- Member for
- 5 years 11 months
LITTLE FALLS — Down 18-13 with six matches to go, Willmar figured it had plenty of time to win the Section 8AAA title With seven straight trips to state, the top seed in the section and a 42-19 win earlier in the season against their section finals foe Bemidji, that confidence was warranted. That was until the Lumberjacks pulled away for good. Scoring 15 points total at 160, 170 and 182 pounds, second-seeded Bemidji pulled away for a 39-20 victory, keeping the Cardinals home for the first time since 2011.
BENSON — If Minnewaska was to punch its first-ever ticket to the state wrestling tournament, it was going to take a comeback effort against top-seeded and top-ranked Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville. The Wolves' middleweights, they had another idea.
The Willmar wrestling team is the No. 1 seed for this weekend's Section 8AAA championships. Willmar will be seeking its eighth-straight section title and trip to the Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament. The Cardinals will be defending its section championship when the 2019 meet begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Little Falls. Bemidji secured the No. 2 seed and will wrestle at noon against the winner of a 10:30 a.m. quarterfinals match between No. 7 Little Falls and No. 10 Rocori.
WILLMAR — After two close regular-season games, Willmar wanted to extinguish any hope for Northern Lakes early in the first round of the Section 6A playoffs. With three first-period goals, mission accomplished. Starting with a score from Mya Monson just 1 minute, 18 seconds into the game and finished off with a shorthanded goal from Bailey Olson, the first 17 minutes set the tone for third-seeded Willmar's 8-0 win over the sixth-seeded Lightning Saturday at the Willmar Civic Center.
While not one of the top two teams in the Class 6A field, Willmar may be one of the most dangerous. Seeded third and set to play No. 6 seed Northern Lakes Thursday at the Willmar Civic Center, the Cardinals enter postseason play at a peak with a 5-1 record over their last six games. "It's been a good run. It's really been a good run since the holiday break," said Willmar head coach Eric Setrum. "The girls have come together and are buying into some of the stuff we want to do and it's been a good end to the season here."
Phillip Westby has had to stay glued to his phone this week. Or, in this case, frozen to his phone. While area activities directors shuffle schedules after this week's sub-zero temperatures forced schools around the state to postpone athletic events on Monday and Tuesday, another issue is making sure there's officials available for these rescheduled contests in the coming weeks. Enter Westby, who is the assignor for the Western Minnesota Officials Association.
RENVILLE — When he took over as the head boys basketball coach at Renville County West, Matt Huhnerkoch was approached by a youngster by the name of Justin Schrupp. "He came to me right away and asked if he could still be the student manager," said Huhnerkoch, who took over for Rich Schrupp, Justin's dad. "He was only a fifth-grader, I think and he was a timid little kid. It was even a struggle for him to ask to be manager. He's been with me for a long time." Huhnerkoch would soon discover that Justin's shyness evaporated when he walked on the basketball court.
ROCHESTER — In one of the top wrestling tournaments in Minnesota, Willmar proved its mettle with three finalists and a pair of champions. Competing in the Rochester Christmas Tournament at Rochester Community and Technical College, the Cardinals finished fourth in the two-day tournament with a score of 175.5. Class AA schools Simley (204.5) and Kasson-Mantorville (199.5) took the top two spots while Shakopee (176) placed third and Apple Valley (166.5) fifth.
WILLMAR — It's an understatement to say there was a lid on the hoop for the Willmar girls basketball team. The lid on the rim may as well been vacuumed-sealed to the point where neither brute force nor finesse was going to let anything through. Hoping to make an early-season statement in Class AAA against fifth-ranked Waseca, the second-ranked Cardinals shot 20.4 percent from the field and 55 percent from the free-throw line in a 43-37 loss to the visiting Bluejays.
WILLMAR — Outside shooting has been Willmar's Achilles' heel through its first two games. And with only two 3-pointers in the first half, it looked like outside shooting would cripple the Cardinals again. But in the second half, the Cardinals found their stoke. First it was Jake Evans, then Sam Fraser. After Drey Dirksen hit a 3-pointer to tie up Saturday's non-conference game with undefeated Big Lake at 45-45, the offense finally opened up. And Willmar took advantage as they turned a 31-23 halftime deficit into a 64-55 victory.