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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Even after beating 10th-ranked St. Paul United 7-2 at home Tuesday, there is still some skepticism from Red Wing head girls hockey coach Scott Haley. "I still don't know for sure if we're better or some of the competition is down," Haley said. But after opening the season with wins against two ranked teams and outscoring opponents 28-5, even Haley can't be too critical. "We're playing really well, and it's been a pretty special start," he said.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The waiting was the hardest part for Red Wing junior swimmer Ashley Thompson. Qualifying for the consolation finals at the Class 1A state swimming and diving meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, Thompson had to wait 10 events before getting her chance to compete in the 100-yard breaststroke.
MINNEAPOLIS - Three years ago, Ashley Thompson's debut at the Class 1A state swimming championship ended very briefly. Going into the 2009 state meet as an eighth-grader, Thompson competed in the 100-yard breaststroke, taking 21st place out of 30 swimmers. Fast-forward three years, and the Wingers junior gets to stick around for one more day. On Friday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, Thompson snuck into the consolation championship of the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 10.27 seconds. Her time was just .53 seconds faster than St.
Tied at 1 in the second period, Chisago Lakes looked at a prime scoring opportunity when Allison Borgstrom got free for a breakaway before Red Wing goaltender Ashley Corcoran came up with a key save. The Wingers recovered the puck, and Reagan Haley popped in a goal from the point to put the Wingers ahead 2-1. From there, the momentum snowballed for fifth-ranked Red Wing, which dominated the rest of the way to defeat No. 8-ranked Chisago Lakes 6-1 at Prairie Island Arena.
NORTHFIELD - Running in his second Class 1A state championship meet, Lake City senior cross-country runner Carston Dammann knows there are traps everywhere. There are slowdowns at the beginning when 175 runners are bolting out of the chutes to begin the race. "It's always hard at the start because you get boxed in by everybody," Dammann said. "It got a lot better once we came out of that back loop." And near the end of the race, Dammann nearly fell into another trap around a curve as runners started slowing down.
NORTHFIELD - Although the Class 2A state championship on Saturday was a new experience, running in a big race at St. Olaf College was something Red Wing junior runner Aiden Winn had done before.
NORTHFIELD - Everything felt good in Emi Trost's race. The Cannon Falls junior got off to a good start in the Class 1A state cross-country championship, and kept the competition in the rear-view mirror. And the results were readily apparent, as Trost ran a time of 14 minutes, 16.5 seconds, more than 18 seconds better than her second-place time at last year's state championship. In fact, her time on Saturday would have won last year's Class 1A championship by five seconds. "I didn't know how far behind the other girls were," Trost said.
WEST ST. PAUL - In Friday's Section 4AAA championship game, a Cannon Falls quarterback led his team to a state berth. That quarterback wasn't in the Cannon Falls huddle. It was St. Croix Lutheran senior signal-caller Lincoln Hochmuth. Although his family lives just four blocks away from Cannon Falls High School, Hochmuth followed in the path of his father and uncle, going to St. Paul's Lutheran School in Cannon Falls before going to St. Croix Lutheran High School.
With a roster full of players that have been in three state tournaments, Red Wing girls hockey coach Scott Haley thinks the novelty of going to state is gone. After a fourth-place showing in the Class 1A state tournament, the Wingers hope to leave a lasting impression on the 2012-13 season. "Now they want to try and make their mark," Haley said.
Getting ready for the Section 4AAA finals on Friday, Cannon Falls head football coach Josh Hofstedt admits that maybe his team is a little too hyped up. The only team left between the Bombers and their first state trip since 1996 is St. Croix Lutheran, the defending Class 3A state champions.