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Lee Larson




JCC gymnasts to host Sweetheart

Thursday, Jan. 14

Four state-ranked teams will be in the field of seven teams for the 32nd annual KKOJ Sweetheart Invitational gymnastics meet Saturday at Jackson County Central High School.

The teams will march in to the gym at 10:45 a.m., with competition to start at 11:00.

The host Huskies were rated ninth in the latest Class A ratings by the Minnesota Gymnastics Coaches Association.

Other ranked Class A teams are No. 5 Worthington and No. 15 Martin County Area.

The other rated team is the top-rated team in Class AA, Owatonna.

Rounding out the field are Windom/Mountain Lake, Redwood Valley and New Prague.

Rotation order

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Owatonna JCC Redwood Worthington
New Prague Owatonna Windom MCA
Worthington New Prague JCC Redwood
MCA Worthington Owatonna Windom
Redwood MCA New Prague JCC
Windom Redwood Worthington Owatonna
JCC Windom MCA New Prague

The gymnastics equipment will be up in the gym all weekend, with the Junior Sweetheart meet Sunday, followed by the JV Sweetheart Monday.

The Junior Sweetheart starts at 5:30 p.m., with Martin County Area and Luverne joining the Huskies.

Also of note, JCC's No. 9 state ranking means the Huskies will compete in the state Class A true team meet in Willmar on Jan. 23.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


Huskies to host wrestling tournament

Friday, Dec. 11

A very talented field of wrestlers and high-powered teams will be on hand Saturday for the Pizza Ranch/JCC Invitational wrestling tournament.

Varsity wrestling in the Main Gym starts at 9:30 a.m., with B-squad wrestling in the Auxiliary Gym at 10 a.m.

There are a total of 39 state-ranked wrestlers from the 15 participating teams and seven of those teams that are at least receiving votes in team polls.

The semifinals, championship and third-place matches will be webcast live for free on Prep45.com. Prep45 Takedown of the Week is a weekly event produced by MN/USA Wrestling and High School Activities Hub.

The tournament uses a rolling schedule, but the semifinals should get underway at about 1 p.m.

Yours truly will be one of four announcers on the webcast, along with Terry Wheeler, also of KKOJ/KUXX, Randy Michelson of Worthington and Bruce Heitkamp of Adrian.

There's no guarantee wrestlers will compete at the weight they're ranked, but here's the list of state-ranked wrestlers:


  • Brant Buysse, Minneota, 1A 4th
  • Jacob Prunty, Worthington, 2A
  • Tyler Jones, Shakopee, 3A 10th


  • Austin DeVlaeminck, Minneota, 1A 3rd
  • Hser Eh Pwae, Worthington, 2A 3rd


  • Greg Kern, Adrian, 1A 8th
  • Hser Moo Pwae, Worthington, 2A 4th
  • Sam Webster, Shakopee, 3A 6th
  • Jacob Hanssen, Harrisburg, S.D. A 2nd


  • Skyler Heronimus, Adrian, 1A 3rd
  • Brent Jones, Shakopee, 3A 1st
  • Kaden Gage, Eagan, 3A 9th
  • Taylor Dalen, Jacob Hanson, Harrisburg, S.D. A 5th


  • Jacob Tvinnereim, Jackson County Central, 1A 3rd
  • Clayton Hartle, Fulda/Murray County Central, 2A 8th
  • Alex Crowe, Shakopee, 3A 3rd


  • Kyle Hennen, Minneota, 1A 4th
  • Ryan Elias, Adrian, 1A 6th
  • Ben Blanchette, Fulda/Murray County Central, 2A 3rd
  • Alex Lloyd, Shakopee, 3A 2nd
  • Xavier Rosenbloom, Eagan, 3A 8th


  • Adam Knutson, United South Central, 1A 1st
  • Dalton Wagner, Jackson County Central, 1A 7th


  • Bryce Brunner, Minneota, 1A 4th
  • Logan Rogers, Adrian, 1A 6th


  • Leo Buysse, Minneota, 1A 4th
  • Derek Herman, United South Central, 1A 6th
  • Solomon Nielsen, Luverne, 2A 4th
  • Emmett Wagner, Shakopee, 3A 4th
  • John Bryant, Coon Rapids, 3A 7th


  • Matt Slater, Adrian, 1A 3rd


  • Keegan Moore, Jackson County Central, 1A 1st
  • Alex Beutel, Minneota, 1A 7th
  • Owen Webster, Shakopee, 3A 1st


  • Nic Putnam, Worthington, 2A 9th
  • Nick Halseth, Coon Rapids, 3A 9th


  • Dylan Gyberg, Adrian, 1A 9th
  • Jared Welch, Wabasso/Red Rock Central, 2A 2nd


  • Trent Esping, Minneota, 1A 2nd

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


Burmeister named to district all-academic team

SMSU libero Whitney Burmeister. Photo by Greg Devereaux

Monday, Nov. 10

Here comes a third straight column with an emphasis on college volleyball.

Southwest Minnesota State University senior libero Whitney Burmeister has been named to the Academic All-District 7 team. The announcement was made by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

District 7 is made up of member schools from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), the Mid-America Athletic Association (MIAA and the Great American Conference (GAC).

Burmeister, a 2012 Jackson County Central graduate, is an exercise science major has earned a 3.98 cumulative grade-point average during her four years at SMSU.

Burmeister advances to the Academic All-America ballot, where first, second and third team All-Academic honorees will be selected next month. Nominations and voting for the Academic All-America programs are conducted by members of CoSIDA.

To be nominated for all-district honors, a student-athlete must be a starter or an important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA.

SMSU is 21-3 overall and 16-2 in the NSIC. The Mustangs are tied for first in the conference with Northern State and Concordia (St. Paul).

Southwest Minnesota State closes its regular-season schedule this weekend with road matches at Minnesota State Friday and Concordia Saturday.

Local grads in D-III tourney

A pair of local graduates will play in the NCAA Division III volleyball tournament.

Both will be at a regional hosted by Wisconsin-Whitewater Thursday-Saturday.

Martin County West graduate Alyssa Taylor is a senior at Gustavus.

The Gusties (27-2), who won the MIAC regular-season and postseason titles, will face Wisconsin-Eau Claire in a first-round match at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Jackson County Central graduate Kathryn Nasby is a freshman defensive specialist at Wartburg.

The Knights (30-5), winners of the IIAC regular- and postseason titles, meet St. Benedict at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Other first-round matches in the Whitewater Region have Hope (Mich.) vs. Bethel at 12:30 p.m. and Whitewater vs. Northwestern (MN) at 8 p.m.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


Lots o' honors for area grads

Thursday, Nov. 5

There's been plenty of college volleyball news the past couple of days.

Gustavus senior Alyssa Taylor has been named the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

A 2011 Martin County West graduate, Taylor was the leading attacker for the MIAC's top team.

Taylor racked up 276 kills with a .346 hitting percentage. She also had 103 total blocks, 52 digs and 16 service aces.

Overall, she led the MIAC in solo blocks (32) and ranked second in blocks per set (1.14) and hitting percentage.

She was third in total blocks, fifth in block assists (71), ninth in kills per set (2.07) and 10th in total kills.

The senior middle hitter was just as good in conference play, as she ranked third in the MIAC in total blocks (41), blocks per set (1.11) and block assists (33), fourth in solo blocks (eight) and hitting percentage 9.300) and 11th in kills per set (2.95).

Alyssa Taylor

Alyssa was named to the MIAC's all-conference team for the third straight year.

The Gusties dominated the conference awards as Nora Holtan was voted the conference's Rookie of the Year and Rachelle Sherden was honored by her peers with the Coach of the Year award.

Gustavus had a remarkable regular season. The Gusties lost their first two matches and haven't lost since.

The team is riding a school-record 25-match winning streak into the MIAC Playoffs after capturing the conference's regular-season championship with an 11-0 record.

Gustavus hosts Saint Mary's in a semifinal match in the MIAC Playoffs Thursday. The championship match is Saturday.

Donnelli is IIAC Player of the Week

Jackson County Central graduate Sydnee Donnelli has earned an honor from the Iowa Conference and reached a career milestone with the Buena Vista University volleyball team.

A junior libero, Donnelli was named Iowa Conference Volleyball Defensive Performer of the Week for the period ending Nov. 1.

Sydnee Donnelli
For the week, Sydnee had a pair of solid defensive efforts, including a career and match-high 34 digs during BVU's tough 3-2 conference road loss at Wartburg last Tuesday night.

That total was the highest by any conference player during an IIAC match this season.

She followed that up with 12 digs and a pair of ace serves against Bethany Lutheran Friday as the Beavers cruised to a 3-0 nonconfernece road win to wrap up the regular season.

Tuesday night, Donnelli led BVU with 22 digs as she went over the 1,000 mark

for her career with the Beavers in a 3-0 win over Dubuque in the first round of the conference tournament.

Buena Vista, the third seed in the conference tournament, travels to second-seeded Loras for a semifinal match Thursday.

The other semifinal match Thursday has top-seeded Wartburg hosting fourth-seeded Coe.

Another JCC graduate, Kathryn Nasby, is a freshman defensive specialist at Wartburg. The Knights had a first-round bye.

DWU season wraps up

Dakota Wesleyan's season ended with a 3-1 loss to Mount Marty in the quarterfinals of the GPAC tournament Tuesday.

Michelle Van Epps had 49 set assists as she went over the 2,000 mark for her college career. It's her second season at DWU, junior after playing one season at Iowa Lakes Community College. She also had eight digs and two kills Tuesday.

Freshman Sydney Eddy had nine kills and four block assists for the Tigers.

Michelle Van Epps                Sydney Eddy

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


Taylor is MIAC Hitter of the Week (and much more)

Monday, Oct. 26

Alyssa Taylor had a big week last week as the Gustavus Adolphus College volleyball team as the Gusties continued on a remarkable run.

The Martin County West graduate, a senior with the Gusties, led her team to a pair of five-set wins last week to clinch at least a share of the conference championship and extend its winning streak to 23.

Taylor accumulated 27 kills, a .230 hitting percentage, nine digs, eight blocks and two aces in the wins. Monday, MIAC sports information directors honored Taylor with the MIAC Volleyball Hitter of the Week award.

Alyssa started her big weekend with 16 kills, four digs and two total blocks in Friday's 3-2 road win at Concordia.

Then in a 3-2 win at Saint Benedict Saturday, with 11 kills, six total blocks, five digs and two aces. Against the Blazers, Taylor had just three attack errors and helped Gustavus rally from a two-set deficit to keep its winning streak alive.

Alyssa Taylor

Taylor leads the MIAC with her .350 hitting percentage and in solo blocks with 32.

Her 97 total blocks rank third in the league, and she's also in the top 10 in kills (256) and kills per set (3.08).

Gustavus is 23-2 overall with a school-record 23-straight wins.

The Gusties are 9-0 in the MIAC and have locked up at least a share of the conference title, the team's fifth overall and first since 1986.

Gustavus wraps up its MIAC regular-season schedule with a pair of home matches this week, hosting Hamline at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Saint Mary's at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Gusties will clinch the title outright with one win.

SMSU wins two five-set matches

Southwest Minnesota State won a pair of five-set NSIC volleyball matches this weekend.

Whitney Burmeister                    Kaylee Burmeister
On Friday, the Mustangs came back from an 0-2 deficit to beat Minnesota State University, Moorhead.

2012 Jackson County Central graduate Whitney Burmeister set a season-high with 28 digs and 2015 JCC grad Kaylee Burmeister had six digs for the Mustangs.

On Saturday, SMSU beat Northern State 3-2, handing the Wolves first loss of the season. Whitney had 24 digs and seven assists, while Kaylee posted eight digs and two aces.

The Mustangs are at Minot State and the University

of Mary this weekend.

JCC grads meet head to head

Jackson County Central graduates will be on the opposite side of the net on two college volleyball courts Tuesday night.

In Madison, S.D., Dakota State will host Dakota Wesleyan in a nonconference match.

The visiting Tigers (11-16) have two JCC grads in their lineup in Michelle VanEpps, a 5-foot-8 junior setter and Sydney Eddy, a 6-0 freshman middle hitter.

Playing for the Trojans (18-12) will be Rachel Johnson, a 5-6 freshman setter.

And, there will be another local grad on the sideline as Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield graduate Lindsay (Voss) Wilber is the head coach at Dakota Wesleyan.

Two more JCC grads will be on the same court in Waverly, Iowa when Wartburg hosts Buena Vista in a key Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match.

Sydnee Donnelli is a 5-7 junior outside hitter for BVU, while Kathryn Nasby is a 5-7 freshman defensive specialist for Wartburg.

Wartburg leads the IIAC with a 5-1 record, while Buena Vista is one of three teams tied for second with 4-2 records. The Knights are 25-4 overall, while the Beavers are 16-12.

Faber leads Raiders to MCAC football win

Jake Faber, a 2014 Martin County West graduate, helped Central Lakes to a 74-0 win over Itasca in the opening round of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference football playoffs.

Faber, a 6-4, 210-pound sophomore quarterback, was 19-for-32 passing for 257 yards and two touchdowns and ran the ball five times for 30 yards and another TD.

The Raiders, 8-1, face North Dakota State College of Science this Saturday in Wahpeton.

NDSCS beat Minnesota West 49-7 in the first round.

Jake Faber lets a pass go vs. Itasca.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


JCC to hold 'Thank a Ref' nights

Tuesday, Oct. 6

At two upcoming home events, Jackson County Central High School will give special recognition and showing appreciation to the game officials that will be working each contest as part of the Minnesota State High School League’s “Thank A Ref” Campaign.

More than 6,000 officials serve Minnesota’s high schools by doing their best to ensure all contests are fair, safe and fun. Without officials, there are no games. It is just recess.

Varsity-level officials register with the MSHSL, complete annual online rules meetings and attend training clinics on a regular basis. In addition, they spend countless hours in preparation and traveling to contests.

High school officiating is an avocation, not a vocation, something

done in addition to full-time employment. Officials work for the enjoyment of staying involved with the sports that they love and the opportunity to give back.

Officials are crucial in providing our student participants an opportunity to learn life lessons through sports. Enforcing the rules of the game fairly and consistently, and holding students and coaches to behavior expectations are vitally important to successful high school events.

The officials at JCC's football game vs. Saint James Area Thursday and next Tuesday's volleyball match vs. Worthington.

It's asked that all fans attending these events to be especially appreciative of the officials and the great job they do in serving our programs.

More officials are needed in all sports and at all levels.

For more information, go to the MSHSL website or contact the Jackson County Central High School Activities Office.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


MCW volleyball to host 'Win the Battle' Night

Sunday, Oct. 4

Tuesday will be 'Win the Battle' Night when the Martin County West volleyball team hosts Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial in a Valley Conference match in Trimont.

The initiative was started by the volleyball parents in hopes of recognizing cancer awareness and raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

Funds raised will be donated to the American Cancer Society and the Mayo Clinic Health Systems' chemo fund.

All MCW students, staff and the community are encouraged to dress in any cancer color Tuesday to recognize cancer awareness.

There will be a bake sale and silent auction Tuesday at the volleyball match.

Players in grades 7-12 and their families donate the food item for the bake sale.

Items on the silent auction include gift certificates, Maverick gear and punch passes, hand-crafted items and cancer memorabilia.

A survivor recognition walk for volleyball participants in grades 9-12 will be held immediately following the B-squad match. All players and a cancer survivor of their choice will be announced together and will step forward to be recognized.

The MCW varsity girls will be wearing pink ribbons in their hair, pink socks, and have pink shoe laces.

After the match, fans are invited to participate in a serving skills challenge with the chance to win prizes.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so at the event or any Martin County West school. Checks can be written to 'American Cancer Society' or 'Martin County West Schools'.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


1985 state champions to be recognized

Wednesday, Sept. 23

Jackson High School's 1985 state Class B football champion team will be recognized Friday night when Jackson County Central hosts Martin County West at Swearingen Field. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

There will be a sign-in sheet for all team members, coaches and cheerleaders prior to the game. Participants will be recognized on the field at halftime.

Following the game, there will be a get together at Pillar's Pub & Eatery in downtown Jackson.

If you know someone who was part of that team, make sure they know.

The 1985 season was Tyrone Wacker's third season at the helm of the Bluejays. Pretty much all of the information that follows is from Tyrone's records.

Tyrone became Jackson's fifth coach in five years in 1983.

His Gaylord team won a state championship in 1972, the first year that the Minnesota State High School League sponsored a state tournament.

Tyrone came to Jackson from Huron College. He also coached at Worthington Community College and South Dakota State College.

In 1985, Mike Lloyd and Erik Ringquist were the Bluejays' captains.

JHS compiled a 13-1 record. The lone loss came 2-0 to Windom in a sleet storm.

Jackson and Marshall tied for the Southwest Conference title with 6-1 records. The Bluejays had defeated Marshall 14-13.

The '85 Bluejays were loaded with great team depth and talent. JHS broke 32 records during the year.

Wade Wacker broke all the passing records including 1,158 passing yards and 1,989 yards total offense yards. He also scored 13 touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Jon Lilleberg caught 32 passes for 518 yards and eight touchdowns.

Senior running back Bruce Johnson rushed for 1,274 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.

Those three, along with defensive back Andy Lundblad, linebacker Jim Reed and defensive end Erik Ringquist were named to the all-Southwest Conference team.

Guard Brian Michelson and tackle Dave Macek were honorable mention selections.

Jackson started its  march for the championship with a home 34-0 win over Mankato Loyola, followed by a 41-15 win over Wabasso.

In the section finals, JHS matched up with Coach Wacker's old high school team, Gaylord.

The Bluejays came from behind to win 19-13, marching 75 yards in the final three minutes to win. Most people felt that Gaylord was the best team JHS had played in the fall of 85.

The first round of the state tournament was played against St. Charles at Hutchinson. The game had been scheduled to be played in Jackson, but an ice storm in southwest Minnesota forced the game to be moved. The game was played in bitter wind and cold, with JHS prevailing 14-6.

The semifinal game was against Watertown in Jackson.

During the week a snow storm hit in southwest Minnesota and left 14 inches of snow. The snow was cleared with graders and snow blowers.

Townspeople worked though the night to get the field ready for the Saturday afternoon game.

In what has been called one of the fiercest defensive games played in JHS history, the Bluejays held the vaunted Watertown team to 136 total yards and allowed them past the 50-yard line only on the last play of the game.

Jackson moved to the Metrodome with a 14-0 win.

At the Dome, JHS beat Mahnomen 26-20 despite losing six fumbles. That remains a Prep Bowl record.

The game was tied 14-14 at the half.

There were several outstanding plays and players in the final game at the dome.

Most people connected with the game felt that the leadership of Andy Lundblad and the defensive play of linebacker Mike Lloyd were the keys to the victory.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


Weekend college notes

Monday, Sept. 7

Catching you up on what some area graduates did on the collegiate level this holiday weekend:


Corn Palace Classic

Three Jackson County Central graduates were on the same volleyball court Saturday at the Corn Palace Classic in Mitchell.

Michelle Van Epps and Sydney Eddy play for Dakota Wesleyan, while Rachel Johnson plays at Dakota State.

When the Tigers and Trojans met, DWU came out on top 3-0, with Van Epps recording 22 assists, eight digs and two kills for Wesleyan. Johnson had 10 assists for Dakota State.

Earlier in the day Saturday, DWU defeated Valley City State 3-2.

Van Epps had 47 set assists, six digs and three kills for the Tigers. Eddy saw some playing time in that match.

Also Saturday, DSU lost to Clarke 3-0, with Johnson recording 15 assists and seven digs.

Dakota Wesleyan is 6-1 on the season. The Tigers open Great Plains Athletic Conference play at home Tuesday vs. NAIA No. 12 Dordt College.

DWU is coached by Lindsay Wilber, daughter of Tub and Amy Voss.

If you're from JCC, you probably know who everyone is, so I won't take the time to explain.

Dakota State is 4-6 on the season. The Trojans are at Briar Cliff Thursday.

SMSU in Florida

Southwest Minnesota State opened its season with four wins in Florida.

The Mustangs moved up to second in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II ratings. Tampa, which beat SMSU in the national championship match last year, is first.

In a 3-0 win over Saint Leo Saturday, Whitney Buirmeister had 19 digs and two assists; while Kaylee Burmeister recorded eight digs and three kills. Both are JCC grads.

The Mustangs beat Missouri-St. Louis 3-0, with Whitney posting 20 digs and three assists; and Kaylee 12 digs and eight kills.

Southwest Minnesota State goes to the Colorado Premier Challenge this weekend.

Friday, SMSU plays No. 18 Colorado Mesa and host Regis. The Mustangs then play two more Saturday.


Buena Vista dropped a pair of matches at the Bethel Invite Saturday.

The Beavers fell 3-0 Saint Olaf, with JCC graduate Sydnee Donnelli recording eight digs.

BVU lost 3-2 to Concordia (Moorhead, with Sydnee posting 23 digs and one ace.

Buena Vista hosts Bethany Lutheran in a nonconference match Tuesday.


Wartburg opened its season with four wins and a tournament title at the Virginia Wesleyan tournament at Norfolk, Va.

In a 3-0 win over the host team Saturday, Jackson County Central graduate Kathryn Nasby had eight digs and one assist.

She also had 11 digs and two assists for the Knights in a 3-0 win over Misericordia.

Wartburg is at Augustana (Ill.) Tuesday.



JCC graduate Tanner Menke was 4-for-9 passing for 55 yards and a touchdown and ran the ball three times for 19 yards for Presentation College in a 48-7 win over Trinity Bible College Saturday in Aberdeen.

Menke also punted five times for an average of 31.6 yards, with a long of 52.

In two games for the Saints, Menke has punted 12 times for an average of 32.4 yards.

Presentation (1-1) is idle this week. Next for the Saints is a Sept. 19 home game vs. Dickinson State.

Central Lakes

Martin County West graduate Jake Faber was 20-26 passing for 173 yards and three touchdowns for Central Lakes Community College in a 68-13 win over Ridgewater.

Faber also ran the ball four times for 17 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders, who were ranked 17th in the country last week.

Central Lakes is at No. 16 Rochester this Saturday.


Jackson County Central graduate Joe Brinkman, a freshman at Mount Marty College, shot a 36-hole total of 151 for the Lancers as they hosted their Fall Invitational at Fox Run Golf Course in Yankton.

Brinkman had rounds of 75 and 76 as he placed sixth out of 59 golfers.

Mount Marty won the team title with a 605 total, one shot better than Morningside College.

The Lancers will next play in the Siouxland Invite, with play in Sioux Center Thursday and Orange City Friday.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


District scheduling format begins

Tuesday, Aug. 18

High school football teams are into their second week of practice in preparation for the first games on Saturday.

Most years, all of the fall sports start the same week, but football got a head start this year because of stadium availability for Prep Bowl at the end of the season.

Prep Bowl games are normally held on Thanksgiving weekend, but the schedule was altered last year and this after the Metrodome was torn down and the new Vikings stadium being built in the same location.

Last year's Prep Bowl games were held at the University of Minnesota the week before Thanksgiving and this year's state title games will be held two weeks before Thanksgiving to work around the Gophers' schedule. Prep Bowl returns to Thanksgiving weekend in the new stadium in 2016.

Also different this year is the district scheduling format for football, allowing schools to schedule games closer in distance and enrollment.

In the past decade or so, JCC has scheduled football games with teams from the northern part of the state (Fergus Falls, Crosby-Ironton, Virginia), big schools from the metro area (St. Louis Park and Hill-Murray) and South Dakota (West Central and Vermillion).

Jackson County Central and Martin County West are both in the South Central District, which consists of 26 teams. Those 26 teams were divided into three sub-districts, based on enrollment.

The Huskies and Mavericks will both be in the eight-team White Sub-District, which is the middle-size schools as far as enrollment.

The 10 largest schools will be in the Red Sub-District and the remaining eight are in the Blue Sub-District.

For the first week, teams will play a team from one of the other sub-districts within the South Central District. JCC opens at Maple River Saturday and MCW hosts Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial in its opener.

The final seven regular-season games are against teams within the same sub-district.

Sub-district standings will be kept and an all-sub-district team will be selected.

Following are the sub-district lineups in the area:

South Central District

White Sub-District

  • Jackson County Central
  • Martin County West
  • Blue Earth Area
  • Luverne
  • Pipestone
  • Redwood Valley
  • Saint James Area
  • Windom

Red Sub-District

  • Albert Lea
  • Belle Plaine
  • Fairmont
  • Jordan
  • Marshall
  • New Ulm
  • Saint Peter
  • Tri-City United
  • Waseca
  • Worthington

Blue Sub-District

  • Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop
  • Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial
  • Lester Prairie
  • LeSueur-Henderson
  • Maple River
  • Mayer Lutheran
  • New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva
  • Norwood Young America
  • Sibley East
  • Waterville-Elysian-Morristown

Southwest District

East Sub-District

  • Adrian
  • Canby
  • Dawson-Boyd
  • Lac qui Parle Valley
  • Lakeview
  • Minneota
  • Murray County Central
  • Ortonville
  • Russell-Tyler-Ruthton
  • Tracy-Milroy-Balaton

West Sub-District

  • Cedar Mountain/Comfrey
  • Minnesota Valley Lutheran
  • New Ulm Cathedral
  • Red Rock Central
  • Sleepy Eye
  • Sleepy Eye Saint Mary's
  • Springfield
  • Wabasso

9-man South District

West Sub-District

  • Cleveland
  • Edgerton/Ellsworth
  • Fulda
  • Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman
  • Heron Lake-Okabena
  • Hills-Beaver Creek
  • Madelia
  • Mountain Lake Area
  • Nicollet
  • Westbrook-Walnut Grove

East Sub-District

  • Alden-Conger
  • Glenville-Emmons
  • Grand Meadow
  • Houston
  • Lanesboro
  • Lyle-Pacelli
  • Mabel-Canton
  • Randolph
  • Spring Grove
  • West Lutheran


The postseason format in Minnesota remains the same, although Jackson County Central has gone back to Class 3A after eight years in Class 2A.

Here are the section assignments in the area:

Section 3AAA

  • Jackson County Central
  • Fairmont
  • Luverne
  • Sibley East
  • St. Peter
  • Worthington

Section 3AA

  • Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop
  • Lakeview
  • Martin County West
  • Pipestone
  • Redwood Valley
  • Saint James Area
  • Windom
  • Yellow Medicine East

Section 3A

  • Adrian
  • Murray County Central
  • Red Rock Central
  • Russell-Tyler-Ruthton
  • Sleepy Eye
  • Sleepy Eye Saint Mary's
  • Springfield
  • Tracy-Milroy-Balaton

Section 2AAAA

  • Faribault
  • Hutchinson
  • Mankato East
  • Marshall
  • New Ulm
  • Waseca

Section 3 9-man

  • Edgerton/Ellsworth
  • Fulda
  • Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman
  • Heron Lake-Okabena
  • Hills-Beaver Creek
  • Madelia
  • Nicollet
  • Mountain Lake Area
  • Westbrook-Walnut Grove

Section 3A

  • Adrian
  • Murray County Central
  • Red Rock Central
  • Russell-Tyler-Ruthton
  • Sleepy Eye
  • Sleepy Eye Saint Mary's
  • Springfield
  • Tracy-Milroy-Balaton

No Marshall trip

Something else is going to be different for the JCC football team this season.

The Huskies will not make a trip to Marshall.

In the past six years, JCC has played nine games on the turf at Mattke Field at Southwest Minnesota State. In that time, the Huskies played Marshall four times in regular-season games and five times in the section finals.

As mentioned, Jackson County Central is now in Section 3AAA, which plays all of its games at the higher seed. And, the 3AAA champion plays its first-round game in the state playoffs in Saint Peter.

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Tyrone Wacker

Tyrone Wacker inducted in Hall of Fame in Hutchinson

Monday, July 27

Former Jackson resident Tyrone Wacker was recently inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame by KDUZ/KARP/KGLB Radio of Hutchinson.

Of course, Tyrone coached for a number of years at Jackson and Jackson County Central and founded the Jackson Bulls amateur baseball team.

Tyrone is a native of Stewart and played amateur baseball in Gaylord, Stewart and Hector before moving to Jackson.

He was a standout player in football, basketball and baseball at Stewart High School, being named all-conference in each those sports. The football and baseball teams won conference championships.

Wacker coached Gaylord to a 57-4 record in five seasons, winning the state Class C title in 1972 in the first year of football playoffs in Minnesota.

Tyrone would go on to be a graduate assistant at South Dakota State while earning his master's degree and would also coach at Worthington Community College and Huron College before coming to Jackson in 1983.

He coached the Bluejays for 10 years, winning the state Class B title in 1985.

Wacker would later be an assistant coach with JCC and was the head football coach at Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart.

Tyrone was the head baseball coach at Jackson County Central from 1997-2009, leading the Huskies to three state tournament appearances, winning the Class 2A title in 2004.

He inducted into Minnesota Amateur Baseball Association Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Minnesota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Baker on list of top 100 coaches in state history

Sunday, May 24

Jackson County Central wrestling coach Randy Baker is on the list of the top 100 coaches in Minnesota high school history.

The Minnesota State High School League is out to find out who is the state's best high school coach of all time as part of its 100-year anniversary.

Through extensive research, the top 100 coaches in a variety of MSHSL activities were determined.

The coaches have been divided into four tournament-style regions. The regions are named after the four most common nicknames for Minnesota high schools.

Baker is the No. 24 seed in the Eagle Regional.

He has coached seven state team champions and his teams have a dual-meet record of 492-164-5 in 29 seasons.

Randy Baker

Baker has coached 37 individual state champions, second most in state history. Seven of those state champs were with Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield and 30 with Jackson County Central.

Baker has coached 88 state place winners, third on that list.

In his first-round matchup, Baker faces the No. 9 seed in the region, Brainerd baseball coach Lowell Searcy.

The No. 1 seed in the Eagle Region is Chisholm boys basketball coach Bob McDonald.

Other No. 1 seeds are Eden Prairie football coach Mike Grant (Tiger Region), Apple Valley wrestling coach Jim Jackson (Panther Region) and Edina boys hockey coach Willard Ikola (Cardinal Region).

Windom native Franz Boelter, volleyball and boys basketball coach at Bethlehem Academy, who is the No. 5 seed in the Cardinal Region.

Edgerton has two coaches that made the top 100.

Southwest Minnesota Christian boys basketball coach Cal Hoekstra, the No. 21 seed in the Cardinal Region.

Boys basketball coach Rich Olson, who coached the Flying Dutchmen to a memorable state championship in 1960 with a win over Austin. He's the No. 23 seed in the Panther Region.

Terry Culhane, who had a lot of success in volleyball and girls basketball at Milroy, Tracy-Milroy and Marshall, is the No. 4 seed in the Tiger Region.

Also in the Tiger Region is New Ulm baseball coach Jim Senske, who is the No. 6 seed.

Round-by-round, you can vote to determine which coach advances. Bios of each of can be found by scrolling over their name.

Coaches voting will take place Monday through Thursday each week. There is also a bracket competition among the top 100 players being held Thursday-Monday.

You can find the brackets by clicking here.

Also, you can follow along on Twitter @MSHSL100 or use #MSHSL100.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


Area grads on Gustavus softball team headed to NCAA tourney

Thursday, May 7

Two area graduates are seniors on the Gustavus Adolphus softball team that will be in Pella, Iowa Friday to open the NCAA Division III softball tournament.

Martin County West grad Paige Breneman comes into the regional off a great weekend at the MIAC tournament, making the all-tournament team. Breneman was 5-for-10 in the tourney with four runs scored and five runs batted in as she raised her batting average to a team-best .373.

Paige has played in 44 games this season, collecting 38 hits in 102 at bats with six doubles, two triples, four home runs, 22 RBI and 12 stolen bases.

Jackson County Central graduate Breanne Rentschler has appeared in 40 games, hitting .300 (15-50) with four runs batted in and three steals.

Gustavus is 33-14 overall. The Gusties are making their fourth all-time appearance and the first since 2009.

Gustavus is coached by former Maple River coach Jeff Annis, whose teams won 21 Valley

Paige Breneman                       Breanne Rentschler

Conference titles in his 22 years as coach of the Eagles. His teams won 15 section and three state titles.

The Gusties are scheduled to meet regional host Central College (30-9) at 3:30 p.m. after Aurora University (35-6) plays Fontbonne University (30-9) at 1 p.m.

The double-elimination tournament continues through Sunday.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


Busy few days for JCC softball team

Wednesday, May 6

The Jackson County Central softball team will play 25 percent of its schedule in the next three days and 35 percent by Tuesday evening.

If the weather allows, the Huskies host a doubleheader Thursday, play three at home on Saturday and then go on the road for two more on Tuesday.


JCC starts the stretch Thursday with a 4 p.m. doubleheader vs. conference and section rival Pipestone.

Both teams are undefeated in Big South Conference Small School Division play.

The Arrows come in with an 8-0 record in the division, while the Huskies are 6-0. Pipestone is closing out its division schedule in Jackson. JCC goes to Redwood Valley for two on Tuesday.

Pipestone is 10-2 overall, with both losses coming in a doubleheader to Edgerton/Southwest Minnesota Christian, which has a record of 11-1.

JCC is 10-3 overall, with losses to Class 2A teams Belle Plaine (11-3) and LeSueur-Henderson (12-1), as well as Class 3A Apple Valley (3-8).

In addition to the division importance, Thursday's games will carry a lot of weight for seeding for the Section 3AA tournament.

The top two seeds from each sub-section host first- and second-round games on Tuesday, May 19, although the No. 1 seed in the South Sub-Section gets a bye into the double-elimination portion of the tourney.

The Huskies, Arrows and New Ulm (10-3) look to be the three teams in the running for the two home field spots from the South Sub-Section.

The remainder of the teams in the South Sub-Section are Fairmont (10-7), Saint James Area (5-6), Luverne (3-9) and Worthington (3-11).

Morris/Chokio-Alberta (13-1) figures to be the No. 1 seed in the North Sub-Section.

Other teams in the North are Minneota (7-4), Marshall (4-7), Benson/Hancock (6-8), New London-Spicer (3-6), Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop (5-8) and Montevideo (3-9).

Saturday tournament

Pipestone comes back to Jackson Saturday as JCC hosts a six-team event, with a total of nine games being played. All teams will play three games, with play starting at 9 a.m.

The six teams have a combined record of 46 wins and 22 losses.

The Huskies and Arrows will not play each other Saturday.

Other teams in Jackson will be Mankato Loyola (11-1), Marshall (5-7), Montevideo (3-9) and Watertown-Mayer (7-5).

Here's the schedule:

Time Field 1 Field 2
9 a.m. JCC vs. Marshall Pipestone vs. Loyola
11 a.m. Marshall vs. Watertown-Mayer Pipestone vs. Montevideo
1 p.m. JCC vs. Watertown-Mayer Loyola vs. Montevideo
3 p.m. Marshall vs. Montevideo Pipestone vs. Watertown-Mayer
5 p.m. Loyola vs. JCC  

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Vote to pick the best of the best in Minnesota sports

Tuesday, April 28

The Minnesota State High School League has started celebrating the 100-year history of the organization.

You have an opportunity to take part in the festivities by helping choose the best of the best in Minnesota high school sports in the last century.

After research and consultation with Minnesota media and other sports figures, the MSHSL has selected the top 100 student-athletes of all time. The athletes have been divided into four 25-player tournament-style regions. The regions are named after current MSHSL executive Dave Stead and three former leaders who shared that same position.

The other brackets are named for Orv Bies, Murrae Freng and B.H. Hill.

Round-by-round, your votes will determine which student-athletes advance. Bios of each of can be found by scrolling over their name.

Voting will take place Wednesday through Tuesday each week. Each Tuesday, the winners will be announced and the brackets updated.

It all starts this Wednesday (April 29) with the play-in rounds, the 8 vs. 25 matchups. There will be new matchups weekly.

Bronko Nagurski of International Falls is the No. 1 seed in the Orv Bies Regional.

Also of note in that region are No. 3 seed Barry Wohler of Bird Island-Lake Lillian, who led his school to consecutive football and basketball state titles; No. 6 seed Carrie Tollefson of Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley, a four-time state cross country champion; No. 18 Steph Klavitter of New Ulm Cathedral, who led the Greyhounds to three state titles including a win over Jackson in the 1993 state tourney; and No. 20 seed Cody Schilling of Ellsworth, who averaged nearly 30 points per game in three straight state tournaments.

In the B.H. Hill Regional, Annie Adamczak of Moose Lake is the top seed.

Windom's Heather VanNorman is the No. 6 seed in that region. She compiled 30 in leading the Eagles to the 1987 state Class A track and field title. She ended her career on a 147-race winning streak. She's known now as the mother of Odell Beckham Jr., the wide receiver for the New York Football Giants.

Also in the Hill Region is No. 25 seed Isaiah Dahlman of Braham, who scored 3,366 career points and led the Bombers to three state titles, including beating Martin County West in the 1994 state Class 2A championship game.

Billy Bye of Thief River Falls and Anoka is the top seed in the Dave Stead Regional.

Mary Jo Miller of Tracy-Milroy is the No. 1 seed in the Stead Regional. She scored more than 2,000 points in her basketball career and led the Panthers to a state title in 1988. She went on to play college volleyball at Kansas State.

Winona's Paul Giel is the top seed in the Murrae Freng Regional.

An interesting second-round matchup could occur in the Freng Regional if No. 18 seed Paul Molitor could upset No.15 Jody Rosenthal and advance to face No. 2 seed Joe Mauer.

You can find the brackets by clicking here.

Also, you can follow along on Twitter @MSHSL100 or use #MSHSL100.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, like our Facebook page and follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


MCW hosting baseball, softball tourneys

Friday, April 10

The weather looks great Saturday for Martin County West's baseball and softball tournaments at the Fox Lake Sports Complex in Welcome.

First-round games in the 23rd annual baseball tournament are at 9 a.m. with the host Mavericks playing Mountain Lake Area and Fairmont taking on Heron Lake-Okabena.

Matchups in the 19th annual softball tourney at 10 a.m. have MCW playing Luverne and Fairmont facing Mountain Lake Area.

That's followed by B-squad first round, varsity championship and third-place games and the B-squad championship and third place contests.

The schedules:


Time West Diamond East Diamond
10 a.m. MCW vs. Mt. Lake Area (A) Fairmont vs. Heron Lake-Okabena (A)
30 minutes after MCW vs. Mt. Lake Area (B) Fairmont vs. Heron Lake-Okabena (B)
30 minutes after A championship A third place
30 minutes after B championship B third place


Time West Diamond East Diamond
10 a.m. MCW vs. Luverne (A) Fairmont vs. Mt. Lake Area (A)
30 minutes after MCW vs. Luverne (B) Fairmont vs. Mt. Lake Area (B)
30 minutes after A championship A third place
30 minutes after B championship B third place

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Lady Jays all from SW Minnesota, NW Iowa

Thursday, March 12

The Minnesota West women’s basketball team opens play in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III tournament in Bethlehem, Penn. Thursday with a roster consisting of players from southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa.

Six of the Lady Jays’ 12 players come from the Red Rock Conference. Three players are from Worthington and there is one each from the Valley and Camden Conference in Minnesota and the Siouxland Conference in Iowa.

Minnesota West has five players averaging double figures in scoring for the season.

Freshman Melissa Gehl (Fulda) leads with 15.9 points per game, followed by sophomore Kristen Anderson (Worthington) at 15.6, freshman Lydia Kemper (Worthington) 12.5, freshman Brooke Henning (Worthington) 12.4 and sophomore Brittney Hermeling (Fulda) 12.2. Kemper is injured and out for the season.

Martin County West graduate Bailey Tish is a 6-foot- sophomore for the Lady Jays. She has played in all 29 games, starting three. She has averaged 2.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

Sophomore Bridget Kramer (Ellsworth) is averaging 7.3 assists per game for Minnesota West.

Rounding out the Minnesota West roster are Dani Hermeling (Fulda), Megan Westrum (Hills-Beaver Creek), Destinee Strand (Russell-Tyler-Ruthton), Sonja Peters (Southwest Star Concept) and Jurnea Harberts (Sibley-Ocheyedan).

Sixth-seeded Minnesota West opens play at 5 p.m. (local time) Thursday vs. third-seeded Mohawk Valley Community College of Utica N.Y. The Lady Jays have a 24-5 record, while the Hawks are 28-3.

All teams in the eight-team tournament play three games.

At the tournament banquet Wednesday night, Minnesota West coach Mike Fury was honored as District C Coach of the Year.

There are two teams from Minnesota in the national tourney.

Mesabi Range (16-12) was seeded fifth and face fourth-seeded Cumberland County, N.J. (24-1) in the first round.

The Lady Jays have not played Mesabi this season.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


Harmening part of DWU team at national tourney

Wednesday, March 11

Jackson County Central graduate Jon Harmening will be part of March Madness basketball on the NAIA level.

Harmening, a 2014 JCC grad, is a redshirt this season at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., but is in uniform and travels with the team.

This week, Harmening and the Tigers have traveled to Point Lookout, Mo. and the NAIA Division II national tournament. Wesleyan was ranked fifth in the final national ratings.

Harmening is enjoying his choice of college and being a part of the DWU team. The Tigers have four seniors starting this year and Jon figures to be in the mix to step in and compete for a spot next season.

One of those seniors is Jalen Voss of Worthington, who recently was named the Great Plains Athletic C conference Player of the Year.

Jon Harmening

Voss averaged 21 points and 5.8 rebounds per game this season. He was named GPAC Player of the Week three times. Voss was also named to the all-GPAC first team for the third time in his career. He was an honorable mention selection and GPAC Freshman of the Year in 12.

DWU coach Matt Wilbur was named GPAC Coach of the Year. He's married to Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield graduate Lindsey Voss and is the son-in-law of Tub and Amy Voss.

DWU, 28-4, opens play in the 32-team national tournament at 4 p.m. Thursday vs. Milligan, Tenn. (20-10). With a win, the Tigers would play again at 5:45 p.m. Friday.

The tournament continues through Tuesday.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


County wrestlers now have 37 state titles

Wednesday, March 4

The state titles won by Jackson County Central's Paden Moore, Luke Norland and Keegan Moore last weekend in St. Paul bring the number of titles won by wrestlers from Jackson County schools to 37.

Each of those wrestlers has been coached by Randy Baker, seven with Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield and 30 with Jackson County Central.

Baker is second on the all-time list of individual state champions coached in Minnesota history. He trails only Jim Jackson of Apple Valley, who coached 60 champs from 1995-2012.

The Huskies had four place winners, bringing Baker's total in that category to 88 and moving him to third on that list. He trails only Jackson (132) and John Grygleko of Robbinsdale (90).

Multiple champions

This is the 11th time Baker has had multiple state champions.

In 2008, JCC had four state champions. The Huskies also had three state champs in 2000.

HLOL had two state champs in 1992. JCC has had a pair of champions seven times, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Individual state champions from Jackson County

Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield

  • 1989 - Scott Vancura, Class A 130

  • 1990 - Chad Gage, Class A 135

  • 1991 - Tim Jansma, Class A 119

  • 1992 - Chad Kraft, Class A 125

  • 1992 - Tim Jansma, Class A 130

  • 1993 - Chad Kraft, Class A 140

  • 1994 - Chad Kraft, Class A 145

Jackson County Central

  • 1998 - Nate Baker, Class 2A 140

  • 1998 - Nate Hanson, Class 2A 145

  • 1999 - Nate Baker, Class 2A 152

  • 1999 - Bryce Vancura, Class 2A 275

  • 2000 - Steve Majerus, Class 2A 130

  • 2000 - Dusty Wilking, Class 2A 152

  • 2000 - Nate Baker, Class 2A 160

  • 2001 - Marc Harwood, Class 2A 140

  • 2002 - Marc Harwood, Class 2A 152

  • 2004 - Tom Nesseth, Class 2A 189

  • 2006 - Torey Stewart, Class 2A 130

  • 2006 - Jared Knips, Class 2A 275

  • 2007 - Cole Von Ohlen, Class 2A 119

  • 2007 - Travis Rutt, Class 2A 160

  • 2008 - Cole Von Ohlen, Class 1A 130

  • 2008 - Torey Stewart, Class 1A 145

  • 2008 - Travis Rutt, Class 1A 171

  • 2008 - Caleb Lines, Class 1A 189

  • 2009 - Bronson Steuber, Class 1A 119

  • 2010 - Bronson Steuber, Class 1A 125

  • 2010 - Cooper Moore, Class 1A 160

  • 2011 - Bronson Steuber, Class 1A 135

  • 2012 - Darick Vancura, Class 1A 160

  • 2012 - Cooper Moore, Class 1A 170

  • 2013 - Eliot Jurries, Class 1A 132

  • 2013 - Darick Vancura, Class 1A 170

  • 2014 - Keegan Moore, Class 1A 170

  • 2015 - Paden Moore, Class 1A 160

  • 2015 - Luke Norland, Class 1A 170

  • 2015 - Keegan Moore, Class 1A 182

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BSC wrestling, gymnastics champs to be crowned Saturday

Thursday, Feb. 5

The Big South Conference will crown its first-ever champions in wrestling and gymnastics Saturday.

Jackson County Central will host the inaugural wrestling tournament, while the conference gymnastics meet will be held in Waseca.

For wrestling, the 13 teams have split into three brackets based on dual meet records within the East and West divisions. Four teams will be in the Championship Bracket and Consolation Bracket, with the remaining five teams in the Bottom Bracket.

Jackson County Central and Fairmont/Martin County West will meet in one of the first-round matches in the Championship Bracket at 1:45 p.m. The Huskies are the No. 1 seed from the West Division and the Red Bulls the No. 2 seed from the East Division.

In the other first-round match, East No. 1 Blue Earth Area wrestles West Division No. 2 Worthington.

The losers meet in the third-place match at 4 p.m. and the winners wrestle in the championship match at 6 p.m.

In the Consolation Bracket at noon, Windom/Mountain Lake faces Waseca and Pipestone faces Saint James Area. Those losers meet at 1:45 p.m., with the winners meet at 4 p.m.

Bottom Bracket pairings at noon have Marshall vs. Luverne and Redwood/River Valley vs. Saint Peter. The Marshall-Luverne winner takes on New Ulm at 1:45 p.m. There are two more matches in that bracket at 4 p.m.

Here's the schedule for the wrestling tournament:

Championship Bracket
Match 5 - Jackson County Central vs. Fairmont/Martin County West, 1:45 p.m.
Match 6 - Worthington vs. Blue Earth Area, 1:45 p.m.
Match 9 - Match 5 loser vs. Match 6 winner, 4 p.m.
Match 13 - Match 5 winner vs. Match 6 winner, 6 p.m.

Consolation Bracket
Match 1 - Pipestone vs. Saint James Area, noon
Match 2 - Windom/Mountain Lake vs. Waseca, noon
Match 8 - Match 1 loser vs. Match 2 winner, 1:45 p.m.
Match 10 - Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner, 4 p.m.

Bottom Bracket
Match 3 - Redwood/River Valley vs. Saint Peter, noon
Match 4- Marshall vs. Luverne, noon
Match 7 - New Ulm vs. Match 4 winner, 1:45 p.m.
Match 11 - Match 3 loser vs. Match 7 loser, 4 p.m.
Match 12 - Match 3 winner vs. Match 7 winner, 4 p.m.

The BSC gymnastics meet will be held at Waseca Intermediate School, with competition to begin at 2 p.m.

Four Big South teams are ranked in the Top 25 in the state in Class A.

Jackson County Central is seventh (141.7), Worthington 11th (139.725), Waseca 17th (136.192) and Martin County Area 25th (130.25).

The team champion will be considered the conference champion this season.

The top five individuals on each event, including all around, will receive medals and be considered all-conference.

Following is the rotation order:

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Blue Earth MCA JCC Luverne
Marshall New Ulm Pipestone Redwood
St. James Area St. Peter Waseca Windom/Mt. Lake
Worthington Blue Earth MCA JCC
Luverne Marshall New Ulm Pipestone
Redwood St. James Area St. Peter Waseca
Windom/Mt. Lake Worthington Blue Earth MCA
JCC Luverne Marshall New Ulm
Pipestone Redwood St. James Area St. Peter
Waseca Windom/Mt. Lake Worthington Blue Earth
MCA JCC Luverne Marshall
New Ulm Pipestone Redwood St. James Area
St. Peter Waseca Windom/Mt. Lake Worthington

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Rudolph to be inducted into SMSU hall

Wednesday, Jan. 28

A Martin County West graduate is one of this year's inductees into the Southwest Minnesota State University Athletics Hall of Honor.

Nate Rudolph, a 1995 MCW grad, played football for four seasons for the Mustangs.

He earned all-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference honors in 1998 and 1999 after being an honorable mention selection in 1997.

Also, Rudolph was a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-District in 1998 and was named to the All-America Farm Team in 1999.

He finished his career holding the SMSU school record with 199 solo tackles and was third in school history with 356 total tackles. He is third in school history with 40 tackles for loss.

Rudolph led the Mustangs in tackles in both 1998 (99) and 1999 (108).

The induction ceremony is Saturday at noon at the SMSU Conference Center.

Other inductees are football and baseball player Joe Dittrich (1977-81); men’s basketball player Jacob Fahl (1999-2003); baseball player Chad Hess (1994-97); golfer Laura (Lundbohm) Hulsebus (2000-04); football and baseball player Gary Schleper (1982-87); community member and supporter of SMSU athletics Brian Brandt; and the 2000-01 women’s basketball team.

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Wrestling Hall of Fame inductees announced

Wednesday, Dec. 17

The latest group of inductees for the Jackson County Wrestling Hall of Fame has been announced.

Two athletes are being honored, 1971 Jackson High School graduate Steve Carpenter and 2000 JCC grad Travis Ahrens.

Being honored as a long-time contributor to the area wrestling program will be Jim Nesseth.

In addition, the JCC 1999 state team champions will be recognized.

We'll have more on the honorees and details about the night as it gets closer, but Hall of Fame Night is Tuesday, Jan. 6 when the Huskies host Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial.

Jackson County Central wrestles in two tournaments in Rochester prior to the Hall of Fame event. The Huskies are at the Christmas Tournament this weekend and will be at The Clash duals on Jan. 2-3.

On another note, JCC has two wrestlers ranked nationally in the latest poll by Intermat.

Junior Keegan Moore is up one place to fourth at 182 pounds and senior Luke Norland is up two spots to 18th at 170.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Huskies to host wrestling tournament

Friday, Dec. 12

More than two dozen state-ranked wrestlers and a half-dozen teams that are at least receiving votes in team polls are scheduled to be on hand Saturday for the Pizza Ranch/JCC Invitational wrestling tournament.

Varsity wrestling in the Main Gym starts at 9:30 a.m., with B-squad wrestling in the Auxiliary Gym at 10 a.m.

Four teams in the field appear in the Class 1A ratings as Adrian is second and Jackson County Central fourth, with Wabasso/Red Rock Central and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva each receiving votes.

Also, Worthington is receiving votes in the 2A team poll and Eagan is getting votes in 3A.

Other Minnesota teams scheduled to participate are Fulda/Murray County Central, Luverne, United South Central, Wabasha-Kellogg and Windom/Mountain Lake. In addition, Sioux City East is slated to come up from Iowa.

There's no guarantee wrestlers will compete at the weight they're ranked or that they'll wrestle at all, but the teams entered in the tourney have 27 state-ranked wrestlers on their rosters.

The host Huskies have four ranked Class 1A wrestlers as Jacob Tvinnereim is rated sixth at 106, Paden Moore first at 160, Luke Norland second at 170 and Keegan Moore first at 182.

Adrian has five ranked 1A wrestlers, with Skyler Heronimus first at 113, Ryan Elias 10th at 132, Tony Lynn fifth at 145, Matthew Slater sixth at 160 and Jesse Slater third at 170.

Windom/Mountain Lake has four wrestlers who are ranked in Class 2A as Alex Borsgard is 10th at 120, Wyatt Stevens sixth at 126, Joe Fischenich fourth at 132 and Jared Willaby fifth at 138.

Sioux City East has three wrestlers ranked in Class 3A in Iowa, their largest class. Johnny Stevens is seventh at 145, Josh Davis third at 152 and Mitchell Otto first at 182.

Four teams have a pair of ranked wrestlers.

Two of those teams are in Class 1A in Minnesota.

From NRHEG, Dillon Kublatowicz is sixth at 120 and Todd Erickson fourth at 220. From Wabasso/RRC, Jordan Schroepfer is second at 182 and Jared Welch is eighth at 220.

Worthington has two ranked Class 2A wrestlers, with Hser Eh Pwae first 106 and Carson Hagen third at 195. Eagan has two ranked Class 3A wrestlers with Sodan Ka third at 106 and Riley White sixth at 126.

Three other teams have one ranked wrestler apiece.

From Class 2A, Clayton Hartle of Fulda/Murray County Central is sixth at 120 and DJ Reker of Luverne 10th at 220. Also, USC's Dylan Herman is ranked fourth at 152.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Iowa Lakes hosting wrestling events

Monday, Dec. 1

The Iowa Lakes Community College wrestling team has a couple of big home dates this week.

On Wednesday, the Lakers host Iowa Central.

Iowa Lakes is rated 10th in the latest NJCAA poll, while the Tritons are third. Match time is 7 p.m.

Both teams will feature some highly ranked individuals and sought-after NCAA Div. 1 recruits.

Iowa Central has seven individuals ranked in the top 12 at their respected weight, led by 2014 NJCAA runner-up Richie Lewis at 157 pounds.

Iowa Lakes has five rated wrestlers, paced by returning national champion Freddie Rodriguez at 125 pounds.

“I think both teams obviously have some great returnees that will be featured but I think what is even more exciting is both teams have some really good new young talent that will be getting after it for the first time,” said ILCC coach Cody Alesch. “As a coach that is pretty exciting because as this point in the season you are still unsure of the identity of many of those guys and really your entire team. You are anxious to see how your guys perform with the spotlight on them and who is going to step up and get it done. We are excited to get the conference duals started here in our place and the atmosphere should be intense.”

Then on Thursday, Iowa Lakes entertains Iowa Western in the second half of a high school-college wrestling doubleheader.

Estherville Lincoln Central wrestles Humboldt at 5:30 p.m., with the Lakers and Reviers wrestling at about 7 p.m.

“We are really excited to partner up with the ELC wrestling team and coach Hewitt and bring a great night of wrestling to the community,” Alesch said. “I’ve spoken with the Humboldt coaches as well and they are very excited to be a part of the event.”

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Westby earns setter honor in NSAA for second time this season

Monday, Nov. 3

JCC grad Stacey Westby setting the ball for Dakota State.

Dakota State's Stacey Westby has been named Setter of the Week in the North Star Athletic Association for the second time this season.

The 5-foot-7 senior posted a pair of double-doubles last week.

Stacey had 32 set assists and 13 digs in a four-set victory over Dakota Wesleyan. She added 20 assists and five digs in a key NSAA victory over Mayville State and then recorded 19 assists and 16 digs in 3-1 victory over Valley City State.

For the week, Westby averaged 6.5 assists (71 total assists) and 3.1 digs (34 total digs). She added four service aces. She received the same honor on Aug. 25.

Westby leads the team with 734 assists this season, helping the Trojans rank No. 23 in the nation for most assists. Westby extended the all-time DSU school record in set assists with 3,781 assists.

She is the daughter of Tom and Deb Schuller. Stacey is majoring in elementary education and special education at Dakota State University.

Dakota State swept the week's conference awards, with Caitlin Pick named Offensive Player of the Week and Katherine Gonzalez selected Defensive Player of the Week.

The Trojans are the No. 2 seed for the upcoming NSAA Tournament and have a bye in the quarterfinals round. No. 6 seed Presentation plays at No. 3 seed Mayville State Saturday, with Dakota State hosting the winner on Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Weekend college notes

Monday, Oct. 20

Want to catch up on what area graduates did over the weekend?

You could go back and read through my tweets or you can do so right here:

MCAC football

Jackson County Central graduate Tanner Menke passed for 27 yards, ran for 18, caught three passes for 41 yards and punted seven times for an average of 39.7 yards as Rochester Community and Technical College shut out Mesabi Range 42-0.

The Yellowjackets officially have a 5-3 record.

Martin County West graduate Jake Faber threw for 234 yards and five touchdowns and also ran for a TD from one yard out for Central Lakes in a 70-18 win over Ridgewater.

On defense, fellow MCW grad Austin Krumwiede had one solo tackle and two assists for the Raiders, who are 8-0 and ranked eighth in the country.

Rochester and Central Lakes are the number one seeds in their respective divisions for the Minnesota Community College Athletic Conference playoffs.

In the Southern Division this Saturday, the top-seeded Yellowjackets host fourth-seeded North Dakota State College of Science and third-seeded Minnesota West travels to second-seeded Minnesota State, Fergus Falls.

In the Northern Division, Central Lakes hosts fourth-seeded Fond du Lac and second-seeded Dakota College hosts third-seeded Vermilion.

Semifinal games are Saturday, Nov. 1 at higher seeds, with the state championship game Nov. 8 at Saint Cloud State.


  • JCC graduate Whitney Burmeister had 19 digs and three assists for Southwest Minnesota State in a 3-0 road win at Winona State Saturday.
  • Windom grad Courtney Ysker had a double double of 16 kills and 13 digs for Augustana in a 3-2 loss at Minnesota State.
  • Stacey Westby had a season-high 33 assists and 14 digs for Dakota State vs. Mount Mercy. She also had 20 assists vs. Waldorf.
  • Michelle VanEpps had 26 assists and 9 digs for Dakota Wesleyan in a GPAC loss to Nebraska Wesleyan.
  • MCW grad Jessi Jurries had 20 digs for Bethany Lutheran vs. Maranatha Baptist and 12 digs and 4 assists vs. Wisconsin-Superior.
  • Alyssa Taylor had 11 kills, two ace serves and one block assist for Gustavus in a 3-0 win over Luther. Paige Breneman had 10 digs for the Gusties. Both are MCW graduates.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Special events coming up at JCC volleyball matches

Sunday, Oct. 5

After a successful trip to the Lakeville North Todd Bachman Invitational, the Jackson County Central volleyball team has home duals Monday and Tuesday and special events are planned for both nights in conjunction with the match.

The Huskies host New Ulm Monday night, with Windom coming in on Tuesday.

Both nights, the B- and C-squad matches start at 6 p.m., with the varsity to follow.

On Monday, Jackson County 4-H will be hosting 4-H Night to help celebrate National 4-H Week.

Jackson County 4-Hers will be showing their enthusiasm for 4-H and promote their program.

Members are encouraged to wear their 4-H shirt and you will be admitted free.

There will be drawings and fun activities during time outs and between sets. Also, the Rost 4-H Club will be collecting items for local food shelves so everyone is encouraged to bring a food item to share.

Jackson County 4-H is also having a 4-H Night in Okabena Tuesday when Heron Lake-Okabena hosts Hills-Beaver Creek.

On Tuesday, the Huskies Fighting Cancer group will be holding a bake sale to raise funds. Fans are encouraged to wear gold in support of childhood cancer.

Then, after a match at Worthington Thursday, JCC has two more matches at home next Monday and Tuesday to close out its regular-season schedule.

The Huskies host Martin County West in a nonconference match on Oct. 13 and then host a Big South Conference crossover match on Oct. 14.

In those crossover matches, the first-place team from the West hosts the first-place team from the East and so on down the line. There are seven teams in the West Division and six in the East Division.

Jackson County Central is actually third place right now in the Big South's West Division standings.

Marshall leads with a 5-0 record, Pipestone is 4-1 and JCC 3-1. Rounding out the division are Redwood Valley (2-3), Windom (2-3), Worthington (1-4) and Luverne (0-5).

The Huskies have the division matches with Windom Tuesday and Worthington Thursday, while the Arrows host Marshall Thursday.

Saint Peter leads the East Division with an 8-0 record, followed by Saint James Area (7-1), New Ulm (5-3), Waseca (2-6), Blue Earth Area (1-7) and Fairmont (1-7).

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

MCW volleyball to host cancer awareness event

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Martin County West, in cooperation with the parents of MCW volleyball players, is recognizing Thursday as "Fight Night - All in for the Fight."

The night is designed to recognize cancer awareness and raise funds for cancer research and programs.

Students, staff and those in the MCW communities are encouraged to dress in any cancer color to recognize cancer awareness.

The Mavericks are hosting Madelia in Trimont, with the C-squad match at 4:45 p.m., followed by the B squad and varsity matches.

After the B-squad match, players in grades 9-12 will be introduced with a cancer survivor of their choice.

There will be a bake sale and silent auction. Funds raised will be split equally between the American Cancer Society and the Fairmont Community Hospital Foundation's chemo fund.

Items on the silent auction will include gift certificates, Maverick gear and punch passes, hand-crafted items, a volleyball autographed by the players and more.

After the match, fans will be encouraged to participate in a serving skills challenge with the chance to win prizes.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

JCC, MCW cross country team run at Loon Lake Thursday

Tuesday, Sept. 16

The Jackson County Central cross country teams will host their only home meet of the season Thursday when the Huskies host the KKOJ-KRAQ/Subway Invitational at Loon Lake Golf Course.

There are four races, with the seventh- and eighth-grade girls running at 4:30 p.m., seventh- and eighth-grade boys at 4:45, varsity girls at 5:00 and varsity boys at 5:25. The junior high races are both 1600 meters, with the varsity girls running their usual 4000 meters and the boys 5000 meters.

Martin County West is also in the field of 11 teams scheduled to compete in one of their meets closest to home.

Rounding out the field are Blue Earth Area, Heron Lake-Okabena, Luverne, Mankato East, Marshall, Madelia/Truman/Truman/Martin Luther, Springfield/Cedar Mountain/Comfrey, Windom and Worthington.

There are three state-ranked teams and three ranked individuals scheduled to compete, including two number ones.

Martin County West is ranked first in the Class A boys team poll, with Madison Schandelmeier of Luverne is first in the Class A individual girls rankings.

Two girls teams are rated as Luverne is eighth in Class A and Marshall ninth in Class AA.

MCW's Jonah Mayo is ninth in the Class A boys team ratings. Rachel Salentiny of Heron Lake-Okabena is in the others receiving votes category for the Class A girls.

This is the one chance JCC fans will have to see the Huskies run at home this season. The two shortest trips on the schedule for JCC are the I-90 Invitational on Oct. 2 and the Big South Conference meet in Windom on Oct. 14.

For the Mavericks, their other shortest trips are that I-90 meet in Fairmont on Oct. 2 and the Valley Conference meet in Madelia on Oct. 14.

If you do go to the meet you can grab something to eat as there will be Subway sandwiches and beverages on sale at the clubhouse.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

JCC to host volleyball tournament

Thursday, Sept. 11

Five state-ranked teams and another that missed cracking the top 10 are in the field for the Jackson County Central volleyball tournament Saturday.

Play starts at 9 a.m., using two courts in both the Main Gym and Auxiliary Gym at JCC High School.

The host Huskies, ranked fourth in Class 2A, will be in Pool A along with Triton and Rochester Mayo.

Prior Lake, ranked fourth in Class 3A, will be in Pool B with Murray County Central and Mankato East.

Two ranked teams that are newcomers to the tournament are in Pool C. Heron Lake-Okabena is rated eighth in Class 1A, with Sioux Falls O'Gorman rated first in South Dakota's largest division, Class AA. Rounding out that pool is Westbrook-Walnut Grove.

All pool-play matches are best-of-three.

First-place teams in each pool go to the Gold Division, second-place teams to the Silver Division and third-place teams to the Bronze Division.

Following is the schedule for pool play:

Pool A, Court 1 Pool B, Court 2 Pool C, Court 3 Pool D, Court 4
Triton vs. JCC MCC vs. Mankato East HLO vs. WWG MCW vs. Waseca
Triton vs. Rochester Mayo MCC vs. Prior Lake HLO vs. SF O'Gorman MCW vs. Minneota
JCC vs. Rochester Mayo Mankato East vs. Prior Lake WWG vs. SF O'Gorman Waseca vs. Minneota

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

A look at what some area grads did this weekend

Sunday, Aug. 31

Here's what some Jackson County Central and Martin County West graduates competing on the collegiate level did this weekend:


  • Stacey (Schuller) Westby, 2010 JCC graduate, became the all-time leader in assists for the Dakota State volleyball team Friday at the Corn Palace Classic in Mitchell when she had had 22 assists in a 3-0 win over Dickinson State and 46 assists in a 3-1 win over Dakota Wesleyan. On Saturday she had 15 assists and 13 digs in a 3-2 loss to Valley City State and 12 assists in a 3-1 loss to Johnson & Wales (Colo.).
  • 2013 JCC grad Michelle VanEpps had 149 assists in four matches for host Dakota Wesleyan in that Corn Palace Classic. She had 33 in a win over Valley City State and 46 in the loss to Dakota State Friday. Then on Saturday she had 38 in a 3-0 win over Dickinson State and 32 in a 3-1 win over Johnson & Wales 3-1.
  • Another 2013 JCC graduate, Sydnee Donnelli opened her season with the Buena Vista volleyball team. The Beavers went 2-3 at the Washington (Mo.) tournament. Sydnee had 44 digs in the five matches, including a high of 19 vs. Nebraska Wesleyan. She had eight ace serves, six in a win over Hanover. She also had nine kills.
  • A pair of 2011 Martin County West grads started their seasons with the Gustavus volleyball team by going 2-2. According to my math, Paige Breneman had 82 digs including a high of 32 vs. Illinois Wesleyan. Alyssa Taylor had 33 kills with a high of 14 in a win over Dubuque.
  • Jessi Jurries, also a 2011 MCW grad, and her Bethany Lutheran volleyball team opened the season by going 1-3 at the St. Olaf tournament. She had 44 digs in four matches, with a high of 15 in a 3-2 win over the host Oles.


  • Two MCW grads started their seasons at Central Lakes Community College in Brainerd. The Raiders, ranked 20th in the preseason NJCAA poll, beat Minnesota State, Fergus Falls 45-20. 2014 MCW grad Jake Faber was 21-for-35 passing for 289 yards and three touchdowns, while 2013 MCW grad Austin Krumwiede had two tackles and forced a fumble. Central Lakes hosts Rochester next Saturday.
  • At Rochester, 2013 JCC grad Tanner Menke was 1-3 passing in the Yellowjackets' 48-0 win over Mesabi Range to go to 2-0 on the season. Rochester is ranked 18th.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Westby receives NSAA honor

Monday, Aug. 25

Stacey (Schuller) Westby has been named the first Setter of the Week of the season in the North Star Athletic Association.

A 5-foot-7 senior and 2010 Jackson County Central graduate, Stacey led the Trojans to a 2-1 record at a tournament in Cedar Rapids. It's the first time since 2006 that Dakota State had started its season with a 2-1 record.

She had a total of 66 set assists in the tournament, averaging 6.0 assists per set. Stacey is within 37 assists of the Dakota State school record for career assists.

Westby added 26 digs (2.4 digs per set), four service aces, four kills and a solo block and was named to the all-tournament team.

The Trojans play their first home match of the season Wednesday, hosting Morningside College.

Dakota State then plays four matches next weekend at the Corn Palace Tournament in Mitchell, S.D.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the Trojans will face host a Dakota Wesleyan team that also features a JCC grad as its setter and is coached by a Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield grad.

Michelle Van Epps, a 2013 JCC graduate, is a 5-8 sophomore at Wesleyan after playing her freshman season at Iowa Lakes Community College.

Van Epps had 54 assists for the Tigers Saturday as they traveled to North Dakota and recorded a 3-1 win over Dickinson State. She also had seven digs.

Lindsay (Voss) Wilber, a 1996 HLOL grad, is in her first season as head coach at Dakota Wesleyan.

Other teams in the tournament are Dickinson State, Valley City State and Johnson & Wales.

Here are some other JCC grads I know of that are playing or coaching volleyball this fall:

  • Whitney Burmeister is a junior at Southwest Minnesota State. The Mustangs are ranked seventh in the preseason Division II poll. They open at the Concordia (St. Paul) tourney Sept. 5.
  • Sydnee Donnelli is a sophomore at Buena Vista University. The Beavers go to St. Louis for the Washington University tournament this weekend.
  • Kenna Bannister is a freshman at Rochester Community and Technical College. The Yellowjackets went 4-0 at a tournament in the Wisconsin Dells last weekend. Rochester plays twice this weekend and plays Minnesota West in Worthington on Wednesday, Sept. 3.
  • Megan Bezdicek is the head coach at Iowa Lakes Community College. The Lakers are off to a 2-0 start, beating NIACC and Dakota County. The Lakers host the Northwestern JV Tuesday.
  • Ashley Kruse is the head coach at North Union High School. The Warriors open at home Tuesday in Armstrong vs. North Iowa.

Are there others? There's apparently at least one more JCC grad playing volleyball. but some schools don't have an updated roster on their website. If you know of any others, feel free to let me know either emailing me or send me a message on Twitter @sportsdr44.

That goes for Martin County West grads as well.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

MCW first in Class A boys cross country ratings

Saturday, Aug. 9

Martin County West is rated first in the preseason Class A boys ratings by the Minnesota Cross Country Coaches Association released Friday.

The Mavericks placed fifth in the state meet last year and all seven Mavericks who ran in Northfield are back.

Among them is senior Jonah Mayo, who is eighth in the individual ratings. He was 15th overall at the state meet last year.

Other seniors back for MCW are Dylan Brockman, Matthew Viesselman, Chris Kahler and Nick Holm. Also running at last year's state meet were Joshua Bjerken (now a sophomore) and freshman Ramon Bowie.

Defending state champion Perham is second in the team ratings. The Yellowjackets have won the state title four of the last eight years.

Section 2A rival Waseca is ranked third, with the Bluejays' Shane Streich the top-ranked individual. Streich was second in the state meet last year.

Martin County West opens its season Wednesday, Aug. 27 at Mountain Lake.

Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd leads the Class A girls team ratings. Big South Conference teams Waseca and Luverne rated third and eighth, respectively.

Mary Naas of Saint Paul Academy & Summit leads the Class A girls individual rankings. Luverne's Madison Schandelmeier is fourth and Kayla Huhnerkoch of Redwood Valley is seventh. Rachel Salentiny of Southwestern United is ninth.

Marshall of the Big South Conference is fourth in the Class AA girls team ratings.

For the complete cross country ratings, click here.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Flat Earth Golf tourney Saturday

Tuesday, July 29

The Flat Earth Wrestling Club is hosting third annual fund-raiser golf tournament Saturday at Jackson Golf Club.

Registration for the nine-hole, four-person best shot tournament is from 2-2:45 p.m., with play starting with a shotgun start at 3 p.m.

Entry fee is $40 per person, which includes greens fees, cart, dinner and a Flat Earth T-shirt.

There is an optional skins game for $20 per team and mulligans are available. The meal only is available for $10.

More information is available by email. or by calling Ron Anderson (507-227-1078), Chris Handevidt (507-525-0369), Jay Moore (507-841-0120) or Steve Kapplinger (612-868-3209).

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Area athletes playing in national volleyball tourney

Thursday, June 26

Several area athletes will be playing for Southwest Minnesota Juniors teams in the Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships in Minneapolis.

Both the Southwest Minnesota Juniors 17-1 and 18-1 teams both open pool play at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Five area athletes are on the 17-1 team.

Two are from Jackson County Central, Kathryn Nasby and Sydney Nyborg. Nasby is a senior and Nyborg is a junior.

There are also two players from Southwestern United, Andrea Hinkeldey and Hailey Schumacher. They’re both juniors.

Also on the 17s team is Windom’s Porsha Porath, a freshman.

Playing for the Southwest Minnesota Juniors 18-1 team are Kaylee Burmeister of JCC and Courtney Place of SWU. They’re both seniors.

Among the other players on the 18s team are four players from Marshall High School.

2014 Marshall graduates Kenzie Beekman and Hannah Bennett, who will both be playing at Southwest Minnesota State are on the team, along with senior Haley Bennett and junior Marah Mulso.

The tournament started Tuesday with some younger divisions and continues through next Thursday. The event uses five exhibit halls and the ballroom at the Minneapolis Convention Center, with 70 volleyball courts in all.

There will be 12,000 athletes ages 11-18 taking part in the event, which is expected to attract 30,000 spectators.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Deadline coming up soon for Booster Club calendar

Friday, June 20

The 2013-14 school year was a great one at Jackson County Central.

The JCC Booster Club was able to grant several wishes for coaches of a number of Huskies teams.

Items wished for included funding to Community Education to support staffing of the Fitness Center for additional summer access for all athletes; a pitching machine for the softball program; and shooting machine for the basketball programs.

The wish requests also included several safety items for programs, including mats for cheerleading, gymnastics and the Fitness Center; and safety vests for the cross country team.

Also, the Booster Club also assists with the end of season celebration for each team by supporting the banquets and awards presented to student-athletes.

The club also provides funds for coaches to attend training clinics to learn the best ways to help JCC programs be the best they can be.

In 2013, more than $15,000 was given to support the athletic programs at JCC. In the past five years, more than $70,000 has been provided for athletic programs.

While the start of fall practices is about seven weeks away and the first events the week after that, it's time to begin assembling the 2014-2015 school calendar.

If you wish to be a part of the booster club calendar, you have just a few days left to contact Livewire Printing.

The deadline for being included on the calendar is Tuesday (June 24).

If you have questions about becoming an active member of the booster club, contact Kelly Rasche. She'll be glad to answer all of your questions.

The athletic programs at JCC appreciate your support.

By the way, the cross country, volleyball and football teams all open practice on Aug. 11.

The cross country team is the first to compete, Friday, Aug. 22 at Fairmont.

Meanwhile, the volleyball team travels to Mankato East for its opener on Monday, Aug. 25; and the football team opens at home vs. Fairmont on Thursday, Aug. 28.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

World of Outlaws in Jackson

Friday, June 13

The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars series will make a stop at Jackson Speedway Friday.

Heading into Friday’s race, Donny Schatz is the series leader in points.

Schatz leads Daryn Pitman by six points, with Joey Saldana 21 points out and Paul McMahan 50 points out.

Rounding out the top 10, Kerry Madsen is -211, Brad Sweet -269, Steve Kinser -418, Cody Darrah -482, Kraig Kinser -593 and Sammy Swindell -654.

Pits open at 2 p.m. and the grandstand at 4 p.m. Hot laps are at 6:30, qualifying at 7 p.m. and racing starts at 7:30.

Previous World of Outlaws winners at Jackson:

  • June 14, 2013: Donny Schatz
  • May 1, 2010: Steve Kinser
  • Sept. 16, 2006: Donny Schatz
  • Sept. 23, 2005: Daryn Pittman
  • Sept. 24, 2004: Steve Kinser
  • July 6, 1988: Sammy Swindell
  • Aug. 20, 1988: Steve Kinser
  • July 9, 1987: Bobby Davis Jr.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Rients has two big games

Thursday, June 12

Patrick Rients has had a couple of pretty good games back-to-back for the Jackson Bulls.

In Wednesday's 12-4 win over Heron Lake at Wacker Field, Rients was 4-for-4 with all four hits being home runs. He also walked once, scored four runs and had seven runs batted in.

Last Saturday at Wells, he was 6-6 with five singles, a home run, five runs and six runs batted in.

So that makes his two-game totals 10-10 with five home runs, nine runs scored and 13 RBI.

The Bulls are at home for three more games this weekend, starting with a 7:30 p.m. game vs. Pipestone Friday.

Jackson also has a pair of Father's Day home games Sunday, hosting the Milroy Irish at 2 p.m. and Tracy at about 5 p.m.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Cordell Weber closes out high school career

Thursday, June 12

Martin County West's Cordell Weber wrapped up his high school golf career with his fifth trip to the state Class 1A tournament Tuesday and Wednesday at Pebble Creek Golf Course near Becker.

He finished second this year, one stroke out of the top spot.

Cordell qualified for his first state tourney as an eighth grader in 2010 and tied for 26th place. He was 12th as a freshman in 2011.

In 2012, he won the state title by one stroke as a sophomore.

He tied for sixth last year, followed by this year's runner-up finish.

Cordell will attend Colorado State University-Pueblo and play golf for the ThunderWolves.

Meanwhile, sophomore Logan Weber tied for 11th in her third trip to the state tournament.

She was 44th as a seventh-grader in 2011 and 28th as an eighth-grader in 2012. She did not play as a freshman due to an injury.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

State track and field meet preview

Wednesday, June 4

On Tuesday I sent a Twitter barrage looking previewing the state track and field meet. Here they are located in one place:

  • JCC's Nolan Hohenstein is seeded 3rd in Class A boys shot put and 10th in discus.
  • MCW's boys 4x800 team of Nick Holm, Jonah Mayo, Matthew Viesselman and Dylan Brockman has the eighth-fastest seed time.
  • Victor Ogeka of Windom has the second-best seed performance in the triple jump and is also in the first flight in the long jump.
  • Fairmont's Josh Eversman is seeded 8th in both long jump and triple jump. Evan Ward of Fairmont will compete in the 300 int. hurdles.
  • Eversman and Ward are also on the 4x400 relay. Zach Brown and Brian Wilde run the middle legs.
  • Eversman is in four events as he’s also on the 4x100 with Peter Erickson, Zach Brown and Brian Wilde.
  • Zach Brandts of St. James Area has the 5th-best seed performance in high jump. The Saints’ 4x800 team has the 7th-best seed time.
  • Blake Collier of St. James Area is the lone participant in the wheelchair shot put and discus.
  • Mt. Lake Area’s Jose Gonzales will compete in both the 800 meters and triple jump. Gonzales anchors the 4x400. Other legs are Jared Saunders, Caleb Bargen and Cody Klassen.
  • The Wolverines’ Hunter Quiring is tied for 8th seed in pole vault.
  • Haley Jensen of MCW has the 7th-best seed time in the Class A girls 100 meters. She was 1 of 8 who made it on standard for a total of 24 entries in that event.
  • MCW’s Hailey Leiding has the 9th-best seed performance in the long jump.
  • The MCW girls 4x100 team of Taryn Tumbleson, Cora Olson, Hailey Leiding and Haley Jensen has the 4th-best seed time in that event.
  • Amy Muller of Windom is making a second straight trip to state in pole vault.
  • Mountain Lake Area’s girls 4x200 team of Mikayla Falk, Emily Jahnke, Brianna Soutthivong and Lydia Hildebrandt will compete at the state meet.
  • Sierra Schultz of Fairmont has the fastest seed time in the 100-meter hurdles and the 8th-best seed effort in triple jump.
  • St. James Area’s Katy Hedlund is in a 6-way tie for 3rd-best seed effort in high jump.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

MSHSL adopts district football scheduling plan

Monday, June 2

A district football scheduling plan was the dominant item from Monday's regular meeting of the Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors.

The board unanimously adopted a plan that places all football teams into districts.

Members of each district will divide the district into sub-districts and then create a full schedule for each team. In nearly all cases, the placement of schools will not negatively affect traditional rivalries or preferred opponents.

For several years MSHSL staff, school administrators and football coaches have sought a solution for schools that have had difficulty filling their regular-season football schedule.

A committee of coaches, athletic administrators and board members developed a District Football Scheduling System that was approved by the board in January. A separate District Placement Committee made up of coaches and administrators worked to group schools into districts based on enrollment, geography and like schools, while also considering individual school preferences for maintaining traditional opponents.

"Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is just a step in the process of developing actual schedules for our member schools," explained Associate Director Kevin Merkle in presenting the plan to the Board. "Some districts have a wide range in school enrollment and geography, but once the districts determine their sub-district alignments, most of the enrollment and geographical issues will be solved."

The recommendation approved included:

  • Placement of all schools in a scheduling district
  • Final decision on appeals from schools who requested to be placed in 9-Man
  • Bylaws to guide the work of each district
  • Allowing limited inter-district play upon approval of the Board of Directors
  • A plan for the initial meetings for each district that will be lead by members of the District Football Placement Committee.

The 10-member District Football Placement Committee met five times since mid-March to place schools in districts, using enrollment, geography, like schools and current conference membership and current opponents as key criteria.

Schools were given the opportunity to provide information to the committee in advance, including three teams that they would like to continue to schedule. Those requests were reviewed carefully and were met to the extent possible. More than 90 percent of the schools' requests were met, and a significant majority of schools were placed in a district with most, if not all, of the schools that they currently play.

Districts will have initial meetings this summer to discuss the placements and the next steps in the process.

The next major step will be for districts to decide on sub-district alignments. Once that is completed, schedules for the 2015 and 2016 seasons can be developed. The goal is for all schools to have a complete schedule for both years by Nov. 1.

Jackson County Central, Martin County West and Windom are among the 28 teams in the South Central District.

We'll visit with activities director Eric Tvinnereim and Nate Klima of JCC and MCW down the road this summer as the process continues.

To view the new football districts listing the schools placed in each district, click here.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Section 3A track and field preview

Friday, May 30

Thought I would get to this earlier, but with trips to Marshall, almost to Janesville, all the way to Janesville, Buffalo Lake and Redwood Falls it didn't happen until now.

The Section 2A track and field meet will be held Saturday at Mankato West High School. Field events start at 9:30 a.m., with track prelims at 10 a.m. and track finals at 11 a.m.

Martin County West has 19 individuals entered in the section meet.

The top two finishers in each event advance to next week's state meet at Hamline University in Saint Paul. Entries can also advance to the state meet by meeting a qualifying standard in each event.

Here's a look at MCW for the Section 2A meet.


  • Taryn Tumbleson is entered in the 100-meter hurdles. She had a seed time of 17.0 seconds, 10th-best of the section entries.
  • Two-time state place winner Haley Jensen has the fifth-best seed time in the 100 meters (12.92). The top five seeds in the 100 met the state standard in their sub-section meet.
  • 7th-grader Abby Bachenberg is also entered in the 100 meters for the Mavericks.
  • Freshman Cora Olson will compete in the 200 meters.
  • MCW's girls 4x800 team has the top seed time in that event (9:56.19), nearly 10 seconds faster than runner-up Waseca (10:06.04). Running on that team are Brooke Anderson, Sara Carlson, Whitney Smith and Morgan Larson.
  • Brooke Anderson is entered in the open 1600 meters for MCW.
  • The Mavs' girls 4x100 team has the top seed time of 50.34 seconds, which is better than the state standard. Members of that team are Taryn Tumbleson, Cora Olson, Hailey Leiding and Haley Jensen. Tumbleson and Jensen were on last year's MCW team that was second at state.
  • Morgan Larson has the second-best seed time in the 800 meters (2:24.82). She was second at state as a freshman last year.
  • Sara Carlson is seeded eighth in the 3200 meters (12:28.45).
  • Hailey Leiding has the best seed effort in long jump (16-10.5), which is also close to the standard of 17-1.
  • Madyson Larson has the sixth-best seed effort in discus (107-5). Standard is 119-10.
  • Nicole Sherer is in the first flight for the shot put.


  • Sophomore Brandon Kluver is entered in both the open 200 and 400-meter events.
  • Like their girls counterparts, MCW's boys 4x800 team has the top seed time (8:23.92). Glencoe-Silver Lake is second (8:25.36) and TCU third (8:32.02). Members of that MCW team are Nick Holm, Jonah Mayo, Matthew Viesselman and Dylan Brockman.
  • Matthew Viesselman has the third-best seed time in the 1600 (4:44.94).
  • Waseca's Shane Streich has a seed time way out front, but the Mavs' Nick Holm figures to be in the mix among a number of runners trying to make it to state in the open 800.
  • MCW's Josh Bjerken has the ninth-best seed time in the 3200 meters (10:40.5).
  • The boys 4x400 team of Nick Holm, Sam Baker, Dylan Brockman and Wesley Cook is the No. 6 seed (3:32.65). Standard is 3:28.94.
  • MCW has two boys who will compete in the first flight of the long jump in Daniel Sparks and Sam Baker.
  • Wesley Cook made the second flight for the triple jump with an effort of 40-1 at sub-section.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Section 3A track and field preview

Monday, May 26

The Section 3A track and field meet is scheduled for Thursday in Redwood Falls. Field events start at 2 p.m., with track events at 3:30.

The top two finishers in each event advance to next week's state meet. Entries can also advance to the state meet by meeting a qualifying standard in each event.

Here's a look at Jackson County Central entries for the Section 3A meet.


  • The 4x800 team of Jessica Christoffer, Annika Lilleberg, Kia Holm and Melissa Brandt is seeded 14th (11:11.52).
  • Corri VanderWoude is seeded 12th in the 100-meter hurdles (17.66).
  • JCC's 4x200 team of Alyssa Post, Aleigha Henderson, Darian Lingl and Zoe Pohlman is seeded 8th (1:54.19).
  • Jessica Christoffer is seeded 5th in the 1600 meters (5:36).
  • The 4x100 team of Riley Schneekloth, Abby Schneekloth, Makenna Donnelli and Darian Lingl is seeded 4th (53.48).
  • JCC has 3 girls in the 400. Sarah Brandt is seeded 8th (1:04.6), Hailey Handevidt 15th (1:05.65) and Kayla O'Connor 16th (1:06.17).
  • Corri VanderWoude is seeded 5th in the 300-meter low hurdles (50.67).
  • Two girls are in the 200, with Alyssa Post 10th (27.96) and Riley Schneekloth 16th (28.47).
  • Samantha Swift is seeded 14th in the 3200 meters (13:26.46).
  • JCC's girls 4x400 team of Jessica Christoffer, Hailey Handevidt, Kayla O'Connor and Sarah Brandt is 12th (4:28.33).
  • Hailey Handevidt is the 12th seed in girls pole vault (7-2).
  • Brielle Scheepstra is the 15th seed in long jump (13-10.5).
  • Sophie Johnson is the No. 15 seed in girls triple jump (30-5).
  • Kenna Bannister is the No. 2 seed in girls shot put (34-2).
  • Also, Kenna Bannister is 11th seed in the discus (90-5.5).


  • The 4x800 team of Bradley Gustafson, Jordan Ringgenberg, Matthew Strom and Warren Darling is seeded 6th (9:02.5).
  • Jon Harmening is seeded third in the 110-meter high hurdles (16.16). Standard is 15.83.
  • Matt Schmit is seeded 10th (16.78) and Jeremy Ringgenberg 13th in the high hurdles (17.13).
  • JCC has two boys in the 100. Shadrach Wacker is seeded 11th (11.9) and Marek Bingel 13th (11.92).
  • The boys 4x200 team of Jon Harmening, Matt Schmit, Ryan Salzwedel and Shadrach Wacker is seeded 4th (1:34.98).
  • The 4x100 team of Marek Bingel, Matt Schmit, Shadrach Wacker and Zach Holm is seeded 6th (45.79).
  • Ryan Salzwedel is seeded 6th in the 400 meters (52.92).
  • Two Huskies are in the 300-meter int. hurdles. Jon Harmening is 3rd (41.76) and Jeremy Ringgenberg is 7th (43.07).
  • Standard in the 300 hurdles is 40.71.
  • Matthew Strom is the 10th seed in the 800 meters (2:10.37).
  • Marek Bingel is seeded 15th in the boys 200 (24.24).
  • Jordan Cushman is the 15th seed in the 3200 meters (11:30.66).
  • The 4x400 team of Matthew Strom, Ryan Salzwedel, Warren Darling and Jeremy Ringgenberg is seeded 3rd (3:35.57).
  • Ryan Salzwedel is seeded 5th in the boys high jump (5-10). Standard is 6-3.
  • Curtis Pell made it in boys pole vault and is seeded 13th (9-7).
  • Warren Darling is the 7th seed in boys long jump (19-3.5).
  • Jon Harmening is the 2nd seed in boys triple jump (41-8).
  • JCC will have two boys throwing the discus. Nolan Hohenstein is seeded 2nd (141-0) and....
  • Brandon Schmit is 4th (132-8.5). The discus standard is 147-6.
  • Nolan Hohenstein is the 3rd seed in boys shot put (48-11). Standard is 50-11.
  • Brandon Schmit is the 13th seed in shot (40-6).

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Announcing 2014 JCC, MCW football schedules

The Old Oak Bucket is in Fairmont's trophy case right now.

Thursday, April 24

Wednesday night we announced the 2014 football schedules for Jackson County Central and Martin County West on Twitter.

If you don't follow me on Twitter (and if not, why not?) or missed them, here are the tweets:

Jackson County Central

  • The Huskies open their season with 2 home games at Swearingen Field. They then play 4 of 5 on the road before closing at home.
  • The Old Oak Bucket will be on the line for the first time since 2006 in JCC's opener as Fairmont visits Jackson on Thursday, Aug. 28.
  • We located the bucket in the trophy case in Fairmont this winter. JCC did win the last meeting between the teams.
  • The Huskies beat the Cardinals 43-14 in the 2006 Section 3AAA playoffs. Fairmont had won 33-22 in the regular season that year.
  • The next six games are on Fridays, starting Sept. 5 vs. Luverne. Those team have also met in the postseason 5 of the last 7 years.
  • The first road game is Sept. 12 at St. Peter. The Huskies and Saints have never played during the regular season.
  • JCC and St. Peter played 3 postseason games, with the Saints winning 36-28 in 1999 and the Huskies winning 21-0 in 2001 and 28-16 in 2002.
  • The Huskies play a regular-season game at Marshall for the second straight year, Sept. 19. JCC won 35-14 last season.
  • Next is St. James Area at Swearingen Field on Sept. 26. That will almost certainly be the Huskies' homecoming game.
  • JCC has won three recent postseason games over St. James, 27-6 in 2009, 48-0 in 2010 and 56-0 in 2013.
  • It will be the "Battle for the Paddle" Oct.3 at Island Park in Windom when the Huskies and Eagles meet. JCC has won 8 straight in the series
  • JCC goes to Pipestone the second straight year, Oct. 10. The Huskies have also defeated the Arrows eight straight times.
  • The regular-season finale for JCC is at home vs. Redwood Valley on Wednesday, Oct. 15. The Huskies have won 10 straight over the Cardinals.
  • With the new Big South Conference, JCC will not play Worthington in 2014. JCC (or Jackson) has played Worthington every year since 1928.

Martin County West

  • Martin County West will play football in the Southern Minnesota Conference for a second season in 2014.
  • The Mavericks will reverse their schedule from 2013. They'll play 2 at home, 2 on the road, 2 at home and 2 on the road.
  • MCW hosts New Ulm Cathedral on Aug. 29 and Cedar Mountain/Comfrey on Sept. 5.
  • The first road game for MCW is an 8:00 game at Minnesota Valley Lutheran on Sept. 12. Then it's off to Buffalo Lake-Hector Sept. 19.
  • Two home games follow, Sept. 26 vs. Sleepy Eye and Oct. 3 vs. Wabasso.
  • The regular season ends for MCW with games at Springfield Oct. 10 and Red Rock Central on Oct. 15.
  • There are 10 teams in the Southern Minnesota Conference so there is one team each school doesn't play. For MCW it's Sleepy Eye St. Mary's.
  • St. Mary's won the league title last year with an 8-0 record. Wabasso and MCW were both 7-1.
  • JCC and MCW will again both be in Section 3AA. Playoff dates are Oct. 21, 25 and 31.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Area athletes heading to Hamline, Drake

Thursday, April 24

This week marks the start of the "Big Meet" season for track and field athletes.

Minnesota athletes will head to Saint Paul for the Hamline University Elite Meet Friday, while Iowa athletes make their way to Des Moines for the Drake Relays that get underway Thursday.

The Hamline Elite Meet brings together Minnesota’s top nine athletes and relays competing head-to-head in each event, regardless of class.

Martin County West will send two entries to Hamline in junior Haley Jensen and sophomore Morgan Larson.

Jensen is entered in the 100 meters, which has its prelims scheduled for 5:37 p.m. and finals for 6:35.

Jensen has the third-fastest seed time for the meet at 12.24 seconds. Vanessa Lane of Pequot Lakes is first (11.92).

Larson runs in the 800 meters, scheduled for 8:04 p.m. Her seed time of 2:17.67 is tied for fifth.

Shakopee's Tess Misgen has the best seed time (2:10.46).

Also entered in the 800 is Redwood Valley's Kayla Huhnerkoch, who has the seventh-best seed time (2:17.84).

In the girls shot put, Katelyn Weber of Saint Clair has the top seed effort (47-2).

Among the entries in the boys meet are Worthington's Will Dudley, who has the second-best seed performance in pole vault (14-1) and Ryan Kruse of Saint Clair, who has the sixth-best throw in the discus (157-5). Both of those events start at 5:30.

In Iowa, two individuals and one relay team from the area have qualified for the Drake Relays.

Estherville Lincoln Central junior Caitlyn Clayton qualified in the girls shot put, which will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Spirit Lake Park's Jenna McCoy qualified for the girls long jump, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

Also, SLP's boys 4x100-meter relay team of Jacob Jenness, Caleb Jennings, Blake Enderson and Pat Woizeschke competes in that event. Prelims are at 6:10 p.m. Friday, with the finals at 3:40 p.m. Saturday.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Anderson returning to coach MCW volleyball team

Friday, April 18

A former Martin County West volleyball coach will become the next Mavericks' coach next week.

Among the items on the agenda for the MCW School Board for its regular meeting Tuesday is to approve the hiring of Travis Anderson as head volleyball coach.

Mary Sussenguth resigned from the position last month after being accepted into the School Counseling Masters Program at Winona State University.

Anderson previously was the head coach at MCW from 2005-2010.

Under his guidance, the Mavericks won five Valley Conference and two Section 2A championships. Martin County West was second in the 2010 state Class 1A tourney after a sixth-place finish in 2008.

Travis was then a volunteer assistant coach for two seasons at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

He was a manager for MCW's volleyball team that qualified for the Class A state tournament in 1991 under the coaching of his mother, Garla Anderson.

Travis Anderson

Travis Anderson went on to play four seasons with the men's volleyball team at St. Ambrose University.

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Rients receives NSIC baseball honor

Tuesday, April 15

Jackson County Central graduate Patrick Rients has been named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference baseball Player of the Week.

Rients is a senior designated hitter at Southwest Minnesota State.

For the week, Rients batted .526 (10-for-19) with three home runs, three doubles, five runs scored, one stolen base and finished with six runs batted in.

SMSU was 4-1 for the week, splitting a pair with Winona State and winning three from Wayne State.

Rients finished with a 1.156 slugging percentage with 22 total bases. He had at least one hit in all five games and had two or more in four games.

He finished 4 for 8 with a run scored and an RBI in a split with Winona State, then finished 6 for 11 with three home runs and five RBI vs. Wayne State.

Rients leads SMSU in batting average (.359), home runs (8), RBI (24) and slugging percentage (.718).

Patrick Rients

The Mustangs are 7-6 in the NSIC and 16-13 overall. They're at the University of Sioux Falls Tuesday.

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MCW to host baseball, softball tournaments

Friday, April 11

Hopefully this doesn't jinx it, but things look to be good to go for Martin County West to host its annual baseball and softball tournaments Saturday at the Fox Lake Area Sports Complex.

It’s the 22nd annual baseball tournament and 18th annual softball tourney.

Play in the baseball tourneys starts at 9 a.m., with the softball tourney getting under way at 10 a.m.

With the MCW senior trip and Easter next week, both Maverick teams are then off until April 22 when the baseball team hosts Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial and the softball squad plays at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.

Following is the schedule for each tournament:


Time West diamond East diamond
9 a.m. MCW vs. Southwestern United (A) Fairmont vs. Mt. Lake Area (A)
30 minutes after MCW vs. Southwestern United (B) Fairmont vs. Mt. Lake Area (B)
30 minutes after A championship B championship
30 minutes after A championship B championship


Time West diamond East diamond
10 a.m. MCW vs. Mt. Lake Area (A) Fairmont vs. Luverne (A)
30 minutes after MCW vs. Mt. Lake Area (B) Fairmont vs. Luverne (B)
30 minutes after A championship B championship
30 minutes after A championship B championship

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Copley tied for division home run lead

Friday, April 4

Zach Copley has two home runs for the Rochester Community and Technical College baseball team. That's tied for the top spot in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference Southern Division.

The 2013 Jackson County Central graduate is hitting .286 (6-21) with three doubles, the two homers and four RBI. He's also pitched two innings for the Yellowjackets.

Another 2013 JCC grad, Taylor Christopher, is hitting .400 (4-10) and has scored six runs.

The Yellowjackets will play two games at Cadwell Park in Mitchell, S.D. Saturday, including one vs. Minnesota West at about 1 p.m.

The Bluejays also face the Dakota Wesleyan JV at 11 a.m. and Rochester takes on Northland in a scheduled 3 p.m. game.

A pair of 2012 JCC grads, Dustin Pronk and Brett Larson, play for Minnesota West.

The Bluejays and Yellowjackets are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday, April 26.

An effort is being made to play those games at Wacker Field. Hopefully that will turn out better than an effort to have some college baseball games in Jackson this week.

It would be cool to see four former Huskies playing college baseball in Jackson. I won't hide my bias toward those four. Can't imagine how much baseball I've seen them play through the years.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Sussenguth not returning to MCW volleyball team

Friday, April 4

Mary Sussenguth will not be returning to coach the Martin County West volleyball team next season.

"This has been a very, very difficult decision," Sussenguth said in an email. "I have been accepted into the School Counseling Masters Program at Winona State University.

"These past three years at MCW have been absolutely incredible with the best athletes, faculty and community support I have ever experienced. I will profoundly miss my MCW family and am forever blessed to start my teaching and coaching career here."

The Mavericks were 17-10 in 2011, 23-11 in 2012 and 27-8 in 2013. They advanced to the state Class 1A tournament the last two years.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

MCW softball notes

Thursday, April 3

After two postponements, the Martin County West softball team is now scheduled to open its season Friday at Adrian.

Not liking the chance of that. Madelia/Truman is slated to be in Welcome on Tuesday.

For now, some info on Maverick softball returnees:

  • Jordan Gregory is the leader in hits (29), triples (5) and average (.468). She tied for most runs scored (25).
  • Kate Thiesse also scored 25 runs to share the top spot there and led MCW in doubles (5).
  • Shawna Dressen is the top returnee in home runs (3) and runs batted in (21).
  • Gregory is one of three MCW players back that hit better than .400 last year. Dressen hit .434 and Thiesse .412.
  • Besides Dressen, other MCW returnees to go yard last year were Becca Steen (2), Thiesse (2), Gregory (1) and Molly Klima (1).
  • Becca Steen and Jordan Gregory will handle the pitching duties for the Mavericks.
  • Martin County West was 10-6 overall last season and went 2-2 in the Section 2A tournament.
  • Paige Breneman holds single-season records for average (.554), hits (46) and doubles (14). All were in 2011.
  • Kim Newville (1997) and Becca Steen (2012) share the record for runs with 40. Tricia Brevig has the record for triples (8 in 1998)
  • Morgan Williamson holds the MCW single-season record for RBI with 39 in 2012.
  • Shawna Dressen became the seventh Maverick to hit three home runs in a season in 2013. The others were....
  • Brenda Bedford (1995), Sara Jones (1995), Heidi Williamson (1997), Tessa Bergemann (2009), Paige Breneman (2011) and Kayla Traetow (2011).
  • Paige Breneman holds three MCW career hitting records, hits (176), doubles (43) and home runs (7).
  • Tricia Brevig holds career records for triples (18) and RBI (97). Cody Silker has the top career batting average (.504).

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

JCC track and field preseason notes

Wednesday, April 2

With a postponement and a cancellation this week, the scheduled opener for the Jackson County Central track and field teams is now Monday in Wells.

Here's some information on the JCC track and field teams that was also presented on Twitter.

  • On the boys side, the Huskies return their top 10 point scorers, led by Darnell Taylor-Breck's 186.5.
  • Filling out the top five were Ryan Salzwedel (141.5), Jon Harmening (128.5), Warren Darling (120) and Matt Strom (108).
  • Darnell placed third in triple jump at the state meet last year and is the JCC and program record holder at 43-4.
  • The boys figure to be deep and talented in all areas. There could be meets where they have completely separate 4x100 and 4x200 teams.
  • JCC's girls return 8 of their top 10 scorers from last year. They may not have quite the depth of the boys, but do have all areas covered.
  • Riley Schneekloth was second in points for the girls last year, with Julia Schumann third, Sarah Brandt fourth and Makenna Donnelli fifth.
  • Both teams of JCC thinclads are looking to make some noise at the Section 3A true team meet May 5 at Slayton.
  • Five JCC boys have their name on multiple school records. Justin Cook has the 800 record (1:55.97) and is also on the 4x400 and 4x800 teams.
  • Nathan Schulz has two individual JCC records, long jump (20-3.5) and high jump (6-1).
  • Boys with an individual school record and on a record relay are Jeremy Sirovy, Chad Kruger and Marc Strom.
  • Fun fact: The oldest boys record is the discus record of 176-7 by Rick Ailts in 1973. That's one of five records that go back to the 70's.
  • Amanda Darling has her name on seven JCC records. Individual: 100 (12.25), 200 (25.28), 400 (59.24) and long jump (17-11).
  • Darling is also on JCC record-holding 4x100-, 4x200- and 4x400-meter relay teams.
  • The only other JCC female athlete to hold two individual schools records is Angie Hummel, high jump (5-4) and discus (118-11).
  • Girls with an individual school record and on a record relay are Ashley Kocak, Theresa Condon, Charlene Bass and Haily Hanson.
  • Fun fact: The oldest program (JCC/Jackson) girls record is Bobbi Anderson's 800-meter record of 2:25.9 in 1977.
  • Bonus fun fact: When Jack Walsh started coaching at Jackson, he wrestled dinosaurs to clear the discus area.
  • JCC actually has a home meet scheduled this year. MCW, Fairmont and St. James Area are on the schedule for a quad in Jackson April 24.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

JCC softball preseason notes

Monday, March 31

It looks like the Jackson County Central softball team will open its season at home Monday vs. Mountain Lake Area.

Here is a series of tidbits that were first presented in Twitter form on Sunday:

  • Of the returnees, Brittany Woodke had the most runs (22), hits (28), RBI (16), home runs (2) and the best average (.418, 28-67) last year.
  • Woodke and Moira Carlson each had three doubles last season. No returning player had a triple last season.
  • Blaney Markman and Jordian Tirevold both had .286 batting averages last season. Jayde Price hit .267.
  • As a team, JCC softball hit .339 last year (210-619) with 34 doubles, three triples and 17 home runs.
  • Moira Carlson is the only returnee to pitch in more than one game last season.
  • In 9 appearances, Carlson pitched 53 innings, allowing 52 runs (34 earned) for a 4.49 ERA. She walked 24 and struck out 32.
  • Blaney Markman was a winner in the only game she pitched, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 8 hits, walking 3 and fanning 3 in 5 innings.
  • JCC had a team ERA of 3.37 last season, walking 53 and striking out 96 in 133 innings.
  • The Huskies have three capable pitchers this year as Mo and Blaney are joined in the circle by eighth-grader Kelsey Kannenberg.
  • Marita Rasche tied the single-season school home run record with seven last season. Shalee Nelson also hit seven in 2007.
  • Rasche finished with a JCC career-record 15 round-trippers.
  • Brooke Klontz broke all the pitching records for the 43-foot distance, which took effect in 2011.
  • The last trip to the state tournament for a JCC softball team was 2005 when the Huskies won a second straight Class 2A title.
  • The 2004 Huskies still hold state tournament records for hits in one game (20) and in one tourney (41).
  • Other trips to state for JCC were in 2000 and 2002. Jackson High School went to state in 1983, 1984 and 1993.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


MCW track and field preseason notes

Monday, March 31

Martin County West's track and field teams will open their seasons Monday at the Valley Conference Indoor meet at MSU, Mankato. Meet time is 7 p.m.

Here is a series of tidbits that were first presented in Twitter form on Sunday:

  • The MCW girls track and field team returns three athletes who competed in the state meet last year.
  • Haley Jensen was second in the 100 meters and also ran on the 4x100 team that placed second. She was also fifth in the 100 at the 2012 state meet.
  • Morgan Larson placed third in the 800 meters at state last year and Taryn Tumbleson ran on the silver-medal winning 4x100 team.
  • Haley Jensen is the MCW school record holder in the 100 (12.24). Morgan Larson holds the 800 record (2:17.67).
  • The 4x100 team (Hailey Holtz, Haley Jensen, Taryn Tumbleson and Libbie Lange) had a time of 49.86 in the state finals last year was a school record.
  • Holtz and Lange were seniors year. Libbie Lange set the Mavericks' record in shot put last year (38-.5).
  • Other girls to watch for with the MCW girls this year are Whitney Smith, Morgan Lange, Hailey Leiding, Harley Holtz and Cora Olson.
  • For the MCW boys, Dan Sparks was a section qualifier in the hurdles and he has his sights set on running at Hamline in June.
  • Some state cross country veterans looking to transfer that success to the spring are Jonah Mayo, Dylan Brockman, Josh Bjerken and Nick Holm.
  • Other Maverick boys looking to make themselves known are Sam Baker, Wes Cook and Anders Fuller.
  • Fun fact: Sara Jones has her name on five MCW girls records. Three in 1991: 200 (25.34), 400 (57.67) and 4x400 (4:09). Also, 2 in 1992: long jump (17-4) and 4x200 (1:45.13).
  • Fun fact: Jeff Lillevold owns three MCW boys records, all from 2004. Long jump (22-0), triple jump (41-11.75) and high jump (6-6).
  • Sara Jones' 1991 are oldest on books for the MCW girls.
  • Oldest MCW boys record: the 4x400 team of Jeff Mayo, Randy Nelson, Steven Hawkins and Cliff Anderson in 1989 (3:29.9).

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


Schmit to play in all-star football game

Thursday, March 27

For the second straight year and for the fourth time in the last five, Jackson County Central will be represented in Minnesota's high school all-star football game.

Matt Schmit has been named to the South squad for the 41st annual Minnesota Football Coaches Association Tackle Cancer All-Star Football Game. This year's game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, June 28 at Husky Stadium on the campus of the St. Cloud State University. He's listed as a defensive end.

Alex Hohenstein represented the Huskies in the 2010 game and Jordan Phibbs in 2011. Tom Schuller was an assistant coach in last year's game.

Two other Southwest Conference players were selected, Cody Rofshus of Luverne and Tyus DeBoer of Marshall. Among the other players named were Luke Becker of Fairmont and David Franta of Blue Earth Area.

Players and coaches representing 85 schools will participate in the game. That's the second most schools represented in a single game. The most was 86 in 1984.

An All-Star training camp will be held at St. John’s University from June 22-28.

This year's game will be the 41st in the current series and the 52nd overall. For the fourth consecutive year, the game will use a South vs. North format. In 2013, the South defeated the North 24-14.

The South lead the current series 2-1. The South also leads the overall North-South series 10-9-1 after 20 games. The South All-Stars took the series lead for the first time after the 2013 victory.

An all-star game was first played in 1945 and has been an annual event since 1974. The game was played in a South vs. North format from 1945-1960 and from 1974-1979, a Metro vs. Outstate format from 1980-2010 and back to a South vs. North format in 2011.

Mike Grant of Eden Prairie will be the head coach of the South team.

His assistants will be Ray Betton, Academy of Holy Angels; Jeff Johnson, Chatfield; Mark Ritter, Eden Prairie; Paul Ruud, Glencoe-Silver Lake; James Semmen, Lanesboro; Steve Solem, BOLD and George Thole, Stillwater.

Bill Weiss of Chisago Lakes Area is the North head coach.

His assistants Earl Bauman, Saint Michael-Albertville; Mark Elmer, Stillwater; Jay Loven, Upsala/Swanville; John McEachran, Perham; Derek Parendo, Proctor; Matt Townsend, Columbia Heights; and Jon Young, Coon Rapids.

The honorary coaches are a pair of MFCA Hall of Fame members, Dick Strand of Southland for the South and Con Natvig of Swanville and Browerville for the North.

Following is a look at the history of all-star football game participation from schools that currently make up Jackson County Central and Martin County West.

Jackson High School


  • 1945 - Walter Vacura
  • 1946 - Godfrey Vacura
  • 1954 - Jerry Benda
  • 1956 - Jim Vacura
  • 1957 - Bill Madison
  • 1959 - Mark Aamodt
  • 1974 - Scott Bargfrede
  • 1984 - Steve Schultz
  • 1986 - Bruce Johnson


  • 1974 - Wes Wistrom

Jackson County Central


  • 1999 - Andy Traetow
  • 2001 - Travis Ahrens
  • 2005 - Tim Ruby
  • 2010 - Alex Hohenstein
  • 2011 - Jordan Phibbs
  • 2014 - Matt Schmit


  • 2013 - Tom Schuller



  • 1976 - Lorny Johnson

Martin County West


  • 2013 - Austin Krumwiede


  • 1998 - Neil Royer



  • 1984 - Joe Theobald
  • 1985 - Dudley Faber


  • 1987 - Jerry Tietje



  • 1985 - Steve Goossen



  • 1979 - Cliff Senne

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.


Moore, Rutt both headed to NCAA wrestling tourney

Monday, March 10

Two former Jackson County Central wrestlers earned berths in the NCAA tournament over the weekend.

Cooper Moore won the 165-pound title at the Mid-American Conference Championships in Kent, Ohio and Travis Rutt was second at 197 at the Big 12 tournament in Norman, Okla.

Moore, a 2012 Jackson County Central graduate, is a redshirt freshman at Northern Iowa.

Cooper won by a fall and major decision on Saturday and then won 11-5 over Ohio's Harrison Hightower in the finals on Sunday.

Cooper Moore Travis Rutt

UNI finished second behind Missouri for the team title as the Tigers nudged out the Panthers by 2.5 points.

Meanwhile Rutt, who wore a JCC singlet for two seasons, was runner-up at 197 at the Big 12 tourney, losing in what was described as one of the most intense of the tournament as it took several tiebreaker periods to decide a winner in his title match with Iowa State's Kyven Gadson.

The bout was tied at 1-3 following three periods and Gadson went on to take the title after having five seconds of riding time to win by a 4-3 decision in TB-2. Along the way there was a video review late in regulation.

Rutt and Gadson also went to sudden victory in their regular-season match, with Gadson winning 3-1.

It's Rutt's third trip to the NCAA tourney, going twice while wrestling at Wisconsin. He was 1-2 as a sophomore in 2010 and 4-2 as a junior in 2011 as he placed seventh and earned all-American honors.

The Sooners were second to Oklahoma State in the team standings.

The NCAA tourney is March 20-22 in Oklahoma City.

Stay up to date on the latest sports news at KKOJ.com, find our Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @sportsdr44.

Daughter of former Jacksonites helps team to Iowa state tourney

Monday, March 3

The daughter of some former Jacksonites has helped her team reach its first first-ever Iowa state Class 2A girls basketball tournament.

Woodbury Central advanced to the reached its first-ever state tournament with an 83-78 double overtime win last Monday against Treynor in a regional final game in Mapleton.

Ellen Gallagher scored 29 points and grabbed 20 rebounds for Woodbury Central in the victory.

Gallagher, a senior, is the daughter of Tim and Jill Gallagher. Jill originally hails from Lake Park.

Ellen is averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats and surpassed the 1,000-point scoring mark for her career several weeks ago. She shoots 62 percent from the field and 81 percent from the free-throw line. She is second in the state in Class 2A in scoring.

Woodbury Central (21-3) faces Hudson (23-1) in the first round at 6:45 p.m. Monday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Treynor is the second consecutive top 10 team Woodbury Central defeated on the tourney trail. The 14th-rated Wildcats beat Hinton by two points in the district final contest on Hinton's home floor the previous Friday behind 23 points and 16 rebounds from Gallagher.

Tim Gallagher is a columnist with the Sioux City Journal.

A lot of us could learn something from the students at Western Christian, as Tim wrote about on Sunday.

Having written that, with a small dose of irony, I present this to you:

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County wrestlers now have 34 state titles

Sunday, March 2

The state wrestling title won by Keegan Moore Saturday night in St. Paul bring the number of titles won by wrestlers from Jackson County to 34.

Each of those wrestlers has been coached by Randy Baker, seven with Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield and 27 with Jackson County Central.

Baker is second on the all-time list of individual state champions coached. He trails only Jim Jackson of Apple Valley, who coached 60 champs from 1995-2012.

The Huskies had four place winners, bringing Baker's total in that category to 84 and moving him to fourth on that list.

He trails only Jackson (132), John Grygleko of Robbinsdale (90) and Gregg Greeno of Saint Michael-Albertville (86).