Bison girls hockey goes down swinging

Knights win rematch, clinch M8 title

Buffalo defeats Princeton, falls to STMA, Alexandria

Bison suffer painful defeats

Ruhr, Habisch invite champs; Buffalo-Wayzata section matchup

BHS stars at state festival

BCMS Speech Team celebrates successful season

Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - February 16, 2017
Rob LaPlante

Journal-Press Sports Editor Rob LaPlante may be reached
by phone at 763-682-1221 or click here to email him

Bison girls hockey goes down swinging

Buffalo dominates Lumberjacks; gives No. 1 seed Brainerd scare

Section 8AA Play-in: Buffalo 8, Bemidji 2

Section 8AA Quarterfinals: Brainerd/Little Falls 5, Buffalo 3

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

For the first time in four seasons since moving to Section 8AA, a team other than the Roseau Rams ended the season for the Buffalo girls’ hockey squad.

The Bison’s season came to a dramatic end in a 5-3 road defeat last Saturday in the section quarterfinals to top-seed Brainerd/Little Falls.

Buffalo advanced to the quarterfinal round with a convincing 8-2 home win last Thursday over Bemidji.

Since joining the section in 2013-14, the Bison have yet to lose a home playoff game (6-0). But unlike previous teams, this year’s squad was a lower seed and forced into a play-in game as the No. 8 seed hosting the No. 9 Lumberjacks.

Seniors Jordan Wurm, Leighton McAlpin, sophomore Emma Carlson, and eighth grader Ryleigh Stenson scored first-period goals giving Buffalo a 4-1 lead into the first intermission.

Wurm’s goal was her 15th of the season. She ended the night with a goal and two assists. Her linemates, McAlpin scored twice, and senior Taylor Thompson added two assists.

“We have worked a lot better as a line, especially towards the end of the season,” said McAlpin, whose two goals gave her a career-high 12. “We found a way to motivate each other and focused on always doing the little things.”

Another senior, Jilli Hovland scored the only goal in period two to make it 5-1.

“We (seniors) wanted to give it our all,” said Wurm, who also set a career-high mark in goals. “For us seniors, we knew it was our last home game, so we wanted to play a strong game.”

Although she didn’t score, Thompson was a factor the entire game. The line set the tone early with some younger girls finding the scoresheet later.

McAlpin’s second goal came early in period three. Bemidji snapped Buffalo’s string of five unanswered goals to make it 6-2, but freshman Jada Habisch notched her 15th goal at 7:19 or period three, followed with a goal in the closing minute by junior Bailey Braccini.

“Whenever you get third-line scoring it’s a huge bonus,” he said. “It was great to see and fun to see the look on their faces when they are working so hard and get paid for it.”

Bison senior goalie Anna Monsrud made 22 saves on 24 shots.

The decision to start Monsrud over sophomore Kennedy Sohler came down to a couple factors.

“We looked at the goaltenders all week and we made a group decision,” he said. “They both are playing good hockey. But the ultimate decision is still mine and we went with the senior.”

Sohler eventually got the start in Saturday’s game at Brainerd.

The Warriors, average 5.33 goals per game, which included a wild 9-7 home victory last Dec. 23 over Buffalo.

The Bison led 7-5 midway through the third period of the regular-season matchup, only to allow four unaswered goals in the closing seven minutes.

“We were much happier to see Brainerd as the one seed than Roseau,” McAlpin said. Roseau and Bemidji were the only two section teams the Bison didn’t face during the regular season.

Trailing 1-0 after one period and 2-0 early in period two of Saturday’s playoff game, Carlson and Habisch struck for two goals in 28 seconds to even the score at two heading into the final 17 minutes.

Brainerd took a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal by Olivia Wiskow at 5:04 of period three. The goal came while the Bison were short two skaters sitting for minor penalties.

Before the second penalty expired, the Bison took another penalty forcing another 5-on-3 disadvantage. Down two skaters, Habisch was tripped on a breakaway leading to a penalty-shot goal at the 6:37 mark. Her second tally ultimately gave her the team lead this season in goals with 17.

“I told Jada to open it up and that’s when she got tripped,” Nordvall said. “All our scoring came from out younger line, but the key was Brainerd was able to shut down our senior line.”

Ally Smith scored with 3:10 left in regulation to give Brainerd its third lead of the game. Buffalo pulled Sohler for an extra attacker, but with faceoffs in their own end, Sohler was forced back in goal and the Warriors added an insurance goal by Elle Kalusche with 10 seconds left.

Sohler made 42 saves on 47 shots. Buffalo was outshot 47-12 for the game and failed to score on five power-play attempts.

“We were tied with the number-one seed until four minutes remaining in the game,” Nordvall said. “I’m extremely appreciative of their effort.”

In a new era of Bison girls’ hockey, Nordvall led the team to a 9-17-1 overall record, one section playoff win, and a second-place finish in the conference standings (7-4-1).

“It’s not the record we wanted,” Nordvall said. “But where we came from last November to last Saturday was a big improvement.”

The Bison graduate six seniors, which includes their top-3 leading scorers. Thompson led the team with 34 points on 16 goals and 19 assists. 

“A total of 70-percent of our goals are graduating,” Nordvall said. “We need some people to step up. We have a young defense and goalie that we can build from the back end.”          


Section 8AA Play-in

Buffalo 8, Bemidji 2

(Thursday, Feb. 9 at Buffalo)

#9 Lumberjacks           1  0  1   -   2

#8 Bison           4  1  3   -   8

First period: BB -- Jordan Wurm (Taylor Thompson) 5:53; BL -- Hannah Eller (Alexis Leitner, Olivia Johnson) 6:26; BB -- Leighton McAlpin (Thompson, J. Wurm) 10:39; BB -- Emma Carlson (Ali Klein, Julia McAlpin) 16:12; BB -- Ryleigh Stenson (Hailey Strenge, Klein) 16:22.

Second period: BB -- Jilli Hovland (Stenson, Morgan Wurm) 11:07.

Third period: BB -- L. McAlpin (J. Wurm) 5:06; BB -- Jada Habisch (unassisted) 7:19; BL -- Paige De La Hunt (Madison Schultz, Rachael Holm) PP, 14:21; BB -- Bailey Braccini (Taylor Ryan)15:30.

Goalies: BL – Nettie Kimble (loss) 16 shots, 12 saves, Brooklyn Delap 24 shots, 20 saves; BB – Anna Monsrud (win) 24 shots, 22 saves; Shots: BL – 9-10-5 – 24; BB – 16-17-7 – 40. Power Plays: BL – 1-2; BB – 0-0.


Section 8AA Quarterfinals

Brainerd 5, Buffalo 3

(Saturday, Feb. 11 at Brainerd)

#8 Bison           0  2  1   -   3

#1 Warriors      1  1  3   -   5

First period: BW -- Emma Booth (Abby Pohlkamp) 10:02.

Second period: BW -- Emma Smith (Hannah Hittesdorf, Taylor Larson) 2:42; BB -- Emma Carlson (Julia McAlpin) 11:22; BB -- Jada Habisch (Carlson, Jilli Hovland) 11:50.

Third period: BW -- Olivia Wiskow (Ally Smith) PP, 5:04; BB -- Habisch (unassisted) PS-SH, 6:37; BW -- Ally Smith (Gabbie Smith) 12:50; BW -- Ella Kalusche (Gabbie Smith, Ally Smith) 16:50.

Goalies: BB – Kennedy Sohler (loss) 47 shots, 42 saves; BW – Olivia King (win) 12 shots, 9 saves; Shots: BB – 3-6-3 – 12; BW – 14-10-23 – 47. Power Plays: BB – 0-5; BW – 1-5.


Knights win rematch, clinch M8 title

Buffalo plays well, but STMA wins third straight title; Bison win at St. Francis

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Prior to the National Anthem at each high school hockey game at Buffalo Civic Center, starting lineups from both teams are announced by the rink’s public address announcer.

Last Saturday’s home game with Buffalo hosting St. Michael-Albertville could have gone without any player introductions, given the familiarity both teams already have with each other.

“I think both communities get excited for the boys hockey games,” said Buffalo head coach Aaron Johnson. “Almost every time, it seems like the fans are treated to a good game. Play goes back-and-forth and is fast and physical. Usually both teams are towards the top of the conference standings. You couldn’t ask for a better environment for a high school hockey game.”

“It doesn’t matter if one team is 25-0, or the other is 0-25, these games are always going to be battles,” said STMA head coach Jerr Johnson. “I think both sides would say they’re not scared of either team.”

After silencing the STMA home crowd with a 3-0 road win last Dec. 17 in the first meeting, it was the visitors, once again, making all the noise for most of last Saturday’s rematch – a 4-1 victory for the Knights.

Nobody was more motivated for the rematch more so than STMA senior goaltender Kyle Hayden.

In Buffalo’s 3-0 win, Hayden uncharacteristically allowed two soft goals, by his standards, to aid the Bison win – one of only four losses the Knights (17-4-2) have suffered. STMA’s head coach could tell his goalie was ready for the rematch.

“I’m sure he had this date on his mind all season,” Jerr Johnson said.

He was right.

“This game was circled on our calendar all year, and it was double circled after they beat us the first time,” Hayden said. “We couldn’t wait to come back here.

The first period featured a tight-checking battle until STMA freshman Adam Flamming opened the scoring at the 6:03 mark on a wrist shot high in the slot that eluded the glove of Bison sophomore goalie Nathan Mueller.

Flamming’s goal was his 12th of the season. He was coming off a 4-goal effort in STMA’s previous game, an 11-0 shutout over St. Francis.

Buffalo and STMA ended the first period even at seven shots apiece, with the Knights leading by a goal.

STMA extended the lead to 3-0 after two periods starting with a goal at 1:24 of the period by junior Zach Sjelin.

Midway through the period, STMA senior Nick Putnam was called for a 5-minute boarding major, but 27 seconds into the extended power play, Buffalo senior Cade Stensby was called for an interference call.

Skating 4-on-4, the Knights made it 3-0 on an unassisted goal at 8:37 by junior Garrett Sandberg.

“That was a big turning point in the game for us,” Jerr Johnson said. “But credit to Buffalo – they never gave up. At that point, it can look like a big task, but those guys kept after it.”

Buffalo finished the period outshooting the Knights by two and 17-15 in the game.

After peppering Hayden with chance after chance, senior Blake Habsich scored his team-leading 16th goal of the season at the 7:50 mark. The Bison came close on a number of other Grade-A opportunities, but Hayden closed the door following Habisch’s goal.

With Mueller pulled for an extra attacker, senior Carson Wooters made it 4-1 in the final minute scoring an empty-net goal.

“The big difference in the game was they scored on their opportunities, and we didn’t,” said Mueller, whose numbers rank him second or third to Hayden in most categories among the top goaltenders in the conference. “Kyle played a great game, and had a lot of unbelievable saves.”

Mueller earned one of his conference leading five shutouts against STMA in the first matchup. He says he looked forward to the rematch, particularly playing in front of a packed home crowd.

“A crowd like this really gets your blood flowing and makes things a lot more intense,” Mueller said. “It was a fun game to play in.”

The victory clinched the third straight Mississippi 8 title for STMA (8-1 and 28 conference points). Buffalo and Rogers are tied for second place with 23 points. In all three seasons, Hayden has been the Knights’ main back-stopper in net.

“This means a lot. When we came up as freshmen and sophomores, we never won a conference title,” Hayden said. “To come back here and win it for a third time is pretty meaningful for us.”

With his family having Buffalo ties, Hayden’s father, John, is the assistant principal and activities director at Buffalo Community Middle School. Kyle appreciates the wins over Buffalo even more, particularly when it comes on the ice.

“Boys hockey is the best rivalry of the three sports I play,” said Hayden, a 3-sport athlete in football, hockey, and baseball. “Every game is high competitive. Everybody is laying it on the line, crowds are always packed, and it’s always a lot of fun.”

STMA most likely will receive one of the top-3 seeds and home-ice advantage in a highly competitive Section 8AA. Buffalo will likely fall in the 6-8 range and open on the road.

Despite what the scoreboard read, Aaron Johnson was proud of his team’s performance. Buffalo (12-11 overall) outshot the Knights 11-3 in the final period and 28-18 for the game.

“That was probably our most complete game of the year,” Aaron Johnson said. “Athletics sometimes work out that way where you play real well and come out on the short end. I’m extremely proud of the kids for playing like that and hopefully it’s a springboard for a good finish for us.”



St. Michael-Albertville 4

Buffalo 1

(Saturday, Feb. 11 at Buffalo)

Knights 1  2  1   -   4

Bison    0  0  1   -   1

First period: STMA -- Adam Flammang (Cole Lehmann, Max Helgestad) 6:03.

Second period: STMA -- Zach Sjelin (Garrett Sandberg, Jordan Drobinski) 1:24; STMA -- Sandberg (unassisted) 8:37.

Third period: B -- Blake Habisch (Tom Rooney, Cade Stensby) 7:50; STMA -- Carson Wooters (Sandberg) EN, 16:21.

Goalies: STMA – Kyle Hayden (win) 28 shots, 27 saves; B – Nathan Mueller (loss) 18 shots, 14 saves; Shots: STMA – 8-7-3 – 18; B – 7-10-11 – 28. Power Plays: STMA – 0-3; B – 0-2.


Buffalo, St. Francis

(Tuesday, Feb. 14 at East Bethel)

Bison    1  2  1   -   4

Fighting Saints  0  0  1   -   1

First period: STMA -- Adam Flammang (Cole Lehmann, Max Helgestad) 6:03.

Second period: STMA -- Zach Sjelin (Garrett Sandberg, Jordan Drobinski) 1:24; STMA -- Sandberg (unassisted) 8:37.

Third period: B -- Blake Habisch (Tom Rooney, Cade Stensby) 7:50; STMA -- Carson Wooters (Sandberg) EN, 16:21.

Goalies: B – Nathan Mueller (win) 28 shots, 27 saves; SF – Nathan Mueller (loss) 18 shots, 14 saves; Shots: B – 8-7-3 – 18; STMA – 7-10-11 – 28. Power Plays: B – 0-3; STMA – 0-2.


Buffalo defeats Princeton, falls to STMA, Alexandria

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

The Buffalo boys’ basketball team strung together its first winning streak of the season following a 61-56 road victory last Saturday at Princeton.

In a see-saw game that saw the Bison lead for the majority of the contest, Princeton rallied from a 9-point second half deficit to take a 53-50 lead with two minutes remaining.

Freshman Matt Willert and senior Nate Rabusch immediately helped restore order.

In back-to-back possessions, Willert nailed a 3-point basket, which was followed by a running jumper by Rabusch. The five points gave Buffalo a 55-53 lead with two minutes left in regulation.

Buffalo head coach Josh Ortmann credited both players for stepping up.

“One of the things that makes Matt so tough is he’s pretty fearless out there,” Ortmann said. “That was a big basket for us, but the biggest play came on Rabusch’s floater that gave us the lead back. You look for your seniors to make big plays for you and Nate did that.”

The Bison’s defense forced 18 turnovers, led by senior Dylan Rohlin’s three steals. Rohlin and senior Andrew Johnson each scored 12 points.

Coupled with a 56-54 home win last Feb. 7 against St. Francis, it marked the first time this season Buffalo has won back-to-back games.

“The kids were pretty excited,” Ortmann said. “I think they realize they don’t need to play exceptional basketball to win games. They just need to play solid and not turn the ball over. We have a goal to keep turnovers under 12 a game, and we did that in both wins.”

The streak would not be extended further as Buffalo was on the short end of a 60-44 road loss last Saturday against Alexandria in the annual Breakdown Winter Lakes Classic in Alexandria.

Playing on back-to-back nights in two different towns may have played a small role in Buffalo’s poor first half in which they trailed 32-14 at halftime. Alexandria guard Jaran Roste scored 18 of his 21 points in the opening 18 minutes.

“We’re not going to make excuses. Alexandria was at Brainerd the night before, too,” Ortmann said. “Bottom line is, we made some mistakes that cost us the basketball game. Our freshmen players played like freshmen, and some of our seniors made some mistakes.”

Buffalo’s offense was held to single digits until a pair of Andrew Johnson free-throws cut the Cardinals’ lead to 18-10 with 4:09 remaining in the half.

The Bison finally found their offense early in the second half, which was jump-started by a pair of early 3-pointers by Willert, who ended the night again as the team’s leading scorer with 13 points.

Senior Derek Nauman scored all eight of his points in the final 18 minutes.

“Derek has been steady for us,” Ortmann said. “He had a six or seven-minute stretch against St. Francis and Princeton where he played exceptional. He did the same in the second half against Alexandria.”



After an even 18 minutes, St. Michael-Albertville turned a 29-28 halftime lead into a 72-51 home victory Tuesday night over visiting Buffalo.

Turnovers again played a key factor in a second-half that saw the Bison outscored by 20.

The Knights got scoring from 10 different players, including 13 from Xavier Thurman, 12 by Asaba Chomilo, and 10 from Roy Halverson.

Buffalo was led by Andrew Johnson and Rohlin, each with 14.

After a slow start, STMA (11-9 overall, 7-3 M8) has won seven of their last nine contests. Buffalo drops to 5-17 overall and 3-6 in conference play.

Next up for the Bison in a 7:15 p.m. home game Friday night against Big Lake (15-6), who is currently second in the conference at 7-2. Rogers remains the leaders at 10-0.


Buffalo 61, Princeton 56

(Friday, Feb. 10 at Princeton)

Bison    25  36   -  61

Tigers   22  34   -  56


Bison (61): Matt Willert 15; Andrew Johnson 12 (5 rebounds, 5 assists); Dylan Rohlin 12 (4 assists, 3 steals); Noah Evans 8; Derek Nauman 4; Aidan Bouman 3; Brandon Maatz 3; Mac Loomis 2; Nate Rabusch 2 (4 assists).

Tigers (56): James Flicek 17 (8 assists, 2 steals); Adam Williams 12 (3 steals); Logan Miller 10 (7 rebounds); Alec Schimming 8 (4 rebounds); Jon Stimmler 5 (4 rebounds); Shane Fleury 4.


Alexandria 60, Buffalo 44

(Saturday, Feb. 11 at Alexandria)

Bison    14  30   -  44

Cardinals          32  28   -  60


Bison (44): Matt Willert 13 (7 rebounds); Derek Nauman 8; Noah Evans 6 (4 rebounds); Andrew Johnson 6, Dylan Rohlin 6 (2 steals); Mac Loomis 3; Aidan Bouman 2 (3 rebounds).

Cardinals (60): Jaran Roste 21 (9 rebounds); Jake Drew 11; Spencer Hockert 8; Trey Hoepner 7 (2 steals); Robert Anderson 6 (3 assists, 3 steals); Justin Balcome 4 (10 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks); Keaton Kvale 3.


St. Michael-Albertville 72

Buffalo 51

(Tuesday, Feb. 14 at STMA)

Bison    28  23   -  51

Knights 29  43   -  71


Bison (51): Andrew Johnson 14; Dylan Rohlin 14; Brandon Maatz 9; Derek Nauman 4; Noah Evans 3; Matt Willert 3; Mac Loomis 2; Nate Rabusch 2.

Knights (72): Xavier Thurman 13; Asaba Chomilo 12; Roy Halverson 10; Travis Brown 9; Cody Mattson 9; Michael Asbury 7; Marucs Greenwaldt 5; Mitchell Kartes 3; Ethan Knutson 3; Kale Hoselton 1.


Bison suffer painful defeats

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Playing some of their best basketball of the season, the Bison girls’ faced an uphill battle in back-to-back losses to ranked teams.

Prior to that, Buffalo won its fourth consecutive game with a 76-43 home win last Friday over Princeton.

The Bison scored 38 points in each half. Junior Bailee Larson scored a career-high 22 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had two blocks.

Sophomore Jordan Zrust also enjoyed a big night, finishing with a rare double-double combination of 13 points and 10 steals. She also added five assists. Junior Megan Lowell scored 13 points.

The 33-point blowout allowed Bison head coach Scot Sorenson the opportunity to expand his roster.

Sophomore Claire Boser returned from an ankle injury to record six points and four steals.

An attempt to extend its season-high win streak to five games was denied with a 67-51 road loss last Saturday Feb. 11 at Alexandria.

The Bison and Cardinals matched up as part of a 6-team Winter Classic hosted by Alexandria and sponsored by Breakdown Sports.

Alexandria (20-3), ranked No. 4 in Class 3A, came out flying, successfully hitting on their first seven field-goal attempts. They led 47-24 at halftime.

“Alexandria was fully charged up,” Sorenson. “But we missed some bunnies, open threes, free throws, and layups and that allowed them to build the lead to 15 right away. That’s pretty much where it stayed the whole game.”

Senior Autumn Senger led the offense with 16 points. Nine different players scored for the Bison, including the first career varsity points by freshman Alyssa Sorenson, who scored two.

“That was pretty neat to see,” said Coach Sorenson, on seeing his youngest daughter net her first points. “Just to have her and some of the other newer girls contributing a little bit has been fun to see.”

On the down side, some junior varsity girls have stepped into varsity roles out of necessity, due to an inordinate amount of ailing bodies.

While Boser returned the previous game from an ankle injury, Zrust injured her ankle and was forced to leave the Alexandria game scoring only two points.

Zrust returned to the lineup for Tuesday’s 54-37 home loss to St. Michael-Albertville.

The matchup featured the top two teams in the Mississippi 8, who were separated by one game in the conference standings.

Much like the first meeting resulting in a 62-54 STMA win, Tuesday’s rematch saw Buffalo hang with the No. 7 rated team in Class 4A. The Bison led 10-9 early, but lost some air in their sails midway through the half when Senger rolled her ankle while driving to the basket.

“I was terrified for her, because I know the pain that I went through,” Zrust said.

With the lineup already ailing from some girls dealing with illness, the latest injury seemed to take some wind out of Buffalo’s sails.

The Knights led 25-17 at halftime thanks to a put-back by STMA’s Addie Johnson at the buzzer.

Senger came back early in the second half, but had to exit for good after the first whistle. Moments later, Zrust fell limp to the floor with her recurring ankle injury.

Meanwhile, STMA’s starters took advantage of an inexperienced Bison lineup with a full-court press that forced a number of turnovers turned into points.

STMA’s 27-19 lead quickly went to 35-19 on back-to-back threes from freshman Makenzie Kramer, who scored eight points for the Knights.

“We’re pretty injured and sick right now, but we all came out wanting to beat St. Michael and be co-conference champs,” Zrust said. “We never gave up. We all really wanted that win, but the injuries and everything were just too much.”

No Bison scored in double figures. Rae Johnson led the Knights with 13.

It was the 12th straight win for STMA over Buffalo. Knowing his team was physically challenged, Coach Sorenson still liked his team’s fight.

“We felt good about ourselves facing these two teams,” he said. “But we’re still not at full strength.”

Buffalo (12-10) has four games remaining starting with a 7:15 p.m. road game Thursday night at Big Lake (12-11). The same two teams will face each other the following Thursday at Buffalo.  


Buffalo 76, Princeton 43

(Friday, Feb. 10 at Buffalo)

Tigers   24  19   -  43

Bison    38  38   -  76


Tigers (43): Maddie Nierngarten 16; Julia Bjurman 10; Maddi Strube 8; Sierra Mattson 4; Hallie Chimieleski 3; Mady Shafer 2.

Bison (76): Bailee Larson 22 (7 rebounds, 2 blocks); Megan Lowell 13 (4 rebounds); Jordan Zrust 13 (5 assists, 10 steals); Claire Boser 6 (4 steals); Sarah Hudson 6; Kiera Johnson 6; Autumn Senger 5 (4 assists); Hailey Sorenson 5.


Alexandria 67, Buffalo 51

(Saturday, Feb. 11 at Alexandria)

Bison    24  27   -  51

Cardinals          47  20   -  67


Bison (51): Autumn Senger 16 (2 steals); Hailey Sorenson 10 (4 rebounds, 2 steals); Claire Boser 6, Bailee Larson 6 (7 rebounds); Sarah Hudson 5; Kiera Johnson 2; Megan Lowell 2 (3 blocks); Alyssa Sorenson 2; Jordan Zrust 2.

Cardinals (67): Not available.


St. Michael-Albertville 54

Buffalo 37

(Tuesday, Feb. 14 at Buffalo)

Knights 25  29   -  54

Bison    17  20   -  37


Knights (54): Rae Johnson 13 (6 rebounds, 10 assists, 8 steals, 2 blocks); Addie Johnson 10 (7 rebounds, 3 steals); Makenzie Kramer 8; Vanessa Alexander 6; Kendal Cox 5; Whitney Dold 5; Riley Carlson 3 (3 steals); Jadyn Hanson 2; Lily Tennyson 2.

Bison (37): Hailey Sorenson 8 (6 rebounds), Megan Lowell 7 (5 rebounds); Autumn Senger 5; Alyssa Sorenson 5; Bailee Larson 4 (5 rebounds); Jordan Zrust 4 (3 steals); Kiera Johnson 2; Lauren O’Connell 2; Sarah Hudson 0 (3 assists).


Ruhr, Habisch invite champs; Buffalo-Wayzata section matchup

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Six Bison wrestlers reached the finals of last Friday’s individual tournament at Mound-Westonka.

Sophomore Riley Habisch and junior Ben Ruhr each finished as champions in their weight class – Ruhr at 120 pounds, Habisch at 152.

It was the first career individual championship win for Ruhr, who spent his sophomore season wrestling at 106 pounds.

“Ben learned early in the year that bumping up two weight classes is a big jump,” said Buffalo head coach Ben Presler. “He has done an awesome job growing this season. He adapted his wrestling style and is seeing the results in his favor.”

Unlike four of his teammates, Ruhr is not ranked among the top-10 state wrestlers in his weight class. But a strong showing at the conference tournament last Jan. 27 resulted in a second-place finish. St. Michael-Albertville’s Patrick McKee, ranked No. 1 in the state was Ruhr’s only loss at the Mississippi 8 finals. Ruhr went all three periods with McKee before being pinned with 16 seconds left in his match.

“If he continues wrestling like he is, he will hopefully find his way to the state tournament,” Presler said.

Habisch, ranked No. 4 in the state at 30-4, defeated Mound-Westonka’s Neil Schmalz by a 7-1 decision in the title match in his weight class. Schmalz (32-4) is ranked No. 7 in the same weight class.

It was the second time the two wrestlers have butted heads. Habsich defeated Schmalz by a 5-0 decision last Jan. 21 at the Rogers Royals Rumble.

As a former wrestler, Presler says seeing the same opponent multiple times in the same season can work for and against you.

“It can be a blessing and a curse,” Presler said. “Maybe you’re looking for revenge, or maybe you’re looking to widen that gap between you and your opponent. Those matchups are great to see who has made the biggest jumps throughout the season.”

Eighth-grader Ryan Scherber (106), sophomore Tommy Samson (113), senior Charlie DesMarais (138), and junior Jacob Scherber (182) were all defeated in their title matches.

It was the first varsity title match for the youngest Scherber, who was defeated 7-1 by Waconia’s Tyson Peitz. Scherber is still filling in at 106 due to junior JJ Andress missing time with injury.

After returning to the mat in late December, Andress, ranked No. 5 in Class 3A, has since missed the last two weeks with recurring injuries.

“This has been a difficult season for Jay,” Presler said. “He has been wrestling very well, but unfortunately, has been battling injuries all season. You hate to see all of these misfortunes happen to such a good person, but he has kept his head up the entire time.”

The good news for Presler and the Bison is he expects Andress to possibly return to the lineup in time for the section tournaments.

Samson earned two wins by pin and decision before losing to Waconia’s Jim Burroughs by a 10-0 major decision.

DesMarais earned technical fall and major decision victories before losing by fall to Waconia’s Tim Stapelton, ranked No. 7 in Class 2A.

The wins were three of eight individual titles for Waconia, ranked No. 7 in Class 2A, who ran away with the team total at 258.5 points. Eastview was second at 168. Buffalo finished third at 147.5 points.

Jacob Scherber’s title match resulted in a 15-4 major decision win for Orono’s Bobby Striggow, ranked No. 4 in Class 2A.

Also placing among the top six were junior Caleb Drews (4th-145), senior Josh Skarin (4th-195), sophomore Hunter Hendricks (5th-220), and junior Seamus Filkins (6th-285).

Buffalo (4-12 overall) will open this Saturday’s Section 5-3A team tournament as the No. 6 seed and wrestle No. 3 seed Wayzata (17-7) at 10:30 a.m. at Robbinsdale Cooper.

St. Michael-Albertville drew the top seed in the team tournament. Winners advance to later rounds that day, while losers will prepare for the individual sections on Saturday, Feb. 25 at STMA.


Mound-Westonka Invite

(Friday, Jan. 10 at Moound-Westonka)

Team scores: 1. Waconia 258.5; 2. Eastview 168; 3. Buffalo 147.5; 4. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown-Jansville-Waldorf-Pemberton 117; 5. Orono 112; 6. Osseo 108.5; 7. Mound-Westonka 88; 8. Monticello 77; 9. St. Paul Como Park 27.

106: 1. Tyson Peitz (Waconia); 2. Ryan Scherber (Buffalo). Buffalo: Scherber bye; Scherber 18-1 tech. fall over Tucker Rients (WEMJWP); Peitz 7-1 dec. over Scherber.

113: 1. Jim Burroughs (Waconia); 2. Tommy Samson (Buffalo). Buffalo: Samson fall 4:59 over Ethan Rider (WEMJWP); Samson 5-3 dec. over Noah Lietzau (MW); Burroughs 10-0 major dec. over Samson.

120: 1. Ben Ruhr (Buffalo). Buffalo: Ruhr bye; Ruhr 10-1 major dec. over Will Burroughs (Waconia); Ruhr 5-1 dec. over Jacob Schmid (Orono).

126: 1. Garrett Vos (Waconia). Buffalo: Open.

132: 1. Carsten Scherber (Monticello); 8. James Kesler (Buffalo). Buffalo: Mitch Garnantz (Waconia) fall 0:26 over Kesler; Jack Cornell (Osseo) fall 3:23 over Kesler; John Barton (SPCP) 16-9 dec. over Kesler.

138: 1. Tim Stapelton (Waconia); 2. Charlie DesMarais (Buffalo). Buffalo: DesMarais 16-0 tech. fall over Brock Munsterter (MW); DesMarais 11-0 major dec. over Braydon Johnson (WEMJWP); Stapelton fall 3:56 over DesMarais.

145: 1. Tyler Wagener (Waconia); 4. Caleb Drews (Buffalo). Buffalo: Drews 3-2 dec. over Nick Simafranca (Orono); Wagener (Orono) fall 1:21 over Drews; Elan Quezada (Osseo) 6-0 dec. over Drews.

152: 1. Riley Habisch (Buffalo). Buffalo: Habisch 16-0 tech. fall over Cole Benson (WEMJWP); Habisch fall 1:06 over Adolphus Summerville (Osseo); Habisch 7-1 dec. over Neil Schmalz (MW).

160: 1. Cade Mueller (Waconia); 8. Josh Anderson (Buffalo). Buffalo: Spencer Neu (Waconia) injury def. over Anderson. Conner Clark (MW) injury def. over Anderson; Grant Perry (Orono) injury def. over Anderson.

170: 1. Alex Lindstrom (Eastview). Buffalo: Open.

182: 1. Bobby Striggow (Orono); 2. Jacob Scherber (Buffalo). Buffalo: Scherber fall 1:03 over Jesse Midas (Monticello); Scherber 3-0 dec. over Bobby Sweet (MW); Striggow 15-4 major dec. over Scherber.

195: 1. Mike Delich (Eastview); 4. Josh Skarin (Buffalo). Buffalo: Skarin fall 1:25 over Matt Baloun (Monticello); Delich 17-1 tech. fall over Skarin; Jake Hawkins (Waconia) fall 3:29 over Skarin.

220: 1. Bobby Felming (Waconia); 5. Hunter Hendricks (Buffalo). Buffalo: Jared Cebellos (Osseo) 2-1 ultimate tie-breaker over Hendricks; Hendricks fall 0:58 over Alex Fusco (SPCP); Hendricks fall 1:53 over Ian Rostis (MW).

285: 1. Dylan Gluck (Waconia); 6. Seamus Filkins (Buffalo). Buffalo: Andrew Larson (WEMJWP) fall 3:54 over Filkins; Filkins fall 3:49 over Kaspian Menne (SPCP); Brent Tekautz (Osseo) fall 0:56 over Filkins.


BHS stars at state festival

Buffalo’s One Act stars for 10th time in school history

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

For the 10th time in school history, Buffalo High School’s One Act Play ensemble earned a starred performance rating at this year’s state festival held last Thursday, Feb. 9 at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul.

“Amber Waves,” co-directed by Tracy Hagstrom Durant and Brandon Aldrich, focused on a rural Minnesota farming community dealing with financial grief and hardship on the verge of losing a family farm.

This year’s 20-person ensemble returned plenty of acting experience that made state in each of the previous three years, resulting in two other starred performances.

“This is huge to have our 10th starred performance in 20 state trips,” Hagstrom Durant said. “This is something for this entire school district to be very proud of. I know the kids are proud.”

Buffalo, along with Park-Cottage Grove, Alexandria, and Minnetonka were four of eight participating Class AA schools to earn a starred performance.

BHS cast members were: Emily Kern, Katie Swartzer, Jack Soden, Brandon Bednarek, Madelyn Backes, Nathan Beal, Emily Twardy, Patrick Stonecipher, Calista Cherches, Sophia Collova, Jonah Schmitz, Mallory Rabehl, and Noah Schottler. Support personnel included: Grace Happe, Ciarra Fagerlie, Teagan Woods, Jack Stonecipher, Tye Van Pelt, Harrison Bjorback, and Ashlyn Awada.

What makes Hagstrom Durant most proud is how the seniors have started and ended their high school careers delivering nothing but the best.

“I believe very strongly in the importance of a theater program – whether it’s in the arts, academics, or athletics,” she said. “This does not come easy. You have to have a program for other kids to see, come through, and grow up in. Once a program achieves excellence, then you increase the number of new kids who want to get involved, and a program will grow.” 

“Once kids see the excellence of the plays competing at the state contest, they understand why we set the bar so high, why we want them to produce theater that is not average high school work, and why we ask them to work so hard and push them to achieve,” Hagstrom Durant said.

There is no true champion crowned in One Act, but judging by some of the comments the ensemble received from state judges, Hagstrom Durant believes they gave the state’s top performance.

“I was told multiple times that our show was by far the best of Class AA,” she said.

Some of the feedback included these judges’ responses: “From the heart of this farm girl – thank you!” Another said: “You captured the exact desperation my family felt as the bank foreclosed on our farm.” One judge simple said she became a spectator for a moment: “I stopped writing so I could just enjoy.”

Each of the member schools that qualified for state had directors judge the performances. Class A directors judged four starred Class AA performances on Thursday, and Class AA judging Class A on Friday.

Hagstrom Durant said the judge for Buffalo’s oral critique cried throughout his entire critique on stage in front of the whole audience.

Not knowing how many more years she has left in One Act, Hagstrom Durant is certainly appreciating each starred performance with starry eyes.

“As I grow older, I know I can’t keep doing this forever,” she said. “There is a time when it is necessary to turn it over to someone new. But it is so hard to do that when I get to work with students like this. These are some pretty special kids.”



The ensemble’s one and only public performance drew a packed house on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at the BHS Performing Arts Center.

As usual, the public performance is one where the play is not judged, but is a time where students deliver to an audience with many friends and family in attendance.

“The public performance was good, but our section and state final performances were better,” Hagstrom Durant said.


BCMS Speech Team celebrates successful season

On Monday, Feb. 6, the Buffalo Community Middle School Speech Team celebrated the end of their season in Coach Jan Heyerdahl’s classroom. The season began with practices in December and continued with competitions in Rocori, Monticello, St. Cloud, Howard Lake, and Buffalo.

Students had the choice of creating their own selection, performing a duet with one other student, or interpreting a published poem, story, or speech. Many students chose to “double enter” and prepared two selections.

Heyerdahl said a successful season was experienced by every team member. Students of the Week were chosen for outstanding dedication.  Sydney Nute, Skyler Hoel, and Isaiah Kramber were the recipients of the distinction.