home tournament. With wrestlers in the finals for 10 of the 14 weight classes, the Panthers won the 49th Ellsworth Invitational for the 10th consecutive year on Saturday, scoring 321 points. "A lot of these guys, they put a lot of hard work in year round," said Ellsworth head coach Chad Steldt. "To start seeing (the team's early-season progress), it's good for them." Lake City, the lone Minnesota team in the tournament, took second with 211.5 points.
CANNON FALLS - Cannon Falls head girls basketball coach Eric Mace knows his team will still have growing pains.
Nothing was slowing down Tesha Buck in the second half on Thursday. Not Austin's defense. Not even an injury to her shooting hand. The senior guard went off for 20 points in the second half, pushing the Wingers to a 4-0 start with a 62-47 home victory over the Packers. Buck finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight steals.
ZUMBROTA - Trying to claw back against Rochester Lourdes in Tuesday's season opener, Zumbrota-Mazeppa wasn't planning on leaning on senior Amber Jentsch. After suffering a compound fracture to her leg during softball this summer, Jentsch is still trying to get herself into playing shape. "Amber broke one bone in her leg in three different places. ... She played more tonight than I should have let her play," said Cougars head coach Scott Paukert.
Red Wing boys basketball coach Doug Toivonen thought he had several players last season who were capable of carrying the Wingers' offense. The problem: injuries took their toll. Republican Eagle All-Area Player of the Year Joel Newman kept Red Wing afloat, averaging 17.9 points per game and shooting 46.4 percent from the field.
The 2012-13 season will be a bit of a balancing act for the Red Wing boys hockey team. With a mix of veterans and newcomers, the Wingers coaching staff decided to mix things up in the first weeks of practice by holding practices more like tryouts. "It was more like how the bigger schools do it," said Red Wing senior forward Taylor Hanson. "It was not so much about seniority, but how you play and how you earn it.