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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A year after having both High Kick and Jazz qualify for state, nerves were a constant for the Randolph dance team this winter. The High Kick was used to the state spotlight with consecutive state appearances, but the Jazz team was a lesser-known commodity. It helped the Rockettes to not have expectations as they found their way to the state meet for the first time a year ago.
Teddy Tauer brought a gift from the Red Wing boys' basketball team's five-game road trip: A strong outside shot. “I was hitting it on the road the last couple games,” Tauer said. “I don't know, I brought it back home.” Back at Sonju Gymnasium for the first time since Jan. 26, Tauer hit three 3-pointers, including an outside bucket that put Red Wing ahead for good with 1 minute, 58 seconds to play as part of a 49-46 Big Nine Conference victory over Faribault.
A year after finishing seventh at the Big Nine Championship meet, the Red Wing gymnastics team vaulted its way up to fourth place in Saturday's meet at Sonju Gymnasium. The Wingers finished with a team score of 132.800, bested only by Owatonna (146.450), Austin (145.700) and Mankato West (138.100). After Red Wing, Rochester Century (132.450), Northfield (130.975), Winona (130.125) and Rochester Mayo (125.825) rounded out the top eight.
The top-seeded Red Wing girls' hockey team sprinted out of the gate in Saturday's Section 1A semifinal game and never looked back. Led by a six-goal outing from junior standout Taylor Heise, the Wingers advanced to the section final with an 8-0 victory against fourth-seeded Faribault. Heise had a hat trick by the end of the first period, starting with a power-play goal at the 9-minute, 52-second mark with an assist from Emily Hart. Then at 10:43, Heise scored again with assists from Solveig Roth and Hart, followed by an unassisted score at 14:56.
Red Wing is now 8-3-0 since the calendar turned to 2017 after picking up a 5-3 Big Nine Conference win over Austin Saturday afternoon at Prairie Island Arena. After falling behind 1-0 early in the first period after a Packers goal from Kaleb Ree, the Wingers took a 2-1 lead into intermission thanks to goals from Seth Cushing and Spencer Kronbeck. Nick Ramstad and Kronbeck had assists on Cushing's goal while Cushing and Cameron Benway had helpers for Kronbeck.
ZUMBROTA – It proved to be a milestone week for Kenyon-Wanamingo girls’ hoops. In a four-game week that saw the Knights knock off second-ranked (Class 1A) Goodhue in overtime on Tuesday, senior Mara Quam set a new school standard Friday in K-W’s 75-53 Hiawatha Valley League win over Zumbrota-Mazeppa. After hitting a basket at the 9-minute, 6-second mark of the first half, Mara became the Knights’ all-time leading scorer, beating Kasi Quam’s all-time mark of 1,951 points set in 2001. With 27 points Friday, along with five rebounds, Mara now sits at 1,973 career points.
The final three weeks of the regular season will be a grind for the Red Wing girls' basketball team. With three straight three-game weeks, the Wingers are trying to find the right mix of practice and game time without exhausting the team both physically and mentally. So far, so good for Red Wing as the team went 2-1 in its first three-game week. The Wingers took a lost to Owatonna Monday, 67-54, before winning two straight against Austin on Tuesday, 55-36, and Thursday against Albert Lea, 70-41.
LAKE CITY – With major Section 1AA implications involved, Lake City and St. Charles sprinted out the gate on Saturday. The Tigers and Saints may as well left tire marks on the parquet floor at Lincoln High School as the two teams combined for 83 points and 12 3-pointers while having seven lead chances and three ties over the first 18 minutes. St. Charles was able to keep the pace up in the second half. However, Lake City struggled to keep up as the Saints came away with the 78-67 road victory.
RANDOLPH – Know when to pick your spots. As much as the Randolph boys' basketball team would like to press more frequently, having a young team with little depth makes that a tough proposition. So the team has to pick its spots to ratchet up the intensity. And Thursday against Southeast Conference West division leaders Schaeffer Academy, the Rockets picked the perfect time to pick their spots. Down by as much as eight in the second half, Randolph's defense proved to be the catalyst in a 51-48 come-from-behind victory that came down to the final minute.
For a team that typically gets off to quick starts, it was jarring for the Red Wing girls' basketball team to be down 16-11 to Rochester John Marshall eight minutes into Tuesday's Big Nine Conference contest. Heads were down. Shoulders were slumped. So instead of coaching up the Xs and Os during halftime, Wingers head coach Jesse Nelson preached body language in hopes of elevating the squad.