SPORTS & SCHOOL

 

 

Bison bring lunch-pail mentality

Buffalo girls excited for fresh starts

Area teams advance in state ball

CC squads gearing into shape

Bison drop two at invite

BHM welcomes 24 new staff members

Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - August 25, 2016
by
Rob LaPlante

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


Bison bring lunch-pail mentality

Bison turn to back end for experience

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Last season, departed seniors Miguel Arroyo Hernandez and Dawid Finka accounted for 22 of the 48 goals scored the entire year for the Buffalo boys’ soccer squad.

If you’re keeping tabs, that is 45.8 percent of the total offense from two players.

The good news for Buffalo, they do return more offense heading into the season that last year’s team did prior to the start of last season.

Junior Marvin Orozco Barajas’ four goals leads all returning scorers. Senior Spencer Lund ranks second among returning scorers with three goals.

Knowing he lost some firepower, first-year head coach Joe Pokorney will look to other strengths to try and improve on last year’s 7-9 season.

“We may have some growing pains in different positions,” Pokorney said. “We can’t rely on one person to dominate a game like Miguel or Dawid did. We’re going to have to work harder than our opponents.”

That being said, Pokorney likes what he’s inherited in the back end.

Junior Noah Raisanen started every game in goal last season. Despite a losing overall record, he posted four shutouts and led Buffalo to a second-place tie at 7-2 in the Mississippi 8 standings.

Raisanen will be backed up by senior John McNamara in goal.

The defense is led by seniors Mitch Bunting, Connor Boster and Blake Habisch, as well as junior Peter Deneen. Both Deneen and Bunting will serve as captains, along with senior Spencer Lund, who scored three goals a year ago from the midfield position.

“I’m not worried about it at all,” said Bunting, on the team graduating two of their top scorers. “We may have lost our best offensive players, but I think we have a lot of guys to make up for that. They just need to come in and step up to the plate.”

The hope early on is for the game to be won starting from the back end first.

“I feel comfy on the back end,” Pokorney said. “Sometimes when a team plays solid defense, it can create a lot of offense and counter attacks.” 

That being said, Bunting knows that the team will have to find some scorers.

“You can’t win games just playing defense,” Bunting said. “Our offense will have to step up to the plate. We need to find better connections up top. Our conditioning is going to be our biggest key this year.”

As a midfielder, Lund said he’s excited about the opportunity of potentially creating more offense.

Last year’s team relied heavily on a system that pushed the ball to the forwards. Pokorney said this year’s team may rely heavily on its midfielders.

“We’ll look to get scoring from all over the field,” he said. “Lund and (junior) Sam Studee return as our top midfielders. Up front, (senior) Nick Hanson has speed and we’re really hoping Orozco Barajas takes that next step and becomes a scorer for us.”

Orozco Barajas started on the junior varsity squad a year ago, but was moved up later in the year.

Three of his four goals came in a 10-0 win last Sept. 15 at home against last-place North Branch. Flashy off the field, Orozco Barajas’ teammates are hoping it translates on the field.

“He doesn’t lack confidence,” jokes Lund. “We’re hoping he can fill Miguel’s shoes.”

Lund is just as excited to try and produce.

“We really depended on our forwards a year ago to score our goals,” Lund said. “It’s going to be different taking shots from the midfield, opposed to passing it off. It should make for a fun season.”

Other returning midfielders include seniors Nate Rabusch, Tom Rooney, and Josh Skarin. Sophomores Conor Smrz, John Bjork, Brian Miller, and junior Andrew Eastlund may also see time up front. 

Buffalo’s 7-9 mark was a by-product of a strong season within the conference – not so much out of it.

The Bison tied for second with Chisago Lakes in the Mississippi 8 last season at 7-2. Rogers (9-0) is the defending conference champion. Including a 4-0 section quarterfinal playoff loss at Moorhead, Buffalo went 0-7 against non-Mississippi 8 teams.

It was only two years ago when Buffalo last won the conference title. That year’s team went 8-0-1 under former head coach Jeff Lindstrom, who returns this year as an assistant.

“My goal this year is to win conference,” Bunting said. “But yeah, we need to start winning games outside of it, too. It will help with our section seeding.”

The season kicks off with a 7 p.m. home game Thursday, Aug. 25 against Maple Grove.

The game will be played on Bison Field West (football stadium), and will go down in history as the first ever official game played at the new stadium.

The team will eventually make its permanent home on the grass field next to the stadium on the track and field complex. But for now, both coaches and players are excited to play on the turf.

“It’s going to be nice, compared to playing on the grass at the middle school,” Lund said. “The football players tear up the grass fields, so it will be different having a field that’s always the same.”

“The turf field opens the pace of the game a little more,” Pokorney said. “If we play smart, we can use that to our advantage. We have good team speed on the back line. If we can possess the ball and outwork teams, it can work to our strengths.

“We have a lot of potential. It’s going to take some time, but I feel like we’re going to have a good year.”

 

Buffalo girls excited for fresh starts

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Like so many of the fall teams at Buffalo High School, this season marks the beginning of a new era.

With only a handful of varsity players returning in 2016, the Bison have a lot of unanswered questions heading into their season opener Aug. 27 at home against Forest Lake at 1 p.m.

“This year it’s a whole new group,” said senior Becky Horak. “I really don’t know what to expect this season.”

Horak is one of only five returning varsity players, along with senior Cadyn Luedemann, senior Jilli Hovland, and junior Lauren Quiring.

Key losses include all-conference midfielder Abby Munsterteiger and all-conference goalie Paige James. The back end took the biggest hit with the graduation of midfielder Allie Kurre, defenders Paige Pettit and Gabby Coudron.

“Last year, we had a really tight team,” Horak said. “But there is a ton of talent this year with so many different players from so many different club teams. It’s fun to have us all come together and bring that talent together. There is huge potential with this team.”

With a lot of girls expected to make their varsity debut, the same holds true for Sarah Rodenwald, who replaces Steve Doimer as head coach.

Like some of the veterans on the team, Rodenwald is also unsure what to expect. But numbers were higher than previous years when it came to opening-week practices.

“We’ve had a great week with about 50 girls come to tryouts,” Rodenwald said. “We graduated a lot of seniors, so we have a lot of kids with no varsity experience. Especially early on, we’ll see kids getting acclimated with the speed of the game.”

Horak is equally excited to get things started with her new coach.

“Sarah has brought a lot of excitement and it’s a fresh start for a lot of the players,” she said. “Having something brand new is always exciting. It’s cool that we have a new coach, new stadium, and even new start times for high school. There’s a lot of new stuff going on this season, so it’s super exciting.”

With a new leader at top, the hope is to build a winning culture. Last year’s squad finished in sixth place in the conference (4-5) and 4-9-2 overall. The 21 goals ranked third worst behind Cambridge-Isanti’s 10 and Big Lake’s nine.

Rodenwald is hoping a healthy lineup and young talent can spark more offense.

The forwards/midfield positions will be led by Johnson, Luedemann, Hovland, and junior Lindsey Decker. 

Luedemann scored one goal last year in limited action due to injuries.  Hovland found the net twice as a junior. The good news for Buffalo is they return leading goal scorer Sydney Johnson, a junior forward who tallied 10 of Buffalo’s 21 total goals.

With the graduation of some key players in the conference, Rodenwald would not rule out Johnson as one of the Mississippi 8’s best players.

 “When you put Sydney’s athleticism and skill level together, it makes her a formidable opponent,” Rodenwald said. “I see her dominating certain games.”

Arguably, the team to beat this season will be St. Michael-Albertville. Buffalo lost 5-0 to the Knights in last year’s section quarterfinals. STMA returns a top talent of their own in senior midfielder Makenzie Langdok, a soccer recruit at the University of Minnesota.

Defending conference champion Rogers Royals return junior midfielder Claire Swan, but graduate two major pieces of their Class AA state qualifying team in leading scorer Courtney Henderson (25 goals, 63 points) and Janelle Rouillard (14 goals).

Unlike previous seasons, Rogers is the only team on this year’s schedule that appeared at state in 2015. A year ago, Buffalo started the season 0-4 with two losses coming against top-10 ranked teams, including a 3-0 loss in game two against then defending Class AA state champion Eagan.

While Eagan and Hopkins are not on this year’s schedule, Rodenwald is quick to point out that this year’s opponents are far from weak. Buffalo opens the season with a 1 p.m. home game Saturday, Aug. 27 against Forest Lake. Two more non-conference games follow with a road game at Moorhead and home date with Chanhassen. Chanhassen lost to St. Louis Park in last year’s section championship game.

“We still feel like we have a strong schedule,” Rodenwald said. “We open with Forest Lake, who we haven’t had on the schedule before, but they play in a strong conference. We also play Chanhassen and Chaska, not to mention the rivals we have in the conference.”

With a ton of question marks, Rodenwald was unwilling to point out any lineup spots, besides her five returners.

One position she did reveal was goalie. With the graduation of James, Rodenwald expects a good battle to take place with sophomore Carly LaPlant, the likely front runner.

“Carly has very solid skills and commands the box very well,” Rodenwald said. “(Senior) Georgia Gorr will compete as well. We have seven goalies in the program, which is a good problem to have. But certainly those two stand out the most.”

Rodenwald wasn’t as positive when asked who will fill the voids on defense.

“We graduated some strong defenders, but we have kids that can hopefully step into those spots,” she said. “There are battles to be had and positions to be won. We bring back a core group that has a lot of experience. What we are hoping to do is find players that can complement those girls.”

 

Area teams advance in state ball

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Three teams from the North Star League (NSL) advanced to round two of the 2016 Class C Amateur Baseball State Tournament.

The Hutchinson Huskies earned a first-round bye following their Region 12C championship last Aug. 14 in Loretto. Hutch will host Fort Ripley, the No. 3 seed from Region 8 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28.

Maple Lake, the No. 2 seed from Region 12, turned to staff ace Jeremy Schmidt to lead the Lakers to a 6-0 victory Saturday, Aug. 20 over St. Peter in round one at Dassel.

Schmidt pitched his third consecutive complete game this post-season. He went 2-0 in region play, and was near perfect against the Saints.

Chad Raiche went 3-5 with three RBI and hit two of Maple Lake’s five doubles. The Lakers built a 5-0 lead after six – more than enough run support for Schmidt, who lost his no-hit bid in the seventh inning. Schmidt would improve to 7-2 on the season allowing two hits, no runs, no walks, and eight strikeouts.

“He got ahead of a lot of hitters by pounding the strike zone (zero walks) with a good hard fastball and a really tough slider,” said Raiche, who is no stranger to seeing Schmidt step up in big games. “When he has those two pitches going, and when he mixes in a really good change-up, good luck getting to him. He loves big games, and especially state tournament games. When he is throwing well, he is capable of shutting any team in the state down. The St. Peter manager mentioned that they don’t see guys in their league that come close to him.”

Maple Lake will face Waseca, the top seed from Region 5, on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. in Dassel.

Also advancing past the first round was Loretto. The Larks rallied from a 1-0 fifth-inning deficit to defeat the Hanska Lakers 3-2 last Suday, Aug. 21 at Dassel.

Sacrifice flies by Drew VanDehey in the eighth inning and Kent Koch in the ninth innings proved to be the difference.

Koch’s RBI gave the Larks a 3-1 advantage. It proved the be the game-winning score as Hanska rallied for a run in the bottom of the ninth, but Dassel-Cokato’s Jordan Danielson, drafted in the first round by Loretto, relieved starting pitcher Colton Petron to earn the save.

Loretto will face Prior Lake, the top seed from Region 3, on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. in Hutchinson.

The lone team from the NSL to be eliminated from state was Delano. The Athletics scored six unanswered runs, but a seven-run second inning was enough to propel Raymond to a 9-6 victory last Friday, Aug. 19 at Dassel.

Zach Iten was chased after pitching just 1.2 innings to start the game for Delano. All but one of those seven runs were earned. Dassel-Cokato’s Jordan Flick pitched the remaining 6.1 innings.

Raymond built a 9-0 lead after three innings, but Delano scored five times in the fourth and one more in the sixth. Jesse Berg and Nate Norman each drove in two runs for the Athletics, whose season ended with a record of 16-16 overall.

 

SAINTS ADVANCE

St. Michael Saints advance to round two in the Class B state tournament in Litchfield.

Starting pitcher Scott Lieser went the distance for the Saints in earning a 3-1 victory Sunday, Aug. 21 over defending Class B state champion Dundas Dukes. Lieser allowed four hits and struck out nine. Jaylen Hakes, Travis Enger, and Max Ditty each had two hits. Hakes broke a 1-1 tie scoring the eventual winning run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly by Dane Carlson. The Knights advance to the Elite 8 where they face Moorhead at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26 in Hutchinson.

Class B’s other area team, the Monticello Polecats, were eliminated from state tourney play with a 13-3 loss in eight innings Sunday, Aug. 21 to Miesville.

Keenan Macek homered for Monticello, but Miesville’s offense accounted for 15 hits, including a 3-run homer by Matt VanDerBosch. Brian Sprout went 4-5 at the plate. Defensively, the Polecats committed five errors leading to five unearned runs.

 

VENUE CHANGE

Due to unplayable field conditions from heavy thunderstorms the night before, the opening round of the Class B/C state baseball tournament scheduled in Hutchinson were forced to move the first round games to nearby Brownton.

Barring another setback, round two games will resume this weekend in Hutch.

 

Class C State Tourney

Raymond 9, Delano 6

(Friday, Aug. 19 at Dassel)

Delano   0 0 0  5 1 0  0 0 0  –  6   6   2

Raymond0 7 2  0 0 0  0 0 x  –  9   9   1

ATHLETICS        AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

K. Jaunich    5    1    2    0    0    1   

Schleper       3    1    1    0    2    1

Jo. Althoff    5    1    0    1    0    0

Hart 1    0    0    0    1    1

- Kielsa      2    0    1    0    0    0

- Otto          0    1    0    0    0    0

Je. Althoff     2    1    0    0    2    0

Berg 4    1    1    2    0    0

Iten  4    0    0    0    0    2

Hayes           4    0    0    0    0    2

Norman        4    0    1    2    0    1

Totals         34    6    6    5    5    8

SB- Je. Althoff; LOB- N/A; E- Norman 2.

ATHLETICS          IP  H   R  ER BB  K

Iten (L)       1.2   4    7    1    4    0 

J. Flick       6.1   5    2    2    2    5    

Totals         8.0    9    9    3    6    5

TP- N/A.

ROCKETS           AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

Steen5    2    2    0    0    0

Koenen        4    2    0    0    1    0

Jeseritz         4    0    1    1    0    2

K. Knott      4    1    2    3    1    0

Smith2    1    0    0    2    1

Kosminskas  3    1    0    1    1    0

Sawatzky     3    1    3    3    1    0

Swanson      3    0    0    0    0    2

Hulterstrum   4    1    1    1    0    0

Totals         32    9    9    9    6    5

2B- Sawatzky 2, K. Knott; SAC- Swanson; SAC FLY- Jeseritz; SB- Jeseritz; HBP- Fleck, Villegas; LOB- N/A; E- Kosminskas.

ROCKETS IP  H   R  ER BB  K

T. Knott (W)          4.2   1    0    0    1    2 

Lotthammer (S) 4.1   5    6    3    4    6    

Totals         9.0    6    6    3    5    8

TP- N/A.

 

Maple Lake 6, St. Peter 0

(Saturday, Aug. 20 at Dassel)

St. Peter           0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0  –  0    2   1

Maple Lake      0 0 1  1 1 2  0 1 0  –  6  11   1

SAINTS  AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

Kaus4    0    0    0    0    1

Kapsner       4    0    1    0    0    0

Rodriguez     4    0    1    0    0    1

Roehrkasse  3    0    0    0    0    2

Menk           3    0    0    0    0    2

Hanson         3    0    0    0    0    1

Munsterman 3    0    0    0    0    1

S. Wenner    2    0    0    0    0    0

- Stewart      1    0    0    0    0    0

Wilmes         3    0    0    0    0    0

Totals         30    0    2    0    0    8

2B- Rodriguez; LOB- N/A; E- Munsterman.

SAINTS     IP  H   R  ER BB  K

Schwarz (L)           5.2   8    5    3    4    3 

J. Wenner   1.1   1    0    0    1    0    

Anderson      1   2    1    1    0    1    

Totals         8.0  11    6    4    5    4

TP- N/A.

LAKERS  AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

Brown          5    1    2    0    0    0

R. Decker    4    2    1    1    1    0

Raiche          5    0    3    3    0    0

D. Decker    3    1    1    0    2    1

Fuller3    0    1    1    1    0

Mavencamp 4    1    1    0    0    1

Bergstrom    4    0    2    0    0    0

Fobbe          3    0    0    1    0    0

Haney          2    1    0    0    1    1

- Rachel       1    0    0    0    0    1

Totals         32    9    9    9    6    5

2B- Raiche 2, Fuller, Mavencamp, D. Decker; SAC FLY- Fobbe; LOB- N/A; E- Brown.

LAKERS    IP  H   R  ER BB  K

Schmidt (W) 9    2    0    0    0    9

Totals           9     2    0    0    0    8

TP- N/A.

 

Loretto 3, Hanska 2

(Sunday, Aug. 21 at Dassel)

Loretto 0 0 0  0 0 1  0 1 1  –  3    6   1

Hanska 1 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 1  –  2  10   1

LARKS    AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

N. Maher     3    0    2    0    1    0   

Ke. Koch     3    1    0    1    1    0

T. Maher      4    1    0    0    1    0

Schaust        3    0    1    0    0    0

Jorges          2    0    2    1    2    0

VanDehey    3    0    0    1    0    1

J. Steinbach  4    0    0    0    0    0

Schutte         3    1    1    0    1    0

- Olson         0    0    0    0    0    0

Wade           4    0    0    0    0    2

Totals         29    3    6    3    6    3

SAC- Schaust; SAC FLY- VanDehey, Ke. Koch; HBP- N. Maher; SB- Ke. Koch, T. Maher; LOB- N/A; E- Schaust.

LARKS      IP  H   R  ER BB  K

Petron (W)8.2  10    2    2    1    6 

Danielson (S)    0.1    0    0    0    0    0 

Totals           9  10    2    2    1    6

TP- N/A.

LAKERS  AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

K. Larson     4    1    2    0    1    0   

- Gustafson   0    0    0    0    0    0

Knowles       4    0    2    0    0    0

Mosenden    4    0    3    1    0    0

Fischer         3    0    0    0    0    0

Portner         4    0    1    0    0    1

Wolf 4    0    1    0    0    0

- Thordson   0    1    0    0    0    0

D. Wilfahrt   4    0    0    0    0    3

Deinhart       3    0    0    0    0    1

- G. Wilfahrt     Jr.    1    0    1    0    0    0

- Mehlhop    0    0    0    0    0    0

Froehling      3    0    0    1    0    1

Totals         34    2  10    2    1    6

SAC- Fischer; SAC FLY- Froehling; SB- K. Larson; LOB- N/A; E- D. Wilfahrt.

LAKERS    IP  H   R  ER BB  K

D. Larson     7    6    1    1    3    2 

Anderson (L)     0.1    0    1    1    2    0 

Mosenden 1.2    0    1    1    1    1 

Totals           9     6    3    3    6    3

TP- N/A.

 

Class B State Tourney

Miesville 13, Monticello 3, (8)

(Sunday, Aug. 21 at Litchfield)

Monticello          1 0 0  1 0 0  1 0 0  –   3   8   5

Miesville 3 0 0  2 0 5  0 3 x  – 13 15  0

POLECATS         AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

Olson           3    1    0    1    1    0   

Revenig        4    0    1    0    0    2

G. Holker     4    0    1    1    0    0

Eckhart        4    1    2    0    0    0

A. Hanson 3    0    1    0    0    0

- B. Hanson           1    0    0    0    0    1

Tupy4    0    1    0    0    1

Macek         2    1    1    2    0    1

Seibert         3    0    0    0    0    0

K. Holker     2    0    1    0    0    0

Totals         30    3    8    3    1    5

2B- G. Holker, Tupy; HR- Macek; SAC FLY- Macek; HBP- K. Holker; LOB- N/A; E- Revenig 2, G. Holker 2, K. Holker.

POLECATS           IP  H   R  ER BB  K

Eckhart (L)    5   7    5    5    1    2 

J. Holker       0   4    4    3    1    0

Kounkel        2   2    1    0    0    1    

Revenig      0.2   2    3    0    1    1    

Totals         7.2  15  13    8    3    4

TP- N/A.

MUDHENS          AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

Bruchu         5    2    2    1    0    0

J. Werner     3    1    0    1    0    2

- Horsch       1    0    0    0    0    1

Marks          5    2    2    1    0    0

Hammes       4    2    1    0    0    0

VanDerBosch      4    1    1    3    1    0

Sprout          5    2    4    2    0    0

A. Werner    4    1    2    0    0    0

- Sprouls      0    1    0    0    0    0

Dickmeyer    2    0    1    0    0    0

Merle           2    0    1    2    2    0

Totals         35  12  14  10    3    3

HR- VanDerBosch; HBP- Hammes; SAC- Swanson; SAC FLY- J. Werner; SB- Marks, Hammes; HBP- Hammes; LOB- N/A; E- Kosminskas.

MUDHENSIP  H   R  ER BB  K

Dickmeyer (W)     7    8    3    3    1    3 

Maher          1     0    0    0    0    2

Totals           8     8    3    3    1    5

TP- N/A.

 

St. Michael 3, Dundas 1

(Sunday, Aug. 21 at Litchfield)

Dundas   0 0 0  0 1 0  0 0 0  –  1   4   1

St. Michael         0 0 1  0 2 0  0 0 x  – 3   8   4

DUKES    AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

Wadzinski    3    1    0    0    1    1   

C. Jones       4    0    0    0    0    1

Van Roekel  4    0    2    1    0    0

T. Jones       2    0    0    0    0    1

Loos4    0    1    0    0    2

Ludwig         3    0    0    0    0    1

Mathison      4    0    1    0    0    1

Lanoue         3    0    0    0    0    1

- Bordas       1    0    0    0    0    0

Maus2    0    0    0    0    1

- Bishop       1    0    0    0    0    0

Totals         31    1    4    1    1    9

2B- Loos; HBP- T. Jones; LOB- N/A; E- Mathison.

DUKES      IP  H   R  ER BB  K

Ruud6    7    3    3    2    7 

Mathison      2    1    0    0    0    5 

Totals           8     8    3    3    2  12

TP- N/A.

SAINTS   AB  R   H  BI  BB  K

M. Ditty       4    1    2    0    0    1

Carlson        3    0    0    1    0    3

Sorenson      3    0    0    0    1    2

Enger           4    0    2    1    0    1

Naasz           4    0    0    0    0    2

Berg 4    0    1    0    0    2

Kelly2    1    0    0    1    1

Hackenmueller  3    0    1    0    0    0

Hakes          3    1    2    1    0    0

Totals         30    3    8    3    2  12

2B- Berg; SAC FLY- Carlson; SB- M. Ditty; HBP- Fleck, Villegas; LOB- N/A; E- Enger 2, M. Ditty 2.

SAINTS     IP  H   R  ER BB  K

Lieser9   4    1    0    1    9 

Totals9    4    1    0    1    9

TP- N/A.

 

CC squads gearing into shape

Both teams to compete for conference titles; girls look to turn 5K corner

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Last year marked the disappearance of the 4-kilometer cross country run and the debut of the 5K (3.1 miles) to the girls meets in the Minnesota State High School League.

“Some teams handled it well and other teams didn’t. We struggled as a group with it,” said co-head coach Dave Knutsen.

Both Knutsen and Jill Hanson are hoping for a smoother transition in year two.

“This year should be better,” Knutsen said. “We have trained them differently and we extended their mileage a bit. With girls, you never know. There is some consistency you look at, but figuring out that 5K is the biggest difference. Hopefully the girls made some mental changes. I feel last year was more mental than physical.”

Despite the change, Buffalo girls still finished third in the Mississippi 8 and eighth in Section 2AA. They return three all-conference runners and one that made honorable mention.

Junior Amanda Montplaisir returns as the most elder and most experienced runner. Montplaisir just missed qualifying for her second straight individual state meet a year ago finishing 17th overall in 19:39.6. Her time was nearly a second off from the last state qualifier’s time of 19:38.4.

Traditionally, both cross country squads name all senior runners team captains. With no seniors on this year’s girls’ varsity squad, coaches have assigned the girls’ team captain based on her experience.

“We have no seniors this year, but we’re experienced. The girls have run a lot of races,” Knutsen said. “Amanda is our number one, but we basically have our whole team back.”

Some of the key faces returning are sophomore Erica O’Borsky, who finished 39th overall in the section meet. Junior Meredith Reynolds and sophomore Areefa Seepersaud finished 44th and 47th, respectively. Buffalo also returns sophomores Hailey Strenge and Emily Kern.

This year’s squad should look very similar to last when it comes to varsity finishers. Macey McClay is the only varsity regular that graduated. Another promising thing is the number of girls that came to tryouts.

Coaches said the numbers have nearly doubled in size each of the past two seasons. Last year’s total had around 15 girls, Knutsen and Hanson counted nearly 30 this year.

“Higher numbers is always good,” Knutsen said.

As numbers continue to rise, so do expectations.

“We’ve been third the past few years behind STMA and Monticello,” Knutsen said. “We would like to try and clip at least one of those teams this year.”

He also thinks the squad can improve at sections.

“We finished eighth in section a year ago and 15th the year before. So this year, we’re shooting for top four,” Knutsen said. “Ideally, you like to make state, but you have to make those steps.”

 

BOYS SEEK M8 TITLE

Like the girls squad, the Bison boys’ cross country team also returns most of its lineup.

Buffalo returns four of five all-conference runners, and one that earned honorable mention. Unlike the girls, the boys suffered a big hit in graduation with the loss of all-state runner Jake Kluver, who finished 19th in last year’s state meet at St. Olaf.

Even without their top dog, Knutsen is confident the team can still have a productive season.

“I honestly think we can win conference this year,” Knutsen said. “We’re in the hunt. The same with sections. It really depends how far our young guys come.”

To win conference, the Bison must leapfrog over St. Michael-Albertville, who they finished second to a year ago.

Buffalo’s fate will rest on how far a talented sophomore class will progress. All-conference runner Isaac Basten, a sophomore, looks to have a much improved season after a foot injury hindered his production a year ago. Knutsen expects a healthy Basten to run top of the pack this year.

Other sophomore runners with varsity experience include Joey Anderson, Brett Hanson, and Nathan Smith. Anderson earned all-conference honorable mention a year ago.

Junior Braden Benson, and seniors Landon Tourville, and Zach Lane were the other all-conference runners. Hunter Newman is also a senior.

“Looking at the conference and who has graduated, and looking at the 2-mile run last year in track, Isaac should be the number-one guy in the conference,” Knutsen said. “We might go 1-2 with Landon being the number two. Cambridge-Isanti has a couple guys, and STMA has a guy, but conference-wise, we should be right out in front.”

Tourville just missed the state cut by 17 seconds finishing 17th overall and just missing the state cut with a time of 17:05.8 at last year’s section meet in Hutch.

Coaches have high expectations for the boys’ squad, especially from Tourville, Benson and Basten.

“We had a really good summer as far as running goes,” Knutsen said. “They were at my house several days a week. Our top runners ran around 300 miles this summer.”

Knutsen doesn’t expect any one individual runner to dominate a meet, much like Kluver and Frank Graham once did.

“We’ll be more of a pack-running group, rather than having that usual one big dog out front like we had the last couple years with Jake and Frank Graham,” Knutsen said. “We may not be number one, but we’ll be more consistent towards the top.”

2016 Schedule

Cross Country

 

August

26        Chisago Lakes Jam       9 a.m.

(Ki-Chi-Sega Park)

September

2          St. Olaf Invite (boys)    TBA

2          Maple Lake Invite (girls)           9 a.m.

(Ney Park)

8          Hopkins Invite  4 p.m.

(Gale Woods Farm)

15        Hutchinson Invite          4 p.m.

(Lake Marion)

20        Big Lake Invite 4 p.m.

(Big Lake Elementary)

29        Buffalo Invite    4 p.m.

(Buffalo Heights GC)

October

10        Alexandria Invite           10:30 a.m.

(Arrowwood Resort)

13        Chisago Lakes Invite    4 p.m.

(Ki-Chi-Sega Park)

18        Mississippi 8 Meet        2:30 p.m.

(Chisago Lakes)

27        Section 2AA Meet       3 p.m.

(Gale Woods Farm)

November

5          Class AA State Meet    TBA

(St. Olaf)

HOME GAMES IN CAPS

2015 Conference:

Boys: 2nd Place

Girls: 3rd Place

2015 Section:

Boys: 3rd Place

Girls: 3rd Place

Head Coaches:

Jill Hanson

Dave Knutsen

Captains:

Boys: Seniors

Girls: Amanda Montplaisir

 

 

Bison drop two at invite

Tennis loses to Bengals, Rebels

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

The Buffalo girls’ tennis squad opened the 2016 season with a pair of defeats in the Champlin Invite held Monday, Aug. 22 at Buffalo High School.

The Bison opened with a 4-3 loss to Blaine and closed with a 7-0 defeat to Champlin Park.

Tied 3-3 in match scoring, Blaine took the all-important fourth point with a 4-6, 6-2, 10-8 victory at No. 2 doubles over Buffalo freshmen Hillary Hovland and Ohnica Melenich.

Senior captain Molly Jungwirth and freshman Ella Stevens played No. 1 doubles in both matches. After a 6-0 win in the first set against Blaine, the duo lost the match after losing 6-1 in the second set and 10-8 in a tiebreaker.

All three doubles losses against the Bengals required a third-set tiebreaker. Including singles, Buffalo went 0-7 in sets that were decided by a tiebreak.

“That’s definitely something to focus on in practice,” said head coach Scott Larsen.

Melenich was one of four girls making their first career varsity starts. Seventh-grader Anna Lee was the only one to earn her first career win with a 6-3, 6-2 victory at No. 3 singles over Blaine’s Courtney Moser.

Buffalo won 3-of-4 singles points over Blaine. Junior captain Claire Stevens defeated Blaine’s No. 2 Andrea Pratt 6-2, 6-4. Sophomore Emma Carlson won at No. 4 over Blaine’s Lexi Shoonover 6-2, 6-2.

Stevens nearly went 2-0 but lost 10-5 in a third-set tiebreaker to Champlin Park’s No. 1 Allie Kelley.

“She was good and I learned a lot from that match,” said Stevens, who split the invite playing the top-two singles spots along with junior captain Mya Lubben. “It was really fun, but I think with more experience we’ll learn to be consistent and finish the close points.”

 

NEXT UP

The Bison (0-2) return to the courts with a 9 a.m. invite Saturday, Aug. 27 at St. Cloud South Junior High. The invite is hosted by St. Cloud Tech and includes Tech, Buffalo, Becker, Foley, and Rocori.

 

Champlin Park Invite

Blaine 4, Buffalo 3

(Monday, August 22 at Buffalo)

Singles: No. 1 – Mary Carlson (Bl) def. Mya Lubben (Bu) 6-1, 6-2; No. 2 -- Claire Stevens (Bu) def. Andrea Pratt (Bl) 6-2, 6-4; No. 3 -- Anna Lee (Bu) def. Courtney Moser (Bl) 6-3, 6-2; No. 4 -- Emma Carlson (Bu) def. Lexi Shoonover (Bl) 6-2, 6-2.

Doubles: No. 1 – Caitlyn Almberg & Shae Peterman (Bl) def. Molly Jungwirth & Ella Stevens (Bu) 0-6, 6-1, 10-8; No. 2 -- Kenzie Wylie & Abby Betz (Bl) def. Hillary Hovland & Ohnica Melenich (Bu) 4-6, 6-2, 10-8; No. 3 -- Anna McLaughlin & Anna Plankers (Bl) def. Gina Miller & Lydia Peterson (Bu) 6-4, 0-6, 10-4.

 

Champlin Park Invite

Champlin Park 7, Buffalo 0

(Monday, August 22 at Buffalo)

Singles: No. 1 – Allie Kelley (CP) def. Claire Stevens (B) 6-2, 5-7, 10-5; No. 2 – Anne Bundy (CP) def. Mya Lubben (B) 6-2, 7-6 (7-4); No. 3 -- Lauren Witt (CP) def. Anna Lee (B) 6-4, 6-3; No. 4 -- Simran Desai (CP) def. Emma Carlson (B) 6-3, 3-6, 10-4.

Doubles: No. 1 – Olivia Stensvad & Stacy Smith (CP) def. Molly Jungwirth & Ella Stevens 6-3, 7-5; No. 2 -- Maddy Prussman & Alyssa Conzet (CP) def. Gina Miller & Ohnica Melenich (B) 6-1, 7-5; No. 3 -- Brittney Janni & Fatema Nathu (CP) def. Perrin Thompson & Hillary Hovland (B) 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).

 

BHM welcomes 24 new staff members

A total of 24 new staff members will work in the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose school district this year. Members gathered during their welcome breakfast/meeting Tuesday, August 23 in the Board Room at the Discovery Center. Pictured (front row, left-right): Lindsay Wurm, Ashley Brausen, Emily Moritz, Whitney Bennett; (row two): Tanya Remer, Kerrie Johnson, Nicki Schahn, Michelle Ryder, Lisa Nordmeyer, Alex Edwards, Jennifer Buhl; (row three): Kayla Pesola, Lisa Sturm, Hanna Mahan, Anna Lantz, Amanda Matter, Melissa Paulson, Amanda Gregoire, Sandra Villaral; (row four): Nancy Buselmeier, Kelsey Ortmann, Paul Lundberg, Tara Rosh, and Laura Ortega. (Photo by Rob LaPlante)