Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.
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SARTELL — Willmar tennis player Cayle Hovland won two of three matches in the Section 8AA individual tournament on Saturday to advance to the Class AA state tournament on Oct. 24-27. Hovland won her semifinals match, lost in the championship match but rebounded with a win in a True Second match to earn her state tournament berth. The Class AA tournament is at the University of Minnesota's Baseline Club. Litchfield plays The Blake School in the Class A team tournament on Oct. 24 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
SARTELL—The Litchfield tennis team left no doubt about its supremacy in Section 5A. The top-seeded Dragons thumped No. 2 seed Annandale 6-1 in the section championship match on Tuesday at the Sta Fit Club. The Dragons took out New London-Spicer by an identical score in the section semifinals on Tuesday at Sta Fit. Litchfield takes a 21-0 record into the Class A state tournament, which begins Oct. 24 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
ALEXANDRIA — The Willmar girls placed first and the Cardinals boys team place eighth in a competitive cross country field at the Alexandria Invitational on Saturday. The girls team scored 58 points to outdistance second-place Marshall. The Stillwater boys team placed first with 70 points. The Card boys scored 231. Willmar's Heidi Schmitz placed second, about nine seconds behind winner Bergan Haag of Roseville. Leah Hansen placed fifth. Hudeife Mire was the Cardinals' top boys finisher in 18th place. Alexandria Invite
SARTELL - Willmar singles player Cayle Hovland reached the semifinals at the South Sub-Section 8AA Individual Tournament on Friday at Sta Fit. Other Cards won first-round matches before falling in the quarterfinals. Hovland plays Foley's Peyton Kopel at 10 a.m. today in the semifinals. The championship and third-place matches are both set for noon. In the other semifinals match, No. 2-seed Brynn Sauer of Rocori takes on No. 3 seed Kate Inderieden of St. Cloud Tech at 10 a.m. today.
WILLMAR — Willmar placed first and third in two relays and Cardinals swimmers and divers won four individual events in a 94-92 Central Lakes Conference win over Rocori on Thursday at the Willmar High School pool. Moira Revier won two events, placing first in the 500 freestyle in 26.03 and she also placed first in the 100 backstroke in 1:04.35. Amanda Mathiasen won the 100 freestyle in 57.92 and she also placed second behind Revier in the 50 freestyle in 26.51. Erica Schramm scored 241.30 points to win diving and teammate Olivia Welsh scored 220.95 to place third.
ST. CLOUD — St. Cloud Technical rebounded from a near-disastrous loss in the third set to win the fourth and defeat Ridgewater 3-1 in an MCAC match on Wednesday. Ridgewater lost two tight sets to open the match but recovered to win the third 25-8. But St. Cloud righted its ship and closed out the match 25-18 in the fourth set. The Warriors lost for the first time in four MCAC matches and are 8-3 overall. SCT is 3-0 in the MCAC and 9-2 overall.
GREEN ISLE - The 2016 Class C state champion Raymond Rockets baseball team kicked off their title defense in grand style, thumping Mora 10-1 on Sunday in their opening game of the 2017 state tournament. Raymond's Kyle Knott homered, doubled and drove in four runs, and Justin Koenen had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs as the Rockets all but wrapped up the win with three runs in the top of the first inning. The Rockets added five runs in the fourth and two more in the seventh.
WILLMAR - A team that has been winning squeakers and another that's been winning big will face off in the VFW State Baseball Tournament's winners' bracket final today at Bill Taunton Stadium. Woodbury Red, which hung a loss on Willmar on Thursday, won its third game of the tournament, 3-2, over Luverne on Friday. Woodbury opened the tournament on Thursday with a 3-2 win over Rochester and then edged Willmar's Post 1639 3-1 in its second game on Thursday.
WILLMAR - Willmar VFW Post 1639 benefitted greatly from a solid pitching staff all summer, but Woodbury Red's Adam Ahlgen and Ben Borrman proved just a tad better in a VFW State Baseball Tournament game on Thursday. Ahlgen and Borrman combined to allow just an unearned run on five hits and struck out 12 in Woodbury's 3-1 win over Post 1639 in its opening-round game at Bill Taunton Stadium. a second-round game. Willmar fell into the tournament loser's bracket and plays at noon today at Swansson Orange. Willmar needs to win to avoid elimination.
The Willmar VFW Post 1639 will host the 63rd annual VFW Baseball State Tournament Aug. 10-13. The 10-team, double-elimination tournament for players 16 and under will be played at Bill Taunton Stadium and Swansson Orange. An Aug. 9 banquet at the Willmar Conference Center kicks off the three-day tourney that features 165 players and 30 coaches. Willmar's 13-player roster is led by head coach Tom DeBoer and assistant coaches Mark Owens and Tyler Steen.