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Preparing for the state tournament usually involves some kind of scouting or research. Maybe a quick glance at rankings or seeding or records against familiar opponents can help a coach come up with a tentative lineup. There will be none of that for Link Steffen and Matt Ryan. There are no secrets between Steffen’s Zumbrota-Mazeppa Cougars and Ryan’s Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights. The two schools are less than 20 miles apart, and there is a familiarity that makes that distance seem at once greater and like its just across the street.
WINONA – Being labeled is not what Hunter Krusmark wanted. The 14-year-old Lake City boy has been through enough in life, and being the “cancer kid” is something he'd rather not be.
ROCHESTER – Zumbrota-Mazeppa wasn't as dominant as its had been throughout the regular season, but the Cougars shook off an injury and beat Dover-Eyota, 35-27, and Goodhue, 36-23, on Saturday at Mayo Civic Center to raise the Section 1A championship trophy and cement their spot in the Class 1A tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Z-M, ranked third in the state and the top seed in the section field, was a heavy favorite coming into Satruday. But the Eagles nearly found the ingredients for a recipe for an upset.
OWATONNA – Thursday's Section 1A championship game at Four Seasons Center was between the top two seeds, and was the third matchup of the season for Red Wing and Northfield. The Wingers had won the previous two games by one goal, and it figured that a similar scenario would determine which school would represent the section at next week's state tournament. But few would have guessed that of the 52 combined shots that Tyler McGrath and Mallory Tidona faced, that only one would reach the back of the net.
LAKE CITY – Tuesday's showdown between Lake City and Rochester Lourdes could have cleared up the picture at the top of the Hiawatha Valley League Gold Division standings. Instead, the Eagles came away with a 65-59 victory that puts even more pressure on the Tigers to run the table over their final three games. The game also had implications for the Section 1AA tournament, but Lake City head coach Greg Berge isn't focused at all on a bracket.
For the fifth time in four seasons, Red Wing will have a new head football coach. On Monday, Activities Director John Miller announced via Twitter that Nate Freier, pending school board approval, will take over the program. Freier is a Red Wing graduate, and as a senior played on the 1983 state semifinalist team.
Activities Director John Miller announced via Twitter just after 8 a.m. that Nate Freier will be the new football coach at Red Wing High School. The position had been open since the end of the 2016 season.
The resignation of Josh Hofstedt left Cannon Falls without a head football coach, but the program has named a successor. Pending school board approval, Dan Meyers will be directing the future of the Bombers for years to come.
With four-point games littering the schedule, the Big Nine Conference standings are a bit of a mess. But it doesn't take a calculator to know that when Rochester John Marshall and Red Wing face off, it's going to matter. On Thursday, the Rockets and the Wingers met at Prairie Island Arena, both holding out hope of catching Owatonna for the top spot in the league. But after a 2-2 tie, both JM and Red Wing will have to run the table, but the Wingers will need some assistance.
GOODHUE – Purple or orange, home or away, there was no black and white at the end of Friday's Hiawatha Valley League showdown between two highly-ranked teams. Except, of course, there was the binary colors of the referee's shirt