SPORTS & SCHOOL
Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - January 22, 2015 Rob LaPlante
Journal-Press Sports Editor
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Jewell tallies winner on Senior Night against rival Hawks
By Rob LaPlante
It was 11 years ago that girls from the North Wright County River Hawks and Buffalo Bison girls’ hockey teams were last battling for each other instead of against.
A once dominant program in the Wright County Blades merged after the 2004-05 season to form two of the Mississippi 8’s biggest and most competitive conference rivals. The Wright County Challenge Cup traveling trophy is now awarded to the winner in this head-to-head matchup.
The River Hawks are the only team of the two to reach the state tournament (2012-13) since the split, but the Bison have had their rival’s number winning five straight matchups, including a 4-2 win on Friday, Jan. 16 at the Civic Center.
No matter what the records are, players and coaches from both sides know what’s at stake when they meet.
“They beat us 4-0 one year, which was the biggest margin ever between the two teams,” said Bison head coach Ray Dahlof. “It doesn’t matter which team is favored or which one has a better record, both teams get up for this matchup. A lot of the girls know each other so there’s a lot of personal pride going on.”
“It is a great rivalry game,” said NWC head coach Jason Johnson. “Looking at the trophy, man there are a lot of one or two-goal games for the entire series. The biggest win was 4-0 and it probably didn’t feel like a 4-0 win.”
In a bit of a rebuilding year where the River Hawks lost two Division-I players in goalie Alex LaMere (Ohio State) and defenseman Emily Achterkirch (Princeton), the Bison made sure the second time around to keep an eye out on NWC’s most dangerous weapon in senior forward Rachel King.
In Buffalo’s 5-4 win earlier this season on Dec. 2 at Monticello, King registered a hat trick. The second matchup had little time and space for North Wright County’s leading scorer. But like great players do, King used what little space there was to snipe a wrist shot through heavy traffic past senior goalie Kendra Carlson for a 1-0 Hawks lead. It was her team leading 21st goal in 21 games.
“The first game we played them this year, each time we scored, King scored three different times within 30 seconds,” Dahlof said. “We made a conscious effort this time around to have a center be aware of her. She’s such a big threat and even on the goal she scored tonight, (senior) Ashley Effertz was all over her and she still picked that corner. That’s what great players do.”
The goal appeared to spark more than just the River Hawks bench. Just four minutes later, sophomore Taylor Thompson scored the first of three unanswered goals for the Bison. Junior Abby Halluska followed 57 seconds later and senior Madi Jewell tallied the eventual game-winning goal at 14:05 to give the Bison a 3-1 lead after two periods.
Jewell’s goal was her 16th of the season, second only to Halluska’s 22. She said the big rivalry game falling on Senior Night brought out mixed emotions for her right from the first drop of the puck.
“It’s kind of bittersweet. Knowing this might be my last game out here was kind of hard,” Jewell said. “I think it made me work even harder and I wanted to work for the rest of the seniors, too.”
Jewell, Effertz, Carlson, Sydney Driver, Laura Kivisto, Kirsten Olson and Allison Nordvall were all honored before the game as the seven seniors on this year’s squad. Ironically, it was a sophomore and junior stealing the show with Thompson getting the most important goal tying the game 1-1. She later added two assists, one on Halluska’s second goal late in period three.
After a bit of a slow start in the game, Halluska said the Bison never got rattled when they fell behind early in the second period.
“I think we had to keep going. Eventually we knew they had to break,” she said. “They were doing a good job of blocking shots, but there was never a doubt in my mind that we couldn’t break through.”
“It was especially nice to play for the seniors,” Halluska added. “Being their last home game here was a big deal for them and to finish it for them was big.”
Unfortunately for the River Hawks, Halluska’s statement held true.
“One of our keys is to keep things to the outside, and I felt we did that for the most part,” Johnson said. “They have some dangerous players, and when you have the high-end players like they do, they will eventually get their opportunities through a 51-minute game.”
The win assured the Bison (14-7-0 overall) a perfect 4-0 record in Section 8AA, and a first-round home game in the section quarterfinals. North Wright County (9-8-4 overall) is starring at a potential first-round road matchup after falling to 1-6-2 in section play.
Johnson said the hope is for one more crack at his conference and section rival.
“We’re going to have to win a few more in the next few games to continue this great rivalry,” Johnson said. “I told our girls after this loss that this is a team we lost twice to now, but they were two highly competitive games. Hopefully we play this team again. Nobody likes to play a team three times.”
This is the second year the two teams have played as both section and conference rivals. Buffalo made the switch from Section 6AA to 8AA prior to the start of last season. Johnson hopes that the move will someday land an all Wright County final.
“I think it would be cool for the area to have a section final with these two teams. It would be unbelievable,” he said. “If it doesn’t happen this year, I hope it happens sometime soon. I think it would be tremendous for the game of hockey in this area.”
Halluska scored two first-period goals and the Bison followed with nine more in a 11-1 drubbing Tuesday, Jan. 20 at Chisago Lakes.
Halluska finished the night scoring a career-high five goals and added one assist. Junior Payton Rudiger had a career high four points on two goals and two assists.
The victory improved Buffalo’s conference record to 9-0 and clinched at least a share of the Mississippi 8 title. The Bison can clinch the title outright when they play Friday, Jan. 23 at Princeton (6-0 M8).
Buffalo 4, North Wright County 2
(Friday, Jan. 16 at Buffalo)
River Hawks 0 1 1 - 2
Bison 0 3 1 - 4
First period: No scoring
Second period: NWC – Rachel King (Lindsay Finnerty) 5:06; B – Taylor Thompson (Kirsten Olson) 9:03; B – Abby Halluska (Allison Roethke) 10:01; B – Madi Jewell (Thompson, Halluska) 14:05.
Third period: NWC – Jade Ye (Mckayla Petersen) 7:59; B – Halluska (Effertz, Thompson) 8:17.
Goalies: NWC – Julia Bogenholm (loss) 23 shots, 19 saves; B – Kendra Carlson (win) 19 shots, 17 saves. Shots: NWC – 6-5-8 – 19; B – 6-11-6 – 23. Power Plays: NWC – 0-4; B – 0-1.
Buffalo 11, Chisago Lakes 1
(Tuesday, Jan. 20 at Chisago Lakes)
Bison 2 5 4 - 11
Wildcats 0 1 0 - 1
First period: B - Abby Halluska (Payton Rudiger, Ashley Effertz) 9:36; B - Halluska (Effertz, Kirsten Olson) 15:06, PP.
Second period: B - Rudiger (Allison Roethke, Hannah Tormanen) 3:30; B - Halluska (Madi Jewell, Roethke) 6:15; B - Olson (unassisted) 10:04; B - Taylor Thompson (Rylan Bistodeau) 12:13, PP; CL - Calle Bye (unassisted) 12:51; B - Halluska (Bistodeau, Jilli Hovland) 13:53; B - Bistodeau (Hovland, Roethke) 16:42.
Third period: B - Tormanen (Rudiger, Olson) 4:55; B - Halluska (Effertz, Olson) 6:56, PP; B - Rudiger (Halluska, Tormanen) 10:08.
Goalies: B – Kendra Carlson (win) 17 shots, 16 saves; Karly Schmidt 5 shots, 5 saves; Katelyn Sargeant (loss) 44 shots, 33 saves. Shots: B – 11-24-9 – 44; CL - 9-8-5 - 22. Power Plays: B – 3-3, CL - 0-2.
Bison land Royal split; injuries continue to plague top players
By Rob LaPlante
The Buffalo boys’ hockey team is putting its own definition to the hockey phrase “twisted wrister.”
While often referred to as a highlight-reel goal via the wrist shot, the Bison have completed the hat trick this season with key players twisting their wrists. Senior Jake Ramsey is the latest casualty after injuring himself during the first period in the Bison’s 3-1 home loss on Saturday, Jan. 17 to Hopkins. Fortunately for Ramsey and his teammates, it’s only a mild wrist fracture and he’s expected to miss only 2-3 weeks.
Two previous wrist injuries sustained during two pre-season games to senior captain Gunnar Goodmanson and sophomore Blake Habisch forced the Bison to miss two of their most skilled players for nearly a month.
Just when it appeared the lineup was coming to normalcy, it quickly turned to abnormal when Ramsey crashed awkwardly into the end boards.
“I dumped the puck in and turned, and my wrist hit the boards,” Ramsey said. “With all the things happening this year, just our line (Goodmanson, Ramsey and senior Jerame Schuetzle) has played together around five games. It’s really frustrating.”
With nothing to show for a 16-shot, first-period performance, a dejected Bison squad skated to the locker room minus one of their top players and minus one on the scoreboard. Hopkins forward Noah Bragg broke the scoreless tie on an unassisted goal with 42 seconds left in the opening period.
Hopkins quickly made it 2-0 scoring 1:01 into period two on a goal by Jonah Shoemaker-Gagnon. They extended the lead to 3-0 eight minutes later on a goal by Matt Hines. The third goal warranted a time out call by Bison head coach Aaron Johnson who could sense his team feeling defeated, despite still having half the game remaining on the clock.
The Bison finally cracked the net 2:15 into period three when junior Gavin Welch scored with assists to Goodmanson and sophomore defenseman Nick Mueller.
Buffalo junior goalie Ben Zitur made 32 saves, which included a highlight glove save diving from post-to-post to keep Hopkins at bay. Not to be outdone, Royals goalie Josh Kuehmichel was up to the task the entire night stopping 26 of 27 shots.
“Give Hopkins credit, they are a very good team and having a great year,” Johnson said. “They have an outstanding goalie and we couldn’t beat him early when we put up 16 shots. I thought we had a 5-6 minute lapse in the second period where we let them get those couple goals. Besides that, I thought it was a really good hockey game.”
As for the injuries that continue to plague his skilled players, Johnson could only shake his head in disbelief.
“It’s starting to sound like a broken record,” Johnson said. “The good news is, it sounds like a best case scenario from what we thought it was. The nice thing is we only play one game this week on Saturday. It’s too early for a time frame, but at least we’ll get him back for the stretch run.”
BUFFALO 5, ROGERS 2
Prior to their home loss to the Hopkins Royals, the Bison completed a season sweep of the defending conference champion Rogers Royals with a 5-2 road win on Thursday, Jan. 15 at Rogers.
Buffalo’s victory paired with a 6-4 home win on Dec. 13 over Rogers improved the Bison’s conference mark to 5-0 heading into Saturday’s showdown at 7 p.m. at home against second-place St. Michael-Albertville.
In a rare game where the Bison’s top line was intact, Schuetzle’s two first-period goals gave the Bison a 2-0 advantage after 17 minutes. Shane Smith cut the lead in half for the Royals, but sophomore Tom Rooney’s goal at the 12:12 mark of period two would turn out to be the game winner. Ramsey and Goodmanson would score third period insurance goals. The top line accounted for eight total points and senior defenseman Reed Morehouse added three assists from the back end.
“Between the two teams, I think there were six guys missing from the first time we played Rogers,” said Johnson, describing the rare lack of intensity shown between two rival teams in the previous meeting. “This was a more intense game with higher level of play. We played really well and came out with a nice win.”
With seven days to prepare for their other rivals from STMA, the Bison know they will be without one of their leaders. But knowing his wrist injury isn’t as severe as the injuries Goodmanson and Habisch once suffered, Ramsey is optimistic about the team still finishing strong.
“Our team is pretty skilled, even without me here,” Ramsey said. “I’m pretty confident we’ll finish strong and we can get that section win.”
Buffalo 5, Rogers 2
(Thursday, Jan. 15 at Rogers)
Bison 2 1 2 - 5
Royals0 2 0 - 2
First period: B – Jerame Schuetzle (Gunnar Goodmanson) 2:55; B – Schuetzle (Jake Ramsey, Reed Morehouse) 12:35.
Second period: R – Shane Smith (Jason Roberge, Dustin Schoepke) 1:57; B – Tom Rooney (James McNamara, Nick Hanson) 12:12; R – Travis Limoseth (unassisted) 12:28.
Third period: B – Ramsey (Goodmanson, Morehouse) :20; B – Goodmanson (Schuetzle, Morehouse) 11:18.
Goalies: B – Ben Zitur (win) 27 shots, 25 saves; R – Jackson Nelson (loss) 27 shots, 22 saves. Shots: B – 12-5-10 – 27; R – 5-14-8 – 27. Power Plays: B – 0-3; R – 0-3.
Hopkins 3, Buffalo 1
(Saturday, Jan. 17 at Buffalo)
Royals1 2 0 - 3
Bison 0 0 1 - 1
First period: H – Noah Bragg (unassisted) 16:18.
Second period: H – Jonah Shoemaker-Gagnon (Riley Martin) 1:01; H – Matt Hines (Martin) 9:24.
Third period: B – Gavin Welch (Gunnar Goodmanson, Nick Mueller) 2:15.
Goalies: H – Josh Kuehmichel (win) 27 shots, 26 saves; B – Ben Zitur (loss) 35 shots, 32 saves. Shots: H – 9-13-13 – 35; B – 16-4-7 – 27; Power Plays: H – 0-2; B – 0-5.
Buffalo posts four wins over busy two days
By Rob LaPlante
The Buffalo wrestling squad mixed and matched its way to a 4-1 record over a busy two days in which they went 2-0 at the Buffalo Triangular, and 2-1 at the Mound-Westonka Quadrangular.
The Bison defeated Minneapolis South 58-10 and Zimmerman 42-28 on Thursday, Jan. 15 at home in the Triangular. The following day resulted in a 54-18 victory over Irondale, a 47-30 win over Fridley and a 47-24 loss to Mound-Westonka in the Quadrangular.
With match counts creeping up on some wrestlers, Bison head coach Jason Maurer said the goal over the two days was to insert some junior varsity wrestlers into the lineup.
Freshman Jesse Buhmann stepped into senior captain Hunter Durand’s usual spot at 195 pounds and responded with his first career varsity win. Buhmann pinned Irondale’s Isaiah Baldwin in the second period at 2:20. Earlier that match, freshman Ryan Dugan filled in at junior Cole Scherber’s usual spot at 145 pounds and recorded his first career varsity win with a first-period pin (1:28) over Kevin Ihnen.
“We held a few guys out against Irondale to cut down on their match counts,” Maurer said. “It was exciting to see Dugan and Buhmann get their first career varsity wins. It’s just nice having that depth to be able to throw junior varsity guys out there and see them succeed.”
The final showdown resulted in a 47-24 Wooden Nickel victory for host Mound-Westonka over the Bison. The Wooden Nickel is a traveling trophy awarded to the winner of each head-to-head matchup.
“We wrestled hard against Mound-Westonka,” Maurer said. “Honestly, I was more concerned watching our match count.”
The Bison surrendered three matches by forfeit leading to 18 of the White Hawks’ 47 points. Likewise, 12 of Buffalo’s 24 points came by forfeit.
While Buhmann’s first varsity win came against Irondale, his first official varsity win came in match two of the Buffalo Triangular when he filled in at 220 pounds and took a forfeit win to his credit in Buffalo’s 42-28 victory over Zimmerman.
The Bison began the evening with a convincing 58-10 victory over section opponent Minneapolis South. Maurer said the South victory was a pivotal one that improved its section record to 3-1 on the year. It puts them into position to avoid a potential play-in match in the opening round of the section tournament.
“That was the goal, avoid the pigtail matchup,” Maurer said. “I think we are in line to avoid that.”
Buffalo 58, Minneapolis South 10
(Thursday, Jan. 15 at Buffalo)
106 – Ben Ruhr (B) fall 0:34 over Thomas Thell (MS)
113 – Hunter Newman (B) fall 0:38 over Brian Avre (MS)
120 – Ethan More (B) forfeit win
126 – Caleb Drews (B) fall 2:31 over Matthew Staats (MS)
132 – Riley Habisch (B) fall 2:46 over Devin Hinden (MS)
138 – Wyatt Jacobson Hanson (B) dec. 12-10 over Gio Cigarrero (MS)
145 – Kyle Evans (MS) dec. 11-7 over Cole Scherber (B)
152 – Conor Leech (MS) dec. 7-4 over Fletcher Durand (B)
160 – Sam Truen (MS) tech. fall 4:42, 15-0 over Josh Skarin (B)
170 – Jacob Scherber (B) fall 1:40 over Jordan Medlock (MS)
182 – Brandon Schreifels (B) major dec. 15-6 over Xzavier Sererino (MS)
195 – Hunter Durand (B) fall 1:03 over Kai Hutchins (MS)
220 – Adam Treptau (B) injury default over Capryce Johnson (MS)
285 – Robert Sahli (B) dec. 5-2 over Lee Whiteside (MS)
Buffalo 42, Zimmerman 28
(Thursday, Jan. 15 at Buffalo)
106 – Nick Merta (Z) major dec. 14-6 over Ben Ruhr (B)
113 – Hunter Newman (B) dec. 15-8 over Jacob Gagne (Z)
120 – Charlie DesMarais (B) fall 4:48 over Brayden Rusterholtz (Z)
126 – Caleb Drews (B) dec. 7-2 over Nathan Thompson (Z)
132 – Riley Habisch (B) dec. 6-0 over Jacob Waalk (Z)
138 – Trentin Milless (Z) fall 1:39 over Wyatt Jacobson Hanson (B)
145 – Cole Scherber (B) fall 0:20 over Connor Gagne (Z)
152 – Calvin Waterhouse (Z) fall 4:48 over Fletcher Durand (B)
160 – Kaleb Kliever (Z) fall 1:24 over Josh Skarin (B)
170 – Jacob Scherber (B) fall 2:18 over Justin Hartman (Z)
182 – Austin May fall 3:07 over Brandon Schreifels (B)
195 – Hunter Durand (B) dec. 7-3 over Billy Johann (Z)
220 – Jesse Buhmann (B) forfeit win
285 – Jackson Reay (B) forfeit win
Buffalo 54, Irondale 18
(Friday, Jan. 16 at Mound-Westonka)
106 – Both teams open (no points)
113 – Jordan Kedrowski (I) dec. 11-5 over Hunter Newman (B)
120 – Ethan More (B) forfeit win
126 – Sean LaFleur (I) dec. 7-3 over Caleb Drews (B)
132 – Riley Habisch (B) fall 1:52 over Lucas Janecek (I)
138 – Wyatt Jacobson Hanson (B) fall 1:08 over Henry Hofstede (I)
145 – Ryan Dugan (B) fall 1:28 over Kevin Ihnen (I)
152 – Fletcher Durand (B) fall 2:50 over Jake Brown (I)
160 – Justin Escobar (I) fall over Ethan Bursch (B)
170 – Nick Harelson (I) forfeit win
182 – Brandon Schreifels (B) fall 1:25 over Jake Spencer (I)
195 – Jesse Buhmann (B) fall 2:20 over Isaiah Baldwin (I)
220 – Jackson Reay (B) forfeit win
285 – Robert Sahli (B) fall 1:28 over Abe Dukuly (I)
Buffalo 47, Fridley 30
(Friday, Jan. 16 at Mound-Westonka)
106 – Gabe Allen (F) forfeit win
113 – Nic Fite (F) fall 1:04 over Hunter Newman (B)
120 – Charlie DesMarais (B) fall 1:08 over Aaron Rathke (F)
126 – Caleb Drews (B) fall 1:22 over Abe Rizvi (F)
132 – Riley Habisch (B) fall 1:30 over Rossi Davis (F)
138 – Wyatt Jacobson Hanson (B) fall 1:59 over John Bartee (F)
145 – Jonathan Arzola (F) fall 1:35 over Ryan Dugan (B)
152 – Fletcher Durand (B) fall 4:54 over Danyel Olivera (F)
160 – Sergio Diaz (F) fall 1:07 over Ethan Bursch (B)
170 – Jacob Scherber (B) fall 1:31 over Joe Dean (F)
182 – Brandon Schreifels (B) dec. 8-4 over John Allen (F)
195 – Nocholas Alvarez (F) fall 4:42 over Jesse Buhmann (B)
220 – Hunter Durand (B) major dec. 10-2 over Miguel Leiva (F)
285 – Robert Sahli (B) major dec. 13-2 over Michael Schocker (F)
Mound-Westonka 47, Buffalo 24
(Friday, Jan. 16 at Mound-Westonka)
106 – Aaron Cashman (MW) forfeit win
113 – Ben Schmalz (MW) forfeit win
120 – Ethan More (B) forfeit win
126 – Caleb Drews (B) fall 1:35 over Devon Rodriguez (MW)
132 – Lee Schmalz (MW) dec. 5-2 over Riley Habisch (B)
138 – Sam Bennyhoff tech. fall 20-2 (4:00) over Wyatt Jacobson Hanson (B)
145 – Ryan Reid (MW) fall 2:39 over Ryan Dugan (B)
152 – Luke Schmalz (MW) forfeit win
160 – Fletcher Durand (B) dec. 9-4 over Bobby Sweet (MW)
170 – Cole Anderly (MW) fall 0:22 over Ethan Bursch (B)
182 – Brandon Schreifels (B) dec. 6-2 over Noah Sweet (MW)
195 – Jesse Buhmann (B) forfeit win
220 – Joe Duffy (MW) fall 5:13 over Jackson Reay (B)
285 – Kyle Johnson (MW) dec. 2-1 over Robert Sahli (B)
Bison gymnasts third at Buffalo Invitational
By Rob LaPlante
The Monticello gymnastics squad is taking a liking to the Buffalo High School gymnasium.
A first-place score of 134.400 on Saturday, Jan. 17 at the six-team Buffalo Invitational was the second win at BHS over an eight-day span. The first victory came Friday, Jan. 9 in a 131.175 to 129 dual win over the Bison.
In both competitions with the Magic, the Bison left the gym with their heads high. The score of 129 in defeat was their highest team total of the season. They topped that eight days later with a score of 131.75 at the invite.
Bison head coach Martha Driscoll-Nelson said it was one of the events that Buffalo historically has been strong in, but struggled with the most this season that made the difference. A score of 32.600 on the balance beam was one of two third-place medals they took home on the afternoon.
“We’ve kind of been all over the beam this year,” Driscoll-Nelson said. “We made some big improvements on that.”
One of the strongest events this season led to a third-place medal in floor exercise with a score of 33.600. The Bison finished fourth in bars (31.40) and fifth in vault (34.15).
“For what we’re doing on bars, it looks really good,” Driscoll-Nelson said. “It’s very difficult to get higher level skills, so that’s what we’re starting to work on now.”
Although not completely healthy, sophomore Allie Merz has been limited to bars only as she is recovering from an early season injury where she dislocated her knee cap.
“I did physical therapy for five weeks,” Merz said. “I’m free now to do everything, but I’m still out of shape. I’m just sticking to bars to work my way back in.”
Merz had high expectations coming into this season after a strong finish last year as Buffalo’s top all-around gymnast at the section meet. She admits, the injury was a bit of a setback.
“Last year was my first year in high school, and it was a really good year,” Merz said. “I got a lot of skills towards the end and into sections. This year I wanted to do well and the injury kind of put a damper on my season.”
Merz is not the only gymnast to miss substantial practice time. Junior Mallory Hedden is also working her way back from injury. Like Merz, an ankle injury suffered during a floor exercise routine has limited her to bars only.
While the lineup is not completely 100-percent, it’s no coincidence that the team scores are starting to rise with some of their injured players returning to the lineup.
“It’s helpful to be able to practice,” Driscoll-Nelson said. “Now a girl like Allie can practice, and for the first time she hit her bar routine, because she can do it without fear of hurting herself.”
The hope is to have Merz and Hedden back into the lineup in full health with the hopes of adding more depth at the all-around positions. Even though the Buffalo Invite was not an individual competition, freshmen Alex Zeiss (34.00), Rachel Haas (33.45) and junior Mallorie Habisch (33.15) have been the Bison’s primary all-around gymnasts.
BIG LAKE, BIG SCORE
While the Bison were happy to finally crack the 130-mark, another squad was reaching uncharted territories when conference leading Big Lake (5-0) hit the 140-mark for the first time this season in a 141.2 to 128.2 dual win on Thursday, Jan. 15 over Buffalo.
Mallory Dick of Big Lake took top all-around with a score of 37.7. Bison junior Mallorie Habisch (4th-vault), freshman Alex Zeiss (4th-bars, 4th-beam, 5th-floor) and sophomore Ingrid Nelson (5th-beam) were the only Bison to place in the top five at the meet.
The Bison are next in action at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22 at Chisago Lakes.
Big Lake 141.2, Buffalo 128.2
(Thursday, Jan. 15 at Big Lake)
Scores not available
(Saturday, Jan. 17 at Buffalo)
Team scores: 1. Monticello 134.400; 2. Minnetonka 133.900; 3. Buffalo 131.750; 4. Moorhead 129.850; 5. Annandale 126.500; 6. Delano 123.750. Did not participate: Osseo & St. Cloud Apollo.
Vault: 1. Monticello 35.20; 2. Annandale 34.55; 3. Moorhead 34.40; 4. Buffalo 34.15; 5. Delano 33.95; 6. Minnetonka 33.90.
Uneven Bars: 1. Minnetonka 33.30; 2. Moorhead 32.25; 3. Monticello 32.15; 4. Buffalo 31.40; 5. Delano 29.50; 6. Annandale 28.20.
Balance Beam: 1. Minnetonka 34.40; 2. Monticello 33.30; 3. Buffalo 32.60; 4. Moorhead 32.10; 5. Annandale 29.90; 6. Delano 28.10.
Floor Exercise: 1. Annandale 33.85; 2. Monticello 33.75; 3. Buffalo 33.60; 4. Minnetonka 32.30; 5. Delano 32.20; 6. Moorhead 31.10.
Swimming & Diving
Buffalo improves to 4-1; fifth at True Team meet
By Rob LaPlante
A fifth-place finish for the Buffalo boys’ swim/dive team at this year’s Section 8AA True Team Meet held Friday-Saturday, Jan. 16-17 at St. Cloud Tech High School brought home mixed emotions.
St. Cloud Tech edged St. Michael-Albertville 1,410 to 1,321 to win the meet. The Bison finished fifth out of eight teams with a total score of 1,147.5.
“We didn’t swim our best,” said Bison head coach Pam Brophy. “We’re dealing with a top varsity kid moving out of state (senior Mo Ragab), several still getting over the flu, and two who were out of town for the weekend.”
Through all the turmoil, the Bison still had a few highlights. Freshman Charlie Bean finished second in the 500 freestyle and third in the 200 freestyle. Sophomore Josh Muntifering tied for third in the 100 butterfly and fourth in the 100 backstroke.
Sophomore Hunter Brings overcame a scary incident in which his arm hit the diving board in warm-ups prior to his final three dives. Despite a bandaged arm, Brings still managed a fourth-place finish in the 1-meter, 11-dive event. Brings’ scored a 391.1, which was 30 points higher than last year’s state qualifying total he posted at the section championships.
“There is a talented group of divers this year,” Brophy said. “This was a PR (personal record) for Hunter. He finished with his arm bandaged to stop the bleeding. He’s a tough, determined kid.”
Section 8AA True Team Meet
(Saturday, Jan. 18 at St. Cloud Tech)
Team scores: 1. 1. St. Cloud Tech High 1,410; 2. St. Michael-Albertville 1,321.5; 3. Elk River High School 1280.5; 4. Brainerd High 1,194.5; 5. Buffalo 1,147.5; 6. Moorhead 685; 7. Rogers 257; 8. Thunder 60.
200 Medley Relay: 1. Elk River 1:42.29; 4. Buffalo (Noah Butler, Jordan Dick, Josh Muntifering, Dustin Green)1:47.39; 10. Buffalo (Carter Barton, CJ Tuchtenhagen, Ramon Vega Jr., Brian Pettit) 1:54.80; 18. Buffalo (Triston Kosek, Wyatt Bomstad, Marco Maffei, Seth Warpula) 2:07.18; 19. Buffalo (Cael Tuchtenhagen, Kaelan Leahy, Eric Susa, Kolbe Charpentier) 2:12.41.
200 Freestyle: Anthony Schwartz (SCT) 1:47.43; 3. Charlie Bean (B) 1:50.33; 18. Maffei (B) 2:08.06; 19. Barton (B) 2:08.97; 21. Charpentier (B) 2:17.96.
200 Individual Medley: Max Lezer (STMA) 2:00.55; 9. Butler (B) 2:18.38; 10. Parker Kabe (B) 2:23.09; 15. CJ Tuchtenhagen (B) 2:24.82; 20. Kosek (B) 2:37.58.
50 Freestyle: 1. Spencer Hlavachek (ER) 22.15; 4. Dick (B) 23.26; 13. Green (B) 24.81; 19. Christian Tichich (B) 25.88; 23. Seth Warpula (B) 26.91.
1-Meter Dive: 1. Andrew Bronshteyn (ER) 448.60; 4. Hunter Brings (B) 391.10; 8. Andrew Zeiss (B) 274.25; 11. Quincy Kabe (B) 209.20.
100 Butterfly: 1. Grant Moser (STMA) 54.51; T3. Muntifering (B) 56.95; 11. Vega Jr. (B) 1:04.40; 13. Butler (B) 1:04.91; 23. Eric Susa (B) 1:21.81.
100 Freestyle: 1. Hlavachek (ER) 49.38; 9. Pettit (B) 54.78; 20. Tichich (B) 58.54; 25. Leahy (B) 1:06.75; 26. Max Menzemer (B) 1:07.70.
500 Freestyle: 1. Lezer (STMA) 4:55.91; 2. Bean (B) 5:06.50; 9. P. Kabe (B) 5:39.25; 17. Kosek (B) 6:16.28; 20. Susa (B) 6:46.41.
200 Freestyle Relay: 1. Elk River 1:29.63; 4. Buffalo (Green, Pettit, Dick, Bean) 1:34.54; 11. Buffalo (CJ Tuchtenhagen, Maffei, Tichich, P. Kabe) 1:43.83; 16. Buffalo (Vega Jr., Bomstad, Warpula, Charpentier) 1:47.22; 20. Buffalo (Cael Tuchtenhagen, Matt Jurgens, Susa, Kosek) 1:53.90.
100 Backstroke: 1. Schwartz (SCT) 54.09; 4. Muntifering (B) 57.90; 13. Barton (B) 1:06.22; 15. Maffei (B) 1:09.79; 18. Cael Tuchtenhagen (B) 1:16.10.
100 Breaststroke: 1. Nick Kopp (ER) 1:04.67; 3. Dick (B) 1:05.53; 15. CJ Tuchtenhagen (B) 1:15.06; 20. Bomstad (B) 1:19.68; 26. Leahy (B) 1:25.33.
400 Freestyle Relay: 1. STMA 3:22.06; 5. Buffalo (Green, Butler, Muntifering, Bean) 3:35.07; 10. Buffalo (P. Kabe, Barton, Tichich, Pettit) 3:49.84; 17. Buffalo (Charpentier, Leahy, Warpula, Vega Jr.) 4:16.74; 21. Buffalo (Cael Tuchtenhagen, Jurgens, Menzemer, Bomstad) 4:34.53.
The Bison squeaked out a 96-90 road win on Thursday, Jan. 15 at Chisago Lakes.
With Buffalo leading 90-82 heading into the final event, Chisago Lakes needed to finish in the top two spots in the final event, the 400 freestyle relay, to finish with a victory. Their top relay team grabbed eight points with a first place win, but Buffalo’s relay team of senior Dustin Green, junior Noah Butler, sophomore Josh Muntifering and freshman Charlie Bean finished second to clinch the meet.
“What an exciting meet,” Brophy said. “Muntifering and Butler were both really sick, yet managed to score some really big points. They were an inspiration to the entire team.”
Both teams finished the meet with six first-place finishes.
The Bison improved to 4-1 overall in duals thanks to a 100-86 home win on Tuesday, Jan. 20 over Andover. Buffalo had nine first-place finishes.
Buffalo 96, Chisago Lakes 90
(Thursday, Jan. 15 at Chisago Lakes)
200 Medley Relay: 1. Buffalo (Noah Butler, Jordan Dick, Josh Muntifering, Dustin Green) 1:50.72; 3. Buffalo (Carter Barton, CJ Tuchtenhagen, Ramon Vega Jr., Christian Tichich) 1:56.09.
200 Freestyle: 1. Charlie Bean (B) 1:52.72; 3. Brian Pettit (B) 2:04.48; 5. Barton (B) 2:07.47.
200 Individual Medley: 1. Riley Darling (CL) 2:05.25*; 2. Muntifering (B) 2:17.22; 4. CJ Tuchtenhagen (B) 2:23.36; Parker Kabe (B) 2:24.50.
50 Freestyle: 1. Dick (B) 23.58; 3. Green (B) 24.80; 4. Tichich (B) 24.98.
1-Meter Dive: 1. Jacob Doble (CL) 279.85; 3. Hunter Brings (B) 238.40; 4. Andrew Zeiss (B) 139.25; 5. Zeke Brallier (116.05).
100 Butterfly: 1. Muntifering (B) 57.16*; 3. Butler (B) 1:03.21; 4. Vega Jr. (B) 1:04.72.
100 Freestyle: 1. Austin Turman (CL) 51.97; 2. Pettit (B) 55.22; 3. Green (B) 55.56.
500 Freestyle: 1.Darling (CL) 5:00.41; 2. Bean (B) 5:02.86; 3. P. Kabe (B) 5:46.86.
200 Freestyle Relay: 1. Chisago Lakes (Colton Olson, Jacob Carlson, Turman, Darling) 1:36.20; 2. Buffalo (Dick, Tichich, Pettit, Bean) 1:36.35.
100 Backstroke: 1. Butler (B) 1:00.72; 2. Barton (B) 1:05.56; 4. Maffei (B) 1:09.14.
100 Breaststroke: 1. Dick (B) 1:06.04; 5. CJ Tuchtenhagen (B) 1:13.42.
400 Freestyle Relay: 1. Chisago Lakes (Derek Frank, Olson, Turman, Darling) 3:33.09; 2. Buffalo (Green, Butler, Muntifering, Bean) 3:38.38.
Late free throws sink Brainerd; Bison defeat Big Lake, Wayzata
By Rob LaPlante
If there’s one thing this year’s Buffalo girls’ basketball squad has proven, it’s their ability to fight through adversity.
After two emotional losses against rivals St. Michael-Albertville and Rogers, both counting against them in the conference and section standings, the Bison responded with two straight wins. One coming in a 58-47 conference road victory on Thursday, Jan. 15 at Big Lake. The other was a 62-61 road win on Saturday, Jan. 17 at section rival Brainerd.
The ability to bounce back from key losses is evident this season. Buffalo has yet to lose more than two games in a row.
“Coming off a big loss to STMA and then losing a close one to Rogers, we needed to come out strong and play well as a team against Big Lake and we did,” said Bison senior Anika Fredrick. “What I liked about the Big Lake game was that we played more as a team. We worked on sharing the ball more which helped us get a lot of good looks at the basket.”
The Bison enjoyed a 32-22 halftime lead over Big Lake, but Buffalo head coach Scot Sorenson said most that half was a one or two possession contest. Buffalo senior Morgan Warner nailed two consecutive 3-pointers that helped spark the rally.
“She hit two corner shots that helped build that 10-point lead,” Sorenson said. “Those shots seemed to spurt the team on the rest of the way.”
Seniors Carolyn Feddema, Chloe Boster and Fredrick paced the way offensively. Feddema had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Boster finished with 11 points and three assists. Fredrick also had a big game scoring 15 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
“They didn’t have any tall girls, so I had a good advantage in that game,” said Fredrick.
After losing two straight section games to STMA and Rogers, the Bison picked up a much needed 62-61 Section 8-4A win on Saturday, Jan. 17 at Brainerd.
Feddema converted two free throws with 0:01 seconds remaining in regulation to seal the win for Buffalo (4-2 section, 8 -5 overall). After trailing 41-29 at halftime, the Bison regrouped and found a way to win despite Sorenson and Luedemann missing a good chunk of the game each with four fouls.
“Our offense didn’t go crazy, but we didn’t let them score. Our defense is what sparked that comeback,” Coach Sorenson said. “It was a slow climb. It took a lot to get back.”
Down by one point with 5.1 seconds left, Feddema dribbled the ball to the top of the key. Already having scored 20 points, a last second shot attempt resulted in a foul. Feddema calmly nailed both free throws giving the Bison the 62-61 win.
“It was definitely nice to be on the winning side of the game,” Fredrick said. “We have worked hard in practice to clean up some things in the game and it has worked out well.”
LOSS AT WAYZATA
A six-minute lapse cost Buffalo a very winnable road game on Tuesday, Jan. 20 at Wayzata. The Bison led 28-21 at halftime, but Wayzata went on an 18-6 run over a six-minute span to earn a 58-47 non-conference victory.
Buffalo turned the ball over seemingly every other possession during that stretch. Coach Sorenson said the bad habits that crept up on them in the St. Michael loss came back to haunt them.
“We let up a little bit and Wayzata took advantage of it, and then we felt sorry for ourselves,” Sorenson said. “We started to get that emotional piece in there again, and it was a negative emotion and it took over the whole game.”
Thanks to some sloppy play and missed free throws on Wayzata’s end, the Bison were able to claw their way back to within 51-44 with 3:12 left in regulation. Fredrick scored six of her team-high 18 points inside the paint during the 6-0 run.
With 1:12 left, Buffalo had a chance to cut the lead to four, but a turnover forced Buffalo to play the fouling game, and Wayzata would nail its free throws down the stretch.
The Bison (8-6 overall) next are in action with a 7:15 p.m. home game on Thursday, Jan. 22 against Monticello.
Buffalo 58, Big Lake 47
(Thursday, Jan. 15 at Big Lake)
Bison 32 26 - 58
Hornets 22 25 - 47
Hornets (47): Courtney Nelson 14, Maddy Bisbee 8, Paige Domyahn 6, Emma Anderson 6, Ashley Brethorst 5, Kelly Jochum 5, Talyn McClaffin 3.
Bison (58): Anika Fredrick 15, Carolyn Feddema 12, Chloe Boster 11, Morgan Warner 6, Cadyn Luedemann 6, Hailey Sorenson 6, Payton Speckel 2.
Rebounds: Fredrick 14, Feddema 12, Speckel 6, Sorenson 5, Luedemann 5, Boster 2, Maddy Henson 2, Autumn Senger 1. Assists: Feddema 3, Boster 3, Henson 2, Fredrick 2. Steals: Luedemann 4, Sorenson 3, Speckel 1, Feddema 1, Boster 1 (2 blocks), Maddie Wagner 1.
Buffalo 62, Brainerd 61
(Saturday, Jan. 17 at Brainerd)
Bison 29 33 - 62
Warriors 41 20 - 61
Bison (62): Carolyn Feddema 22, Anika Fredrick 17, Hailey Sorenson 15, Cadyn Luedemann 3, Autumn Senger 2, Payton Speckel 2, Chloe Boster 1.
Warriors (61): Kylee Heurung 17, Jenna Degen 14,Katy Johnson 11, Tedi Ramberg 6, Ashley Huber 6, Abby Clanton 4, Mikinze Boeder 3.
Rebounds: Feddema 9, Fredrick 6, Boster 5, Maddy Henson 4, Sorenson 2, Senger 2, Maddie Wagner 1, Luedemann 1, Speckel 1, Warner 1. Assists: Henson 5, Sorenson 4, Feddema 3, Boster 1. Steals: Henson 2, Sorenson 2, Fredrick 1 (1 block), Wagner 1, Feddema 1.
Wayzata 57, Buffalo 48
(Tuesday, Jan. 20 at Wayzata)
Bison 28 20 - 48
Warriors 21 36 - 57
Bison (48): Anika Fredrick 18, Cadyn Luedemann 12, Carolyn Feddema 9, Hailey Sorenson 7, Maddy Henson 2.
Trojans (57): Hannah Heiring 20, Liz Waytas, Annie Robertson 8, Ali Larson 8, Mimi Schrader 4, Sydney Franks 3.
Rebounds: Ludemann 15, Fredrick 11, Boster 4, Senger 3, Feddema 3, Sorenson 2. Assists: Luedemann 3, Henson 3, Chloe Boster 3, Sorenson 2, Speckel 1, Feddema 1, Maddie Wagner 1. Steals: Sorenson 3 (1 block), Speckel 2, Henson 2, Boster 0 (1 block).
Roller coaster season continues with conference loss, section win
By Rob LaPlante
Fans are scratching heads. Coaches are losing sleep.
The last time the Buffalo boys’ basketball team had a record below .500 this far into the season was 10 years ago when they had an 8-9 record. They went on to finish that season with an overall mark of 12-13.
This year’s squad finds themselves sitting at 7-9 overall heading into a 7:15 p.m. road game on Friday, Jan. 23 at Monticello. After winning three of four games, which included one of the best efforts of the season in a 61-50 road win on Jan. 13 at Rogers, Bison head coach Nick Guida thought his team had turned the corner.
Their momentum carried into the early stages of their next game in which the Bison jumped out to an early 17-5 first-half advantage on Friday, Jan. 16 at home over Big Lake.
Just when it appeared Buffalo was about to blow the Hornets back to Big Lake, the walls quickly came tumbling down. A 15-2 run to end the half sparked a stunning 55-50 upset over a Bison team that had lost to Big Lake only once in the previous seven meetings.
“We scored one breakaway basket in 19 straight possessions to end the first half,” Guida said. “You can’t win basketball games chewing up that much time and coming up empty on 18 of 19 possessions.”
While the Bison were struggling for offense, senior captains Jonny Senger and Zach Dahl did their best to create a spark scoring 32 of Buffalo’s 50 points. Much like the Bison’s win over Rogers, the Hornets finished with four players finishing with at least 10 points led by Tanner Teige’s 13.
“Big Lake did everything right. They wanted it more than us,” said Dahl, who scored a game-high 20 points.
Dahl admitted, the longer than normal slow start is starting to weigh on the players.
“It’s been a frustrating year, for sure,” he said. “We’re still trying to figure some things out. We have some guys who haven’t played a lot of varsity basketball, but I also feel like we have the guys that can turn this thing around. We just need to take things game-by-game.”
Both Dahl and Senger were instrumental pieces to last year’s team that set a team record 16-game winning streak after a 5-5 start. Senger said the Big Lake loss was an emotional one.
“It was the most disappointing loss, ever, in my sports career,” he said. “It’s pretty frustrating still having problems, but we will get through it, like always.”
With no disrespect to Big Lake, who last defeated Buffalo 47-43 on Jan. 12, 2012, Guida said this was a game that caused him to lose sleep.
“The word disappointment is an understatement. After that Rogers win, I thought we maybe were ready to turn the corner,” Guida said. “Give Big Lake credit, they wanted it more. But we played poorly on defense and didn’t pay the price it takes to win a basketball game. It was probably the most disappointed I felt in my tenure as coach here. I went home and didn’t sleep that great.”
But like any bad day, the sun always rises the next morning and despite a red-eye, sleepless night, Guida woke early Saturday morning to deliver a message to his players that each guy needs to hold each other accountable.
“I honestly am not worried about the final score at the end of the game,” Guida said. “What I care about is what we can control and how hard we play. Our practices are sometimes more grueling than the games and guys need to bring that same effort each time out there.”
Buffalo was fortunate enough to have a game the next day when they traveled north to Brainerd for a key section game against the Warriors. With both teams playing the night before (Brainerd was playing its third game in as many nights), fatigue could have been a factor.
The Bison responded with a 65-49 road victory and once again enjoyed a hot-shooting night from Dahl, who led both teams with 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Senior Jared High scored 14 points, and senior Cory Thielman added 13.
“The way we played Friday against Big Lake, it was nice to be able to go on the road the very next day and get some team bonding going,” Dahl said. “We played with a lot more energy and everyone played for each other.”
Dahl’s 39 points scored in two games is something Buffalo has been missing this season. Currently he is the only player on the team averaging double figures in scoring (11.2 point per game), and Guida has leaned heavily on his veteran leader.
“He’s put a lot of time into the game,” Guida said. “He’s doing a great job and is one of those players that just wants to win.”
Big Lake 55, Buffalo 50
(Friday, Jan. 16 at Buffalo)
Hornets 20 35 - 55
Bison 19 31 - 50
Hornets (55): Tanner Teige 13, Teddy Paulson 12, Brady Vogt 11, Zach Gesicke 10, Sam Jochum 4, Trenton Monson 3, Collin Teigen 2.
Bison (50): Zach Dahl 20, Jonny Senger 12, Jared High 6, Taylor Spier 5, Dusty Willert 3, Dylan Rohlin 2, Cory Thielman 2.
Rebounds: Senger 5, Dahl 5, Thielman 5, High 4, Spier 3, Rohlin 1. Assists: Senger 5, Dahl 2, Thielman 2, High 1, Rohlin 1, Spier 1. Steals: Senger 4, Spier 2, Thielman 1, Rohlin 1.
Buffalo 65, Brainerd 49
(Saturday, Jan. 17 at Brainerd)
Bison 33 32 - 65
Warriors 27 22 - 49
Bison (65): Zach Dahl 19, Jared High 14, Cory Thielman 13, Dylan Rohlin 6, Taylor Spier 5, Dusty Willert 4, Jonny Senger 4.
Warriors (49): Chris Pederson 17, Kobe Ahonen 14, Michael Russell 9, Jack Geraets 4, Logan Madsen 3, Hunter Casper 2.
Rebounds: Dahl 9, High 4, Spier 4, Thielman 4, Senger 3, Rohlin 3, Willert 1. Assists: Dahl 4, Senger 3, Thielman 2, High 1. Steals: Spier 1, Thileman 1, Willert 1, Dahl 1, Laidlaw 0 (1 block).
BHS in gear for FIRST Robotics competition
By Rob LaPlante
School News Editor
The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition craze has hit Buffalo High School.
Founded in 1992 by Dean Kamen, FIRST started as a small competition of 28 teams inside a New Hampshire high school gymnasium. In 20 years, the activity has grown in popularity that in 2014, nearly 2,722 teams competed from across the world for one international title.
The object to the game is to build a robot from scratch over a six-week time frame which started on Saturday, Jan. 3 with the goal of advancing past the regional competition on Feb. 25-28 in Duluth and into the International Championships held in April at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.
The inaugural team at BHS is simply named RoboHerd Team 5542. It’s a student-run, self-funded activity. BHS Technology Education teacher Ben Wandmacher is the adviser and team mentors include Tom McMullen and Kris Dierks.
McMullen said it’s only fitting that a school like Buffalo joins the FIRST team due to its history of students within the district having a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) background. Many of the students on RoboHerd Team 5542 attended the STEM school at Tatanka Elementary.
“This program is basically an extension of the STEM program,” McMullen said. “One of the challenges for these students is when they get into high school there are not as many areas for them to pursue those STEM programs, and this is just another opportunity. This is the fastest growing program in the country. It combines engineering, technology, programming as well as fabrication and sales and marketing.”
BHS senior Ryan Bowers said he joined the FIRST team because he thought the idea of building a robot from scratch over a six-week period to be used in game competition was a cool idea.
“It’s kind of unlike any other activity the school or anyone else has,” Bowers said. “We have a design team, we have people that actually have to assemble a product, we have software developers and we have people that have to market a product. This is basically a company in itself in a school setting. I felt it would be a cool experience to have under my belt heading into a college and into a career.”
Bowers is the lead of the programming team. He said each student has certain roles with the number one goal of designing a robot that completes simple tasks such as stacking boxes, tossing balls into goals, stacking inner tubes on racks or climbing ladders.
“We design the software for the robots. The instructions for the robot when it functions on its own. The code for how the driver controls the robot when you control it directly. All that has to be done from scratch,” Bowers said. “Scoring is based on what your robot does during the game. What your robot looks like doesn’t matter. It’s the performance it gives. The more pieces in the game it can manipulate, the better it’s going to do, hopefully.”
As a self-funded program, the FIRST Team 5542 members have put in a lot of time and effort to find sponsors and to raise money through various fundraisers.
McMullen said some of the best robotics teams in the state operate on about a $100,000 budget. Currently, Team 5542 is hoping to someday reach a fifth of that level.
“There are programs that are really well established that run up to $100,000 a year,” he said. “We can get buy and survive very neatly on $9,000 per year, but realistically to have a good program, we need to raise about $20,000 a year.”
The team has already received donations and sponsorships from area businesses in the technical world: Xcel Energy, Polaris, Industrial Reps, Maverick Software, SAIC, Lohse Trucking, FlexMation, ACME Tools, DSI MN, and AndyMark.
With robotics already playing a huge role in nearly every business industry today, the idea is to prepare students that science technology and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding, but are proven paths to a successful career.
Studies have shown that students participating in FIRST Robotics are significantly more likely to attend college, major in science or engineering, and be outstanding future employees and citizens.
“Buffalo is an old farming community,” McMullen said. “Well, I can tell you that every farmer right now has robots planting or harvesting most of the crops. Robotics isn’t going away. It’s going to get more and more popular in everyday life.”
“It’s sort of the wave of the future,” said Wandmacher. “It seems like as time goes on everything is going to be automated at some point.”
A handful of area schools including Annandale, Monticello, Howard Lake, Becker and Elk River all have FIRST Robotics programs.
“It’s starting to grow in the northwest suburbs,” McMullen said. “If you go in the bigger city schools, all of those schools have this program.”
The Northern Lights Regional Competition will feature somewhat of a setup in which robots are placed in a course similar to a hockey rink setting, and timed and scored based on stacking abilities.
Fifty-four regions compete with the goal of reaching the International Championships at St. Louis in April.
“It’s a pretty intense game,” Wandmacher said. “The top scoring teams advance to nationals and as a rookie team, we have a chance. The top two rookie teams also advance to nationals.”
Buffalo FFA students complete Agricultural Policy Experience
By Rob LaPlante
School News Editor
Two members of Buffalo FFA successfully participated in the Minnesota FFA Agricultural Policy Experience held Monday, Jan. 12 and Tuesday Jan. 13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul.
BHS juniors Ellen LaFave and Jacob Wilts attended the fourth annual event which encourages and challenges students to push past their current knowledge of agricultural issues and policy, and become a more informed and active leader in their schools and communities.
FFA members met with different agriculture policy members who worked closely with students.
The students also had an opportunity to hear from Dave Fredrickson, the Commissioner of Agriculture, as well as several other Minnesota House and Senate members and various other speakers.
“The overall experience was amazing. I got to meet many senators and representatives and talked about my agriculture story,” she said. “A lot of them related to our stories. I learned to have confidence in what you’re talking about and not to show that you’re nervous.”
Some of the topics covered included political terminology and legislative committee structures, their personal role in policy engagement and exploration of the legislative process.
Students also hosted a legislative reception where they interacted with legislators and state department leaders. The day concluded with a mock senate discussing the state’s current agricultural topics.
This unique experience was made possible through the support of the Minnesota FFA Foundation and various sponsors, including: AgStar Financial Services, Minnesota Corn Growers, Minnesota Farmers Union, AMPI, Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council, Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, Minnesota Turkey Growers and Center for Rural Policy and Development.