Archive for Matt Kane

Football honors coming in for Wishart

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

Calvin Wishart hasn’t played a football game in almost a month and has since focused on his final basketball season at Delano, yet his name keeps coming up for what he did in his only season on the gridiron.

Delano senior Calvin Wishart was named first-team all-metro by KARE 11 and the Star Tribune. Photo by Matt Kane

Delano senior Calvin Wishart was named first-team all-metro by KARE 11 and the Star Tribune.
Photo by Matt Kane

Wishart’s name keeps appearing on the lists of  Minnesota’s best players in 2017, put out by state-wide media outlets.

A week ago, Randy Shaver highlighted Wishart as the top receiver on KARE 11’s All-Metro Team, and, Tuesday, Wishart was listed as the top receiver on the Star Tribune’s All-Metro First Team Offense.

“It’s an honor to be elected for both the all-metro Kare 11 team and the Star Tribune first team for sure,” said Wishart.

Shaver opened the description of the state’s top receivers by saying: “All-Metro receivers are led by Delano’s Calvin Wishart at 6-2 185. Despite playing for a “run-first” offense, Wishart was among the best in the state averaging 23 yards per catch. The senior finished with 57 receptions for 1,296 yards and 14 touchdowns. Head Coach Merrill Pavlovich says he’s the best receiver he’s had in 42 years at Delano. Wishart was voted the East Central South MVP.

The Star Tribune said: Calvin Wishart, Delano, 6-2, 185: Basketball star committed to Georgia Southern, wowed in his only year playing football with 57 receptions, 1,296 yards, 14 TDs. “Best receiver I’ve coached in my 42 years at Delano,” coach Merrill Pavlovich said.

As the Star Tribune states, Wishart is committed to play basketball at Georgia Southern, but, the guard admits, there were rumors football schools showed some interest during the season and that he gave it at least a little consideration.

“I was told by the coaches that UNLV and NDSU had called, wondering what I was thinking. I thought about the possibilities but I was really stuck on basketball,” he said. “I just have a different passion for it compared to football, and a lot of time and effort went into hoops.”

Wishart’s final season of basketball began this past Monday at practice. The Tigers’ first game is Saturday, Dec. 2, against Waseca at the Tiger Activity Center.

See Wishart’s mention by Randy Shaver on the KARE 11 All-Metro Offense

Read about Wishart on Star Tribune’s All-Metro Team

Delano football online photo gallery

Search and purchase photos from the 2017 Delano Tigers football season online. Click Here

GIRLS SWIMMING: Tiger girls claim some hardware at state meet

By Matt Kane
Sports Editor

MINNEAPOLIS – The Delano girls swim team may need to push the school to sneak a new trophy case into the remodeling plans after Saturday’s performance at the Class A State Swimming and Diving Championships.

Tigers swam in five finals heats and claimed a total of eight medals in the 11 swimming events, and, for the first time, the Delano team claimed a big piece of hardware at the Minnesota State High School League event in the form of the third-place trophy.

Delano senior Jordyn Wenzel won the state championships in both the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. It was Wenztel’s second title in the 500 and first since her freshman season.

The Delano swimming team poses with their shiny new third-place trophy Saturday afternoon at the UofM Aquatic Center following an impressive day at the Class A state meet. Photo by Matt Kane

The Delano swimming team poses with their shiny new third-place trophy Saturday afternoon at the UofM Aquatic Center following an impressive day at the Class A state meet.
Photo by Matt Kane


Delano’s lane assignments for Friday’s Class A state swimming prelims

Event 1  Girls 200 Yard Medley Relay
Heat 1 of 4 Prelims   
  3  Fergus Falls                                               1:54.60 
  4  Alexandria                                                 1:53.77 
  5  Sauk Centre                                                1:54.07 
Heat 2 of 4 Prelims   
  1  Waconia                                                    1:53.59 
  2  C-E-C Lumberjacks                                          1:52.91 
  3  Orono                                                      1:51.11 
  4  Breck School                                               1:47.62 
  5  Visitation                                                 1:49.87 
  6  Richfield                                                  1:51.86 
  7  Sauk Rapids-Rice                                           1:53.06 
Heat 3 of 4 Prelims   
  1  Mesabi East                                                1:53.36 
  2  Detroit Lakes                                              1:52.34 
  3  Mankato West                                               1:50.81 
  4  Faribault                                                  1:47.47 
  5  Sartell - St Stephen                                       1:49.77 
  6  Hibbing                                                    1:51.84 
  7  Hill-Murray School                                         1:52.96 
  8  Foley                                                      1:53.65 
Heat 4 of 4 Prelims   
  1  Dassel-Cokato                                              1:53.36 
  2  Red Wing                                                   1:52.24 
  3  Hutchinson                                                 1:50.75 
  4  Delano                                                     1:47.44 
  5  Monticello                                                 1:49.75 
  6  Melrose Area                                               1:51.39 
  7  Northfield                                                 1:52.92 
  8  Albert Lea                                                 1:53.64

Event 2  Girls 200 Yard Freestyle
     Name                        Year School
Heat 1 of 4 Prelims
  3  Kaitlyn Peterson               9 Detroit Lakes             2:04.14
  4  Grace Brunfelt                10 Mesabi East               2:02.78
  5  Isabelle Kalb                 12 Mesabi East               2:03.43
Heat 2 of 4 Prelims
  1  Abby Yartz                    11 Bemidji                   2:00.89
  2  Sophia Mattaini                9 Visitation                1:57.56
  3  Madelynn Hedlund              11 Sartell                   1:56.72
  4  Lexi Kucera                   10 Hutchinson                1:54.04
  5  Abby Larson                    9 Faribault                 1:56.20
  6  Hannah Hintermeister          10 Richfield                 1:57.06
  7  Alexa Lofgren                 12 Winona                    1:58.67
Heat 3 of 4 Prelims
  1  Olivia Travis                 12 Dassel-Cokato             1:58.88
  2  Angelina Hartley              10 Blake School              1:57.20
  3  Morgan Frank                  11 Delano                    1:56.57 
  4  Gabbie Werner                 11 Big Lake                  1:53.98
  5  Hailey Farrell                 8 Hutchinson                1:55.60
  6  Kristin Martens               11 Sartell                   1:57.06
  7  Kylie Strobl                   9 Delano                    1:58.63
Heat 4 of 4 Prelims
  1  Savana Bitz                   11 Melrose Area              1:58.69
  2  Arabella Lowell                9 Visitation                1:57.12
  3  Katelin Phelps                 9 Breck School              1:56.45
  4  Taylor Williams                9 Benilde St. Marg          1:53.37
  5  Sophie Kishish                11 Visitation                1:55.18
  6  Kali Sayovitz                 10 Sauk Centre               1:56.94
  7  Catherine Nolde               10 Hill-MurraySc             1:58.28
  8  Abbie Tangen                   9 Sauk Rapids/Rice          2:00.97


Event 4  Girls 50 Yard Freestyle
     Name                        Year School
Heat 1 of 3 Prelims
  1  Frances Holmstadt             10 Visitation                  24.93
  2  Elli Jankila                   9 Eveleth-Gilbert             24.77
  3  Julia Bartell                  8 Waconia                     24.42
  4  Grace Hanson                   8 Hutchinson                  23.96
  5  Stella Urness                  9 Breck School                24.30
  6  Megan Gehrke                  12 Faribault                   24.66
  7  Maggie Liska                  12 Mahtomedi                   24.87
Heat 2 of 3 Prelims
  1  Rachel Josephson              10 Little Falls                24.89
  2  Sophia Leonard                 8 Mankato West                24.68
  3  Ava Hoffman                   10 Visitation                  24.38
  4  Gesa Wilden                   10 Faribault                   23.65
  5  Nyssa Bentz                   10 Marshall                    24.29
  6  Alaina Friske                 11 Simley                      24.59
  7  Paige Andersen                11 Bemidji                     24.87
  8  Breanna Mehrwerth             11 Milaca                      25.28
Heat 3 of 3 Prelims
  1  Makenzie Herzog                9 Melrose Area                24.88
  2  Ashley Storm                  11 Mound Westonka              24.66
  3  Grace Farnsworth              10 Monticello                  24.34
  4  Makayla Suominen              11 C-E-C Lumberjack            23.41
  5  Emma Kern                      7 Delano                      24.28 
  6  Alice Foote                   12 Little Falls                24.45
  7  Julia Landwehr                12 Blake School                24.79
  8  Ella Henderson                12 Detroit Lakes               24.99


Event 6  Girls 100 Yard Butterfly
     Name                        Year School
Heat 1 of 4 Prelims
  2  Megan Brown                   12 Hibbing                   1:03.31
  3  Evan Westrum                   9 Detroit Lakes             1:01.57
  4  Meaghan Sexton                12 Visitation                1:00.60
  5  Sophia Mattaini                9 Visitation                1:01.08
  6  Carly George                  10 Eveleth-Gilbert           1:02.67
Heat 2 of 4 Prelims
  1  Verity Wray-Raabolle           9 Faribault                 1:00.45
  2  Darah Coleman                 11 Sartell                     59.80
  3  Jennifer Tracy                 9 Detroit Lakes               59.17
  4  Grace Farnsworth              10 Monticello                  57.49
  5  Maggie Broyles                10 Breck School                58.31
  6  Angelina Hartley              10 Blake School                59.40
  7  Madison Witte                  7 Hutchinson                1:00.20
  8  Maddie Pink                   12 Breck School              1:00.60
Heat 3 of 4 Prelims
  1  Lauren Benedict                7 Blake School              1:00.45
  2  Jess Milstroh                 11 Foley                       59.63
  3  Emma Kern                      7 Delano                      59.13 
  4  Gesa Wilden                   10 Faribault                   57.37
  5  Maisie Dodge                  11 Breck School                57.91
  6  Kali Sayovitz                 10 Sauk Centre                 59.37
  7  Heidi Lenarz                   9 Sartell                   1:00.09
  8  Bella Thovson                 11 Hutchinson                1:00.54
Heat 4 of 4 Prelims
  1  Lacey Entzi                   11 Minnewaska                1:00.36
  2  Hayley LaZarre                12 Dassel-Cokato               59.46
  3  Cecelia DeJong                 9 Red Wing                    58.52
  4  Madison Potter                11 Blake School                55.10
  5  Gabbie Werner                 11 Big Lake                    57.68
  6  Ellie Thompson                12 Orono                       59.37
  7  Laila Rosenow                  9 Delano                      59.84 
  8  Alice Zhang                   10 Northfield                1:00.50


Event 8  Girls 500 Yard Freestyle
     Name                        Year School
Heat 1 of 3 Prelims
  2  Sydney Gulon                  11 Detroit Lakes             5:24.35
  3  Megan Fritz                   10 Orono                     5:20.51
  4  Hailey Farrell                 8 Hutchinson                5:11.85
  5  Mary Burke                    10 Visitation                5:14.07
  6  Abbie Tangen                   9 Sauk Rapids/Rice          5:22.53
  7  Grace Brunfelt                10 Mesabi East               5:34.15
Heat 2 of 3 Prelims
  1  Laura Davis                   10 Bemidji                   5:41.05
  2  Elsie Anselment                9 Monticello                5:24.04
  3  Catherine Nolde               10 Hill-MurraySc             5:17.57
  4  Sophie Kishish                11 Visitation                5:08.79
  5  Morgan Frank                  11 Delano                    5:13.14 
  6  Kristin Martens               11 Sartell                   5:22.03
  7  Paige Steenblock               8 Northfield                5:28.83
Heat 3 of 3 Prelims
  1  Riley Larson                  10 Two Harbors               5:39.21
  2  Cady Pirtle                   11 Breck School              5:23.33
  3  Arabella Lowell                9 Visitation                5:16.02
  4  Jordyn Wentzel                12 Delano                    4:59.86 
  5  Abby Larson                    9 Faribault                 5:12.24
  6  Maya Burkstrand                8 Richfield                 5:20.96
  7  Lexy Oftedahl                 12 Sartell                   5:25.40


Event 9  Girls 200 Yard Freestyle Relay
Heat 1 of 3 Prelims
  1  Eveleth-Gilbert                                            1:42.47
  2  Melrose Area                                               1:41.39
  3  Willmar                                                    1:40.83
  4  Visitation                                                 1:39.26
  5  Monticello                                                 1:40.31
  6  Benilde-St Margaret's                                      1:41.01
  7  Mankato West                                               1:41.63
Heat 2 of 3 Prelims
  1  Bemidji                                                    1:42.26
  2  Waconia                                                    1:41.06
  3  Blake School                                               1:40.51
  4  Delano                                                     1:37.97
  5  Sartell - St Stephen                                       1:40.10
  6  Foley                                                      1:41.00
  7  Orono                                                      1:41.56
  8  Fergus Falls                                               1:44.02
Heat 3 of 3 Prelims
  1  Sauk Centre                                                1:42.08
  2  Big Lake                                                   1:41.06
  3  Faribault                                                  1:40.40
  4  Hutchinson                                                 1:37.88
  5  Breck School                                               1:39.99
  6  Mound Westonka Holy Family                                 1:41.00
  7  Hill-Murray School                                         1:41.50
  8  Two Harbors-Silver Bay                                     1:42.76


Event 10  Girls 100 Yard Backstroke
     Name                        Year School
Heat 1 of 4 Prelims
  3  Claire Palmer                 11 Delano                    1:01.58
  4  Diana Nathe                   12 Melrose Area              1:01.55
  5  Chloe Hendrickson             11 Milaca                    1:01.55
  6  Madison Hubert                11 Fergus Falls              1:01.70
Heat 2 of 4 Prelims
  1  Naomi Gregory                  9 Sauk Centre               1:01.09
  2  Kamryn Brecht                 11 Hutchinson                1:00.34
  3  Maggie Broyles                10 Breck School                59.60
  4  Anna Ellis                    12 Sartell                     57.80
  5  Abby Stok                     12 Richfield                   58.70
  6  Madelynn Hedlund              11 Sartell                     59.77
  7  Ann Jansen                    12 Visitation                1:00.73
  8  Malinda Beason                11 Benilde St. Marg          1:01.30
Heat 3 of 4 Prelims
  1  Claire Shurmur                 9 Visitation                1:01.05
  2  Jaeda Koziolek                 9 ALBL                      1:00.00
  3  Verity Wray-Raabolle           9 Faribault                   59.20
  4  Gabi Baldwin                  10 Hill-MurraySc               57.53
  5  Mikayla Von Wahlde            12 Melrose Area                58.59
  6  Ellie Wanninger               12 Breck School                59.72
  7  Erin Rudd                     12 Duluth Denfeld            1:00.67
  8  Maisie Dodge                  11 Breck School              1:01.29
Heat 4 of 4 Prelims
  1  Kate MacGregor                12 Crookston                 1:00.93
  2  Mikayla Witte                  9 Hutchinson                  59.90
  3  Kali Fischer                  10 Visitation                  59.11
  4  Katelin Phelps                 9 Breck School                57.32
  5  Ashley Hadrava                12 Hibbing                     58.26
  6  Jenna Williams                10 Ogilvie/Mora                59.72
  7  Olivia Travis                 12 Dassel-Cokato             1:00.46
  8  Hannah Sweet                   9 Blake School              1:01.10


Event 11  Girls 100 Yard Breaststroke
     Name                        Year School
Heat 1 of 3 Prelims
  2  Hannah Stec                   12 Chisago Lakes             1:08.73
  3  Jess Milstroh                 11 Foley                     1:07.98
  4  Betsy Weil                    10 Sartell                   1:05.74
  5  Stella Urness                  9 Breck School              1:07.27
  6  Elinor Glass                  10 Visitation                1:08.28
  7  Lauryn Devich                  9 Virginia                  1:09.76
Heat 2 of 3 Prelims
  1  Maija Hovelsrud               12 Park Rapids               1:10.54
  2  Sydney Gulon                  11 Detroit Lakes             1:08.56
  3  Amelia Berg                   12 Hill-MurraySc             1:07.94
  4  Caroline Gardner              11 Orono                     1:05.16
  5  Darah Coleman                 11 Sartell                   1:06.40
  6  Emily Taylor                  11 ALBL                      1:08.10
  7  Ava Olson                      9 Blake School              1:09.13
Heat 3 of 3 Prelims
  1  Kaylee Overby                 10 Two Harbors               1:09.98
  2  Sarah Patenaude               10 Mankato West              1:08.36
  3  Bre Bresnahan                 12 Faribault                 1:07.33
  4  Jordyn Wentzel                12 Delano                    1:04.57 
  5  Alyssa Eckstein               11 Monticello                1:06.13
  6  Ella Benoit                   12 Sauk Rapids/Rice          1:07.98
  7  Kayla Sayovitz                 9 Sauk Centre               1:08.73


Event 12  Girls 400 Yard Freestyle Relay
Heat 1 of 3 Prelims
  1  Mesabi East                                                3:46.47
  2  Sauk Rapids-Rice                                           3:42.96
  3  Faribault                                                  3:40.59
  4  Visitation                                                 3:36.00
  5  Benilde-St Margaret's                                      3:39.36
  6  Northfield                                                 3:42.18
  7  Dassel-Cokato                                              3:44.65
Heat 2 of 3 Prelims
  1  Bemidji                                                    3:45.93
  2  Detroit Lakes                                              3:42.85
  3  Big Lake                                                   3:40.09
  4  Hutchinson                                                 3:35.84
  5  Delano                                                     3:37.70 
  6  Mound Westonka Holy Family                                 3:42.16
  7  Little Falls                                               3:44.53
Heat 3 of 3 Prelims
  1  Hibbing                                                    3:44.70
  2  Waconia                                                    3:42.74
  3  Melrose Area                                               3:39.87
  4  Blake School                                               3:35.52
  5  Sartell - St Stephen                                       3:37.17
  6  Breck School                                               3:41.93
  7  Sauk Centre                                                3:43.27
  8  Hill-Murray School                                         3:50.21

SWIMMING: Success at section meet leading to busy state tournament for Delano swimmers

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

WILLMAR — What a day in the pool for Delano Nov. 11 at the Section 3A Championships at Willmar High School. The Tigers enjoyed their most successful section meet to date, qualifying 12 entries and eight different swimmers in nine events for this weekend’s Class A state tournament at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

Delano captured four section championships.

Delano senior Jordyn Wentzel receives her first-place medal for her Section 3A win in the 500 freestyle from head coach Karen Shallbetter last Saturday at Willmar High School. Wentzel's record time of 4:59.86 ranks first heading into Friday's state preliminary round. She also won the 100 breaststroke at the section meet. Photo by Matt Kane

Delano senior Jordyn Wentzel receives her first-place medal for her Section 3A win in the 500 freestyle from head coach Karen Shallbetter last Saturday at Willmar High School. Wentzel’s record time of 4:59.86 ranks first heading into Friday’s state preliminary round. She also won the 100 breaststroke at the section meet.
Photo by Matt Kane

The queen of the pool was Delano senior Jordyn Wentzel, who ruled the water en route to four state berths, three section championships, two pool records and two section records.

For her work, Wentzel was named the Section 3A Swimmer of the Year.

Wentzel took the breath away from everybody in the pool area during her 500-yard freestyle swim, where she glided to the finish and touched the wall at the remarkable time of 4:59.86 seconds.

Wentzel’s big finish broke her own  section record of 5:09.51, set a year ago, by more than nine seconds, and broke the Willmar pool record of 5:10.20, set in 2008 by Marissa Wood, by more than 10 seconds.

Wentzel’s teammate, junior Morgan Frank, who, swimming in a neighboring lane, finished third in the event (5:13.14) and also qualified for state, appeared to be more excited than Wentzel, bearing a huge smile on her face as she reached over the lane divider to give the new record-holder a big hug.

Wentzel was perfect on her own, as she also won the section title in the 100 breaststroke, where her time was 1:04.57.

Wentzel’s first section championship and record-breaking swim of the afternoon came in the meet’s first event, with three teammates in the 200 medley relay.

Seventh-grader Emma Kern, who made more noise later, started the race with the backstroke, followed by Wentzel in the breaststroke, freshman Laila Rosenow in the butterfly and senior Lauren York in the freestyle. The four combined for an almost-perfect race, York touching the wall at the pool and section record time of 1:47.44.

The old mark for both the pool and section was 1:48.13 set by an Orono quartet in 2015.

The win and record time in the medley relay showed the other 10 teams, especially Hutchinson, that Delano was for real. Hutchinson finished second by more than three seconds with the time of 1:50.75.

Delano reserved two more state spots in the next race, the 200 freestyle, where Frank and freshman Kylie Strobl finished third and fourth, respectively, with state-qualifying times of 1:56.57 and 1:58.63.

Hutchinson’s Lexi Kucera won the event with the time of 1:54.04. Her teammate, Hailey Farrell, finished second with the time of 1:55.60.

Delano's Emma Kern (foreground) battles teammate Laila Rosenow in the finals heat of the 100 butterfly Saturday at the Section 3A meet in Willmar. Kern won the race and Rosenow finished fourth. Both will swim the event Friday at the state meet. Photo by Matt Kane

Delano’s Emma Kern (foreground) battles teammate Laila Rosenow in the finals heat of the 100 butterfly Saturday at the Section 3A meet in Willmar. Kern won the race and Rosenow finished fourth. Both will swim the event Friday at the state meet.
Photo by Matt Kane

Kern put herself farther up on the section and state list with state-qualifying swims on either side of the diving competition. She preceded diving with a second-place swim in the 50 freestyle (24.28) and followed diving with a section championship in the 100 butterfly (59.13).

Rosenow also qualified for state in the butterfly, finishing fourth with the state-qualifying time of 59.84 seconds.

Just six events into her first section meet, Kern had already punched her ticket to state in three events. After nine events, she was a perfect 4-for-4.

That ninth event was the 200 freestyle relay, which turned out to be the closest race of the afternoon.

Hutchinson won the 200 relay with the pool and section record time of 1:37.88. The Delano foursome of Kern, York, Frank and Wentzel finished second by 9 hundredths of a second. Wentzel touched the wall at 1:37.97.

Hutchinson and Delano were two of six teams who swam a state-qualifying time in the 200 relay. The others were Willmar (1:40.83), Mound-Westonka/Holy Family (1:41.00), Waconia (1:41.06) and Orono (1:41.56).

The qualifying swim in the 200 freestyle relay made Kern the first Tiger to qualify for state in four events. Two events later, Wentzel notched her fourth berth with her win in the breaststroke.

Frank joined the 4-for-4 club in the meet’s final event, the 400 freestyle relay, where she and teammates Emily Bobick, Rosenow and Strobl finished second with the time of 3:37.70.

Hutchinson won the 400 with the record time of 3:35.84.

The 400 was the third event in which Rosenow qualified for state, the second for Strobl, and the first for Bobick.

For Rosenow, it followed her qualifying swims in the medley relay and butterfly. In her other event, Rosenow won the consolation heat of the 50 freestyle (25.10).

The second-place finish in the 400 was complimented by the fourth-place finish in the 200 freestyle for Strobl. She missed the cut in the 500, where she finished fifth with the time of 5:27.63.

Bobick also swam in the finals heat of the 100 freestyle, where she finished seventh with the non-qualifying time of 56.36 seconds.

York finished eighth in the 100 with the time of 56.37 seconds.

Delano’s other state-qualifier was junior Claire Palmer, who just got under the cut time of 1:01.65 with her 1:01.58 and fourth place in the 100 backstroke.

Hutchinson’s Mikayla Witte won the backstroke with the time of 59.90 seconds.

Hutchinson won the section team championship with 490 points. Delano finished second with 365.

For their work in building the Delano team into one of the best in the section, two Delano coaches were honored with awards.

Karen Shallbetter shared the honor  of Section 3A Coach of the Year with Hutchinson’s Rory Fairbanks, and Delano’s Matt Strobl was named Section 3A Assistant Coach of the Year.

The Class A state meet begins Wednesday at noon with the preliminary rounds of diving. The swimming preliminary round is Friday at noon. The swimming and diving finals are Saturday at noon.

Looking ahead at the swimming prelims, Delano’s section time in the 200 medley relay tops all other times posted by qualifying teams.

Delano’s 200 freestyle relay time  of 1:37.97 is second to Hutchinson’s 1:37.88. These are the only two times  under 1:39.

In the 400 relay, Hutchinson’s 3:35.84 is second best and Delano’s 3:37.70 is fourth best. Blake holds the top time of 3:35.52, and Visitation is third with the time of 3:36.00.

Wentzel holds the top times in both the 500 (4:59.86) and 100 breaststroke (1:04.57) by a wide margin.

Wentzel’s 4:59.86 in the 500 is almost nine seconds faster than the second-place time of 5:08.79 swum by Visitation’s Sophie Kishish.

Orono’s Caroline Gardner (1:05.16), who finished second to Wentzel at the section meet, and Sartell’s Betsy Weil (1:05.74) are the only other breaststroker to enter with a time under 1:06.

Kern, Delano’s other section champion, will have some work to do at the state meet in the butterfly, as her section-best 59.13 ranks eighth heading into the race.

Blake’s Madison Potter holds the top time of 55.10 seconds.



Saturday, Nov. 11

Willmar High School

Teams: 1. Hutchinson 490; 2. Delano 365; 3. Orono 271; 4. Dassel-Cokato 244.5; 5. Waconia 227; 6. Willmar 164; 7. Mound-Westonka/Holy Family 151; 8. Marshall 145.5; 9. Litchfield 83; 10. Montevideo 58; 11. Watertown-Mayer 36.

State-qualifiers and Delano swimmers: 200 medley relay: 1. Delano (Kern, Wentzel, Rosenow, L. York), 1:47.44; 2. Hutchinson, 1:50.75; 3. Orono, 1:51.11; 4. Dassel-Cokato, 1:53.36; 5. Waconia, 1:53.59. 200 freestyle: 1. Kucera (H), 1:54.04; 2. Ferrell (H), 1:55.60; 3. Frank (D), 1:56.57; 4. K. Strobl (D), 1:58.63; 5. O. Travis (DC), 1:58.88. 200 individual medley: 1. Gardner (O), 2:11.99; 2. Mezera (H), 2:12.28; 3. Thompson (O), 2:13.18; 4. Witte (H), 2:13.70; 5. Dobratz (H), 2:16.09; 10. Palmer (D), 2:19.39; 11. Bobick (D), 2:21.54; 15. S. Strobl (D), 2:24.00. 50 freestyle: 1. Hanson (H), 23.96; 2. Kern (D), 24.28; 3. Bentz (M), 24.29; 4. Bartell (W), 24.42; 5. Storm (MW), 24.66; 9. Rosenow (D), 25.10; 10. L. York (D), 25.17; 14. Benker (D), 25.75. Diving: 1. Schramm (Wil), 418.50; 2. Welsh (Wil), 364.30; 3. Nelson (DC), 352.45; 4. Olsen (DC), 340.85. 100 butterfly: 1. Kern (D), 59.13; 2. Thompson (O), 59.37; 3. LaZarre (DC), 59.46; 4. Rosenow (D), 59.84; 5. Witte (H), 1:00.20; 6. Thovson (H), 1:00.54; 14. S. Strobl (D), 1:05.20. 100 freestyle: 1. Kucera (H), 52.19; 2. Bentz (M), 53.24; 3. Hanson (H), 53.74; 4. Bartell (W), 53.89; 5. Storm (MW), 54.58; 7. Bobick (D), 56.36; 8. L. York (D), 56.37; 13. Benker (D), 57.20; 14. S. York (D), 57.67. 500 freestyle: 1. Wentzel (D), 4:59.86; 2. Farrell (H), 5:11.85; 3. Frank (D), 5:13.14; 4. Fritz (O), 5:20.51; 5. K. Strobl (D), 5:27.63. 200 freestyle relay: 1. Hutchinson, 1:37.88; 2. Delano (Kern, L. York, Frank, Wentzel), 1:37.97; 3. Willmar, 1:40.83; 4. Mound-Westonka/Holy Family, 1:41.00; 5. Waconia, 1:41.06; 6. Orono, 1:41.56. 100 backstroke: 1. Witte (H), 59.90; 2. Brecht (H), 1:00.34; 3. O. Travis (DC), 1:00.46; 4. Palmer (D), 1:01.58; 11. Benker (D), 1:05.13; 16. Verhey (D), 1:11.33. 100 breaststroke: 1. Wentzel (D), 1:04.57; 2. Gardner (O), 1:05.16; 13. Jacobs (D), 1:15.16. 400 freestyle relay: 1. Hutchinson, 3:35.84; 2. Delano (Frank, Bobick, Rosenow, K. Strobl), 3:37.70; 3. Mound-Westonka/HF, 3:42.16; 4. Waconia, 3:42.74; 5. Dassel-Cokato, 3:44.65.

STATE OF MIND: Watertown-Mayer takes state berth over Delano

Watertown-Mayer knocks off neighbor Delano Thursday night for the Section 5AA championship; Royals to taking first trip to state since 2000

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

The Watertown-Mayer bench celebrates a point in the first set of the Section 5AA final against Delano Thursday at the Academy of Holy Angels. Photo by Matt Kane

The Watertown-Mayer bench celebrates a point in the first set of the Section 5AA final against Delano Thursday at the Academy of Holy Angels.
Photo by Matt Kane

RICHFIELD — Sitting in an hour’s worth of rush-hour traffic to play town rival Delano Thursday night was well worth it for Watertown-Mayer volleyball fans, who were grandly rewarded for their time by the Royals, who survived the Tigers in five sets to win the Section 5AA championship and the rite to play in the Class AA state tournament next weekend.

“It’s awesome. I’ve always dreamed about this, since I started high school volleyball. It was just great to accomplish this with my team. We all worked together and had fun,” said Royals freshman outside hitter Paige Thibault, who led everybody with 15 kills. “We were a little upset that we had to make the long drive, but it was definitely worth it. This is awesome.”

The trip to the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield was well worth it, as Royals nation is now headed to the Xcel Energy Center to play in the state tournament for the first time in 17 seasons, when head coach Andrea Raser was a senior on the team in 2000.

That the match between the Royals and Tigers was so tightly contested and went to five sets came as a surprise to nobody.

Watertown-Mayer coach Andrea Raser sees a lot of similarities in the team she played on at state and the one she will coach at state.

“That was a team like this one. We didn’t care who we were playing, we just played for each other and wanted it more for our teammates and ourselves,” the coach explained. “That’s why we were successful, and that’s why these girls are successful. They truly want it just as bad for their teammates as for themselves.

“It’s good to be a part of it again.”

The Royals plan on being more than just a part of the state tournament once they take the court Thursday, Nov. 9.

“No, no, absolutely not,” the coach answered when asked if her team is just happy to be at state. “They are competitive enough that now we need to prepare for the next step. Each step at a time. Conference champs, section champs, and we are going to go for it. We have nothing to lose. Nobody sees us coming. We are on nobody’s radar, and that is to our advantage.”

Watertown-Mayer should be on the radar of opposing teams, as they enter the state tournament with a 22-7 record.

That 22nd win was the section-championship win over Delano, but, early on, it appeared the Tigers (17-13) might be on the fast track to the state tournament.

On the court, the fifth set greatly contrasted the first.

The Royals looked as if they were waking up from a nap at the start, dropping the first set 25-15 to a highly-energized Tiger team that had plenty of vocal support from a Hawaii-themed student section. Watertown-Mayer found some energy in the middle three sets, and completely dominated the fifth set 15-6 to put the Tigers away.

“Pride,” said Raser of her initial reaction when the ball hit the floor on the final point. “I am proud of how hard the girls have worked to get here.”

In between the first and fifth sets, Watertown-Mayer tied the match score at 1-1 with a 25-21 win in the second set, and took a 2-1 lead with a 25-23 win in set three.

Facing elimination, Delano stayed alive and forced the do-or-die fifth set with a 25-20 in the fourth.

“We anticipated it because we played Delano before and we knew they were a really good team,” Thibault said of the fifth set. “We are kind of evenly-matched.”

Coming back after a forgetful first set and after Delano won the fourth set showed Raser a lot about her team.

“There was a gut-check. They were nervous, but, deep down, they knew this was meant to be for them,” she said. “They showed me they have guts and resiliency and heart and fire. Everything you know is in them, they let it out tonight.”

All that fire and resiliency completely overtook the Tigers, who were hoping to ride the wave of the fourth-set win into the fifth.

“Going from the fourth set, I thought we had the momentum but we had to keep rowing with it,” said Delano coach Becca Rue, who was looking for a sixth state appearance in her 11 seasons with the Tigers. “It didn’t happen. Sometimes, that’s the way it goes with high school sports.”

The Royals took a 4-1 lead in the fifth set before the Tigers knew what hit them, and there was no catching up for Delano.

Delano's Amy Lundquist (3) and Grace Popp hit the floor in tears just after the ball hit the floor to end the Tigers' season Thursday at the Section 5AA final against Watertown-Mayer. Photo by Matt Kane

Delano’s Amy Lundquist (3) and Grace Popp hit the floor in tears just after the ball hit the floor to end the Tigers’ season Thursday at the Section 5AA final against Watertown-Mayer.
Photo by Matt Kane

“We tried to stay up and have a good attitude during the whole thing, and I think we did, but it was just kind of the domino effect (in the fifth set),” said Delano senior Amy Lundquist, who finished with a team-best 12 kills, which came on 39 spike attempts.

The fifth set, which is played to 15 points instead of 25 like the first four, can be tough to play, according to Rue.

“You work your tails off for the first four and then going to 15 is hard. If you get down, it’s hard to come back, you have to call early timeouts,” the coach said. “I just think they kind of had the momentum swing and we couldn’t get it back.”

Rue’s team entered the section final playing its best volleyball of the season. The Tigers were much-improved since their regular-season meeting with the Royals.

During the regular season, Watertown-Mayer defeated Delano in four sets Sept. 11 at the Tiger Activity Center in Delano.

“They changed a lot,” Thibault said of Delano. “They got more aggressive in their hitting and they were putting it in better spots and tipping a lot more. That kind of got us a few times, but we started to pick it up. We just pushed through and did what we do.”

Both coaches anticipated a five-set match.

“We knew they were a better team, and we knew they wanted revenge, and we knew it was going to go to five, and we knew it was going to be many battles in the war,” said Raser. “We were ready for it.”

Rue predicted the same.

“We knew going in it was probably going to be a battle, which is what you want in a section championship. I think it definitely turned out to be a great match for everybody who came,” she said. “It is just kind of a bummer there has to be someone that loses, and that somebody was us this time.”

On the stat sheet, junior setter Nikki McDonald finished with 38 assists for the Royals. Janessa Berrios joined Thibault in the double-digit kills column, the junior finishing with 14. And Thibault (12), McDonald (11), Kylie Hoese (11) and Ellie Ernhardt (10) all dug in double digits.

For Delano, junior setter Brynn Heinonen finished with 36 assists. Grace Popp had 10 kills. Kenzie Cayler and Mya Johnson both finished with 20 digs.

The serve and serve-receive games from both teams were not at their best.

Delano gave away 11 free points on service errors and hit 10 aces against the Royals. Watertown-Mayer committed 13 service errors and connected for 11 aces against the Tigers.

The Royals used a faulty service receive game from the Tigers to completely turn around the second set.

In that second set, with Delano leading 21-19, Watertown-Mayer’s Vanessa Schroeder served the final seven points to give the Royals the win. The Tigers committed errors  on four-of-five serves at one point in that stretch.