‘Fantastic four’ anchors Bison swim team

Ground game too much as Magic defeat Bison 30-7

STMA ends Royals reign

Registration for second season of U.S. AAL Youth Ice Fishing

Section 2-3A volleyball poses giant tests

Hutch hosts Section 2AA Cross Country Meet

PES celebrates National Fire Prevention Month

Journal-Press Internet Sports & School -October 23, 2014
Rob LaPlante

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

‘Fantastic four’ anchors Bison swim team

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Mika Bordak was just a sophomore when she last qualified for state in both the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay events. Two of her teammates from those relays no longer are in high school, and the other is currently a senior focusing on individual events. Class of 2013 graduates Jenna Muntifering and Emily DeVore no longer are in the picture, and senior Ashlee Hale has concentrated on individual events. But even with a new trio of teammates, Bordak and the Bison relays are once again knocking on the door hoping to enter the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center come Thursday and Friday, Nov. 13-14 in the Class AA state tournament.     

Buffalo is hopeful that its 200 medley relay team of Bordak, eighth-grader Jordan McGinty and seniors Lauren Kaminski and Taylor Susa can put together a final push to finish the section tournament in one of the top two required positions to qualify for state.       Bordak said this foursome is very unique when it comes to swimming. But in the end, all four swimmers have the same goal in mind.   “Between the four of us, I feel like there’s a lot of drama,” Bordak said. “But we’ve all known each other for a long time. We all swim in the off-season and we’re all dedicated. That gives us the competitive feel during relays to pump each other up and see if we can beat our times from before.”      Buffalo head coach Melissa Miller notices the different styles, but in the end, each swimmer pushes the other to be the best. The girls have 10 first-place finishes to their name heading into the Mississippi 8 Conference Championship this Thursday and Friday, Oct. 23-24 at Big Lake.        

“They are all different,” Miller said. “That’s expected when an eighth-grader, a junior and two seniors are grouped together. But they all get along really well.”        

The results from this year’s True Team section meet on Saturday, Oct. 11 at Elk River saw both the Buffalo 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays finish in third place. With a little less than three weeks to prepare for the Section 8AA Tournament on Nov. 7-8 at Elk River, all four girls are hopeful that they can get their times down to qualify for one of the top two spots.

“I think we have a chance,” said Kaminski, who is hopeful of making state for the first time in her career. “We just finished third at True Team, and finished just a second off from second place.”

All four swimmers are targeting the 200 medley relay as their number one goal, with the hopes of each one potentially qualifying for state in individual events, as well.

McGinty has been a regular top finisher this season in both the 50 and 100 freestyle. Susa finished True Team with a second-place time in the 100 butterfly and Kaminski was fourth in the 100 backstroke. Both swimmers just missed the cut last season in the same events. Susa was third at the section meet in 2013 and Kaminski was fourth.    

“I focused a lot more on individual last year,” Susa said. “My goal is to not finish third again at sections this year. I think our goal is for all four of us to get to state individually and on a relay.”

All the girls felt confident they have what it takes to make the proper adjustments to improve their time splits in the relays.

The relay team originally started the season with Kaminski doing backstroke, Bordak was breaststroke, McGinty butterfly and Susa freestyle. But a mid-season knee injury to Bordak has forced the medley relay event to be switched around from their normal positioning and the last handful of meets has had McGinty jump into the breaststroke, Susa butterfly and Bordak freestyle.

In a sport that often gets overlooked as individual accomplishments, the sacrifice McGinty gave up to fill in for breaststroke while Bordak recovers from injury didn’t go unnoticed by her teammates.

“Jordan impressed me a lot on the breaststroke this year, especially when Mika got hurt,” said Kaminski, one of three senior captains along with Sarah Kolling and Kenzi Laumann.

The hope is with taper and a healthy relay team swimming in their natural positions during sections, the times will improve just enough to qualify for state.

Besides cutting yards in practice, taper can affect swimmers in a number of different ways.

“Everyone prepares for taper in their own ways,” Bordak said. “Some people like Taylor shave their grizzly bear legs. We stop eating candy, drinking pop, getting a lot of rest, shaving and wearing technical suits.”

For others, taper comes down to a mental game.

“Taper really helps us,” McGinty said. “Your mind has to be in the right place for your taper to work. I think my times are going to get faster because of it.”

Buffalo has one more meet to prepare for sections. The Mississippi 8 Conference Championship takes place Thursday and Friday, Oct. 23-24 at Big Lake. While all-conference status is up for grabs, the girls’ No. 1 focus remains state.

“I think we have a good shot at it,” Susa said.



In the Bison’s final dual meet of the season, Buffalo junior diver Rachel Bertram’s score of 250.70 set a new Buffalo pool record in the 1-meter, six-dive event. Bertram had set the school record with a score of 417.15 in the 11-dive event earlier this season in the Nancy Bergert Invitational. The Bison ended the meet losing 101-80 to Wayzata. No further details on this meet were available at deadline. Buffalo finished its head-to-head record this season 3-3 overall.

Next up is the Mississippi 8 Conference Meet with diving taking place this Thursday, Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. at Big Lake High School. Swim competition takes place at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24 at STMA Middle School East Pool.



Ground game too much as Magic defeat Bison 30-7

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

It’s rare to see a football team at any level have four turnovers and zero passing yards, yet find itself on the winning end of a 30-7 scoreboard. But that was the scenario in last Tuesday’s Section 6-5A quarterfinal playoff game between Monticello and Buffalo.

The Magic overcame a non-existent passing game that finished the night with zero yards and two interceptions, and despite losing two fumbles, Monticello’s ammo was its usual ground attack which featured 64 rushes for 433 yards and four scores en route to the 23-point victory.

Ironically, in Buffalo’s previous visit to Monticello on Friday, Sept. 19, it was the Bison turning the ball over four times which led to much similar results in a 35-3 Magic win. The playoff rematch featured two teams coming in on hot streaks with Monticello finishing the regular season with wins over Chisago Lakes and Duluth Denfeld, and the Bison winning three of their last four games, including a 31-6 home win over Duluth East on Wednesday, Oct. 15.

Even though the first meeting resulted in a blowout, Monticello head coach Jason Telecky said a playoff rematch with their cross-town rivals from Buffalo was not exactly the matchup they were looking for.

“Coming in, we would have rather played Willmar,” Telecky said. “Willmar was reeling and going in the opposite direction, and Buffalo was a team that was confident coming in feeling good about things. It’s hard to beat a team in this conference twice.”

The key to Buffalo’s turnaround late in the season was the steady play of its defense and special teams. Both showed up to play in the early showings of Tuesday’s game in Monticello. The Magic grabbed an early 7-0 lead, but on three straight Magic possessions, the Bison forced three consecutive turnovers.

Playing without their leading rusher, junior Joe McClellan, who missed the game due to an injury suffered in the Duluth East win, the Bison offense struggled and failed to convert on any of their three first-half turnovers.

One of the Bison’s best drives in the game midway through the first quarter resulted in a turnover of their own. On a trick play designed for senior Wyatt Brings, the Bison’s best drive of the game resulted in an interception at the Magic two-yard line.

Buffalo head coach Todd Bouman had inserted Brings into the lineup a number of times at quarterback this season in key short-yardage situations. Most of his play calls have resulted in positive results, but mainly as a rusher. This call resulted in Brings attempting only his second passing attempt of the season.

“We’ve practiced that play,” Bouman said. “But that one was on me. I was probably trying to get a bit too tricky or cute on that play. Wyatt’s done such a great job for us all year running the ball and doing what we’ve asked him to do. But we knew coming into the game we would probably have a tough time running the ball against a big, strong team.”

Buffalo’s defense would respond by creating its second turnover of the half on senior captain Jonny Senger’s first of two interceptions in the game. Buffalo was forced to punt and on Monticello’s next possession, Magic sophomore Ryder Beckman coughed up the ball at midfield for his team’s third turnover of the half.

“We did our job on defense and got those turnovers,” Senger said. “We just didn’t cash in on them. Sometimes that stuff happens. But we played our hearts out, and there’s nothing more I can ask for from myself and my teammates.”

To add insult to injury, Monticello would convert two scores in the final three minutes of the half, highlighted by a dazzling 74-yard touchdown run by Laudert with 43 seconds left in the half. What was a hard-fought, seven-point game turned into a 22-0 Magic halftime lead.

Buffalo’s trickery continued into the opening play of the second half when Bison senior kicker Jared Alexander’s onside-kick attempt was recovered by the Magic. The game was delayed nearly 20 minutes as Magic junior Sam Sellner laid motionless on the play. He eventually was taken off by stretcher with an apparent head injury.

 “He took a shot to his jaw and was in a lot of pain and couldn’t talk,” Telecky said. “It sounded like he was walking around at the hospital, so that’s pretty good.”

When play resumed, Senger intercepted Magic junior quarterback Aaron Hanson for a second time and returned it to the Monticello five-yard line. Brings would eventually punch it in on a 1-yard rush for the Bison’s lone score. The Magic put the game away on their next possession scoring on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Hanson.

Senger said the season had its ups and downs, but being a senior makes this season-ending loss a difficult pill to swallow.

“It’s a lot different being a senior,” Senger said. “The game is over with. The season is over with. It’s a lot harder than it was last year. But this year was fun. Bouman loves the sport and loves his kids and it was really fun to play for him. I’m going to miss most playing with my buddies every Friday night.”

The Bison finished the season with the same record as 2013 at 3-6 overall. Bouman said he saw progression each week and the thing he was most proud of was the work ethic of his team.

“I’ve never been around a group of kids that every single day they came to work,” Bouman said. “Not one kid had a bad attitude. I couldn’t be more proud of them and I told the seniors I’m proud of the foundation they laid for the years to come. They did a great job of leading all year and couldn’t ask more of them.”

As a result of the win, Monticello (6-3 overall) plays at 3 p.m. against No. 1 seed St. Michael-Albertville (7-1 overall) Saturday, Oct. 25 in Albertville.



Buffalo 31, Duluth East 6

(Wednesday, Oct. 15 at Buffalo)   

Greyhounds         6    0    0    0   --     6

Bison        7  14    7    3   --   31


First quarter:

DE - Andy Kimball 20 pass from Kenyatta Mooers (Mark Holliday kick blocked) 7:48

Second quarter:

B - Wyatt Brings 1 run (Jared Alexander kick) :32.9

Second quarter:

B - Gavin Welch 5 run (Alexander kick) 6:25

B - James McNamara 38 interception return (Alexander kick) 6:13

Third quarter:

B - Jonny Senger 52 rush (Alexander kick) 10:35

Fourth quarter:

B - Alexander 27 field goal, 8:40


Bison leaders:

Passing - Dylan Rohlin 5-15-40, INT; McKael Loomis 0-1-0.

Rushing - Joe McClellan 12-79; Wyatt Brings 11-53, TD; Jonny Senger 2-17; Gavin Welch 1-5, TD; Zach Wurm 1-0; Hunter Brings 1-(-2); Loomis 1-(-2); Rohlin 3-(-15).

Receiving - Welch 3-22; Taylor Spier 1-12; Zach Dahl 1-6.

Tackles - Dahl 7, INT; Adam Treptau 5; Rabert Sahli 5; Pierce Moline 4; Hawthorne Bjorback 4; Matt Montplaisir 4; James McNamara, 2 INT, TD; Harlan Johnson 3; Jordan Thielman 3; Senger 3; Spier 2; Tom Bean 2; Jared Alexander 2; W. Brings 1; McClellan 1; Michael Williams 1; Tyler Wurm 1; Adam Skelly 1; H. Brings 1.


Greyhounds leaders:

Passing - Kenyatta Mooers 7-19-94, TD, 2 INT.

Rushing - Andy Kimball 6-22, Sam Johnson 4-16; 

Receiving - Kimball 2-27, TD; Tyler Frantz 2-14; Mark Holliday 2-13; Andre Hanks 1-4.


Monticello 30, Buffalo 7

(Tuesday, Oct. 21 at Buffalo)         

Bison  0     0    7    0   --     7

Magic 7   15    8    0   --   30


First quarter:

M - Lowell Laudert 1 run (Taylor Modaff kick) 7:14

Second quarter:

M - McRae Voll 2 run (Modaff kick) 2:20

M - Laudert 74 run (Noah Jacobson run for 2-pt conversion) 0:43

Third quarter:

B - Wyatt Brings 1 run (Jared Alexander kick) 9:57

M - Aaron Hanson 1 run (Jacobson run for 2-pt conversion) 3:56

Fourth quarter:

No scoring


Bison leaders:

Passing - Dylan Rohlin 15-33-191, 2 INT; Wyatt Brings 0-1-0, INT.

Rushing - Wyatt Brings 8-22, TD; Zach Wurm 1-8; Jonny Senger 2-5; Gavin Welch 1-2; Matt Montplaisir 1-(-4); Rohlin 2-(-14).

Receiving - Cory Thielman 3-61; Welch 3-43; Zach Dahl 3-35; W. Brings 3-29; Taylor Spier 2-18; T. Wurm 1-5.

Defense: Not available

Magic leaders:

Passing - Aaron Hanson 0-3-0, 2 INT; Nick Zwack 0-1

Rushing - Ryder Beckman 24-164; Lowell Laudert 16-136, 2 TD; McRae Voll 12-79, TD; Hanson 5-29, TD; Matt Grathwohl 2-10; Ahmed Mire 1-7; Kyle Bushman 1-5; Nick Bomersine 1-2; Ty Kline 1-2; Jared Willemson 1-(-2).

Receiving - None

Defense - Not available



STMA ends Royals reign

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

It was one year ago to the date that a failed two-point conversion in overtime cost head coach Jared Essler and the St. Michael-Albertville football team a chance at dethroning the Rogers Royals’ five year-run as Mississippi 8 conference champions.

Just when nobody thought a game resulting in a 38-37 overtime win for the Royals on Oct. 16, 2013 couldn’t get any crazier, the two teams were at it again on the final regular season game on Wednesday, Oct. 15 in Albertville.

Trailing 21-7 with just under nine minutes remaining in regulation, the Knights got two late scores, including a 19-yard screen pass from STMA senior quarterback Jackson Greenwaldt to senior tailback Tyler Hayes with 1:28 remaining in the fourth quarter. The score cut the lead to 21-20.

Instead of kicking the extra point to tie the game, the Knights tested fate once again and Greenwaldt’s pass connected to a wide open Tyler Berg, a senior, to take the 22-21 advantage with just over a minute left in the game.

Essler said there was no hesitation, even with plenty of time left on the clock, to try and convert the two on that play.

“The way overtime is set up, we were having a hard time running the ball, and we felt they were running it pretty well,” Essler said. “What was funny is we lined up in the same exact formation we did last year when we went for two. This year we had a different play called and it worked pretty well.”

The move didn’t seem to surprise Rogers head coach Marc Franz. Even with over a minute left on the clock and one timeout, the Royals and their offense had plenty of time to try and set up a chance for a game-winning field goal.

“They are pretty consistent,” Franz said. “They did it last year and they are a team not afraid to go for the win in that situation. So I wasn’t surprised at all.”

With one final drive to try and decide both a conference champ, and No. 1 seed in Section 6-5A, Rogers began with a handoff to senior tailback Gunnar Bloom, who had scored previously in the game on a 33-yard passing play and 3-yard rushing play. The touchdowns brought his season total to 21. The Knights were not fooled on the conservative play call to try and bust their top player. The next play resulted in Berg coming up with a 7-yard sack forcing a pivotal third-and-long at the Royals 34-yard line.

Rogers’ senior quarterback Andy Borchardt came up huge in the clutch connecting with senior tight end Cole Murray for a 32-yard pass reception. Borchardt’s pass was more of a jump-ball throw that the 6-foot-5 Murray leaped above two STMA defenders to keep the drive alive. Murray and Borchardt would connect moments later to put the Royals down to the Knights 17-yard line, but the drive was eventually stalled and with 13 seconds left on the clock, Rogers’ senior kicker Justin Bohnsack’s attempt at the 32-yard game-winning field goal was botched, as the kick barely made it past the line of scrimmage.

The victory was the first conference title for Essler, who took over for longtime STMA head coach Earl Bauman five seasons ago. The win also stole the section’s No. 1 seed and first-round bye away from Rogers, who hosted Willmar on Tuesday, Oct. 21.

“(Rogers) has had quite the run,” Essler said. “For that team to go 7-1 and lose on a two-point conversion and go from a one seed to a three is a tough break. Last year, going into this game we both knew we would end up with a first-round bye. This year there was more riding on it. It’s safe to say that last year they stole one from us, and this year we may have stole one from them.”

If the Royals and Knights both win Saturday’s semifinal game, it’s safe to say that the section championship game on Halloween Night could be another thriller between these two heated rivals.


STMA 22, Rogers 21

(Wednesday, Oct. 15 at Albertville)Royals           7    0    7    7   --   21

Knights           7    0    0  15   --   22

First quarter:

STMA - Jordan Joseph 2 run (Landon Bridell kick)

R - Gunnar Bloom 33 pass from Andy Borchardt (Trent Bohnsack kick)

Second quarter:

No scoring

Third quarter:

R - Borchardt 12 run (Bohnsack kick)

Fourth quarter:

R - Bloom 3 run (Bohnsack kick)

STMA - Luke Eicher 1 run (Bridell kick)

STMA - Tyler Hayes 19 pass from Jackson Greenwaldt (Tyler Berg 2-pt. pass conversion from Greenwaldt)

Royals leaders:

Passing - Andy Borchardt 9-16-190, TD, INT.

Rushing - Gunnar Bloom 22-95, TD; Adam Heyer 8-28; Blayne Kasper 7-26;  Borchardt 7-12, TD; Cole Flander 3-5.

Receiving - Cole Murray 4-98; Bloom 2-39; Tyler Vidor 1-25; Heyer 1-18; Flander 1-10.

Knights leaders:

Passing - Jackson Greenwaldt 12-20-144, TD, INT.

Rushing - Jordan Joseph 16-122, TD; Luke Eicher 4-8, TD; Tyler Hayes 3-3; Greenwaldt 9-(-25).

Receiving - Trevor Rothstein 3-36; Landon Bridell 3-31; Isaiah Weston 2-23; Tyler Berg 1-22; Hayes 1-19, TD; Joseph 2-13.



Registration for second season of U.S. AAL Youth Ice Fishing

Youth anglers across the country will have the opportunity to compete in a youth ice fishing season this winter. Starting on Jan. 1, 2015 kids can earn points for going ice fishing and catching fish on any frozen body of water. Last season, Minnesota youth anglers were the first to compete in a youth ice fishing season using a point based scoring system which rewarded kids for ice fishing and catching fish through the ice.  The anglers earned plaques, certificates, and other awards for their success. The American Angler Leagues’ introduces fishing to children in a structured environment similar to youth sports.

“We believe that in order for children to become lifelong anglers, they need continuous opportunities to fish while they are young. said founder Kolt Ronger. “They also need someone to teach them how to fish and then take them fishing.”

The model relies on encouraging experienced anglers to recruit and fish with non-experienced angling families. The competitive ice fishing season is open to boys and girls between the ages of five to seventeen. Anglers will be allowed to fish anytime on any frozen lake or river from January 1 - February 28, 2015.  Coaches and parents will be able to set up times to fish that work for their schedules. They can also schedule tournaments and group outings   in their regions.

“Last season was a great experience for Bode and myself. We love to go ice fishing together, but it was even more fun to have Bode fishing for points.  It gave him some extra motivation to get on the ice and forced us to schedule more time ice fishing!” stated Mike Beighley, who coached his son Bode to a third place trophy in Minnesota last year.   

“For countless families, winter is a time when their attention turns to the ice rink or basketball court,” said Michelle Ringer, American Angler Leagues’ Director of Marketing. “We’re excited to be able to introduce ice fishing as a fun, structured, competitive activity for families to participate in this winter.”

Families can register online at



Section 2-3A volleyball poses giant tests

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

All season long, the Buffalo volleyball team was looking up at its opponents. Small in stature, Bison head coach Lauri Zumach knew in order for things to go their way, the team had to concentrate on the little things to make the difference.

As the season progressed, Zumach experimented with a number of different lineup changes heading into Wednesday's Section 2-3A playoff matchup played Oct. 22 at Hutchinson. The Bison defeated the Tigers in a five-set thriller on Aug. 28 in Buffalo's second match of the season.

Although the mental edge appeared to be in the Bison's court going into the matchup, Zumach knows that Hutch posed a difficult test.

"I don't know that we have played a whole lot to have any sort of mental edge," Zumach said. "Even though the season is almost done, we have a lot of kids that haven't played a lot of volleyball."

The Bison have gone from a record-setting 24-4 season a year ago to their first losing year (11-15 overall) since the 2009 campaign when they finished 12-15. Despite the disparity in the win-loss column, Zumach said a number of matches have been competitive, particularly down the stretch.

"We've had some really good practices and I feel like we could pull out a close match," Zumach said.

Outside of having senior Sammy Johnson, the school's all-time career assist leader, at setter, the Bison have mixed positions and lineups all season long to find the right chemistry.

Unlike their 3-2 win at Hutch, Zumach said the Tigers saw an entirely different Bison team the second time around.

"We had a lot of different things the first time we played Hutch we didn't know about our own team," she said. "Now we have Tori Weber as our libero, and Paige Dalbec in the middle. We have Hannah Daniel on the left side and Emma Simonson on the right side. We've done a lot of different things."

The Bison have also got a boost from freshman outside hitter Kari Zumach, who has led the team in kills in three of their past five matches. Sophomore Taylor Thompson has also been shifted in different lineup spots as has seniors Bailey Brownlee and Lexi Hanson-McNeil.

Wednesday's winner is at No. 1 seed and the No. 1 team in Class 3A Prior Lake (25-2) at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24. The Lakers and the No. 2 seed Chaska were tied for No. 1 in the latest Class 3A poll. Delano (23-4), last year's Section 2-3A defending champion, is the No. 3 seed and Chanhassen (19-9) is the No. 4 seed.



Delano head coach Rebecca Rue said her team is fired up about trying to defend their section title. But she also knows it will take another huge effort for their team to return to state.

"Our girls are fired up for the playoffs and we have a talented bunch returning from last year's state runner-up squad," Rue said. "We also know the section is up for grabs. It's a very competitive and is extremely top-heavy with good teams."

The Tigers face Wednesday's winner between Waconia and Mankato East. The Tigers defeated Waconia (16-12) in five sets earlier this season.

Delano did lose Division I players Shelby Seurer and Elle Heinonen off last year's squad, but with seven seniors, including all-state player Bria Barfnecht and Alex Wittinger along with setter Kristin Kreklow, the nucleus is still there for another long run.

"Whoever gets out of the section will be state-tournament ready," Rue said. "But we truly believe we can do it again this year."

Delano’s home playoff match on Friday will start at 7 p.m.



Hutch hosts Section 2AA Cross Country Meet

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Lake Marion is the site for this year's Section 2AA cross country meet at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23 in Hutchinson.

According to Buffalo co-head coach Dave Knutson, both squads have a shot at improving on last year's team and individual finishes. The boys finished in fifth place behind section winners Hutchinson and Chanhassen. The girls were seventh behind Chanhassen and Marshall. Only the top two teams and top eight individual finishers (not including runners from the top two team finishes) qualify for state.

The Bison failed to qualify any girls from last year's team, and the boys' squad returns only one of their two state qualifiers in senior Frank Graham.

"Unlike our course that has a lot of hills, the Hutch course runs flat and fast," Knutson said. "Frank's not a true speed guy. He's more a distance runner. But based on his times, he should still go to state."

Graham and Michael Wegter qualified a year ago running the section meet at Buffalo Heights Golf Course. A second-place time of 16:30.93 last week in the Mississippi 8 Meet at Buffalo is about the same exact time of 16:30.30 he finished at the section meet a year ago that was good for sixth place. Wegter's time of 16:41.5 was good for the eighth and final spot. Knutson said junior Jacob Kluver has an outside shot of qualifying for state. Kluver has filled the shoes this year of Wegter, as the Bison's No. 2 runner.

"He ran a 16:44 flat at conference," Knutson said. "I really think he has a legit shot."

Last year as a team, Buffalo just missed sending the boys' team to state by eight points. Outside of Graham and Kluver, Knutson said the team will be sending eighth-grader Isaac Basten, seniors Reed Morehouse, Ethan Hosey and Joe Slicer, and was undecided early in the week between senior Erik Worner and junior Aric Haluska.

Knutson and head coach Jill Hanson expect Chanhassen and Shakopee to be the favorites. But, Knutson wasn't going to rule the Bison out of potentially landing one of the top two spots.

"We have an outside shot at it," he said. "We have to hope someone doesn't have a great day and we need all our top five runners to have their best times."

Defending champion Hutchinson is unranked and will likely finish outside of the top two. The Tigers lost 2013 section medalist Isaiah Barlow to graduation and their No. 2 runner, Alec Anderson, transferred schools and is now running at Chaska.

The Bison girls are in similar position to the boys. Although a top-two team finish is highly unlikely with defending champ Chanhassen and Marshall returning major pieces of last year's puzzles. Marshall looks to be the favorite this season in the section. The Tigers currently are ranked No. 10 in state polls and return all seven of their runners from last year's section runner-up squad.

Buffalo failed to send anybody to state in 2013, but with the emergence of four youngsters who recently finished all-conference at the Mississippi 8 Meet a week ago, hopes are high that one or two individuals can crack the top eight spots.

Freshman Amanda Montplaisir is coming off a fourth-place time of 15:23.14 at the conference meet in Buffalo. Knutson said he thinks it will take a time under 15 minutes in the girls' 4K to qualify for state. Montplaisir has finished below 15 minutes three times in meets this season.

"Amanda ran a 14:50 at Hutch last time," Knutson said. "If she runs like that again, she should qualify."

Montplaisir is looking to be the first female to make it to St. Olaf for the Class 2A state tournament since Hayley Downing in 2012.

Montplaisir, eighth-graders Erica O'Borsky and Areefa Seepersaud and freshman Meredith Reynolds have given the Bison a blend of youth and skill. All four made all-conference as underclassmen. Knutson said he's seen a major improvement the past year in the girls' squad, particularly from Reynolds, who has jumped from junior varsity to Buffalo's No. 3 runner.

"She ran summer miles with me," Knutson said. "I remember her crying and stopping every 300 meters. The improvement she's made since then to make it to all-conference is incredible."

Knutson said the girls' lineup at sections will be the same lineup used at last week's conference meet.

Montplaisir, O'Borsky, Reynolds, Seepersaud and junior Macey McClay will likely be the top five runners.


PES celebrates National Fire Prevention Month

October is National Fire Prevention Month. It was established in 1871 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire. This provides a great opportunity to instruct students about fire safety — in and outside of their own homes, in the community, and in the wilderness. 

Last week the Buffalo Fire Department stopped by Parkside Elementary School on Friday, Oct. 10 with a fire truck to visit and educate pre-school, kindergarten and first-grade classrooms.  Students had the opportunity to meet Buffalo Volunteer Fire Fighter Glenn Lawrence and find out about the clothes firefighters wear and equipment they use to fight fires.

Some children may view fireman as scary, so having the opportunity to meet a fireman personally with all of their gear and be able to view how it works could potentially help save a child’s life in the event of an actual fire.