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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Mitchell Breuer wrestles two different types of matches. On the mat, he is a standout middleweight for the Goodhue wrestling team, working his way up to a 114-59 record and a state berth last season as a junior in a varsity career that started in seventh grade. Internally, Breuer wrestles with grief, sorrow and the memories of a brother and father who were gone much too soon. On Feb. 22, 2007, Bryce Breuer, 8, died of leukemia. Then nearly 18 months later, on July 19, 2008, Tim Breuer, 37, died suddenly from a brain aneurysm.
After a season that saw Lake City reach the Section 1AAA finals, win a second straight Hiawatha Valley League Gold Division title and garner a top 10 Class 3A ranking, the Tigers' Christian Custer and Ben Schramski will represent the team on a new platform: college football. Custer, the 2012 Republican Eagle All-Area Player of the Year, is headed to South Dakota State, a top 20 Football Championship Subdivision team, as a preferred walk-on. Schramski will sign with Division II Concordia-St. Paul on Wednesday for national signing day.
The first 17 minutes of Saturday's home game against Crookston was some of the most aggravating periods of hockey this season for the Red Wing boys hockey team. In that stretch, the Wingers were out-shot 15-5, gave up two goals and had to fight through a 5-minute major. "We were playing unconfident, without passion for the purple jersey. We were playing scared at times," said Red Wing head coach Mike Belisle.
Thursday's Missota Conference matchup between Red Wing and Northfield had the atmosphere of a playoff game. The third-ranked (1A) Wingers came into the game looking to solidify its claim as the No. 1 seed in the Section 1A tournament, while the 14th-ranked Raiders looked to avenge a 7-4 loss to Red Wing back on Jan. 3 and extend the team's six-game win streak. "It was intense," Red Wing head girls hockey coach Scott Haley said.
During the middle of the day Thursday, Red Wing senior defenseman Paige Haley was thrown off when she got a text from a teammate. "I got a text from Kayla Oberding saying, 'Congrats,' and I was like, 'For what," Paige said. "I didn't know. "Then she said, 'For getting top 10 for Ms. Hockey." It didn't take long for the good news to spread. "Then Nicole (Schammel) texted me," Paige said. "My teammates, their support is unbelievable. We're a family, they mean a lot to me." On Thursday, Let's Play Hockey, a state-wide hockey publication, named Paige one of 10 semifinalists for the Ms.
LAKE CITY - With a pair of second-place finishers and a third-place finish at the 30th Annual Lake City Invitational on Saturday, the host Tigers finished in sixth place with a team score of 119.5. With three weeks to go until Section 1A wrestling gets underway, Lake City head coach Lonnie West hopes Saturday's 10-team tournament serves as a launching pad for his team. "When you're in the middle of the pack, there are some good things and some things you want to work on, and I'd say (Saturday's tournament) was your typical day," West said.
Falling behind by double digits to Shakopee, Red Wing had to make a switch on the defensive end. Unable to contain the Sabers' post players in a man-to-man defense, the Wingers switched to a 1-3-1 zone and made the final nine minutes of Thursday's Missota Conference game a mad dash to the end. "When we got in the 1-3-1, we finally started clicking as a team," said Red Wing sophomore guard Ty Buck. The Wingers were able to cut the gap to three, but they were unable to complete the comeback as Shakopee left with a 58-53 victory. "You can't fault the effort of our kids tonight," said Wing
The Red Wing School Board laid the framework for a return to the Big 9 Conference after giving activities director Matt Schultz the go-ahead to apply for the conference in a 7-0 vote on Tuesday night. The Missota Conference is in a state of disarray, with Farmington leaving for the South Suburban Conference, while Shakopee has applied for entry in the South Suburban. Chaska and Chanhassen also have explored other conference options. Other members of the Missota Conference include Academy of Holy Angels, New Prague and Northfield.
Red Wing had to ride with the ebbs and flows of Chanhassen's shooters on Tuesday. Thanks to some hot shooting to open the game, the Storm bolted out of the gate for a 23-7 lead midway through the first half. Once the shooters went cold, the Wingers were able to storm back, making it a 1-point game at halftime. But in the second half, the Storm's snipers were sharp with eight 3-pointers after half, putting the team up by as much as 22 points in a 70-52 Missota Conference victory Tuesday.
Friday's Missota Conference hockey game between Red Wing and Chaska was a game of minutes. Through the first 34 minutes, the Wingers and Hawks were playing even, with Chaska holding a slim 2-1 lead through two periods.