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DELANO — Delano hockey fans can get their fill of varsity games Tuesday night at the Delano Area Ice Arena.
The venue is hosting both Tiger teams. The Delano boys begin the night at 5 p.m. with a regular-season game against Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato. The Delano girls, then, host Mound-Westonka in the semifinals of the Section 2A playoffs at 7:30 p.m.
The Delano girls (16-9) are the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Mound-Westonka (8-14-3) is No. 4, and coming off an 8-1 win over Minnesota River Feb. 8 in the first round.
Delano is looking for revenge on Mound-Westonka, as the White Hawks defeated the Tigers 6-2 for the section championship and the berth in the state tournament.
In the other girls semifinal game Tuesday night, No. 2 Hutchinson (14-10-1) hosts No. 3 New Ulm (20-4-1).
The section championship game is Thursday, Feb. 15, at Gustavus. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
The boys game that kicks off the evening is the second between the Tigers and Dragons in the two-game regular-season series. It, too, is a revenge game for Delano (11-12) after the Tigers suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to Litchfield/DC (13-10) Jan. 20 in Litchfield.
The tradition of Delano football producing next-level talent was again proven to work Wednesday, when Mike Shoultz and Tucker Hart signed their letters of intent to play college football
DELANO — Delano stand-out football players Mke Shoultz and Tucker Hart signed their letters of intent to play football in college Wednesday afternoon in the commons area at Delano High School as part of National Signing Day.
In front of a gathering of friends, family and administrators, Shoultz, with parents Mike and Lori over his shoulder, signed on to play at UW-Eau Claire. Hart followed, signing his letter of intent to play at Bemidji State University, with his parents, Chris and Taunia, watching over his shoulder.
“It is truly relieving to finally know where I will be attending college next year,” Shoultz said. “My family and myself have traveled all over the Midwest for the past year, talking to different coaches and seeing different universities. I’ve had a countless number of coaches in school talking to me and it’s very relieving to finally know that I’ve found my home.”
Shoultz will join an Eau Claire team that is coming off a 1-9 season in 2017. The Bluegolds are coached by their former standout defensive lineman Dan Larson, who will be in his third year as a coach at Eau Claire when Shoultz arrives on campus.
Shoultz will play the slot-receiver position for the Bluegolds, but he was a record-setting quarterback at Delano.
For his two-year career under center at Delano, Shoultz threw for more yards — 2,409 — and touchdowns — 27 — than any other signal caller. He also ran for six touchdowns in two seasons.
A big chunk of Shoultz’s career success came this past fall, when he helped Calvin Wishart become the state’s leading receiver (1,484 yards and 14 touchdowns). In his senior season, Shoultz threw for 1,484 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also ran for three scores.
Overall athleticism is something both Shoultz and Hart share. They are both rare in that they are three-sport athletes.
Shoultz is a guard on the boys basketball team this winter, and runs track in the spring. Hart is a defenseman on the Delano hockey team this winter, and will be a first baseman on the baseball team in the spring.
HART HEADING TO BEMIDJI STATE
On the gridiron, Hart was one of Delano’s top defensive players over the past three seasons. Big, strong, and an ability to make big plays in big moments make up Hart’s resumé coming out of high school.
That resumé caught the eyes of coaches at Bemidji State University, enough so that they offered the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Hart a spot on the 2018 Beavers football team.
“We put a big premium on recruiting big, athletic players who will continue our strong tradition of winning the battle in the trenches,” said Bemidji State coach Brent Bolte of pursuing Hart. “We are certainly excited about having him be a part of our program.”
When Hart steps into the shadow of Paul Bunyan for camp this summer, he will join a Bemidji State team that is coming off a successful 8-3 season in 2017.
The success of the football team was a draw for Hart, but, so, too, was the environment.
“I picked Bemidji State University because I really enjoyed the campus. Having a campus right on the lake is a great added bonus,” he said. “The football coaches and players really had a feeling of togetherness and were very welcoming.”
Hart made his varsity debut with Delano as a freshman, making one tackle in one game, a 46-7 loss at Hutchinson. He finished his four-season high school career with 152 tackles and 18 quarterback sacks in 29 games.
Hart’s best season came in a breakout effort during his sophomore campaign, when he finished with 61 tackles and eight quarterback sacks in 10 games. He had 41 tackles and seven sacks as a junior, and 49 tackles and three sacks as a senior.
“My sophomore year was a great year for me because no one knew who I was. My junior year, I put too much pressure on myself to do more and it was tough. So, my senior year, I decided to just go play and let the game happen,” Hart explained.
Hart’s final game as a Tiger was his best as a receiver. He caught six passes for 102 yards in Delano’s 36-28 loss to Becker in the Section 6-4A semifinals. Hart and Shoultz’s hooked up for 15 receptions, 200 yards and two touchdowns for Delano this past fall.
Hart looks back at his time at Delano fondly, and believes that time prepared him for college ball.
“Playing football in Delano was such an honor, and being able to be captain this past year with some amazing guys topped it off. I have had the opportunity to play with some great teammates and friends,” he said. “Having played a variety of positions I believe will help me at the next level, understanding both the offense and defense.”
That position versatility has proven valuable.
“Tucker is a big young man who moves well and is violent on contact,” said Bolte. “We also saw on film his ability to play multiple positions, which shows his overall athleticism.”
Read more about Shoultz and Hart signing their letters in the Feb. 9 edition of the Delano Herald Journal
Delano senior guard Calvin Wishart is 26 points shy of 2,000 points for his career.
Wishart will shoot for the mark Thursday night during the Tigers home game against Holy Family. He enters the game averaging 30.3 points per game for Delano, which is 10-8.
Wishart is already the all-time leading scorer in Delano basketball history – boys and girls. He passed Toby Hanson’s boys record of 1,526 points with a 32-point effort as part of a triple-double in the 68-52 home win over Waseca on opening night. Wishart passed Cecily Checkal’s overall record of 1,846 Jan. 9 with a 43-point effort in an 84-83 loss to Chaska at the Tiger Activity Center.
Reaching and passing records and big numbers is just something that is happening, not something he is actively pursuing, according to Wishart.
“The accomplishments and accolades are cool, but I work hard at the game, as it is basically going to be my job for the next four years. So, I feel like (scoring) is what I am supposed to do,” he said.
Wishart missed time recently with an ankle injury, but looks to have his old game back in the two games since his return, scoring 18 points Jan. 30 against Eden Prairie and 33 points Jan. 1 against Waconia.
His complete game is not all the way back, Wishart noted.
“My health is getting better. Some strength needs to come back to me in my legs, but, overall, I am doing pretty well.”
Both games since Wishart’s return were losses — Eden Prairie 84, Delano 67; Waconia 80, Delano 78 — and, in fact, the Tigers have lost three in a row entering Thursday’s meeting with a good Holy Family team. The Tigers are 2-6 in their last eight games.
Holy Family is 14-4 overall and ranked No. 6 in Class AA.
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – There will be a new sheriff in town, actually throughout Wright County, come Jan. 8, 2019, as Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty has announced he will not seek re-election, opting to retire after 33 years of service, including eight years as sheriff.
“I am going to pull the pin,” Hagerty said.
It is not a decision he has taken lightly.
“I’ve been struggling with this for quite a while, since September or October,” he said. ” . . . I know it’s a four-year commitment. I know I’ve got plenty of gas in the tank to go three or four years. I just wanted to make sure I left when I still really loved what I do.”
See more in the Feb. 9 edition of the Delano Herald Journal.
DELANO – The Delano girls close out the regular season Friday night at New Prague. Visiting the Trojans means the Tigers will skate against recently-announced Ms. Hockey 2018 finalist Catie Skaja.
In the first meeting between Delano and New Prague, Jan. 9 in Delano, the Skaja scored two goals and assisted on a third in the Trojans’ 4-3 overtime win.
With a win, Delano will wrap up the Wright County Conference championship. The Tigers are 16-8 overall and 9-2 with 18 points in the conference entering Friday’s game. Holy Family/Waconia sits in second place. The WildFire is 15-8-1, and 8-2-1 with 17 points.
New Prague (13-10-1, 7-4) sit third in the conference with 15 points.
The five finalists for the Ms. Hockey Award will be named in the Feb. 15 edition of Let’s Play Hockey with the winner announced at the Ms. Hockey Awards Banquet on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 9:30 a.m., at the St. Paul RiverCentre.
2018 Ms. Hockey Semifinalists
|Madison Bizal||D||Elk River/Zimmerman||23||9||12||21||Ohio State|
|Claire Butorac||F||Andover||24||29||33||62||Minnesota State|
|Taylor Heise||F||Red Wing||22||52||19||71||Minnesota|
|Crystalyn Hengler||D||Eden Prairie||24||14||15||29||Minnesota|
|Gabbie Hughes||F||Centennial||23||36||31||67||Minnesota Duluth|
|Anneke Linser||F||Centennial||24||25||38||63||Minnesota Duluth|
|Catie Skaja||F||New Prague||22||35||25||60||Minnesota|