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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The goal for Red Wing cross-country is the state meet in the beginning of November. And with the section meet less than a month away, the Wingers are getting to a crucial part of their season. And what better place to start the end-of-season grind than Friday's home meet, in front of friends and family on a course that lends itself to speed.
RANDOLPH — Randolph's 3-0 start was put to the test on Friday, but the Rockets knew what was coming since the season started. Second-ranked Spring Grove is hoping to make a run at the 9-Man state title this year, and that included a stop in Randolph for Week 4. At halftime, things looked bleak for the Rockets, but Alex Folz eliminated any chance of a comeback with a touchdown pass and an interception return for a touchdown less than a minute-and-a-half out of the locker room to lead the Lions to a 53-7 victory.
LAKE CITY — Homecoming for Lake City got off to a fast start on Friday, and the Tigers ended up controlling much of their game against Pine Island. Lake City had the advantage in passing and total yards, turnovers, first downs and time of possession. But the Panthers got the edge, ever so slightly, in the most important category: points. Pine Island stopped the Tigers on a 4th-and-5 with 1 minute, 31 seconds left in the game and ran out the clock for a 19-18 victory. "We need to be a little more stout against the run.
A visit from Austin gave Red Wing a chance to bounce back from an ugly opening-week loss to New Prague. But the Wingers and Packers both had something else on their minds on Friday. Chris Fischer, a 14-year-old on the Austin football team, died Saturday, Sept. 2, due to complications from cardiac arrest. Less than a week later, his Packer teammates had to find a way to move to 2-0 on the season. A couple of the Wingers heard about Fischer, and a group of them took action to help Austin feel some hometown vibes at Russ "Cougar" Marshall Field.
CANNON FALLS — Kenyon-Wanamingo's run to the Class 2A state tournament in 2016 was incredible. The Knights lost just twice, and dropped five sets over 36 matches in what culminated in a third-place finish. K-W also had a talented JV squad last year, and that was fortunate as much of the starting lineup that played at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul was due to graduate. So what does Jen Nerison's new group have in store for this season? Well, how's a first-ever road victory over her sister, and third-straight 3-0 win to start the season sound?
ROCHESTER — With 40 seconds left on the clock, it appeared the “silver-lining” approach to the post-game interview would not be needed. But a 13-yard run from Julian Bretton set up a first and goal. Then, one the next play, with 21 seconds left, Pat Leary found the end zone. Rochester Lourdes would add a two-point conversion and hold off Zumbrota-Mazeppa, 22-19, in both team's season opener.
On Friday, Red Wing opens its football season at New Prague. Nate Freier will make his debut as head coach, looking to get the program headed in the right direction after an 0-9 season that featured a mid-season coaching change and dwindling numbers. Freier, who was on the 1983 Wingers' team that played in the state tournament, knows there is much to be done to return Red Wing to where it was in high school days. But that he gets the chance means more than wins.
A 2-0 loss to Mankato East to open the season for the Red Wing boys soccer team is not necessarily an indication of how the season is going to go for the Wingers. Thursday's setback was not ideal, but there is an enormous room for growth for Tony Casci's squad. "Our largest group is our sophomore class. We have about 12 or 13 of those guys, and most of them are year-round soccer players, so that's kind of our core," Casci said. "We do have some very talented seniors and juniors, but with our numbers in the sophomore class, they'll see a lot of time, too."
The Red Wing girls soccer team began its season with a long road trip to Mankato East on Thursday. The Wingers fell, 6-2, but the year is just beginning for a squad that should be able to dig in early. The key to the club this year is a lack of change. The 2016 season saw a lot of movement, from players changing roles to new systems and tactics. For 2017, head coach David Thurston is looking to take the next step.
On Tuesday evening. St. Mary's University announced Lake City's Steve Randgaard as head coach of the men's and women's golf teams, effective immediately. Greg Moore, the previous coach, stepped down to take over as head coach of the SMU women's hockey team. Randgaard, who has been the head coach of the Lake City girls golf team since 1988, and coached the boys team from 1989-2009, said it's a chance to do something different.