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ROCHESTER — Lake City, Red Wing and Rochester Lourdes entered Monday's final round of the Section 1AA boys golf tournament at Eastwood Golf Course in Rochester within three strokes of each other. And Byron lurked just 10 shots off the top three. A surprising or underwhelming round from any of the 18, or even 24, individuals on those teams could bring with it a state tournament, or a section championship that slipped away.
Pitching and defense, it's how Red Wing got to the Section 1AAA semifinal, and how they planned staying unbeaten in postseason play. Both of those facets of the game faltered at times on Saturday at Red Wing Athletic Field, but the Wingers once again found a way to win, beating Northfield, 3-2, to move into the section championship.
AUSTIN — The dugout was on the other side, most of the names on the lineup card were different, and the overall sense that history was about to be made was different. But Zumbrota-Mazeppa doesn't like different. The Cougars don't want change. The Section 1AA championship game is where they belong. And on Thursday, Z-M, the defending state champion and definite underdog, toppled top-seeded and second-ranked Rochester Lourdes twice, both times by a score of 7-2.
The top of the first inning was about as bad as Red Wing could imagine. Ben Domagala had to battle a strike zone that eliminated anything at the knees, and the Wingers' defense could only watch as Kasson-Mantorville laced line drive after line drive in front and between each defender. But there was no panic for the top-seeded team in the Section 1AAA tournament. Red Wing came back and tied the game in the bottom of the first, then took advantage of the same limited strike zone, and three K-M errors, for an 11-5 victory that sends the Wingers to the semifinals on Saturday, June 3.
Just before 9 a.m. Thursday, Red Wing Superintendent Karsten Anderson emailed that Activities Director John Miller has resigned, effective at the end of the school year. The School Board is expected to act on the resignation during its first meeting in June.
Nate Freier is betting on Red Wing. As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, a GoFundMe set up by the Wingers' new football coach has raised $2,700 of a stated $16,000 goal. The money, which comes in donations, will be spent on new uniforms for the team. The school does not have the funds, especially after 21 helmets were taken out of the rotation, forcing the district to spring for new ones.
If there is one thing that Paul Hartmann and Corey Tauer have in common, it is the pride they take in Red Wing baseball. From young kids through the high school and Legion teams to the Aces, Hartmann and Tauer will seemingly do anything in their power to promote the game. On Tuesday, their latest effort will glow into the night.
Goodhue state champion signs LOI to Minnesota Bailee O'Reilly had heard from some good wrestling schools. St. Cloud State University was in the mix, and there was interest from O'Reilly in the Huskies, who finished second in the NCAA Division II tournament this year after consecutive national championships in 2015 and 2016. SCSU has also had five individual champions since 2011, and had four All-Americans this season.
Less than two months after accepting the head coaching job, Doug Toivonen was walking around the tennis courts trying to corral players for introductions before Red Wing kicked off the season against Northfield. It's not an unfamiliar scenario for Toivonen, who patrolled the sidelines for 12 seasons for the Wingers’ boys’ basketball. But along with Drew Olinger, who took over for Toivonen in the winter and will be co-head coach with Toivonen for the tennis team, there will be a feeling-out process.
Mara Quam didn't have to play three sports. A gifted athlete, Quam, who will play volleyball next fall while attending Minnesota State University, Mankato, could have decided a couple years ago to focus solely on one sport. With scholarship ability, that tends to be the direction modern athletes choose.