Archive for Matt Kane

Eight Delano swimmers honored at All-State banquet

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

MINNEAPOLIS — Eight Delano swimmers attended the 2017-18 Minnesota All-State Swimming and Diving Banquet May 4 at the Minneapolis Marriott NW. The Tigers and other swimmers and divers from around the state were honored for finishing in the top eight at state in their respective classes.

Senior John Kenison was the lone Delano boy at the banquet.

The eight Delano swimmers who were honored May 4 at the 2017-18 Minnesota All-Star Swimming and Diving Banquet are (front row, from left) Laila Rosenow, Kylie Strobl, Emma Kern and Emily Bobick; and back row: John Kenison, Morgan Frank, Lauren York and Jordyn Wentzel. Wentzel was named the Class A Girls Athlete of the Year. Delano girls coach Karen Shallbetter was nominated for coach of the year. Photo Submitted

The eight Delano swimmers who were honored May 4 at the 2017-18 Minnesota All-Star Swimming and Diving Banquet are (front row, from left) Laila Rosenow, Kylie Strobl, Emma Kern and Emily Bobick; and back row: John Kenison, Morgan Frank, Lauren York and Jordyn Wentzel. Wentzel was named the Class A Girls Athlete of the Year. Delano girls coach Karen Shallbetter was nominated for coach of the year.
Photo Submitted

The seven lady Tigers were seniors Jordyn Wentzel and Lauren York, juniors Emily Bobick and Morgan Frank, freshmen Laila Rosenow and Kylie Strobl, and seventh grader Emma Kern.

Wentzel was named the Class A Girls Athlete of the Year. This past November, she won state championships in both the 500-yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke, and finished her final state meet with four medals.

Frank also claimed four medals. On her own, she was fifth in the 500 and eighth in the 200 freestyle.

The Delano girls captured state medals in all three relays.

Kern, Wentzel, Rosenow and York finished second at state in the 200-yard medley relay. Kern, York, Frank and Wentzel finished second in the 200 freestyle relay. And Frank, York, Rosenow and Strobl finished fourth in the 400 freestyle relay.

Kern was a three-time medalist. On her own, she placed eighth in the 50 freestyle.

Delano girls coach Karen Shallbetter was nominated for coach of the year.

In March at the boys state meet, Kenison placed seventh in the 500 freestyle.

Delano’s Techam named coach of the year

MATT KANE
Sports Editor

DELANO — After leading Delano to the state championship back in March, boys basketball coach Terry Techam was named the Class AAA Coach of the Year last week by the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association.

True to form, Techam deflected all credit onto his players and assistants, giving special credit to the players who sacrificed in practice despite minute game minutes.

“It means we had a very good team. You don’t get coaching awards unless you have a great team and great assistant coaches. Jason Monke and Jamie Longstreet do an outstanding job year in and year out,” said Techam. “The players deserve all the credit, especially our black team — that is what we call our scout team because they wear the black side of our practice jerseys. Those guys did an amazing job in their roles and had us very prepared for each and every game. They were led by seniors Garret Kramp and Chase Carlson, who did a great job leading this group.”

The championship season for Delano coach Terry Techam got even better this week when he was named the Class AAA Coach of the Year. Photo by Matt Kane

The championship season for Delano coach Terry Techam got even better this week when he was named the Class AAA Coach of the Year.
Photo by Matt Kane

The coach of the year winners for the other three classes in the state are Rushford-Peterson’s Tom Vix (Class A), Eden Valley-Watkins’ Adam Langer (Class AA), and Robbinsdale Armstrong’s Greg Miller and Forest Lake’s Dan Cremisino, who shared the honor in Class AAAA.

The award is well-deserved for Techam, as the road to the first state championship for a Delano team in 20 years was not always a smooth one.

The Tigers finished with a 21-11 overall record, only because of an 11-2 run over their final 13 games. An injury to Mr. Basketball finalist Calvin Wishart and a stretch where the team went 1-6 pushed the thought of a state title to the back of people’s minds.

The minds of everyone other than the players and coaches, Techam insists.

“The team always believed we were very good. When we had a tough stretch, I reminded them of the fact we were playing awfully good teams and that they were still a very good team, but they didn’t need to hear it from me; they all knew it,” said the coach. “Even when Calvin [Wishart] was out, the team believed in each other, and the expectations were no different. We try not to look too far ahead, so our goal is always to be 1-0 after our next game, and that was the same expectation during sickness, injuries, the section, and state tournament.”

Calvin Wishart, who scored a school record 2,444 points in four seasons playing for Techam, didn’t hesitate in giving Techam credit for the team’s success this season, and throughout the coach’s tenure at Delano. He believes the coach of the year award was long overdue.

“Coach Techam hasn’t changed throughout my four years at Delano, so he should have won it every year, but you see, when we win the state championship, he wins it,” said Wishart. “In other words, it wasn’t just the job he did this year, because he shows the same amount of dedication and passion for the game of basketball every year.”

Techam has been coaching basketball for 29 years, 11 of those years as a head coach at Milaca and Delano. He is 181-81 in nine seasons with the Tigers.

The boys basketball program at Delano has flourished since Techam became the head coach. He has led to the varsity team to a 181-81 record in nine seasons. Photo by Matt Kane

The boys basketball program at Delano has flourished since Techam became the head coach. He has led to the varsity team to a 181-81 record in nine seasons.
Photo by Matt Kane

Techam’s dedication to the game and his ability to deal with situations on and off the court are uncanny, according to Wishart.

“I’ve known coach Techam since I was in 4th grade, and his knowledge for the game is unmatched. He is one of, if not, the most dedicated coaches in the state. He stays up late after every game and goes through film for practice the next day. He prepares our scout team before we start practice everyday, and he is at every summer workout and tournament that he is legally allowed to be at. If he was legally allowed to be with us all year round, I know he would be,” said Wishart. “Not to mention, he’s constantly dealing with parents telling him he’s not doing things right; fighting through parents trying to get him fired. For what reason, I will never know or understand, as he is the coach of the year and a state champion.

“Thanks, coach, for everything.”

Proof of Techam’s coaching IQ came in the state championship game against Columbia Heights. Trailing by 13 points at halftime, Techam went to a 1-3-1 defense, which a Delano team hadn’t used in a game in two season and the current team had dedicated very little time to in practice.

“It was just kind of in the back of my head that we were having problems keeping them in front of us and we wanted to pressure them,” Techam told the room of reporters following the championship game. “They were in a pretty good rhythm; we just wanted to take them out of that rhythm.”

Minutes before Techam spoke following the championship game, Columbia Heights coach Willie Braziel pointed directly to that coaching decision by Techam as the game-changer that gave the Tigers the 65-61 win.

“Delano did an outstanding job changing their defense to a 1-3-1. It’s an excellent trap defense,” said Braziel. “It stymied us for awhile, and it didn’t allow us to get the ball in a good position to get decent shots.”

Two months after raising the championship trophy at Target Center, Techam still carries a sense of disbelief.

“I do look back in amazement,” he said. “You see a lot of really good teams who do not win championships for whatever reason, and, for our team to just keep believing in each other and to be playing our best basketball of the season in March was amazing.”

The championship excitement was aided by the community support.

“I wish every person who has participated in high schools sports could experience the welcome home we received after the championship game,” said Techam. “The support of the Delano community was amazing and something that the players and coaches will never forget.”

The community and the players and coaches who made up the 2017-18 Class AAA state champion Delano Tigers boys basketball team will, again, be reminded of the magical season Wednesday, July 4, when the team members ride through the 4th of July Parade as the honorary grand marshals.

Delano teacher, coach finishes 77th at Boston Marathon

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

BOSTON — Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi crossed the finish line at the 122nd Boston Marathon before anybody else did Monday, winning the prestigious race with the time of 2:15:58.

Following Kawauchi to the line in the cold, wet weather were 25,745 other finishers, the last of whom reached the finish line more than six hours later, at 8:22:05.

In that pack of finishers, wearing bib No. 246, was Delano cross country coach and assistant track coach Jackson Lindquist, who crossed the line much, much closer to the Kawauchi end of the pack, in 77th place with the time of 2:36:42. That equates to approximately 6 minutes per mile.

That time is less than 21 minutes behind Kawauchi, the race winner; and three minutes better than the women’s overall winner, Desiree Linden (2:39:54).

RUNNING MAN Four days after coaching the Delano distance runners at Belle Plaine on what was one of the only nice days of the spring, Jackson Lindquist pushed through the rain, cold, and a steady headwind to a 77th-place finish Monday in the Boston Marathon. It was just the second marathon Lindquist had ever run. The first was the Med City Marathon in Rochester last May. He won that race to qualify for Boston. Photo by MarathonFoto

RUNNING MAN
Four days after coaching the Delano distance runners at Belle Plaine on what was one of the only nice days of the spring, Jackson Lindquist pushed through the rain, cold, and a steady headwind to a 77th-place finish Monday in the Boston Marathon. It was just the second marathon Lindquist had ever run. The first was the Med City Marathon in Rochester last May. He won that race to qualify for Boston.
Photo by MarathonFoto

Lindquist, who is 24 years old and a first-year third grade teacher at Delano Elementary School, finished in the top 2.9 percent of all runners who started the marathon (26,948). These numbers dropped the jaws of those who know him.

“I knew he was going to do good,” said Charlie Georges, one of Lindquist’s third-grade students.

Maybe not this good, Georges admitted.

“Out of, like, 30,000 people — that’s, like, so good,” said Georges. “How is that even possible? A teacher that is from Delano, Minnesota; how can he get 77th place out of 30,000 people?”

Georges’ classmate, Will Gorrill, is equally impressed.

“I think it’s crazy how he did all that, because there were so many people,” said Gorrill. “It’s just crazy.”

The students and teachers in all the third grade rooms kept tabs Lindquist’s progress during the 26.2-mile run through Boston on the SMART Boards used in each classrooms.

“[We could see] how fast he was going. And he was going pretty fast,” said Madison Ring, another of Lindquist’s homeroom students.

Ring, like Georges, was impressed by her teacher’s performance.

“I knew he is the boys’ track coach and I knew he was a good runner,” she said. “I’m happy that he did a really good job. I didn’t know he was that good of a runner.”

It seems nobody knew Lindquist was that fast.

“He’s such a humble person. He would mention it, but didn’t talk about it like it was a big deal,” fellow third grade teacher Teresa Langton said. “I would have been bragging about it all the time. He is very quiet about it.”

It is often difficult for those outside the running world to understand a runner, and that, Lindquist said, is the primary reason he doesn’t talk much about his own running prowess.

“I’ve never been one to talk about it, because I have the impression that a lot of people don’t get it and they don’t understand much about it,” he said.

Even those well-versed in running and endurance races are awed by Lindquist’s run in Boston.

“As a recreational runner myself, I’ve dabbled with the idea of trying to qualify for Boston, but I’m a middle-of-the-pack runner and I’ve not yet conquered the infamous Boston qualifying time. So, I was simply impressed that coach was fast enough to have qualified to run in Boston,” said Alli Zens, whose seventh-grade twin boys, Justin and Caden, ran cross country for Lindquist this past fall. “ I had no idea he’d be finishing in the top 100 in Boston, which arguably makes him among the fastest runners in the world.”

Her two sons warned Zens, who is a triathlete, about how fast Lindquist is. She admits she took what they told her for granted.

“My boys had told me coach had a ‘really fast’ marathon PR, but I had no idea how ‘really fast’ they meant,” she said.

Zens and the entire running community at Delano schools are glad Lindquist is their lead runner.

“It is really fun to think about how lucky my boys are to have him as their coach for, hopefully, all of their school running tenure,” she said. “The boys really enjoy that coach runs with the kids and is always inspiring them with stories.”

In just one fall as the boys’ cross country coach, and part of this spring as the distance coach for the track team, Lindquist has earned great respect.

“Not only does he have a talent for running, but he does an excellent job with his rapport with kids, both in the classroom and on the track. He has that passion, and finds running enjoyable and wants to pass that passion on to his athletes,” said Delano Activities Director Mike Lindquist, who is also Lindquist’s uncle. “He finds success in a kid who just wants to beat his own best time. We are fortunate at Delano to have him with us.”

His third-graders at Delano Elementary School were happy to have Jackson Lindquist back in class Wednesday, two days after he finished 77th at the Boston Marathon. The students tracked Lindquist’s progress in Boston on the classroom SMART Board. Photo by Matt Kane

His third-graders at Delano Elementary School were happy to have Jackson Lindquist back in class Wednesday, two days after he finished 77th at the Boston Marathon. The students tracked Lindquist’s progress in Boston on the classroom SMART Board.
Photo by Matt Kane

Chasing around those runners he coaches played into Lindquist’s training for Boston.

“With him, he would run with everybody. Kids would go on a  4- or 5-mile run, and he would put on 6 or 7 miles,” explained Mike Lindquist. “He would run back-and-forth, from the top guys to going back and encouraging the guys in the back.”

The athletes he coaches and their parents have an understanding of the running world, but not everybody does. Even those who don’t really get why someone would run 26.2 miles lent their full support for Lindquist’s journey to Boston. That, he said, meant a lot.

“One thing I really appreciate are my coworkers. None of them are runners and they don’t really get it, but they are all interested. I appreciate that. Mr. Schuler gave me a shout-out at our last staff meeting,” said Lindquist. “The support I got was ridiculous. My third grade class was unbelievable.”

Lindquist’s third grade students made a giant banner saying “Good luck, Mr. Lindquist” in support, and, Wednesday, when he returned to school, Lindquist was greeted with more banners from the entire third grade contingent.

“We are proud of him,” said Leah Petersen, another of Lindquist’s third grade colleagues.

Some of those supporters have, not-so-passively, taken credit for Lindquist’s successful run.

“I was just kidding when I said he owes all of his success to us, because he only owes part of that success to us — his running success,” said third grade teacher Teresa Langton, with no seriousness at all. “We are his coaches, but we don’t like to hog the attention. We like to stay under the radar.”

Lindquist may not have willingly told his colleagues about his excellence in the running world, but the statistical evidence was out there long before he patted the streets of Bean Town with the soles of his running shoes.

Lindquist qualified for Boston by winning the Med City Marathon in Rochester last May. His time was 2:34:25.

The Med City was Lindquist’s first marathon. Boston was his second.

In college, just two years ago, as a senior on the UW-Superior cross country team, Lindquist won his share of opens and invitationals, and placed 123rd overall at the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. Before running at Superior, he was a state runner in both cross country (five times) and track (three times) for Esko High School, where his dad, Tim Lindquist, was a longtime track, cross country, and basketball coach.

Away from the tracks and cross country courses, Lindquist was a 1,000-point scorer for the Esko basketball team, finishing as the Eskimos third-leading scorer with 1,503 career points (2008-2012).

“In high school, I was a three-sport athlete and I’ve always been athletic,” he said. “And my family is all about sports. Our trips revolved around running; it is a huge part of our lives. We go to the Olympic trials in Eugene, OR as spectators, and other races. As a family, we go hiking, and we all played basketball.”

Lindquist ran Boston with his older brother, Bryan, 28, who finished 634th overall with the time of 2:50:49; and friends Adam Eskuri (970th, 2:54:31) and Kate Eskuri (14,360th, 3:53:40).

Marathoning as a family is not new to the Lindquists.

Both of Lindquist’s parents, Tim and Shari, along with his uncles, Mike and Joe, all ran marathons together, including New York.

No tea party

With his background as an athlete, Lindquist is naturally a competitor. That is evident in his own criticism of his Boston run.

“Overall, I am happy with where I finished, but, like any runner, I think I could have done better,” he said Tuesday after stepping off the airplane at MSP. “I think I could have conserved more energy. I wasn’t running as well at the end, where I wish I could have maintained a little longer.”

The scenario of not saving energy for the latter part of the race was a common occurrence, according to Lindquist’s observation, as he continued to pass more runners than what were passing him late.

Conditions were tough.

“The course is unforgiving. You think you can run fast there because the first 15 miles are downhill, but it takes a toll because you can’t train to run downhill that much,” he said. “Legs can’t train to run fast downhill. It got to the point where it was very uncomfortable running downhill.”

And, of course, the weather didn’t help.

“Going in, I was going for more time, 2:30, but, once I saw the weather forecast, I knew that wasn’t going to happen, based on knowing there would be a headwind and it would be cold and rainy,” he explained. I adjusted my strategy, and my goal was to be in the top 100. I decided to race it and that made it fun. Different motivation instead of time.”

Those conditions in Boston included temperatures in the 30s, rain, and a headwind with gusts as high as 40 miles per hour.

A Tweet Monday from Boston Marathon Medical Coordinator Chris Troyanos gives a strong indication of just how bad the weather was for runners. Troyanos Tweeted: There have been 81 runners (all from the course) transported to local area hospitals so far, 2527 total medical encounters, 25 elite athletes treated, 90 percent of them suffered from hypothermia (with [body] temperatures ranging from 80s to low 90s). Medical coordinator compared this marathon to the 2015 one, but said this was much colder with a strong head wind that made running dangerous. He said he’d still choose this day over hot ones because it’s much easier to warm people up.

After finishing the race, both Byran Lindquist and Adam Eskuri were treated for hypothermia.

Even before the Lindquist brothers arrived in Boston, the weather tested their mental toughness with last weekend’s spring blizzard. They sat at MSP International Airport for  34 hours, Saturday into Sunday, before finally finding a flight to Boston.

“We were supposed to fly out Saturday at 6 a.m. and get to Boston at 1 p.m. We tried to get on four flights before they shut the airport down. We spent the night at the airport and hopped on the next flight. We left at 10 a.m. Sunday and got to Boston at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

Lindquist could have run 13 marathons at the airport in that time.

Helping him pass the time at the airport were the well-wishes from his teaching colleagues.

“They were texting me the whole time. They wanted me to get out there because they knew how bad I wanted to do this,” he said.

Lindquist was the first Minnesotan to cross the finish line. A total of 443 runners from Minnesota completed the race.

Maybe the Minnesota winters prepared these runners for this year’s Boston Marathon.

“He trained in ridiculous conditions here in Minnesota. After our Tiger Fun Fair, he was out in the blizzard and ran 20 miles that day,” third grade teacher Charlene Warne said of Lindquist. “Hopefully, the great conditions here helped him in Boston the other day.”

There is some truth to what Warne said. And, after surviving the journey it took just to get to Boston, there was no way Lindquist was not finishing his run.

“Dropping out for me was never an option. I spent 30-plus hours in an airport to get there. I was going to finish the race,” he said. “Also, I am sure training here in Minnesota over the winter prepared me for the brutal conditions. I was relatively warm the entire time I was running. As soon as I finished is when I realized how cold, windy, and wet it really was.”

Delano Strong

While he teaches and coaches at Delano, Lindquist’s hometown for the Boston Marathon was listed as Buffalo. Delano, itself, was represented in the Boston registery Monday, by Christine Lowery.

Lowery, 48, finished all 26.2 miles of the marathon with the time of 3:58:02.

She was running fresh off an injury, so Lowery was pleased with her finish.

Delano’s Chris Lowery ran her fifth Boston Marathon Monday. Here, she is finishing the 2017 race, when the weather was much more comfortable. Photo courtesy of Chris Lowery

Delano’s Chris Lowery ran her fifth Boston Marathon Monday. Here, she is finishing the 2017 race, when the weather was much more comfortable.
Photo courtesy of Chris Lowery

“Considering that I only had four weeks to train for this race, my goal was only to finish. I ended up finishing in less than 4 hours, which I am very happy with,” said Lowery, who vows to be back and better. “I can and will do much better the next time I go back, but I am very satisfied with my performance this year and have no regrets.”

It was Lowery’s fifth running of Boston and her 10th marathon, overall. This edition was a challenge, she admitted.

“Donned with a rain jacket, long pants, and two long-sleeved shirts, I was able to keep from being cold,” she said. “The rain was intense at times and hit you like little darts. The wind gusts slowed you in your tracks when coming head on, and pushed you off your course when it came from the side.  It was pretty bad, especially when entering Boston. One girl in front of me lost her hat, and I saw a metal barrier gate get blown out into the street.”

Like Lindquist, Lowery was worries she expelled too much energy early in the race.

“The first 10K were very, very difficult, mentally. Getting into the groove with the wind and rain took a lot out of me, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I was happy to hear that I was not alone in that. And that the eventual winner of the race wanted to drop out at that point, too. Trying to avoid larger puddles took a lot of energy,” she said.

There may have been a Higher Power leading Lowery to the finish line.

“I suffered a hamstring injury early on in the training, way back in mid January. I stopped training at that point and planned on withdrawing from the 2018 race,” said the 14-year Delano resident. “However, in March, I received what I believed to be a spiritual push to go ahead and run the race. My hamstring injury was mostly healed, and, so, with four weeks to get some long runs in,  I trusted that God was in this with me, and recommitted to running it.”

She was also pushed to run and finish the race by an unwavering support team.

“What eventually brought me out of that place of discouragement (during the run) was thinking about my friends, who have given so much of themselves and their time and their hearts to getting a BQ (Boston qualifying time) and have either yet to do so or their BQ times were not fast enough to get them into this year’s race. I decided that I was going to run this race for them,” she explained. “Each of them would’ve given so much to be where I was at that precise moment — rain, wind, and all. How could I grumble? I did it for them. That’s how I got through it.”

The mental willpower and physical stamina to finish were both there for Lowery. She, like Lindquist, credits training in Minnesota for preparing her for the conditions Boston presented.

“Training for the Boston Marathon through the cold Minnesota winters gets you ready for just about any weather variable except heat, of coarse,” she said. “I have always felt that the mental fortitude one gets in training through difficult circumstances is always to a marathoner’s benefit, as any endurance event is very mental.”

Other runners from the area included Diana Jacks, 31, of Independence (4:32:57); and David Gutermuth, 54, of Orono (3:10:30).

Broken Spring

SNOW BALL Players from the 7th and 8th-grade softball teams play Frosty the Snowman straight up during one of his at-bats Tuesday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Meredith Huikko

SNOW BALL
Players from the 7th and 8th-grade softball teams play Frosty the Snowman straight up during one of his at-bats Tuesday afternoon.
Photo courtesy of Meredith Huikko

As winter drags on past its scheduled closing date, spring sports teams are itching to get outside and begin competing

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

DELANO — Supposedly, the winter sports season concluded March 24, when Cretin-Derham Hall defeated Apple Valley for the Class AAAA boys basketball championship.

A look outside during the four weeks since Cretin-Derham Hall’s Daniel Oturi slammed the ball through at the buzzer might convince the brain otherwise, that winter is still here in full force.

Still waiting for spring to spring through are thousands of athletes around the state of Minnesota, including those who make up the 10 spring teams at Delano High School.

“With this last storm, this is the worst I’ve seen in 31 years. We’ve never had this much snow,” said Delano Activities Director Mike Lindquist, who was previously a track coach at the school. “With the wind and the amount of drifting and the cold temperatures at night, nothing is melting.”

The spring season officially began at Delano before the winter season wrapped, as the softball and track and field teams opened practice March 12, and the baseball and golf teams started March 19. Boys tennis began March 26 and practices for the two lacrosse teams began April 2.

As expected, those early weeks were spent indoors at the Tiger Activity Center, the wrestling room, the old high school gymnasium, the elementary school gymnasium, and at the Delano Area Sports Arena. Not expected is the fact that these locations are where these teams remain, more than a month after they began, for some.

“We have been outside for two practices and one meet. We are in week 6 of practice,” said boys track and field coach Mitch Rue. “I’ve never had a spring like this in my career in Delano, but I guess we are getting a taste of what schools in northern Minnesota deal with nearly every spring.”

Baseball coach Jeff Olson remembers a similar spring.

snowMunicipalPark“It’s definitely one of the most challenging. I can’t recall a year where we have been able to get outside so little at this point in the season,” said Olson. “In 2013, however, we played our first game on April 30. So, this year is not unprecedented.”

Olson’s baseball team went outside one time so far, to work on defensive drills in the parking lot behind the high school.

The only thing a team can do while inside is keep working.

“There are many areas of the game of baseball to work at,” he said. “We are doing our best to keep getting better in all the areas that we can.”

Those who have ever played a spring sport in Minnesota, though, know that fielding ground balls at the free throw line, hitting golf balls into a net, and running sprints on the hardwood get old really fast.

The best way to deal with the weather is to just deal with the weather.

The first time the two lacrosse teams ventured outside in their uniforms was last week for team pictures. The girls have not been out since. The Tiger boys attempted to practice outside a day later, but, as if they were caught sneaking out, an angry Mother Nature quickly shooed them back indoors.

“We got outside last Friday for the first time, then it started hailing minutes after we stepped onto the field,” said coach Aaron Hagerdorn. “We tried to power through, but it didn’t let up and we had to retreat inside.  That was the only few minutes we’ve had.”

The lacrosse teams are fortunate to have the arena, which is carpeted with synthetic turf, but being inside is less than ideal.

“We are trying to change up practice routines, but time and space is very limited,” said Hagerdorn. “We play different games, work scenarios, do different drills, and watch film, but there is only so much you can do in a rink, and I am running out of ideas.”

The size of the surface inside the arena is dwarfed by the size of an actual lacrosse pitch.

“The most frustrating part of practices inside is trying to teach new defensive and offensive tactics on a space one-fourth the size of a traditional lacrosse field,” said first-year girls lacrosse coach Mindy Evers. “But we are very lucky to have the rink. Most teams are on a basketball court.”

She may not be able to teach strategies and formations the way she wants, so Evers is making sure her girls will definitely be physically ready when game time finally arrives.

“We have been trying to incorporate high-intensity interval training into our practices, with the hope that, physically, we will be able to compete on the field. And, hopefully, outrun our opponents,” she said.

Boys tennis coach Jacob Olson was hoping to get a lot more use out of the new courts that were added. But that has not been the case, as the Tigers have had just a handful of outside practices.

“It’s hard to get a routine going and develop skills like we would like,” he said. “It’s been hard to get challenge matches in with limited time outside.

“This is the roughest start I can recall in my years of coaching. We’ve had cold ones, but the snow is on another level this season.”

The postseason is only a month away for the tennis team.

“It will just be some busy weeks ahead,” said Olson, the tennis coach.

Warmer weather with snow-melting sunshine has been forecasted for this weekend, so the courts and playing fields should soon turn from white to green. That doesn’t mean all the fields will be ready for competition.

The lacrosse and track and field teams should be able to get outside on their fields much sooner.

“When we get the green showing or the black on the track, (the thaw) will go fast,” said Lindquist, referring to the synthetic fields.

But not fast enough.

“It is very frustrating. We have brand new facilities, which we can’t use unless they are clear. We already have a very short season and this is making it even shorter,” said Hagerdorn. “We won’t even get onto a full-sized field before our first games.  That makes it very hard to put a fully-prepared team on the field, especially when we start right off playing conference games. And I feel very bad for the seniors who have been looking forward to this season for three years.”

The synthetic surfaces on the lacrosse fields at Delano may mean the campus will host more games than originally scheduled.

“For both boys and girls away games that are played on grass, they will be moved to home games,” said Evers. “So, having the turf fields is great for the kids.”

In an attempt to get games played, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) has granted the softball and baseball coaches permission to play double-headers of five-inning games.

For Olson and the baseball team, the plan is to avoid going overboard with just games.

“It’s simply fitting as many games as we can into the remainder of the season,” he said. “It’s got to be within reason though; allowing enough practice time throughout, as well.”

Conference games are top priorities.

Steady sunshine will do wonders for the softball and baseball fields. Typically, golf courses need more time so crews can make them playable.

“It is getting frustrating, especially not knowing when we will actually be able to get outside,” said boys golf coach Jon Moen.

Moen’s boys share the wrestling room with coach Jackie Johnson’s girls team.

“The biggest frustration looms from trying to keep kids focused. It’s tough. There isn’t a lot you can really do for golf to keep them engaged when your practice area consists of a small area where you can’t hit balls farther than 3 feet into a net. It’s hard to feel out anything,” Johnson explained. “And so, kids get tired and bored. I’ve tried to give them days off and time to go find indoor ranges, so some girls have gone to do that.”

SNOW BIRDIES Tired of golfing in the wrestling room, the Delano girls took some shovels and clubs outside Monday for nine holes in the deep snow behind the Delano Area Sports Arena. The bright sunshine and this chip shot put a smile on the face of senior Jamie Byrne. Photos by Matt Kane

SNOW BIRDIES
Tired of golfing in the wrestling room, the Delano girls took some shovels and clubs outside Monday for nine holes in the deep snow behind the Delano Area Sports Arena. The bright sunshine and this chip shot put a smile on the face of senior Jamie Byrne.
Photos by Matt Kane

The frustration over being inside spilled over Monday afternoon for the girls golf team. The players were instructed by coach Johnson to wear their winter boots, hats, gloves, and jackets to practice, which consisted of nine holes of snow golf.

As for competitive meets, Johnson doesn’t know what will happen until it happens.

“I think there really isn’t a plan for golf right now. Honestly, it’s going to be awhile, and, until we know for sure that the snow is gone, we can’t plan,” she said. “I would guess that we will just have to either combine matches and play 18 holes or just play a bunch of 9-hole matches in a few short weeks that we will have. We will see what happens with courses openings.”

When the golf courses — Baker National for the girls and Pioneer Creek for the boys — are deemed ready for play, the issue of demand for tee times and accessibility may be a problem the high school teams will have to deal with.

“When it comes to the golf courses, we have no control over them at all,” said Lindquist. “We might not be on a golf course for another 20 days. Then everybody wants to get out on them. You compete with multiple schools, leagues, and members.”

Cramming as many meets into a single week is not ideal.

“How many days can you golf without affecting academics?” Lindquist questioned.

The one team not affected by the snow is the trapshooting Tigers, who have had only one practice cancelled due to the school closing.

“Normally, we will shoot in the snow or rain; only stopping because of thunder and lighting,” said coach John McClay. “The team handles it well. Some shooters shoot better in adverse weather. The concentration level is higher, making them better focused on the target. Making higher scores.”

The number of teams still restricted to practicing indoors also creates a logistics problem, with the coaches from each sport having to orchestrate practice times.

“We are fortunate to have a facility like the TAC to use, and all spring coaches really work well together to share the facility,” said Rue. “Practices have been shorter due to sharing facilities, but I feel like the shorter practice time has actually helped keep things fresh and efficient in practice.”

The entire high school building has become a training ground for the track teams.

“We have stairs days and TAC track days and hallway days and gymnastics room days to do workout videos,” said girls track coach Damon Clare.

Mother Nature isn’t the only one to have altered the early-season workouts for the track teams, Rue noted. Construction crews have also had an effect.

“Adding to the challenge of weather is the construction, which has taken away the pool and one court (the fitness machines are set up in one corner of the TAC). In the past, we used the pool a couple of times per week for workouts,” he said. “We will get in most of our meets, but the season will really feel short, considering we are three weeks from championship season.”

Short, compacted seasons cause another problem — a shortness of officials, who will all be needed on the same days at the same times.

“We have a problem with not having enough officials for all of our games,” said Lindquist. “There are big problems with lacrosse officials, not having enough. Baseball and softball, when you stack multiple games, you don’t have enough officials.”

Through Thursday, at least 23 scheduled events at the varsity level alone, had been affected by the weather. Only three events have been played.

The boys tennis team went inside to play a doubles-only quadrangular at Becker April 7, and this past Monday, went inside again at Hutchinson, for a dual against Litchfield. The track and field team competed at the Belle Plaine Invitational April 12, after that event was rescheduled from its original April 5 date.

“It was the first time for many new track athletes trying on spikes,” said Clare.

The girls and boys looked comfortable in their new shoes. The Tiger girls won three events, and the boys won two.

Of course, there are more teams than just those that compete at the varsity level. From 7th grade all the way up to varsity, the red lines that indicate amendments to the master schedule strike through 68 events.

Delano Dance 2017-18 photo gallery is now online

Click HERE to scroll through Matt Kane’s photo gallery from the 2018 season.

Delano Wrestling 2017-18 photo gallery is now online

Click HERE to scroll through Matt Kane’s photo gallery from the 2018 season.