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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NORTHFIELD - Running in his second Class 1A state championship meet, Lake City senior cross-country runner Carston Dammann knows there are traps everywhere. There are slowdowns at the beginning when 175 runners are bolting out of the chutes to begin the race. "It's always hard at the start because you get boxed in by everybody," Dammann said. "It got a lot better once we came out of that back loop." And near the end of the race, Dammann nearly fell into another trap around a curve as runners started slowing down.
NORTHFIELD - Although the Class 2A state championship on Saturday was a new experience, running in a big race at St. Olaf College was something Red Wing junior runner Aiden Winn had done before.
NORTHFIELD - Everything felt good in Emi Trost's race. The Cannon Falls junior got off to a good start in the Class 1A state cross-country championship, and kept the competition in the rear-view mirror. And the results were readily apparent, as Trost ran a time of 14 minutes, 16.5 seconds, more than 18 seconds better than her second-place time at last year's state championship. In fact, her time on Saturday would have won last year's Class 1A championship by five seconds. "I didn't know how far behind the other girls were," Trost said.
WEST ST. PAUL - In Friday's Section 4AAA championship game, a Cannon Falls quarterback led his team to a state berth. That quarterback wasn't in the Cannon Falls huddle. It was St. Croix Lutheran senior signal-caller Lincoln Hochmuth. Although his family lives just four blocks away from Cannon Falls High School, Hochmuth followed in the path of his father and uncle, going to St. Paul's Lutheran School in Cannon Falls before going to St. Croix Lutheran High School.
With a roster full of players that have been in three state tournaments, Red Wing girls hockey coach Scott Haley thinks the novelty of going to state is gone. After a fourth-place showing in the Class 1A state tournament, the Wingers hope to leave a lasting impression on the 2012-13 season. "Now they want to try and make their mark," Haley said.
Getting ready for the Section 4AAA finals on Friday, Cannon Falls head football coach Josh Hofstedt admits that maybe his team is a little too hyped up. The only team left between the Bombers and their first state trip since 1996 is St. Croix Lutheran, the defending Class 3A state champions.
No team in Class 3A has been as explosive offensively as Lake City. Heading into Friday's Section 1AAA championship game, the Tigers led the state in points per game (45.1) and point differential (27.2). But facing top-ranked Rochester Lourdes in the section final, Lake City head coach Trevor Narum is prepared for a long, grueling game with a trip to state on the line. "We have to be really patient. We're not going to put 40 points on them in a half," Narum said. "It's going to be a punch-counter punch type of game." Lourdes and Lake City are set for a 7 p.m.
ROCHESTER - Leading for just three points in Saturday's Section 1A-East sub-section semifinal against No.
ROCHESTER - In so many ways, taking on No. 3-ranked Stewartville is a tall task for any team. There's a starting lineup that stands at an average of 5-foot-10. There is Hall of Fame head coach John Dzubay. There are twin sisters Hannah and Paige Tapp, who are both headed to the University of Minnesota to play volleyball. After playing tough with the Tigers earlier this year, the Cannon Falls Bombers believed that they could go toe-to-toe with Stewartville in the Section 1AA-West semifinals.
LAKE CITY - Those with heart conditions should not ride roller coasters or watch the Lake City football team in the Section 1AAA playoffs. In the quarterfinals against No. 7-seeded La Crescent, the No. 2-seeded and No. 7-ranked Tigers saw their 24-0 lead evaporate before coming away with a 24-21 victory. Then in Saturday's section semifinals against sixth-seeded Winona Cotter, Lake City looked like it was in cruise control with a 20-0 lead in the first quarter.