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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NORTHFIELD – Carl Kozlowski was bloodied but unfazed when he crossed the finish line Saturday. The Lake City junior admits to having a bad habit of biting his lip during races, but he wasn’t feeling any pain in the Class 1A boys’ state cross-country championship. For the second straight year, Kozlowski took All-State honors, placing third overall in 16 minutes, 17.4 seconds.
NORTHFIELD – A little bit of eavesdropping gave Kianna Stewart a little bit of strategy before the last race of her high-school career. Right before the start of the Class 2A girls’ state cross-country championship, she heard some runners next to Red Wing’s lane talking. “I actually heard some girls talking at the starting line and they were like, ‘Whenever you get tired, think about your arms. It really helps,’ Stewart said. “So the whole time I’m thinking when I’m getting tired, I’ll think of my arms.”
Something special were set in the spring for the Red Wing girls’ cross-country team. Even when the track team was running in the oval, there was always an eye on the fall. “There was a few times late in the spring where I thought, ‘Gosh, I wish it was section cross-country day right now because we’re running so well,’” said Red Wing cross-country head coach Jesse Nelson, who also coaches girls’ track. The foundation was laid in the spring with a solid track season. That work continued with off-season training in the summer.
After the last two weeks, Goodhue’s defensive players think they can stop anyone. There was the Section 1A championship game, where the Wildcats held Fillmore Central to under 100 yards of total offense on the way to a 29-0 victory. Then in the Class 1A state quarterfinals, Goodhue pitched another shutout and held Bethlehem Academy star running back Peyton Glenzinski under 100 yards in a tightly contested 14-0 victory. “Everyone has been playing as a team,” said Goodhue junior linebacker Bailee O’Reilly, who leads the Wildcats with 136 tackles.
Sydney Book was going to give Red Wing everything she had so the Wingers could get out of the first round for the first time in her varsity career. Feeling under the weather throughout Thursday’s Section 1AA-East opener against fifth-seeded Winona Cotter, Book battled through illness with 17 kills, nine digs, three ace serves and an ace block as the fourth-seeded Wingers knocked off the Ramblers in four sets (25-23, 25-18, 20-25, 25-7).
MINNEAPOLIS – Eighth-grader Ava Wallerich and freshman Ashley Thieren may have been the youngest squad in the Class 1A state doubles tennis tournament, but their ability to fight back was beyond their years. After falling to the consolation bracket after a first-round loss, the Lake City duo stayed alive with a three-set super-tiebreaker victory against Crookston’s Tori Demarais and Elisa Samuelson, 6-2, 3-6, 10-6.
In just five matches together, Lake City youngsters Ava Wallerich and Ashley Thieren found the proper mix for a state berth. But some of that chemistry was formed early in the season as the two were both in singles competition. “I started playing three singles in the beginning and Ashley was four. So we were right next to each other and we got really close,” Wallerich said after the two clinched a state berth in the Section 1A tournament last week. “So against Lourdes (in the team tournament), we weren’t used to each other’s style of tennis.
ROCHESTER – Even as the dust settled and his team’s ticket was punched for state, Goodhue head football coach Tony Poncelet could only stand in awe of his team’s defense. A 29-0 victor over top-seeded Fillmore Central in the Section 1A championship game Saturday at Rochester Mayo High School, the Wildcats’ defense held the Falcons to 88 yards of total offense, including just 16 yards in the first half.
The Section 1A championship will be decided between two teams cut from the same cloth. Size, speed and physicality up front are the calling cards for both third-seeded Goodhue and No. 1 seed Fillmore Central when the two teams vie for the section title at 11 a.m. Saturday at Rochester Mayo High School. “They’re like us. They got some size, they got some speed and we’re both physical teams,” said Wildcats’ head coach Tony Poncelet. “They got (Trace) Tollefson, who’s a big-play guy like we have in Sam McNamara. “We have no room for errors.
ROCHESTER – Ashley Thieren and Ava Wallerich, even head coach Al Orthaus were tickled by how their Tuesday afternoon turned out. In the Section 1A doubles final four, the Lake City duo came in with nothing to lose after dropping their first match and losing the first set in the consolation bracket.