Late goals sink Bison’s state hopes

Bison wrestling sending three to state; 11 earn medals at sections

Bison freshman shines under big lights at Sports Pavilion

Late rally comes up short, Bison eliminated by Elks

Seniors lead Bison to third straight win

St. Francis Xavier students prepare for Saints on Stage

KB teams come close to keeping M8 trophy

Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - February 26, 2015
Rob LaPlante

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

Late goals sink Bison’s state hopes

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

About 15 minutes after suffering a season-ending 3-2 loss on Friday, Feb. 20 to Eastview in the consolation bracket semifinal game at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Bison senior captains Madi Jewell and Kirsten Olson could hardly hold back the tears.

While it was obvious the red eyes were a result of having their high school hockey careers come to an end, both players also reflected back on accomplishing something no other hockey team at Buffalo High School has done before.

“I’m just so proud of my teammates,” Jewell said. “I think they understood how much this meant to us to get to state. We’re the first Bison girls’ hockey team to get here. I’m just proud of everybody.”

The Bison began their journey suffering a heart breaking 3-1 loss to Edina in a game played in front of a new single-session record crowd of 4,710 fans in the Class AA state quarterfinal contest on Thursday, Feb. 19 at Xcel Energy Center. A good majority of that fan base was sporting the colors of black and purple as a total of 21 fan busses from the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose school district and two busses from Delano High School made the trip to St. Paul for Thursday’s 1 p.m. game.

Delano Activities Director Mike Lindquist said the school rallied behind the Bison and their seven varsity skaters on the team.

“We were really excited over here,” he said. “We have a good representation on the team. We had all the Buffalo girls on the team over here on Wednesday (Feb. 18) for our pep fest. Half of our student body went to the game on Thursday.”

Bison senior Kirsten Olson was having flashbacks from last March when her and some teammates were in the Target Center crowd to watch the Buffalo boys’ basketball team bring 17 fan busses to state.

“I thought about that the first time we hit the ice. Usually we’re the ones in the stands watching,” Olson said. “It’s definitely a lot cooler playing in the game.”

As for the game itself, Edina put the Bison on their toes early. A number of unforced errors led to numerous chances in the Bison’s zone. If not for senior goalie Kendra Carlson, the Bison could have easily been on the wrong end of a lopsided score being outshot 29-9 after two periods of play. But heading into the locker room, the game remained scoreless after 34 minutes.

“Her play definitely kept us in the game,” said Bison head coach Ray Dahlof. “The longer we could go like that against a team like Edina, the better chance we had.”

While Edina was constantly firing darts, it was Bison junior Abby Halluska finally hitting the bullseye on a nice individual effort where she circled past two defenders and fired a shot through traffic past Edina goaltender Anna Goldstein at the 51-second mark of the third period.

Edina head coach Laura Slominski said their team at that point of the game new they were in a dogfight. Especially knowing they couldn’t seem to solve Buffalo’s goaltender.

“We kept talking between periods about different things we could try and do to try and beat (Carlson), and every time we did that, she was able to get in the way again,” Slominski said. “Credit their defense, too. They played great in front of her and made it real difficult to get to any rebounds. But the story was their goalie. She played phenomenal.”

The Bison did everything right until a couple penalties would eventually cost them. Edina freshman Emily Oden would score the first of two straight power-play goals at the 3:32 mark tying the game 1-1. It was the second goal coming with 54 seconds left in regulation that proved to be the dagger.”

“The puck went right over me,” Carlson said. “I kind of got screened. I never even saw it.”

Outside of a couple screen shots, Carlson stopped 37 of 39 pucks fired her way. Most of Edina’s shots came in close. Carlson said she felt confident coming into the game, but never saw this type of performance coming.

“I prepared as usual,” she said. “I think the biggest thing I was seeing the puck real well and I was being more aggressive. I think that helps a lot.”

With Carlson pulled for an extra attacker, Edina senior captain Taylor Williamson sealed the win scoring into the empty net.

“I’m not saying the game was determined by those penalties, but that helped get their adrenaline up when we had most of it the entire game.” Olson said.

The loss still didn’t overshadow the fact the Bison players and fans got to experience something new.

“There was a ton of people, and we kind of had to soak it all in right away,” said Olson, explaining her first thoughts when stepping on the Xcel Energy Center ice.

“I wasn’t that nervous,” Jewell said. “I was actually more nervous for the Roseau game. Because once you get here (state), it’s like we made it. Obviously, our goal was to win, but even though we didn’t, the experience was still amazing.”



Thursday’s loss dropped the Bison to Friday’s consolation semifinal game against Eastview at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.

With an early morning wakeup call for a rare 10 a.m. start, it was Eastview that appeared to be the least tired early. A goal by Kati Quaintance just 38 seconds into the opening period gave the Lightning an early 1-0 edge.

“I’m not really a morning person,” chuckled Jewell. “But when I got here (Ridder Arena), I kind of woke up more. It was a new environment and it was cool to even play here, too. We started kind of slow, but we started to pick it up more towards the end of the second period.”

By that time, the deficit was already 2-0 as Lightning sophomore defenseman Natalie Snodgrass fired a laser that beat Carlson giving Eastview a 2-0 advantage heading into period three.

“Snodgrass is a national level player for them, and has one of the hardest shots I’ve seen,” Dahlof said. “It took a while for us to get going, but the early start was the same for both teams. Once we got into the game, I thought we played real well.”

Similar to the previous game in St. Paul where Carlson was stopping everything through two periods, Eastview goaltender Kaitlyn Pellicci was doing the same against Buffalo.

Pellicci had stopped all 18 shots through two periods, and survived a hard charging Bison attack in the early stages of period three. It wasn’t until a turnover at center ice led to a two-on-one between sophomore Taylor Thompson and Rylan Bistodeau. Thompson broke down the left wing with speed and delivered a perfect pass to Bistodeau who tapped one into the wide open net past Pellicci.

The goal sparked a rally similar to the Roseau game in which Buffalo scored to tie the game 2-2 just 1:28 later on a rebound goal scored by junior forward Payton Rudiger.

Just a week prior to the state tournament, the Bison rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Roseau 4-2 in the Section 8AA championship game in Brainerd.

“Roseau is a game I’ll always remember, and it was probably my favorite game all season,” Jewell said.

While the Bison mounted a comeback to tie, they could never get the go-ahead tally. Much like the Edina game, the Bison were forced to kill a late penalty and with 4:05 left in regulation, Snodgrass had struck again.

Dahlof said afterwards the late penalties in both games played a pivotal role in deciding their fate.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Three power-play goals for the opposing team. It was the deciding factor in both games.”

With the goalie pulled, the Bison’s last second attempt to save their season came to an end.

“This is the greatest experience I’ve ever had,” Olson said.

As for the thousands of fans that came to St. Paul to support the Bison, Jewell said: “It was unreal how many people supported us,” she said. “Not a lot of people like or watch girls’ hockey, so it was pretty cool to see everybody there.”      


Edina 3, Buffalo 1

(Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015)

Bison    0  0  3  -  3

Hornets0  0  1  -  1      

First period:  No scoring

Second period: No scoring

Third period: B – Abby Halluska (Rylan Bistodeau) 0:51; E – Emily Oden (Grace Bowlby) 3:32, PP; E – Oden (Katie Murney, Lolita Fidler) 16:05, PP; E – Taylor Williamson (unassisted) 16:42, ENG.

Goalies: B – Kendra Carlson (loss) 39 shots, 37 saves; E – Anna Goldstein (win) 18 shots, 17 saves. Shots: B – 5-4-9 – 18; E – 16-13-11 – 40. Power Plays: B – 0-1; E – 2-4.


Eastview 3, Buffalo 2

(Friday, Feb. 20, 2015)

Lightning           1  1  1  -  3

Bison    0  0  2  -  1      

First period:  E – Kati Quaintance (Erika Geary, Sally Nelson) 0:38.

Second period: E – Natalie Snodgrass (Brooke Pahlen) 12:08.

Third period: B – Rylan Bistodeau (Taylor Thompson) 6:21; B – Payton Rudiger (Abby Halluska) 7:49; E – Snodgrass (Anna DeBoom, Haley Ford) 12:55, PP.

Goalies: E – Kaitlyn Pellicci (win) 33 shots, 31 saves; B – Kendra Carlson (loss) 17 shots, 14 saves. Shots: E – 6-7-4 – 17; B – 8-10-15 – 33. Power Plays: E – 1-2; B – 0-1.


Bison wrestling sending three to state; 11 earn medals at sections

Habisch, Durand win true second; Treptau making fourth straight state appearance

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Ever since the eighth grade, Buffalo junior Adam Treptau has been the face of Bison wrestling.

Treptau qualified for his fourth consecutive Class 3A individual state tournament posting a perfect 3-0 record in the Section 6-3A individual championships held Friday-Saturday, Feb. 20-21 at Wayzata High School.

Buffalo’s lone state representative the past two years will have company this season as first-time state qualifiers, senior Hunter Durand, and eighth-grader Riley Habisch will join Treptau in St. Paul for the Class 3A state tournament on Friday-Saturday, Feb. 27-28 at Xcel Energy Center.

It’s the first time since 2012 the Bison will send multiple wrestlers to state. Treptau was joined in 2012 by teammates Lucas Mock, Tanner Maus and Jonathan Wirkkala.

While Treptau’s state berth was expected, Habisch’s came out of the blue. Seeded fourth at 126 pounds in sections, Habisch advanced to day two of the section wrestle-back semifinals. He later went on to earn a berth to the true second-place match thanks to a 4-2 decision over Willmar’s Lincoln Schinn. A 5-0 decision over Rocori’s Gunnar Feldhege sealed the deal. He becomes the first eighth grader to advance to state since Treptau in 2011-12.

“I’ve worked real hard,” said Habisch, wrestling in the 126-pound weight class. “After every practice, I worked with (Coach Gerry) Bakke on the simple things like mistakes from previous matches.”

After starting the tournament with a 3-1 decision over Minnetonka’s Jake McGann, Habisch put up a fight but lost by a 3-2 decision against top-seed Lee Schmalz of Mound-Westonka. Habisch earned a true second-place match during day two of the tournament with a 3-0 decision over Wayzata’s David Couri and 4-2 decision over Willmar’s Lincoln Schinn.

His dream of making state came true when he captured second place after defeating Rocori’s Gunnar Feldhege in a 5-0 decision. He said he came into his matchup with Feldhege having a plan.

“I knew I had to get up on him early,” Habisch said. “I cradled him and got the near fall. That’s what I needed to do to win.”

When the clock reached zeros in the final period, all of Habisch’s teammates and coaches quickly approached him to give him hugs. All but Treptau, who was still in the locker room following his 8-3 decision to claim the 220-pound championship over Willmar’s Matt Hennes.

“I didn’t even see it,” Treptau said. “I heard about it in the locker room. I was really happy for him. I think he’s the third kid from Buffalo to reach state as an eighth grader. It’s great.”

Treptau said this season by far has been his best as a wrestler. His 3-0 section record improved his overall mark heading to state to 36-1. He currently ranks No. 5 in Class 3A at 220 pounds.

“I’ve never coached anyone like him,” Maurer said. “He’s by far the best wrestler I’ve coached. I had one wrestler in the state finals I was an assistant for, but I didn’t coach him like I coached Adam. Looking back at Adam as a freshman, he was confident, but he still had some baby fat on him. Now you look at him and he’s a physical specimen.”

Also making his first state appearance, yet taking a much different route to get there is Durand. After posting an 18-5 major decision in his quarterfinal match, eventual 195-pound section champ Seth Klein of Rocori would send Durand into the semifinals of wrestle-backs after a semifinal pin.

Durand worked his way into a true-second place match with Willmar’s Augustine Hahn. With the score tied 5-5 in the second period, Hahn hoisted Durand to his shoulders and slammed him into the ground causing an injury default. After two minutes, Durand was declared the winner.

“I have never seen that happen before,” Maurer said. “The official ruling is, if you pick someone up over your head, you have to put them down safely. A knee is supposed to touch first, and he brought him straight down. Hunter got two minutes recovery time and then the referee made the call. We didn’t really do anything at all.”

Durand, Treptau and Habisch will take part of individual competitions, which begins with first-round matchups from 9-11 a.m. for Class 3A on Friday, Feb. 27 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Quarterfinal matches take place later that day starting at 4:30 p.m. Wrestle-backs begin at 7:30 p.m.

Treptau will open with a first round matchup against No. 4 rated Jake Briggs (31-5) of St. Michael-Albertville. The two squared off in the Mississippi 8 individuals earlier this season with Briggs pulling out a 5-4 decision – Treptau’s lone defeat of the year. Other first-round matches: Durand (29-11) will face St. Cloud Tech’s Tyler Hugg (30-5) and Habisch (18-7) will face Tony Bemboom (27-7) of Sauk Rapids-Rice.

Saturday resumes at 9:30 a.m. with consolation quarterfinals, followed by semifinals at 10:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Third and fifth-place championships take place at 4:30 p.m. and all individual championship rounds begin at 7 p.m.



Bison wrestlers all applauded when the public address announcer at Wayzata High School made the announcement that Maurer was named the Section 6-3A Head Coach of the Year.

It was the first time Maurer has won this honor. He becomes the second Bison head coach this season to win a section coach of the year award. Jeff Lindstrom was named Section 8AA Coach of the Year last fall in boys’ soccer.

“It’s a nice way for the coaches to kind of say, ‘you had a crappy year,’” said Maurer, referring to his miraculous recovery from a near death experience last June after going into cardiac arrest. “At the same time, you look at where our program was and what it is today. We had 11 wrestlers advance to day two of sections. This award is coaches saying our program has moved forward. It means a lot to me.”

“He deserves every bit of it,” Treptau said. “We’ve come a long way in the three years since he’s been here.”



In team competition, St. Michael-Albertville (24-2) is the No. 2 seed in Class 3A and will open with a 9 a.m. matchup on Thursday, Feb. 26 against unseeded Moorhead (18-6).

The winner advances to the semifinal round against the winner of No. 3 Willmar (27-0) or unseeded Centennial (18-7) at 1 p.m. Defending champion Apple Valley is the No. 1 seed. The state champion will be crowned once the two remaining team’s matchup at 7 p.m.

On top of advancing to team competition, STMA qualified 12 of 14 wrestlers to the Class 3A individual competition. The list below shows each wrestler from all three classes that qualified for the state tournament.


Section 6AAA Individual Tournament

(Friday-Saturday, Feb. 20-21 at Wayzata, *state qualifier)

106 – *1. Aaron Cashman (Mound-Westonka); *2. Israel Navarro (Willmar); 3. Mark Wallerius (Wayzata); 4. Jake Finken (Minnetonka); 5. Zavier Grefe (Rocori); 6. Solomon Kassan (Minneapolis South)

113 – *1. Clay Carlson (Willmar); *2. Cole Steil (Rocori); 3. Jesse Sattler (Hopkins); 4. Logan Renninger (Minnetonka); 5. Ben Schmalz (Mound-Westonka); 6. Mitchell Hogue (Wayzata); 9. Hunter Newman (Buffalo) 

120 – *1. Juan Resendez (Willmar); *2. Nate Johnson (Hopkins); 3. Charlie DesMarais (Buffalo); 4. Aajaze Davis (Wayzata); 5. Max Court (Rocori); 6. Alhassan Bangura (Cooper)

126 – *1. Lee Schmalz (Mound-Westonka); *2. Riley Habisch (Buffalo); 3. Gunnar Feldhege (Rocori); 4. Lincoln Schinn (Willmar); 5. David Couri (Wayzata); 6. Jake McGann (Minnetonka)

132 – *1. Sam Bennyhoff (Mound-Westonka); *2. Logan Walkow (Willmar); 3. Caleb Drews (Buffalo); 4. Willie Rohweder (Hopkins); 5. Tim Gilseth (Wayzata); 6. Harrison Makres (Minnetonka)

138 – *1. Ryan Reid (Mound-Westonka); *2. Kyle Evans (Minneapolis South); 3. Aaron Cote (Wayzata); 4. John Drumm (Minnetonka); 5. Kevin Trinh (Armstrong); 6. Wyatt Jacobson Hanson (Buffalo)

145 – *1. Estevan Navarro (Willmar); *2. Nick Warne (Rocori); 3. Sam Gilseth (Wayzata); 4. Cole Scherber (Buffalo); 5. Miguel Gonzalez (Armstrong); 6. James Agan (Minnetonka)

152 – *1.Colten Carlson (Willmar); *2. Luke Schmalz (Mound-Westonka); 3. Qais As-Sidiq (Armstrong); 4. Grey Liedtke (Minnetonka); 5. Ben Hoffman (Rocori); 6. Fletcher Durand (Buffalo)    

160 – *1. Travis Deegan (Willmar); *2. Evan Kluck (Wayzata); 3. Sam Truen (Minneapolis South); 4. Logan Foote (Minnetonka); 5. Brandon Lundeen (Armstrong); 6. Justin Rose (Rocori); 8. Josh Skarin (Buffalo)

170 – *1. Eri Gonzalez (Armstrong); *2. Avery Garski (Minnetonka); 3. Jacob Scherber (Buffalo); 4. Andrew Kovach (Wayzata); 5. Dalton Calfas (Rocori); 6. Darius O’Neill (Willmar)

182 – *1. Vaughn Johnson (Willmar); *2. Zach Rygg (Armstrong); 3. Brandon Schreifels (Buffalo); 4. Cole Anderly (Mound-Westonka); 5. Jonathan Jansson (Cooper); 6. Nathan Schmid (Hopkins)

195 – *1. Seth Klein (Rocori); *2. Hunter Durand (Buffalo); 3. Augustine Hahn (Willmar); 4. Pierce Breedlove (Minnetonka); 5. Jamani Buckner (Wayzata); 6. Trevon Pettigrew (Hopkins)

220 – *1. Adam Treptau (Buffalo); *2. Matt Hennes (Willmar); 3. Corrie King (Wayzata); 4. Ryan Vigil (Rocori); 5. Samuel Appleget (Armstrong); 6. Jacob Dahl (Minnetonka)

285 – *1. Brady Reigstad (Willmar); *2. Kyle Johnson (Mound-Westonka); 3. Conan Ashley Minnetonka); 4. Stanley Dokken (Armstrong); 5. Robert Sahli (Buffalo); 6. Lee Whiteside (Minneapolis South)


Bison freshman shines under big lights at Sports Pavilion

Gymnastics State Tournament

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Although it wasn’t her best showing of the year, Buffalo freshman Alex Zeiss was just happy to be part of this year’s Class AA girls’ state gymnastics tournament held Saturday, Feb. 21 at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis.

“It was kind of scary at first,” she said. “All the girls are really good. They are a lot better than the gymnasts you see at everyday meets. But  all of them are very nice.”

Making her first ever state appearance in gymnastics, Zeiss is no stranger to the big lights. Last fall she and junior teammate Rachel Bertram qualified for their first ever state diving tournament at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

She said both experiences were unique. Her diving coach, Shannon Barclay, said she could sense a little more nerves coming from Zeiss at the state gymnastics meet. Unlike the swim/dive team, Zeiss was the lone Bison gymnastics representative, and the first since Brianna Smith in 2008 to qualify for state.

“She did mention that she didn’t like being alone,” Barclay said. “She’s a very social girl who feeds off other people and their energy, so having another teammate would have been nice for her, too. Both (diving, gymnastics) being first-time experiences can be a tad bit intimidating.”

While her floor exercise score of 9.1125 was 26th out of 32 qualifying gymnasts, Driscoll-Nelson said it wasn’t that far off from her state qualifying score of 9.45 set a week prior on Saturday, Feb. 14 at the Section 8AA championships at Elk River.

“She didn’t really make mistakes tonight. She just didn’t stick everything,” Driscoll-Nelson said. “At sections, every single tumbling pass was just dead on. That’s so impressive because that’s hard to do. Her routine was just a little off tonight, but it wasn’t bad. The competition down here is amazing.”

Driscoll-Nelson said it wasn’t a huge surprise that Zeiss qualified for state, but given the way her season started it was.

“Her season was a little bumpy in the middle with injuries and what not, but she came on really strong at the end,” Driscoll-Nelson said. “For the last three weeks of the season, Alex put it together.”

“She’s got a lot of natural talent and potential,” Barclay said. “She’s got room still to improve, and we got her for another three years, which is nice.”

Defending Class AA all-around state champion, senior Bailey DuPay of Northfield, won her fourth consecutive individual all-around state title with a score of 39.125. Her score of 9.8125 on floor was nearly a full point better than state runner-up Josie Schlie of Rosemount.

Roseville took home the Class AA team championship with a score of 150.050. Section 8AA champion St. Cloud Tech finished second with a score of 148.075.

Driscoll-Nelson said the entire state tournament experience is one that she’s hoping her entire team can someday experience.

“All the officials and coaches know each other so well,” she said. “It’s a tight-knit group. Whether you have a competitor or not, that’s what is fun. It’s like old-home week. What’s really fun is having your whole team here. That’s the ultimate goal.”

The majority of Zeiss’ teammates, family and friends all made the trip to the Sports Pavilion to watch her perform.

“It was a fun experience,” Zeiss said.

To top off an incredible freshman year that saw her finish 15th in Class AA state diving, Zeiss was named All-State Honorable Mention in gymnastics.



While Zeiss was the lone Class AA representative, team or individual, from Wright County Area, the Class A meet saw Maple Lake junior Jordan Sifferle finish seventh overall with a score of 9.5125 in the vault. Also participating in vault were Rockford seventh-grader Molly Schultz and freshman Juliana Singh. Schultz was 29th overall with a score of 8.8125 and Singh was 30th with an 8.775. Delano sophomore Karina Eskola of Delano was 31st with a score of 8.4875.

Schultz also qualified for state and finished 30th overall in the uneven bars with a score of 7.8375 and 17th overall in floor exercise with a score of 9.200.

The only individual with Wright County Area ties to stand on the top-six medalist podium was Monticello junior Noelle Berg, who finished fourth with a score of 9.45 on the balance beam. Delano junior Cassie Moe also competed in beam and finished 32nd overall with a score of 6.9625.   


Class A State Tournament

(Friday-Saturday, Feb. 20-21 at Sports Pavilion, *top six medalists)    

Team scores: 1. Detroit Lakes 150.025; 2. Melrose 149.200; 3. Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka 145.725; 4. North Branch 142.850; 5. Becker 142.825; 6. Austin 142.650; 7. Worthington 137.200; 8. Orono 132.825.

Vault: *1. Hannah Wendel (Alexandria) 9.8750; *2. Haley Mottinger (Willmar) 9.625; *3. Allison Berg (Detroit Lakes) 9.625; *4. Molly Lyngaas (Detroit Lakes) 9.625; *5. Anna Neeser (Sartell/St. Stephen) 9.6125; *6. Camryn Brinkman (Melrose) 9.6000; 7. Jordan Sifferle (Maple Lake) 9.5125; 29. Molly Schultz (Rockford) 8.8125; 30. Juliana Singh (Rockford) 8.775; 31. Karina Eskola (Delano) 8.4875.   

Uneven Bars: *1. Jennifer Boyle (Austin) 9.5500; *2. Molly Lyngaas (Detroit Lakes) 9.5375; *3. Carly Breitenfeldt (Perham) 9.5000; *4. Mady Brinkman (Melrose) 9.5125; *5. Lydia Butkowski (Melrose) 9.4500; *6. Bridget Ellanson (New Prague) 9.3250; 30. Schultz (Rockford) 7.8375.

Balance Beam: *1. Mady Brinkman (Melrose) 9.6375; *2. Stephanie Thompson (Willmar) 9.6250; *3. Emma Disse (Detroit Lakes) 9.5125; *4. Noelle Berg (Monticello) 9.4500; *5. Kayla Austing (Melrose) 9.4500; *6. Hannah Wendel (Alexandria) 9.3625; 32. Cassie Moe (Delano) 6.9625.

Floor Exercise: *1. Hannah Wendel (Alexandria) 9.600; *2. Allison Berg (Detroit Lakes) 9.5750; *3. Molly Lyngaas (Detroit Lakes) 9.5625; *4. Ailsa Gilbert (Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka) 9.5375; *5. Maddie Mullenbach (Austin) 9.5250; *6. Lydia Butkowski (Melrose) 9.5125; 17. Schultz (Rockford) 9.2000; 

All-Around: *1. Molly Lyngaas (Detroit Lakes) 38.0750; *2. Mady Brinkman (Melrose) 38.0250; *3. Hannah Wendel (Alexandria) 37.9000; *4. Mallary Dick (Big Lake) 37.4875; *5. Maddie Mullenbach (Austin) 37.4500; *6. Lydia Butkowski (Melrose) 37.4500.

All-State Elite: Lydia Butkowski (Melrose), Mady Brinkman (Melrose), Hannah Wendel (Alexandria), Mallary Dick (Big Lake), Molly Lyngaas (Detroit Lakes).


Class AA State Tournament

(Friday-Saturday, Feb. 20-21 at Sports Pavilion, *top six medalists)    

Team scores: 1. Roseville 150.050; St. Cloud Tech 148.075; 3. Lakeville North 147.250; 4. East Ridge 146.600; 5. Champlin Park 145.950; 6. Northfield 144.775; 7. Cambridge-Isanti 142.450; 8. Wayzata 141.850.

Vault: *1. Bailey DuPay (Northfield) 9.8625; *2. Andrea Gessner (Centennial) 9.7875; *3. Allie Korbel (Maple Grove) 9.775; *4. Liz Hammond (Champlin Park) 9.7250; *5. Josey Schlie (Rosemount) 9.6625; *6. Sophie Redding (Henry Sibley) 9.6250.

Uneven Bars: *1. Bailey DuPay (Northfield) 9.8375; *2. Christy Anderson (Northfield) 9.6750; *3. Sarah Lommel (St. Cloud Tech) 9.6125; *4. Lauren Stitch (Eden Prairie) 9.6000; *5. Lara Aycock (St. Cloud Tech) 9.5250; *6. Andrianna Jacobs (Rochester Century) 9.4500.

Balance Beam: *1. Maria McDonough (Faribault) 9.6750; *2. Bailey DuPay (Northfield) 9.6125; *3. Isis Muller (Roseville) 9.5375; *4. Kayla Soplata (Roseville) 9.5250; *5. Megan Russell (Cretin-Derham Hall) 9.4875; *6. Liz Hammond (Champlin Park) 9.4750.

Floor Exercise: *1. Bailey DuPay (Northfield) 9.8125; *2. Josey Schlie (Rosemount) 9.7125; *3. Christy Anderson (Northfield) 9.6500; *4. Megan Russell (Cretin-Derham Hall) 9.6375; *5. Sarah Schank (Park) 9.5000; *6. Cali Berg (Lakeville North) 9.5000; 26. Alex Zeiss (Buffalo) 9.1125.

All-Around: *1. Bailey DuPay (Northfield) 39.1250; *2. Megan Russell (Cretin-Derham Hall) 38.2125; *3. Christy Anderson (Northfield) 38.2000; *4. Jessica Strecker (Roseville) 37.7250; *5. Margaux Schmid (St. Cloud Tech) 37.4875; *6. Megan Trollen (East Ridge) 37.5000.

All-State Elite: Jessica Strecker (Roseville), Josey Schile (Rosemount), Bailey DuPay (Northfield), Christy Anderson (Northfield), Gretchen Sharp (Stillwater).


Late rally comes up short, Bison eliminated by Elks

Boys Basketball Section 8-4A Playoffs

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

A season-ending 73-70 road playoff loss in a Section 8-4A quarterfinal game at Elk River was a microcosm of the entire season for the Bison boys’ basketball team.

Losers of three of the past four regular season games, the Bison headed into the section playoffs in uncharted territories. Seeded No. 5 with a 12-14 overall record, Buffalo was forced to open quarterfinal play on the road for the first time since the 2005-06 season when the Bison were defeated 60-56 on March 8 at Moorhead.

The good news for Buffalo was their first-round opponent, No. 4 seed Elk River, came into the playoff game with an identical 12-14 overall record, and struggled down the stretch losing six of its last seven games.

With two struggling teams going head-to-head, Bison players felt good about their chances.

“We thought our section was wide open,” said Bison senior Jared High. “We definitely thought we could make another state run.”

The only runs being made early in the quarterfinal game was Elk River junior guard Matt Keller, who started the game a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc. Elk River led 17-9 early and Keller had 14 of his team’s points.

Keller’s hot hand had Buffalo Bison head coach Nick Guida shaking his head. The 3-point basket has been a nemesis for the Bison most of the season.

“In my years coaching, I’ve never seen teams shoot as well and as many 3-pointers against us,” Guida said. “Credit Elk River in the first half. They were 7-for-11 from three as a team. How we play defense, if teams are going to beat you over the top, you have to pat them on the back.”

As hot as Elk River was from long distance, a pesky Buffalo squad only trailed at halftime 33-29. High had the hot hand for Buffalo scoring 12 first-half points.

The first half was a complete reversal from the defensive battle shown in the regular season meeting where Elk River defeated Buffalo 40-34.

“They shot really well in the first half, there’s nothing you can do about that,” said Bison senior Jonny Senger. “We came out hard in the second half and they cooled down a bit. It was a game after that.”

Buffalo never led in the contest, but they did rally to tie the score 39-39 with 14 minutes left in regulation. Shortly after, Elk River went on a 14-4 run to open up its first double-digit lead with 9:56 left in the game.

A full-court press late in the second half by the Bison appeared to spark life. A key blocked shot by Senger turned into an end-to-end rush resulting in a Senger layup and Buffalo trailed 64-60 with 2:30 to play.

“I’m very proud how our kids responded to how the game was played,” Guida said. “It was fun to watch the kids hang in there. The lead got up to double digits in the second half, and we had a chance to fold up the tents at that point and they didn’t do it.”

Elk River appeared to seal the victory taking a 63-57 lead with 47.4 seconds remaining, but the Bison again would answer as senior guard Zach Dahl would convert a field goal down low and hit his free throw on the foul.

The Bison forced another turnover with 13.2 seconds left and trailing by three, a designed play set for High, who finished the game with 26 points, didn’t go as planned.

“We had a set to run High off a double pick off the back side,” Guida said. “It looked like we had him open, but we didn’t give him the ball. We had a couple looks at the basket with time on the clock.”

Dahl’s shot with 6.4 seconds left from three came up short, but Senger was able to grab the rebound and a last second desperation fade-away shot rimmed out as time expired.

“That was pretty much a desperation shot,” Senger said. “I was lucky that it even hit rim.”

Ironically, it was a last second shot at the buzzer that resulted in a 56-55 home loss on Friday, Feb. 20 to Cambridge-Isanti in the Mississippi 8 crossover game.

“We struggled in the beginning of the year,” High said. “That cost us a home game down the stretch and having a home game tonight may have helped.”

Buffalo’s season ends with a 12-15 overall record. It’s the first losing year since a 12-13 mark in the 2004-05 season. It’s also the first time Buffalo’s exited in the first round of the playoffs since a 60-56 road loss March 8, 2006 at Moorhead.

“It’s hard to end on a first-round loss, but personally, I’ll never forget this game,” Guida said. “We battled all the way back against a good team on their home floor. How much this game meant to our kids, especially our seniors, was fun to watch.

“Like this game, there was a number of opportunities this group had a chance to shut it down during the season, and they never did,” Guida continued. “They always came back to work at practice and they really cared about each other. It was a fun group to coach.”



Cambridge-Isanti 56, Buffalo 55

(Friday, Feb. 20 at Buffalo)

Bluejackets       32  24  -  56

Bison    29  26  -  55     Bluejackets (56): Kyle McDonald 18, Collin Terwilliger 16, Nate Cox 10, Devin Malik 6, Luke Johnson 4, Jake Harding 2.

Bison (55): Jonny Senger 19, Taylor Spier 15, Zach Dahl 13, Dusty Willert 4, Jared High 2, Matt Laidlaw 2.


Elk River 73, Buffalo 70

(Tuesday, Feb. 24 at Elk River)

Bison    29  41  -  70

Elks      33  40  -  73     Bison (70): Jared High 26, Zach Dahl 16, Cory Thielman 13, Jonny Senger 6, Taylor Spier 6, Matt Laidlaw 3, Dusty Willert 2.

Elks (73): Matt Keller 26, Jack Burger 19, Wyatt Morrell 9, Mitchell Weege 8, Trent Pink 8, Zeke Delain 2, Jarin Haywood 1.


Seniors lead Bison to third straight win

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Senior night for the Buffalo girls’ basketball team was a memorable one for one particular upperclassman.

Senior forward Payton Speckel, who averages 2.2 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game, registered her first career double-double scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in Buffalo’s 58-41 home victory on Thursday, Feb. 19 over Big Lake.

It probably helped she saw a season high in playing time and was one of five seniors to start the game. Speckel, Carolyn Feddema, Anika Fredrick, Maddie Wagner and Morgan Warner were called upon by head coach Scot Sorenson to start on Senior Night.

“It was really a fun game and everybody played really hard tonight,” said Speckel, who scored eight of her 10 points in the first 12 minutes of the opening half.

While the double-double was her first of her career, sophomore forward Cadyn Luedemann recorded her fifth of the season scoring a game-high 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Luedemann was a force in the second half. With the Bison on top 38-29, Buffalo went on a 10-0 run with all 10 points scored by Luedemann.

“Yeah, I guess I was kind of feeling it,” Luedemann said. “When you get into that flow, and you’re hot, you just want the ball more.”

A strong off-season has been the biggest difference in her game from her freshman to sophomore years.

“I played AAU basketball last year, and I felt that helped a lot with my confidence and experience,” Luedemann said. “Coming into this year, I was nervous, but I was more excited. That was different than my freshman year where I came in just nervous.”

One person who has gained a lot of trust in her game is her head coach. With six seniors and three juniors on the roster, Sorenson has slowly turned to Luedemann as one of his go-to players in key situations.

“She’s really matured. She’s figuring out what she can do within the team concept a lot more,” Sorenson said. “She’s picking her spots when, and when not to be aggressive. When teams key on her, she’s challenged to give it to somebody else. When teams give her a step, she can really do a lot of things with her aggressiveness.”

With the game pretty much in control throughout, Sorenson was able to utilize every bench player in the contest. All six seniors found their way on the score sheet. Fredrick scored 11 points and added seven rebounds; Feddema had six points and seven boards; Wagner scored four points; Boster added three; Warner had two and Speckel had the double-double.

“It’s a good group of seniors,” Sorenson said. “They have leadership, and they have the ability to go out there and play.”

The Bison (15-10) are next in action on Thursday, Feb. 26 at North Branch (8-10) for a 7 p.m. tip-off in a Mississippi 8 crossover game.


Buffalo 58, Big Lake 41

(Thursday, Feb. 19 at Buffalo) 

Hornets15  26  -  41 Bison       29  29  -  58     Hornets (41): Kelly Jochum 11, Courtney Nelson 8, Ashley Brethorst 7, Paige Domyahn 4, Maddy Bisbee 4, Emma Anderson 3, Kayla Rusch 2, Rachel Adams 2.

Bison (68): Cadyn Luedemann 15, Anika Fredrick 11, Payton Speckel 10, Carolyn Feddema 6, Hailey Sorenson 6, Maddie Wagner 4, Chloe Boster 3, Morgan Warner 2, Autumn Senger 1.

Rebounds: Speckel 12, Luedemann 10, Feddema 7, Fredrick 7, Sorenson 6, Senger 2, Chloe Boster 1, Maddy Henson 1; Assists: Henson 3, Wagner 2, Boster 2, Warner 2, Sorenson 1, Feddema 1, Fredrick 1; Steals: Boster 4, Sorenson 3, Speckel 1 (1 block), Henson 1, Wagner 1, Fredrick 0 (1 block).


St. Francis Xavier students prepare for Saints on Stage

By Mary Braun

Guest writer

Saints on Stage (SOS), the extra-curricular musical theater program of St. Francis Xavier School (STFX) is changing minds and opening hearts in its fifth year, with a moving production of “Godspell Junior.” 

 Program Director Connie Rosendahl is often overheard telling the cast: “You will be forever changed by being in this show, and your audience will be changed by seeing it.”

“Godspell Junior” is a Broadway musical standard, offering a mainstream presentation of a religious theme. Through contemporary speech and song, actors perform entertaining versions of Bible stories, parables from the gospels of Matthew and Luke. The classic tales are combined with lyrics from traditional hymns set to contemporary music.

“It takes the Bible and makes it real to our lives,” Rosendahl said. “It’s like a 101 education class on the Bible.”  

The junior version of this production tells these powerful parables, in a shorter, simpler way, making it appropriate for young actors. SOS has a lot of young actors. There are 104 performers in grades 1-8, and another six middle school students working backstage.

“That’s the way our program works,” said SOS volunteer and STFX technology teacher Michelle Feldman. “Any student who auditions for a part will get one. They all enter on an even playing field and support each other through the rehearsal process.” 

Volunteer producer Nicole Dietman is new to the program this year, and has been impressed by what she has already seen and heard.

“These kids are so talented. It’s just fun to watch,” Dietman said. “I’m really looking forward to the final product. Audiences will love it.”

The goal of SOS is to expose the students of STFX School to all aspects of performance art. 

“They are given a ‘real’ theater experience, as much as that is possible,” Rosendahl said. “That’s the great thing about this show specifically -- there are really no leads. The cast becomes one solid unit, every day, every man.” 

Some might chuckle at Rosendahl’s “every man” reference when working with elementary and middle-school students, but Dietman said that is the magic of it, “You forget you’re watching kids up there,” she said.   

“Godspell Junior” takes the stage at St. Francis Xavier Faith and Education Center in Buffalo on Friday, March 13 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $9 and went on sale on Monday,  Feb. 23, through the school office during regular hours. Tickets will also be available at the door before performances.

Saints on Stage is a non-profit, self-funded arm of St. Francis Xavier School.


KB teams come close to keeping M8 trophy

By Doug Voerding

Staff Reporter

Buffalo Knowledge Bowl teams continue to show their strength with three teams in the top ten at the Mississippi 8 Conference held last Thursday, February 19, at St. Francis High School.

The competition was especially keen, and it was disappointing for the Buffalo team not to repeat as M8 Conference Champions. Buffalo had been the M8 conference winner every year since the conference was formed ten years.

At the end of the meet, Buffalo Team One came in second place, eight points behind winner Big Lake. Buffalo Team Two captured third place, and Buffalo Team Three took tenth place.

Said Coach Lacy Schramm, “Although we didn’t win, our teams are still really good. At this meet, the questions were different from the usual, many current events questions and many questions on topics we aren’t used to. I am very proud of all three teams. Three in the top ten is great!”

“But,” added Schramm, “Varsity Team One is lacking a fast, intuitive buzzer. This is something they need to work on as we head toward subregions.”

Buffalo Team One of Ryan Bowers, Sophie Lefebvre, Jacob Nosbush, and Jon Thielen began the meet in third place after a written round score of 42. The team had consistent scores of 15, 15, 12, and 13 in the four oral rounds. With extra points for competing in the top room, the team ended with an impressive 103 points.

Buffalo Team Two of Evan Burandt, Tom Dirks, Sam Hamann, Dylan Harcey, and Spencer Martin actually started the meet ahead of Team One with their written score of 45. With oral round scores of 11, 9, 13, and 10 and with extra points for top room competition, the team scored 93.5 points for the third place finish.

Tom Dirks of Team Two said, “It was so challenging to be stuck in room one between Big Lake who was fast on the buzzer and Buffalo Team One who is also very strong.”

Said Schramm, “Team Two held their own and did very well to place third.”

Buffalo Team Three of Tyler Dirks, Kris Hamann, Max Nagel, and Adriana Weiss scored 77.5 for tenth place. The team started in 16th place after a written round score of 30 and moved up to tenth place with oral round scores of 13, 14, 12, and 8.

“All season long,” said Schramm, “we have received compliments on how well our teams work together and how classy they are. Now we need to speed them up a little.”

The M8 Conference allows each school to bring three teams to the tournament. Eight conference schools field Knowledge Bowl teams. Those schools are Big Lake, Buffalo, Chisago Lakes, Monticello, North Branch, Princeton, Rogers, and St. Francis.

The Knowledge Bowl teams will be at one more invitational tournament at Monticello on Saturday, March 7. The subregion is Monday, March 16, and the region is Thursday, March 19, both in Sartell.