2013-14 Girls Golf Preview: Bison hope to continue M8 dominance

2013-14 Boys Golf Preview: Bison aiming for M8 title

Track opens at Monti Invite

Golf lives on in Bollant family household

Spring play provides perfect ‘match’ for BHS

BCMS Student of Distinction: Bailee Larson

Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - April 11, 2014
Rob LaPlante

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

2013-14 Girls Golf Preview: Bison hope to continue M8 dominance

With entire lineup returning, Bison seeking potential conference, section title hopes

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Marking the 10-year anniversary since the inception of the Mississippi 8 Conference in 2004, the Buffalo girls’ golf team is hoping to make it a perfect 10 for 10 when it comes to finishing as conference champs.

On paper, things look promising for the Bison to achieve that feat. Returning all six of their varsity players from last year’s squad, including two Class 3A individual state qualifiers, senior co-captain Lauren Schultz said this year holds high hopes.

“It’s exciting because we did well last year, and this year we didn’t lose anybody,” said Schultz, who is one of three seniors on the varsity roster. Her and co-captain Lexi Bollant along with Kyla Henderson bring almost a decade’s worth of varsity experience to the table. 

Bollant is a 3-time individual state qualifier. Her and first-time state qualifier Madi Jewell, a junior, look to give the Bison a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the scorecard. As a first-time state qualifier, Jewell said she has high expectation for both herself and the team.

“I was proud of myself for what I did, but I know I could have done better,” said Jewell, on her 2-day score of 160 at last year’s Class 3A state finish at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids. Her 15th place finish was seven spots behind Bollant’s eighth-place score of 155. “Hopefully I can get back this year and get better than 15th,” she added.   

The Bison clinched last year’s conference title shooting a team score of 331 at Wild Marsh in Buffalo. Monticello finished a distant second at 357. St. Michael-Albertville was third at 370, Rogers fourth at 379, Cambridge-Isanti fifth at 409 and Big Lake was last at 428.

In years past, the conference title was decided between a combined score of all the conference meets. With the addition of St. Francis, North Branch, Chisago Lakes and Princeton, this year’s conference champion will be decided in two different meets. All teams will meet for the first conference showdown on April 29 at Bunker Hills. Those totals will carry over to the second and final conference meet to decide the champion on May 22 at the Links at Northfork in Elk River.

There are five meets divided into two sections to determine division winners.

Buffalo, Monticello, Big Lake, Rogers and STMA make up the Mississippi 8 South. Princeton, Cambridge-Isanti, North Branch, Chisago Lakes and St. Francis make up the Mississippi 8 North.

            “Those scores mean nothing to determine the conference champion. But we’re going to have our own trophy for the south, and I think the north may do the same,” said head coach Riti Sanderson. “The five meets will determine the individual all-conference teams.”

            Sanderson said she doesn’t anticipate any major shakeups as far as her team is concerned with the format change.

            “It really doesn’t bother me,” she said. “We can adjust to anything. It will put a little bit more pressure on us having only two meets that count for the title.”

            Both Jewell and Schultz said they like the new conference format, which allows for more margins for error throughout the season.

            “You don’t have to be on your game as much each day,” Jewell said. “Every match we have I’m going to play the same, but this way we can think of it as more fun.”

            While the Bison have dominated conference play the past decade, the Section 8AAA tournament is what the girls are focusing on. This year’s tournament takes place May 27-28 at Greystone Golf Course in Sauk Centre.

            The Bison have qualified for only one state tournament in school history. Last year they finished second to section champion Alexandria. Only the top team along with the top seven individual scores (not including individual scores from the section championship team) advance to the state tournament.

            Alexandria loses three of their top six golfers from last year’s Class 3A state runner-up squad to Edina. The Cardinals return three senior golfers that all finished in the top 32 individually in Amanda Bigger, Natalie Amundson and Emily Thul. Buffalo’s Bollant edged Bigger by one stroke to finish one spot ahead of her for eighth place at state. Jewell actually qualified for state shooting a 170 at sections, three strokes better than Bollant’s 173. Eighth-grader Hanna Morin had the team’s third best score of 183, followed by freshman Jordan Wurm’s 192, Schultz’ 193 and junior Kirsten Olson’s 199.

Schultz said she is hoping for a shot at advancing to state, but her main goal is focusing on the team.

            “That would be awesome,” she said. “I’m definitely working towards that, but going as a team would be even better.”

2013-14 Girls

Golf Roster

Name              Grade

Hanna Morin  8

Jordan Wurm 9

Madi Jewell    11

Kirsten Olson 11

Lexi Bollant*   12

Kyla Henderson         12

Lauren Schultz*         12


Head Coach:

Riti Sanderson

Assistant Coaches:

Joe Bollant , Nate Doimer

 Scott Morin

2013-14 Girls Golf Schedule

Date    Course/Location                               Time

4/8       Pebble Creek Golf Course/Becker             3 p.m.

4/10    Pebble Creek Golf Course/Becker             1 p.m.

4/14    Monticello Country Club/Monticello Noon

4/16    Monticello Country Club/Monticello Noon

4/24    Wild Marsh Golf Course/Buffalo                  3 p.m.

4/28    Chaska Town Course/Chaska                    10 a.m.

4/29    Bunker Hills/Coon Rapids                1 p.m.

5/5       Riverwood National/Monticello                    3 p.m.

5/8       Bunker Hills/Coon Rapids/Andover            Noon

5/9       Greystone Golf Course/Sauk Center          2 p.m.

5/13    Fox Hollow Golf Club/St. Michael    3 p.m.

5/15    St. Cloud Country Club/St. Cloud                9 a.m.

5/19    Cedar Creek Golf Course/St. Michael       11 a.m.

5/22    Links at Norfolk/Ramsey/M8                        1 p.m.

5/27    Greystone/Sauk Center/Section 8AAA      2 p.m.

5/28    Greystone/Sauk Center/Section 8AAA      TBA

6/10    Bunker Hills/Class 3A State Tournament   TBA

6/11    Bunker Hills/Class 3A State Tournament   TBA

*All games and times according to Mississippi 8 website


2013-14 Boys Golf Preview: Bison aiming for M8 title

Buffalo looking to erase last year’s finish with hopes of dethroning depleted Royals squad for conference title

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

The biggest question the last few years has been which boys golf team will finish second to Rogers in the Mississippi 8 Conference?

            The Royals have finished first in the conference six consecutive years, but with Rogers losing three key seniors, the door has seemed to open for a few teams to possibly sneak in, including a Buffalo squad that returns five of its top six varsity golfers.

            “It’s about time they (Rogers) reduced a little bit of their power,” said Bison head coach Charley Keifenheim. The Royals qualified for state a fourth year in a row last season, while finishing eighth overall. “They have been so tough over the years, and I think because of that we have a good shot of winning the conference.”

            Senior captain Hunter Bruhn leads a relatively young Bison squad that returns, junior captain Gunnar Goodmanson, juniors Jake Ramsey, Josh Fishman and sophomore Ben Zitur. While the Bison finished last year third in the Mississippi 8 final standings, they had a section tournament they all agreed they would like to throw out the window.

            “Some of the teams at sections shot really well,” Keifenheim said. “Alexandria went to state and St. Cloud Tech had some guys that really lit it up. We didn’t fare as well as we’d hoped to.”

            Two years removed from a section runner-up in 2012, Keifenheim is hoping an experienced returning lineup and some key losses on other teams can propel the Bison to a potential visit to Bunker Hills at the 2014 state tournament. “We had a really bad event at Fox Hollow where we finished second to the bottom,” Keifenheim said. “Outside of that one event, we were right up with the top teams in the conference. That one pushed us out of contention and with Hunter being injured almost the entire season with his neck injury, it made it really difficult.”

            Bruhn suffered a scary injury two seasons ago while playing hockey for the Bison varsity squad. Prior to his injury, he qualified for his first Class 3A individual state tournament in 2012 when he finished tied for 55th place shooting a 160. Bruhn said he’s excited to be golfing near 100-percent health again, and his goal is definitely to try and make it back to state.

            “Last year it was rough for me just getting back from my injury,” Bruhn said. “I think we all have goals of going to state individually and placing. But I think this year we can go as a team. That’s our goal.”

            Bruhn added that he’s really motivated being he had to sit out his senior year of hockey due to the injury.

            “It’s good to be back with the guys,” he said. “I missed hockey for the year, and it’s good to be back with some of the hockey players.”

            Bruhn, Goodmanson, Ramsey and Zitur are letter winners in both golf and hockey. Goodmanson is hoping to continue his incredible junior season where he led the Mississippi 8 with 51 points and scored a career-high 26 goals this past winter in hockey. He hopes to translate that success into a potential state tournament berth in golf.

            “Winning conference is a goal of ours, and not losing any players we have a good shot at it,” Goodmanson said. “Hopefully we can get outside soon.”

            With the weather creating havoc to last year’s playing conditions, Goodmanson said this year they are hoping for a better start to the season.

            “It can be tough with wind and rain,” he said. “You just have to come prepared to play in any conditions. Everyone’s got to play in it, so you just have to deal with whatever weather you’re going to get.”

            Wet conditions and heavy winds forced Buffalo into some below average scores at last year’s Section 8AAA Tournament at Greystone Golf Course in Sauk Centre.

            While Buffalo struggled as a team finishing seventh as a team and failing to qualify for day two, the Bison proved they have depth up and down their lineup as four of their top six golfers finished within five strokes of each other. Bruhn finished tied for 13th place at sections shooting a 2-day score of 161. Goodmanson tied for 19th with a 164. Ramsey tied for 23rd with a 165 and Fishman was 26th with a 166.

             “We have the skill and capability to make it to state,” Goodmanson said. “That’s our team goal.”

2013-14 Boys

Golf Roster

Name              Grade

Tom Russet   9

Jake VanDenEinde  9

Ben Zitur                     10

Jon Aslesen   11

Josh Fishman            11

Gunnar Goodmanson*          11

Cooper Ling  11

Jake Ramsey            11

Hunter Bruhn*            12

Henry Harris   12


Head Coach:

Charley Keifenheim

Assistant Coaches:

Joe Bollant, Sarah Rodenwald

2013-14 Boys

Golf Schedule

Date    Course/Location                               Time

4/9       Monticello Country Club/Monticello Noon

4/16    Legacy Golf Course/Brainerd                      1 p.m.

4/17    Legacy Golf Course/Brainerd                      9:45 a.m.

4/21    Monticello Country Club/Monticello 4 p.m.

4/22    Wild Marsh Golf Course/Buffalo                  3 p.m.

4/28    Territory Golf Club/St. Cloud                        8:30 a.m.

4/29    Bunker Hills/Coon Rapids                1 p.m.

5/6       Fox Hollow Golf Club/St. Michael    3 p.m.

5/9       Greystone Golf Course/Sauk Center          9 a.m.

5/13    Riverwoood National/Monticello                  3 p.m.

5/22    Links at Norfork/Ramsey/M8                       1 p.m.

5/27    Greystone/Sauk Center/Section 8AAA      1 p.m.

5/28    Greystone/Sauk Center/Section 8AAA      TBA

6/10    Bunker Hills/Class 3A State Tournament   TBA

6/11    Bunker Hills/Class 3A State Tournament   TBA

*All games and times according to Mississippi 8 website


Track opens at Monti Invite

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

The first official Mississippi 8 Conference Meet was held  indoors  on Tuesday, April 1 at Monticello High School.

The Magic swept both meets, with Buffalo boys finishing second, and girls finishing fourth out of four competing conference schools.

“It was good just to get a meet in,” said Bison head coach Scott Palmer. “Early in the season, we’re just trying to figure out on both the boys and girls teams where we are and what we got.”

The Bison’s first outdoor meet is at 3:30 p.m. this Friday, April 11 at Irondale. Palmer said it’s a welcome blessing to finally get outdoors. “Getting outside will be huge for everyone.”

Mississippi 8 Conference Meet

(Tuesday, April 11 at Monticello)


(Boys-excludes exhibition)

Team Scores: 1. Monticello 78, 2. Buffalo 55, 3. North Branch 44, 4. Princeton 35.

(Individual, Bison only)

4x800 Meter Relay: 1. Buffalo (Michael Wegter, Reed Morehouse, Ethan Hosey, Lucas Smith) 9:14.90.

55 Meter Hurdles: 4. Blaze Solberg 9.31; 8. Max Jude 10.68.

55 Meter Dash: 4. Joe McClellan 7.22; 5. Nick Swearingen 7.25; 7. Reniel Christianson 7.32.

4x200 Meter Relay: 4. Buffalo (Joey Durr, Nick Swearingen, David Glen, Brandon Johnson) 1:44.51.

1600 Meter Run: 1. Jon Eastland 4:59.35; 6. Drake Fiske 5:17.73; 10. Trevor Otto 5:21.95.

400 Meter Dash: Reed Morehouse 57.64; 3. Henry Lemp 59.20; 8. Brytan Matxke 1:02.46.

800 Meter Run: 3. Lucas Smith 2:22.31; 4. Erik Worner 2:26.138; 8. Ethan Hosey 2:29.52.

200 Meter Dash: 4. Joe McClellan 25.71; 9. David Glen 26.25; 11. Reniel Christianson 26.38.

4x400 Meter Relay: 1. Buffalo (Brandon Johnson, Blaze Solberg, Erik Worner, Eli Larson) 3:57.33.

Long Jump: 3. Brandon Weber 18-10.00; 12. Trevor Bengtson 16-09.00; 15. Dawson Mann 16-01.75.

Triple Jump: 4. Matt Montplasir 38-02.25; 6. Joseph Durr J5-08.00; 8. Joe McClellan 5-02.00.

Pole Vault: 7. Dylan Alexander 9-00.00;T 8. Nick Hanson 8-00.00; T8. Isiah Nowak 8-00.00.

Shot Put: 3. Taylor Spier 43-.05.00; 12. Lucas Jergensen 37-03.00; 13. Russell Wampler 37-01.50.


Girls-excludes exhibition)

Team Scores: 1. Monticello 101.40; 2. Princeton 41.06; 3. North Branch 35.70; 4. Buffalo 33.83.

4x800 Meter Relay: 3. Buffalo (Alicia Berkenes, Macy McClay, Lauren Kaminski, Leighton McAlpin 11:07.76.

55 Meter Hurdles: 4. Becky Horak J9.99; 6. Kailee Steen 10.24; 7. Amy Nelson 10.55.

55 Meter Dash: 1. Amber Doebler 7.92; 4. Sidney Johnson 8.16; 7. Hannah Anderson 8.19.

4x200 Meter Relay: 3. Buffalo (Amber Doebler, Kailee Steen, Katie Glen, Maria Hanson) 1:57.91.

1600 Meter Run: 9. Abigail Zabinski 6:39.56.

400 Meter Dash: 6. Lauren Kaminski 1:10.77; 10. Rachel Bertram 1:12.12; 11. Victoria Bertram 1:13.11.

800 Meter Run: 5. Macey McClay 2:53.34; 9. Allie Palmer 2:58.39; 14. Natalie Brady 3:09.34.

200 Meter Dash: 9. Sidney Johnson 30.47; 27. Georgia Gorr 32.76; 35. Clairice Pearce 33.63.

4x400 Meter Relay: 1. Buffalo (Katie Glen, Kailee Steen, Cadyn Luedemann, Carolyn Feddema) 4:27.83.

Long Jump: 6. Brooke Oelfke-Hagen 13-09.75; 15. Carly Ferris 12-04.50; 18. Abigail Pinor 10-10.00.

Triple Jump: 4. Cadyn Luedemann 31-01.25; 9. Hailey Sorenson 28-03.00; 11. Carolyn Feddema 28-01.50.

High Jump: 2. Livia Koehler 4-08.00; 12. Kinsley Johnson 4-02.00; 15. Hailey Sorenson 4-00.00.

Pole Vault: 5. Maile Texeira J6-00.00.

Shot Put: 5. Leah Mussell 31-06.00; 6. Megan Metz 30-00.00; 11. Maile Texeira 29-00.50. 


Golf lives on in Bollant family household

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

The past five years, Lexi Bollant has steadily been swinging her way towards stardom.

            Bollant heads into her senior season a veteran of five years on the Buffalo girls’ golf squad. With three individual state tournaments already under her belt, Bollant is hoping to surpass her freshman year when she registered a career-best seventh in the Class 3A rankings.

            As a junior, she fired a 2-day total of 155 good for an eighth-place state finish. Even though she has finished in the top 10 in three consecutive seasons, Bollant said last year’s eighth place was a bit of a disappointment.

            “Last year my goal was to win it, and I definitely fell short of that,” she said.

            With one more crack at achieving the status of state champ, Bollant said this is the year that she feels the most confident heading into the season.        

            “I’ve been working hard in the off-season,” Bollant said. “I want to go out and shoot for a championship. If that doesn’t happen, then hopefully I place well.”

            Championship golf is no stranger to the Bollant household. Her father Joe once won a state golf title as a senior in high school, and currently is the assistant golf coach for both the boys and girls varsity squads. Living in a golf family, Bollant said she was holding a golf club at the age when most kids are learning to walk.

            “His family has passed golf down from generation to generation,” said Bollant, who recently spent a week with her father down in Georgia for her official visit to Augusta State, where she accepted a Division-I scholarship last summer to golf for the Jaguars.

            Bollant said she is excited for her college career. Being able to golf less than three miles from Augusta National Golf Club, home of the PGA Masters Golf Tournament, is a dream come true.

            NCAA rules prohibit recruited players from having too much contact with the colleges, but during her official visit over spring break, she said she was thrilled to be able to meet some of her future teammates and practice beside them.

            Now that the pressure of deciding a college is behind her, Bollant said she is more relaxed and that’s why she feels more confident heading into her senior year.

            “I wasn’t prepared last year,” Bollant said. “My mental game wasn’t there. Because it was my junior year, I had so much pressure to play well so I could get a scholarship. This year I’m more relaxed and I think it will be more beneficial.”

            One of Bollant’s biggest supporters is her current head coach Riti Sanderson. As head coach of the program the past 24 years, Sanderson said she ranks Bollant right up there as one of the best golfers to come through Buffalo.

            “We’ve had several good golfers. Lexi has put up the best scores of all of them and holds records upon records,” Sanderson said. “She’s always been good to incorporate other new players and bring them along. She’s been instrumental in getting new kids and she’s just an all-around great individual.”

            One of the more recent highlights came her sophomore year when she set a new course record of 67 during the Mississippi 8 Conference Meet at Fox Hollow Golf Course in St. Michael.

            The 67 on a par-72 was the second lowest score of all-time for a MSHSL girls’ golfer. Her efforts helped clinch a seventh consecutive Mississippi 8 title and eighth overall.

            With nearly 15 years of golf in her blood, Bollant said she has the advantage of knowing how most of the local courses play out. She said her favorite golf course locally is St. Cloud Country Club.

            “I don’t know what it is about it I like, but that’s just my favorite invite each year,” she said.

When asked what makes her standout above the others, Bollant replied with a grin, “Practice,” she said. “I really don’t have much of a life in the summers. Getting up early, workouts, practice, I’ve pretty much been golfing since I was three years old.”


Spring play provides perfect ‘match’ for BHS

By Rob LaPlante

School News Editor

With April being the month that starts off with “All Fools Day,” it is only fitting that the final play of the year put on by the Buffalo High School Theatre Arts Department is a farce comedy.

            Tracy Hagstrom-Durant and Deb Bestand are co-directing the 1880’s version of Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker.”

            The 25-member cast features a blend of young and old. Six freshmen and seven sophomores make up half of the casting crew. Only five seniors will take the BHS Performing Arts Center stage one final time in their high school careers.

            Unlike the previous two plays this year, “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Triangle Factory Fire Project,” which involved more controversial and dramatic storylines, Hagstrom-Durant and the crew were ready for a change of pace.

            “We were looking for something to lighten it up, specifically a physical-style show,” Hagstrom-Durant said. “It’s the play upon the musical “Hello Dolly” was based, and most people know that musical. We wanted to do something that was funny, classical, but still make people laugh. That’s our goal.”

            Much like the previous plays, Hagstrom-Durant and Bestland tend to go with a larger cast list. She said The Matchmaker was the perfect size comedy that allowed for the number of people she was looking to get involved.

            “It’s hard to find plays with casts of more than 8-10 people,” Hagstrom-Durant said. “This one had a little bigger cast. Our senior class is so big of kids in theatre. If I did a smaller cast, it would have been all seniors. We were trying to find a cast with more people in it.”

            Katie Miller, Erica Hoops, Anna Cammarn, Mickey Capps, Digory Anderson and Katie Clem are the lone seniors on the cast list. Unlike the previous two plays this year, Hoops has more of a behind the scenes role as Student Director of the play. She also has a minor role early in the show as the character Gertrude.

             “Mostly I’m just helping out ‘HD’ and Mrs. Bestland. I’m also organizing costumes and making sure nothing is damaged,” Hoops said. “I do have a small role in the beginning. It’s my last show, so I want to definitely be on stage for my last show. I’m just playing an old housekeeper who is half deaf and very blind. It’s going to be fun.”

            Hoops said her role as Student Director has been a nice change of pace from being a stage performer.

            “Crew and behind the scenes kind of gets shoved to the back, but it’s actually so much fun,” she said. “People see the actors, but backstage there is this other community that feeds into the show just as much, if not more than the actors on stage. It’s just a blast.”

            One of the signature traits from this show is the historic costumes, particularly the ancient hats the cast members wear. Senior Katie Clem worked behind the scenes in designing a lot of the costumes and outfits.

            Clem said one of the highlights of the play comes in act three, where the setting is in a hat shop.

            “They wanted it to look like an authentic, early 20th century hat shop,” Clem said. “It’s a women’s hat shop. At that time, women wore very big and decorated hats.”

            Clem designed the official poster for the show that features some of the hats similar to those the cast members will be wearing. Like Hoops, Clem said she enjoys the behind the scenes aspects of theatre.

            “I like being able to work some of the finer details of production,” Clem said. “This is probably going to be the last play I participate in for a long time. I’m not pursuing theatre in college, so this will be it.”

            Katie Miller, who plays one of the lead roles as Dolly Levi, also known as “The Matchmaker,” is one of the seniors who are going on next year to pursue music and theatre.

            She will attend the University of Northwestern in St. Paul on a music and theatre scholarship. Cammarn, Hoops and Capps will also move on to do some sort of music and theatre in college. Not involved in the spring play, but also looking to move on in college to pursue theatre and music is Bryce Bishop, who took the spring off to prepare for graduation.

            “It is mixed emotion for the seniors. This is it,” Hagstrom-Durant said. “Sort of like athletics, it’s the same thing year round. Since ninth grade, this is what these guys have been doing. So for them, it’s emotional.”

            The play begins this Thursday, April 10, with two more shows April 11-12. All times start at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 students. The PAC doors will open 30 minutes prior to the start of the show.

The Matchmaker

(A Farce in Four Acts by

Thornton Wilder)

Performances: April 10, 11, 12

 7:30 p.m. PAC



Dolly Levi:  Katie Miller

Irene Molloy: Emma Maxson

Minnie Fay: Katie Swartzer

Flora Van Huysen: Anna Cammarn

Ermengarde: Mallory Rabehl  

Cook: Emily Twardy

                        Gertrude: Erica Hoops                    


Horace Vandergelder: Mickey Capps

Cornelius: Gabriel Brovege-Trossen

Barnaby: Mitchell Benson

Malachi: Digory Anderson

Ambrose: Noah Gilbertson

Cabman: Alec Waters

Joe Scanlan (Barber): Sam Haggen

Rudolph (Waiter): Joshua Polzin

August (Waiter): Jonah Schmidt

Additional Cast:

Brandon Bednarek

Anaya Bergstrom

Cassidy Hendricks

Mattie Lubben

Solveig Nelson

Sammy Ohlmann

Jack Soden


Director: Tracy Hagstrom-Durant

Director: Deb Bestland

Student Director: Erica Hoops

Design: Katie Clem


BCMS Student of Distinction: Bailee Larson

By Rob LaPlante

School News Editor

March is the month where basketball takes center stage. So in the month full of basketball madness, it’s fitting that Buffalo Community Middle School eighth-grader Bailee Larson was selected the honoree as the Student of Distinction.

            Larson wrote basketball at the top of her list of extra-curricular activities. Her older brother Jack Larson is a sophomore on the B-Squad team at the high school. She said one of the biggest highlights this year came when the Bison varsity team made it to the Class 4A state tournament at Target Center.

            While she was following the path of her older brother to Minneapolis, she also followed his path to the cafeteria wall where her picture will be posted near Jack’s where he also was a Student of Distinction honoree in 2012.

            She said she was thrilled when she found out the previous Friday that she was the recipient.

            “I’m honored, but I was really surprised,” Larson said. “I’ve been working really hard, and I’m really excited about it.”

            With less than two months until she graduates from middle school, Larson continues to put extra time in her studies. She is also an active member in Chamber Choir, Chamber Orchestra and Junior National Honor Society.

            Larson is excited to continue to pursue her love for sports and music at the high school level.

            “I’m really excited for high school,” she said. “I would like to pursue either physical education or kindergarten or first-grade teaching.”

            She lists eighth-grade math teacher Mrs. Natalie Johnson and seventh-grade social studies teacher Ms. Jacqueline Hillstrom as her two favorite teachers. Larson said both teachers motivated her to become a better student.

            “They motivated me to work hard on my studies both in and out of school,” she said.

            Hillstrom is her morning Prime Time teacher. She also was her basketball coach at the middle school the past two years.

            “She is a quiet leader,” Hillstrom said. “She is so coachable on the court, and in Prime Time, she is so good at making everybody feel so welcome. I can’t find a kinder girl out there. She is amazing.”

            BCMS Principal Matt Lubben concurs with Hillstrom that Larson is a quiet leader, but her actions speak louder than words.

            “Bailee has been a strong academic leader,” Lubben said. “She’s done a very good job at the middle school. She’s very giving and always puts others first before herself.”

With only two months of school remaining, Lubben said next month the school will announce both April and May honorees on the same day. The goal is to have the framed Student of Distinction poster hanging on the wall before the school year ends.

Students of Distinction:


Eathan Soeffker


Mya Lubben


Eric Braun


Lindsey Kauffman


Mason Schmidt


Peter Deneen


Bailee Larson