SPORTS & SCHOOL
Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - July 24, 2014 Rob LaPlante
Journal-Press Sports Editor
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BHS 2013-14 Athletes of the Year
The male and female “Senior Athletes of the Year” for 2013-14 have been named at Buffalo High School. Andrew Iverson and Kylee Zumach have been chosen to represent the senior Class of 2014. Both have had successful athletic careers at BHS, and both have made a lasting impact on the Bison athletics that will last for years to come.
Iverson has been a three-sport athlete at BHS participating in football, basketball and baseball at the varsity level both his junior and senior years. Coaches describe him as a great leader and teammate always looking to make others around him better in any situation. Twice he was named Mississippi 8 all-conference in football and once his senior year in baseball. He was a starting point guard on the 2013-14 basketball team that returned to the state tournament for the first time since 2007. Iverson’s college plan next year is to attend Augsburg University in Minneapolis where he will play football for the Auggies.
“Narrowing the selection down to one male and one female for the award is challenging. There are many dedicated and deserving athletes coming through our school,” said BHS Activities Director Tom Bauman. “Multiple names of senior athletes were again submitted and considered for selection. These two athletes have worked very hard and are deserving of this recognition. We have all been lucky to have been able to watch Andrew and Kylee participate as Bison athletes.”
The award has been given annually since 2005. Zumach now joins the list of past female selections: Emily Spier, Alexa Thielman, Olivia Haggerty, Kristin Jeske, Miranda Speckel, Dana Van Bruggen, JaRae Ellefson, Kathleen Rosso and Tessa Rohl.
Iverson joins the male list of past selections: Jason Senger, Colton Haight, Jerome Begin, Aaron Duske, Zach Mellon, Michael Sicora, Karl Olson, Corey Jeske, and Derek Bauer.
-- BHS Staff Report
Bouman hosts summer football camp
By Rob LaPlante
With the start of the high school football season just around the corner, the finishing touches on off-season preparations for new Bison football head coach Todd Bouman took place during this year’s summer football camp at Buffalo High School.
With Monday, August 11 being the date when varsity teams begin their first official week of practice, Bouman spent the last two weeks preparing potential future Bison football players grades 2-8 on the fundamentals of football.
“It’s exciting no matter who’s out here,” said Bouman, at the conclusion of the first week of camp. “Your varsity program is only going to be as good as your youth programs. So this is the time to get the kids out there and interested in football.”
With long-time former head coach Gerard Rohl no longer leading the ship, Bouman’s track record of 14 years as an NFL quarterback, including a five-year stint (1997-2002) with the Minnesota Vikings, has created a buzz in the air regarding the Bison football program.
Through it all, Bouman said he still has fond memories of participating in youth football camps and playing football when he was a youngster.
“I remember being this age and getting in the back yard with my brothers and their friends,” Bouman said. “Getting out in the summer and just throwing the ball outside, running around, and making up your own plays - that’s the part of football you remember most.”
While the summer football camp is there for kids to get interested about the game, Bouman and his coaching staffs main job over the two-week period is to try and teach kids about the fundamentals.
“We do a lot of bag drills, a lot of rope drills like footwork stuff,” said Bouman, on some of the basics being taught during both the grades 2-5 camp (July 21-24) and 6-8 camp (July 14-17). “On defense we teach defensive back drops and pass drops and proper tackling techniques with dummies. On offense we have quarterbacks and wide receivers throw routes. Basically, we just give them the fundamentals and proper techniques to take with them as they get going and get older.”
While Bouman has been busy coordinating drills and giving advice to potential future players, some of his current players, seniors Jonny Senger and Taylor Spier, were on hand at the first week of camp helping out with passing drills.
Both Spier and Senger fondly remember participating in the same camp when they were younger. Both players are coming off all-conference years as juniors. Senger was one of four Bison players to be named all-conference, playing both outside linebacker and running back. Spier was an all-conference honorable mention as a first-year starting quarterback.
With only a couple weeks before the start of fall practice, Bouman said he’s kept busy since moving his family from Pipestone to Buffalo at the end of last school year.
“We’ve been doing a couple different things with the high school kids throughout the summer,” he said. “We’re finishing up camp now. So far, it’s been a lot of fun. But I’m getting very excited for August 11, which is just right around the corner. It will be here before you know it.”
BYSS makes mark at nationals
By Tracy Madden
The first week in July, eight families and their coaches from the Buffalo area headed to the 49th Annual Daisy BB-Gun National Championship in Rogers, Arkansas.
The two-day competition is held indoors, with over 357 children participating. Fifty-one teams composed of shooters ages 8-15 represented shooting sport clubs from more than 15 states.
As each shooter completed their relay, the targets are pulled and scanned by the official judges using specialized software, and the results instantly update on the website.
Each team consisted of seven shooters, two of which are considered alternates as well as 2-5 coaches. All competitors are required to use the same model BB gun, a Daisy Avanti Champion Model 499. All guns were inspected before each completion for proper weight, length and no more than four sling mounts. The 499 is a single-shot muzzle loaded gun that fires a .177-caliber BB using compressed spring mechanism. Each shooter fires 10 targets from each of the four positions: standing, sitting, prone and kneeling within 10 minutes. Each target measures about 2.75 inches in diameter with the “10 ring” measuring one-eighth of an inch. Each competitor shoots from 5 meters or 16.4 feet. Most of them all shoot nines and tens.
To make nationals, teams or individuals must place first, second or third in a state competition sanctioned by 4-H, Bathe NRA or another recognized organization. BYSS is run by fundraising done by efforts of the parents and kids and generous donations from local and area businesses and private parties. Daisy also awards each team $1000 in a pre-paid visa to help get the teams there and defray the cost to nationals.
The number one goal kids are taught is safety. This isn’t about just putting the BB in the 10 ring, it’s about teaching them responsibility, perseverance, stress management, accountability and safety. It also helps them grow in character and gains them self- esteem, confidence and sportsmanship. When a shooter does not hit the black, coaches teach the kids that it is ok and we learn from that shot and move on to the next one. Coaches know their kids and reinforce confidence over and over. BYSS has three coaches that have over 100 years of dedication to the club and are now in the third generation of family shooters. Rod Strenge, founder of the program over thirty years ago, along with Bob Fix and Lowell (Butch) Zvorack, known to the team as the “Grumpy Old Men.” They keep everyone in line and helped every step of the way.
Zvorack received a 30-year coaching award at opening ceremonies.
One new parent said after the opening ceremony when they announced kids were there because “you are the best-of-the-best in the nation.” It really hit home to everyone what this competition was truly all about.
The team had some heartbreak with their top shooter in the state and on the team, Hailey Strenge, being disqualified on Saturday morning before the competition. Strenge broke her arm the week before nationals. The NRA officials looked at her cast as an artificial support and would not allow her to compete. She showed true sportsmanship, hung by her teammates and cheered them on. It was a learning experience for everyone.
Anna Ebnet moved up to first shooter and handled the pressure well, shooting a 449.1. Leah Taylor was our leading scorer on the test with 96 out of 100 and shooting a 460.10. Cole Madsen followed with a 450.11. Carter Schmidt fired a 424.5, and one of our alternates moved up to the anchor, Colby Ebnet, came in with a 429.9.
The team starts practice in later January of each year and can practice on Mondays or Thursdays and can attend tournaments in the Dakotas and the state match.
Madsen coached by Mike Reineccius, made the podium with a bronze medal in the sitting position with a score of 98.7.
Bulldogs fall in season finale; Playoffs begin
By Rob LaPlante
The Jekyll and Hyde season for the Buffalo Bulldogs baseball team continued into the final three games of the regular season.
While a 5-17 North Star League (NSL) record may not appear Jekyll-like, games like last Friday - a 3-2 road loss on July 18 to second-place Howard Lake prove the Bulldogs can play with anyone when on their game, and healthy.
South-paw John Eckstein was returning from a nagging arm injury that’s hampered him for most of the season. He kept the powerful Orphans at bay for most of the game. Buffalo led 2-0 after six innings, but a late rally gave Howard Lake the victory, despite Eckstein’s complete-game effort.
“Eckstein pitched a great game,” said Bulldog skipper Joe Pokorney. “He kept his pitch count down and gave us a chance. It’s very frustrating to come up short, especially when we had the lead, and had a lot of good chances to win the game. We took a lot of positives out of it, though.”
The moral victory came on the heels of a major setback in which Buffalo dropped a 10-0 game to second-to-last place Rockford River Bandits. Earlier this season, the Bulldogs lost 10-9 to last-place Montrose-Waverly. It was the Stingers’ first-ever league win after going winless (0-22) in 2013.
Said Pokorney, after Buffalo’s 13-4 home loss to Cokato on Sunday, July 20 at Bentfield Mills Park, “absolutely, it’s been a frustrating year,” he said. “I told the guys this year that it can be one of the most fun teams to manage, but it can also be one of the more frustrating teams to manage. That’s the nature of summer baseball, and when we have a full team, we have a very talented roster. But when you don’t have everybody, it hurts us.”
“It kind of stinks to see your pitchers come in healthy at the beginning of the year, and one-by-one they go out with injuries,” said Bulldog infielder Scott Iano. “That’s kind of how baseball is. Hopefully we can bounce back Saturday.”
Buffalo starting pitcher Andy Ross has battled through injury late in the season. He would suffer the loss allowing five runs in five innings against Cokato. Jon Euerle has been the lone pitcher to avoid the injury bug this season. He came in to pitch the final four innings, and what started out as a perfect 1-2-3 sixth inning, in which he fanned all three batters he faced, the Kings would eventually get to the Bulldogs workhorse scoring eight runs off him in the final two innings.
Iano twice came up with clutch two-out hits. The first came in the bottom of the first when he singled home two runners to tie the game 2-2. He also cut the Cokato lead to 5-4 with another two-out RBI in the bottom of the seventh. Iano finished the game 3-4 with three RBI.
“I’ve been hot the last couple games,” said Iano, a 2007 graduate of Monticello High School. “Hopefully that will help us going into the playoffs.”
The Bulldogs finished the regular season 5-17 in league play and 8-17 overall.
With the regular season now in their memory bank, the playoffs welcome in a fresh start where records begin at a clean slate and losses are magnified, particularly in the bottom five play-in brackets.
The bottom five teams in the NSL standings will compete in a single-elimination playoff format to decide who will be the No. 8 seed, and face top seed Maple Lake in the NSL Region 12C Tournament.
The opening game featured No. 11-seed Rockford (3-19) taking on No. 12-seed Montrose-Waverly (2-20) on Wednesday, July 23 in Delano. The winner of this game advances to play at Mound on Saturday, July 26. Buffalo gets a Saturday rematch at Cokato. Winners of both games Saturday will play at the highest remaining seed on Sunday, July 27.
“I think we actually set up fairly well for a playoff run,” said Pokorney, who saw his team blow a 2-1 eighth-inning lead, only to lose 6-2 to Rockford in the opening round of last seasons bottom-five playoff format. “Our pitching, except for Connor Martin, has actually got somewhat healthy.”
Pokorney would not say exactly who would be on the mound Saturday when they face Cokato, but he did hint it would likely be one of two pitchers.
“It’s going to be one of the Jon’s,” he said, referring to either Euerle or Eckstein.
As top-seed Maple Lake (20-2) awaits their fate against the No. 8 seed, three other matchups are already set in stone. No. 2-seed Howard Lake (20-2) is the defending Region 12C champions, and will host in the opening round No. 7-seed Maple Plain (9-13). No. 3-seed Loretto (15-7) takes on Hutchinson (11-11). The other matchup features No. 4-seed Dassel-Cokato (15-7) hosting No. 5-seed Delano (14-8).
BHM Buildings and Grounds staff hustles to complete summer projects
By Doug Voerding
While children are outside playing in the warm summer weather, the buildings and grounds staff at Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose schools are inside cleaning and polishing, getting the nine district schools ready for another year that begins in September.
And every summer, there is a long repair list, from installing new carpet and flooring to refurbishing lockers to creating a new classroom. Those jobs also need to be finished by September.
This is Buildings and Grounds Director John Heltunen’s first full summer with the district, and he has been busy making sure the work is getting done.
“This summer,” said Heltunen, “the projects are small, but important. Some work is being done in every building.”
Working with an annual capital outlay budget of around $2 million, Heltunen must first subtract more than half of that amount before he sets the priorities for the repair work.
Health and safety improvements cost another $210,000. Items in this part of the budget include hazardous waste disposal, fire alarm, fire extinguisher, and elevator inspections; and training and protective equipment for staff.
That leaves about $879,000 for the repairs and maintenance.
The biggest district project is the repair of another portion of the Buffalo High School roof, but that won’t be started until next June, still a part of this fiscal year’s budget. That job has not been bid yet, but $300,000 has been set aside for the roof repair.
“People have a hard time understanding the need for roof repair,” said Heltunen. “If it is not dripping, no one sees a problem. But, it has been dripping at the high school after rain storms.”
Heltunen also said that people do not realize how old the high school building really is.
“Community pride is very obvious in this district,” said Heltunen. “The high school custodians, staff, students, parents, and visitors all take great care of that building. It does look new.”
“But,” continued Heltunen, “The building is already 18 years old, and the roof is a 15-year roof. The southeast part has been repaired, but we need to keep repairing more sections of that roof.”
After setting aside the roof money, there is only $579,000 left, and Heltunen and his staff have to prioritize the summer repair and improvement work list.
The largest and most visible projects are at Tatanka Elementary. Students and teachers will see new carpet and new tile when they return to school this fall.
At Tatanka, the east and west walls of the media center have been removed, and the entire media center and the adjoining hallways are being carpeted. The media center will now be open between the second and fifth grade pods. New tile is being laid in the main hallways surrounding the Tatanka office. That project requires the removal of the old tile and asbestos abatement before the new tile is put in.
Besides the roof, the only other work at the high school is upgrading the cameras and replacing some custodial equipment.
Installing a larger sink in the science room and correcting electrical problems will be done at Phoenix Learning Center.
At Buffalo Community Middle School, there will be pool repairs. A large group area is being divided to create another classroom, and a capital outlay contribution will be made for a new LED sign on Highway 25.
Two rooms will have the carpet replaced and the lockers will be repaired at Parkside Elementary.
At Hanover Elementary, the sidewalk will be repaired, and the bridge to the playground will be replaced with an asphalt path.
Lockers will be repaired at Montrose Elementary, and the playground surfacing will be replaced to meet new standards for injury prevention.
The Montrose Early Education Center will see some small landscaping improvements.
The front entrance curbing at Northwinds Elementary will be repaired.
At Discovery Elementary, there will be new tile in the kindergarten classrooms, and the kindergarten and first grade lockers will be replaced.
The inside of lockers are rarely seen, “but,” said Heltunen, “you wouldn’t believe what wet boots in winter can do to the bottom of metal lockers.”
Money is also set aside for district-wide needs. That part of the budget includes blacktop repair, paint and paint supplies, heating and cooling preventative maintenance, and supplies for maintaining the grounds at each school site.
Heltunen, a former teacher, loves to be working behind the scenes to make sure the buildings are ready for the students in the fall and are maintained to meet the needs of the staff, students, parents, and the public.
The budget is limited, and many projects do end up on the deferred maintenance list. Those projects get pushed to next year and sometimes to the year after that. The school board and administration are beginning talks about a possible bond issue that would include items on that deferred maintenance list.
But, as during every summer, the buildings and grounds staff are busy doing everything they can to get ready for when the school doors open this fall.