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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While she proved her prowess on the softball diamond, a different sport made life very painful for Tayler Mort. Back in seventh-grade volleyball, the Zumbrota-Mazeppa standout suffered an elbow injury, tearing her ulnar collateral ligament. “Ever since then, it would hurt to spike and then throw in softball,” Mort said. “I took volleyball off because it wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t my favorite sport. Then I focused on softball, and it got to the point that I couldn’t do anything.
JORDAN, Minn. – Wind, fast greens and tough hole placements made life tough for golfers all around the Ridges at Sand Creek. For Red Wing eighth-grader Cecil Belisle, the back nine proved especially problematic as the first-time state entrant shot an 81 on Day 2 of the Class 2A state golf championship meet. Belisle’s two-day score of 158 put him in a tie for 49th place overall. “I hoped to play a lot better,” Belisle said. “But it was a good experience and I hope I get to play it four more times.”
JORDAN, Minn. – Red Wing’s dip into the Ridges at Sand Creek pond was incredibly rewarding and completely unexpected. Down by seven strokes to three-time defending state champion Detroit Lakes after Day 1 of the Class 2A state golf championship meet, the Winger girls knew they had a lot of work to do if there was any chance of a comeback. “I thought we had a chance, but it’s hard to gain seven shots,” said Red Wing sophomore Stephanie Herzog. “I didn’t know if we’d be able to make that up.”
JORDAN, Minn. – Through nine holes, Detroit Lakes made it look like a fourth straight Class 2A state title was inevitable. Fortunately for the Red Wing girls, golf is an 18-hole game and the Lakers came back a little closer to Earth. Through Day 1 of the state championship meet at Ridges at Sand Creek, the Wingers sit in second place overall with a team score of 319, compared to Detroit Lakes’ 312. Pequot Lakes and Minnewaska Area are tied with 325, and Breck rounded out the top five with a 338.
JORDAN, Minn. – Cecil Belisle’s first hole at state was met with both panic and success. The Red Wing eighth-grader admitted nerves got to him as he nearly missed the ball and ultimately hooked his first tee shot on hole No. 10 at the Ridges at Sand Creek. “There was a lot of people. More than I’m used to,” Belisle said. “I got a little steep on that shot.”
Last year’s state tournament was a foregone conclusion: Detroit Lakes was the best girls golf team in Class 2A. Everyone else was playing for second place. This time around, the state title hunt is wide open, and Red Wing hopes it can reclaim its spot atop Class 2A. “It’s kind of a crapshoot on who can win it,” said Wingers head coach Mark Herzog. In fact, coach Herzog sees the parallels of this year’s field compared to 2011, the last time Red Wing won a state championship.
It’s easy to assume that an eighth-grader would struggle as the top varsity golfer on any high school team. But this season, Red Wing’s Cecil Belisle has defied the expectations of his young age. “Other than his age, the way he plays, he doesn’t play like an eighth-grader,” said Wingers head boys golf coach Nate Gale.
ST. PAUL – Feeling the discus peel off her fingers on her second throw of the finals, Maddie Lindhart knew she threw something special. Sitting in fourth after the preliminary round with a toss of 122 feet, 8 inches, Lindhart fouled on her first throw. With two more chances, the Cougars senior was undeterred. “I knew I was capable, so it’s just about putting your mind to it and carrying it out,” Lindhart said.
ST. PAUL – No matter how slim the margin is, Nick Connelly seems to find a way. With a preliminary throw of 48 feet, 7 inches in the Class 2A boys shot put, Connelly was able to exorcise the demons of last year’s state tournament where he threw a disappointing 48-2. Better yet, that 48-7 mark was just enough to put the Red Wing senior into the shot put finals. “I always make it in by that much,” Connelly said, laughing and pinching his fingers together.
LAKEVILLE, Minn. — Madisyn Lyons had a premonition on Saturday morning. Before Day 2 of the Section 1AA track and field championship at Lakeville South High School, Lyons and fellow Red Wing freshman Paige Patterson were hoping to make it to state together in the triple jump. “This morning, you could tell that we were both nervous,” Lyons said. “I always pictured (Paige) beating me and me finishing second. I kept visualizing this and I really wanted to (qualify for state).”