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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ST. PAUL — Caden Steffen figured he'd get one good shot. At the Minnesota state wrestling tournament, every opponent is quality. And prior to the start of the Class A 182-pound championship match, Steffen could hear coaches strategize with his opponent, Holt Truax of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie. "I heard him and his coach talking about how he had to keep his left foot back. That's the leg I shoot," Caden said. "They did their study and did everything right."
ST. PAUL – Zumbrota-Mazeppa is back to defend the Class A crown. After disposing of unseeded Ottertail Central (37-19) and fourth-seeded Tracy-Milroy-Balaton/Westbrook-Walnut Grove, the top-seeded Cougars are in the Class A finals of the Minnesota state wrestling tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. In the finals, Z-M will face off with Frazee after the second-seeded Hornets got wins over unseeded Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (41-10) and third-seeded Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville (38-20).
Think your work day is long? Watch Emily Hart, Kendal Swanson, Meg Grove and Eliza DiNatale on the ice for the Red Wing girls' hockey team. Every game on the blue line is an endurance test when you play just four defensemen. But that has been the norm for Hart, Swanson, Grove and DiNatale for two seasons. With the competition the Wingers tend to play, the work is demanding. But the foursome know how to take care of themselves after putting in workhorse-like minutes every game.
NORTHFIELD — In round one, defense was the name of the game between Red Wing and Northfield. The two teams were knotted up at halftime, 19-19, until the Raiders were able to break free for a 46-45 victory. In Thursday's rematch, offense owned the narrative around both teams in the Class AAA top 10. Third-ranked Northfield couldn't miss, and eighth-ranked Red Wing couldn't make a bucket. The Raiders sprinted out to a 32-17 halftime lead and held the Wingers to 26 percent shooting in a 63-46 Big Nine Conference and Section 1AAA victory.
If Red Wing was going to come back from an 18-3 deficit to Owatonna, the team needed to stay determined. And if freshman post Abi Deming was to slow down Sydney Schultz, the Huskies' all-time leading scorer, she was going to need a lot of determination. Thankfully, the third-ranked (Class AAA) Wingers found its determination before halftime. And that stayed with the team the rest of the way as Red Wing pulled off an unlikely 66-54 Big Nine Conference win over Owatonna on Tuesday. The Wingers (10-1, 7-1 Big Nine) are now in the midst of a seven-game win streak.
Rochester Mayo was a better squad than it was the first time they met up with Red Wing. Since that Nov. 18 encounter, a 7-0 Wingers win, the Spartans were winners of six straight and was outscoring opponents 40-14. Against a red-hot team, fourth-ranked (Class A) Red Wing wanted to show its offensive superiority. "Before the game, we said we wanted to get 50 shots and we wanted to hold them to 15," said senior forward Taylor Heise.
GOODHUE — Pace. That was the main key for Friday's Hiawatha Valley League game between Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Goodhue. The Cougars wanted to play the game at a breakneck speed. The Wildcats wanted to put things in slow motion. "They're very disciplined and help out each other," said Z-M senior guard Isaiah Nolte. "We knew it would be a slower game so we wanted to pick up the tempo by pressing them right away and pushing the ball." The first half played more to Goodhue's strength. But once Z-M got sprinting, the Wildcats were not going to catch up.
The captains of the Red Wing boys' swimming and diving team have high expectations. And with new head coach Mikayla Beuch in the mix this winter, the Winger boys wanted to make sure they were all on the same page. "We got into it really early," said senior William Meacham. "Us captains went to her early and said what are the expectations, this is our expectations, this is our traditions and we're going to respect what you'll teach us."
Red Wing could not ask for a better start against Rochester Lourdes. The Wingers were plenty motivated after shocking the Eagles in the Section 1A semifinals last year and put up two quick special teams goals. But Lourdes tied things up before the end of the first period. And the Eagles were able to keep the pressure on with a 6-3 win against Red Wing Saturday at Prairie Island Arena.
Early in the first and second halves, Red Wing could keep pace with Stewartville. But as the minutes dragged on and players got tired, the Tigers were able to outlast the host Wingers on Friday. Ending the first half on a 19-6 run, followed by a 19-0 finish to the game, Stewartville spoiled Red Wing's season opener with a 70-42 victory in the Red Wing tip-off tournament.