Speaking of Sports

By John Fragodt, Sports Reporter

I want to thank everyone for making me feel so welcome and at home through my first month working at the Pope County Tribune.  I was worried about starting a new job in a new community, but you’ve all helped to make the transition so easy.

Minnewaska Area has great facilities, including one of the top high school football/track/soccer stadiums I’ve seen, a state-of-the-art gym scoreboard, great coaches, teachers and staff, and of course, amazing student-athletes. Yes, Minnewaska Area is definitely my new home and who can beat almost always having a beautiful lake in the background?

It’s almost time to start thinking of playoff possibilities and, in fact, that’s what I did last week.  In the paragraphs that follow is information about each of the fall varsity teams and what they can expect in the postseason.  One other thing, give the football contest on page 3B a try this week.  You don’t need to be a subscriber, it costs nothing and all you have to do is drop off, or e-mail, the winners to me each week.

•  The Minnewaska girls tennis team opened up the season 0-6 against some very strong competition, but has since gone 4-0 against WCC opponents to raise its record to 4-6.  The Lakers face MACCRAY, Monday, for what could decide the WCC title.  The Section 6A Tourney will be a little tougher though as the section includes Litchfield, which is currently ranked fourth in state, and Osakis, ranked fifth, along with a very strong NLS team.  The Lakers should have a chance at the third or fourth seed, but will have to upset a couple of state-ranked teams to earn a state berth as a team.

•  The Laker boys soccer team is finding its groove, beating Melrose last week to improve to 3-5 overall, but Section 8A is loaded with soccer talent, including Fergus Falls (which beat the Lakers 4-1) and St. Cloud Cathedral and Prinsburg CMCS (which both shut out Minnewaska 3-0).

•  In cross-country, the Lakers moved up to sixth in the Class A girls’ state rankings.  Last year, the Laker girls earned a state berth after placing second in the Section 6A Meet. Winning the section title last fall was Staples-Motley, which is currently ranked third overall in state Class A this year, while Wadena-DC, which was third in the section meet last year, is ranked 10th in state for girls this fall. 

Lauryn Ankeny and Maeson Tank are the leaders for the cross-country team and they should also have great shots at earning a state individual berth.

•  The Minnewaska volleyball team plays in Section 3AA and is currently ranked seventh of the eight teams in its half of the section.  The section is loaded with great teams, including NLS (5-3), West Central Area (8-2), Pipestone (9-1) and Luverne (8-2), but the Lakers should have a decent chance at moving up a spot or two in the coming weeks.

•  The Gators’ swimming and diving team competes in Section 6A, which includes some very strong teams; Albany, Alexandria and Melrose, among others. Although it will be extremely tough to advance as a team, the Gators should have a good shot at advancing an athlete or two to the state meet, and the relay teams should also have a great shot at extending their season.

•  The Lakers’ football team has only seven teams in Section 6AAA, but they are all very good.  Pierz is currently ranked second in state Class AAA, while Morris Area-CA, Albany, NLS, Melrose and Montevideo also traditionally field good teams year in and year out. No matter where the Lakers finish the regular season, they can count on having a very tough team to open up the playoffs against.

Yes, there’s still a long ways to go with the fall season so a lot of things can change.  Good luck to the MAHS teams as they continue with their fall seasons.