Joe Brown is a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia. Prior to becoming regional editor, he was the sports editor of the Red Wing Republican Eagle from 2012-2018. He also worked as the sports editor for the Marshall Independent (2010-2012) and as a sports/news clerk for the St. Cloud Times (2008-2009). He graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication.
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KENYON – There wasn’t just Hiawatha Valley League bragging rights on the line Thursday. There weren’t just state implications to battle for. When Kenyon-Wanamingo and Kasson-Mantorville took to the mat, there were national bragging rights to vie for. By the end of Thursday’s highly-touted match between the KoMets (No. 1 in Class 2A, 26th nationally) and Knights (No. 2 in Class 1A, 42nd nationally), Kasson-Mantorville came out the victor, 30-21.
CANNON FALLS – With four girls on the roster 5-foot-10 or taller, Pine Island used every inch it could on Tuesday. Facing Cannon Falls in a Hiawatha Valley League game, the visiting Panthers struggled to get shots to fall. But many times after a miss, one of Pine Island’s bigs were there to clean up the boards. And led by 12 points from 5-11 junior Eliza Warneke, the Panthers kept the Bombers away for a 37-27 victory.
Doug Toivonen has been coaching Sevlie kids for the last 12 years. And during that time, they’ve all shared a common bond. “The one thing the Sevlies always look forward to is a challenge, no matter who they’re playing against,” Doug said. “I remember (Tyler) playing against Hopkins boys like Kris Humphries. The better the competition, the more they rise.”
A year ago, Park of Cottage Grove came to Twin Bluff Middle School and left the pool with a win in the Winger Invitational. So when the 2016 Winger Invitational kicked off Saturday, Red Wing’s sights were set squarely on the Wolfpack. “We really appreciate Park coming in here and swimming with us,” said Wingers’ head coach Kevin O’Brien. “They made the guys swim. They knew they had to get as many points as they could to come out with the win.”
Red Wing and Owatonna are built for similar styles: racing up and down the court with a high-pressure defense, hoping that the 3-point shots will drop. In Big Nine Conference play Friday, the shots fell for the Wingers in the first half. But the shots fell all night for the visiting Huskies. Led by Rachel Williamson’s game-high 27 points, with five 3-pointers, Owatonna disposed of the Wingers in a 90-75 victory.
RANDOLPH – Tempo is a crucial element to the Randolph boys’ basketball team. In every game, the Rockets are looking to push the pace. And in the grind of a 20-plus game season, the team wants to hit its stride at the right time. “That’s one of our objectives: we want to play the game at our pace and not at our opponent’s pace,” said Randolph head coach Kent Otte. “We were slow to get started (this season), and last year we started strong but didn’t finish strong. We didn’t start strong this year but I told the guys, ‘It’s not where you start, it’s how you finish.’”
Undefeated and ranked second in Class 3A, Red Wing knows it’ll have a target on its back for the remainder of the season. Even a team that came in losing five straight, like Rochester Mayo on Tuesday night, can be a viable threat. And after trailing 17-3 in the first half, the visiting Spartans fought back to make it a game, trailing the Wingers by just seven at halftime, 29-22.
ROCHESTER – After back-to-back losses, Lake City was in need of a pick-me-up. In the final day of the Rotary US Bank Holiday Classic, a blazing fast start against Bloomington Kennedy seemed to sooth what was ailing the Tigers. Leading by as much as 27 in the first half and 31 after halftime, ninth-ranked (Class 2A) Lake City rolled through the winless Eagles for an 87-64 victory Wednesday at the Mayo Civic Center Exhibit Hall.
Red Wing native and University of Minnesota women’s hockey player Paige Haley is recovering after suffering injuries in a car crash Friday night. Haley, a junior for the Golden Gophers, said she was returning home from Duluth when a car in front of her spun out after hitting some ice. “I put my foot on the brakes. I hit the same patch of ice and spun into a ditch and hit a tree,” Haley said. “(I’m) very lucky. Very fortunate. The car looks horrible; it’s totaled.”
Red Wing’s 4-1 win over Rochester Century on Tuesday looks as much like target practice as it did a Big Nine Conference game. On the offensive end, the Wingers girls’ hockey team has a goal of 12 shots per period. And at Prairie Island Arena, Red Wing nearly doubled that per period, outshooting the visiting Panthers 70-14.