Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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JORDAN – Blake fended off the field on Wednesday, capturing the Class 2A state championship at The Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan. Blake's Derek Hitchner, the leader after a first-round 65, shot a 69 in the final round to win the individual title with a 134. Red Wing's Cecil Belisle tied for third place with a 147, just two strokes behind second-place Alex Wilson of Holy Family Catholic. “I just enjoyed the game I love. Just playing, having fun, staying relaxed and not worrying about the bad shots, but thinking about the next one and what I could do better,” Belisle said.
The Class 2A girls golf state meet is likely a two-team race. Detroit Lakes and Lake City have averaged within a stroke of each other this whole season, and the rest of the field is quite a ways behind. The Lakers currently have the best scoring average, as of May 29, with a 316.90, just ahead of the Tigers’ 317.70. The next score belongs to Stewartville, back at 345. So after winning their resective section meets, the two leader, predictably, will collide at the Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan on Tuesday and Wednesday.
By Kyle Stevens email@example.com ST. PAUL – Grahm Johnson’s seed going into Friday’s shot put prelims was 57 feet, 1.25 inches. By seeds, that would put him about 2 feet shy of a state title, but certainly within striking distance of a top two or three finish. And with a throw of 57-1, Johnson did just that. But the some of the rest of the field went a bit fsrther. And one of them went a lot fsrther.
ST. PAUL – Friday’s state track and field meet had a few finals, and a lot of preliminary action for area athletes. KenyonWanamingo’s Mara Quam came up just short of a repeat championship in the long jump. Quam’s best leap, of 17 feet, 10.5 inches, was a half-inch behind Morgan Schindelar of Plainview-ElginMillville. Quam also placed fifth in the 100 hurdles, and will run in today’s finals. Lake City’s Grayce Adler also competed in the long jump, with a best of 153.25, but did not make the finals.
Zumbrota-Mazeppa finally broke through the Section 1AA tournament, or broke the tournament considering its dominance, to claim a spot in the Class 2A state tournament that begins Wednesday. As exciting as it is to return to state for the first time since 2011, the Cougars have to be just giddy that the Great One will be along for the ride. That’s right, none other than Wayne Gretzky will be dressed in navy and silver for the first pitch at 11 a.m. at Caswell Park in Mankato. “We’re excited that he’s going to be there,” said Z-M head coach Kevin Nelson.
ROCHESTER – Craig Anderson asked the question, and Aaron Gillard gave the answer the 40-year Pine Island coach wanted to hear. So Gillard was given the seventh inning, and maybe a short leash. But no one will ever know, because Gillard got the final three outs in a 4-1 win over Chatfield on Tuesday in the Section 1AA championship game at Hudson Field in Rochester.
The Tigers had to be kicking themselves. After four innings of Monday's Section 1AAA elimination game, Albert Lea was somehow behind by a couple of runs. Despite dominating the game on both ends, the Tigers entered a rain delay trailing Red Wing, 6-4. A wild and wet second half of the game would find Albert Lea ending the Wingers' season, 10-7, but not before the Tigers were put on life support by a Red Wing rally unforeseen through three innings.
AUSTIN – Finally, it wasn't red. After falling short of the state tournament four years running, Zumbrota-Mazeppa finally got to don the blue after defeating Winona Cotter, 11-1, on Thursday for the Section 1AA championship and the Cougars' first trip to the state tournament since 2011. “I walked up behind her when we standing in line, and I told her it wasn't red this time,” said Z-M head coach Kevin Nelson.
CANNON FALLS – Michael Monson and Brady Braaten were both up to the challenge in Tuesday's Sub-section 1AA West championship game between Cannon Falls and Pine Island. Both walked just one batter, both pitched to their strengths, and both could have easily led their teams to the Section 1AA semifinals. But only one came out with a win, and that was Braaten, who allowed one hit and one unearned run over seven innings to give the second-seeded Panthers a 2-1 victory.
CANNON FALLS – There are no guarantees in baseball. Well, maybe one. You're going to fail. Pitchers give up hits and runs. Hitters reach base less often than they don't. Cannon Falls won't find a way to win. The Bombers, masters of the late-game victory, will have to wait on that last one. Once again, Cannon Falls used the final innings to pick up a win, scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth to send Dover-Eyota to the elimination bracket with a 7-2 Sub-section 1AA West victory at John Burch Park on Saturday.