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Lee Larson
Lee Larson


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

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

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.

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

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.”

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

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).

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

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.

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

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.

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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.

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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).

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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

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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.

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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).

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

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A few weekend college notes

Monday, Feb. 24

A few college notes from the weekend, with sports from a mixture of seasons.

Cooper Moore won by fall in 6:38 over Devin Geoghegan of Old Dominion at 165 pounds in the Panthers' 21-19 win over the Monarchs Sunday in Norfolk, Virginia.

Moore, a 2012 Jackson County Central graduate, has a 23-6 record on the season. He's a redshirt freshman.

UNI won the dual 21-19 to finish its dual-meet schedule with a 13-0 mark. The Panthers were the only Division I in the country to finish undefeated in duals.

Northern Iowa will compete in the Mid-America Conference Championships March 8-9 in Kent, Ohio.

Jason Vongsavanh, a freshman with the Wisconsin-Stout men's track and field team, was on a winning relay team at an

Cooper Moore Jason Vongsavanh

indoor meet at UW-Stevens Point.

Vongsavanh ran the first leg of the Blue Devils' winning 4x200-meter relay team that had a time of 1:33.73. All four members of the relay team were freshmen.

He also ran the second leg on Stout's 4x400 team.

The Blue Devils will be at the WIAC Championships this weekend.

St. Cloud State freshman Brooke Klontz scored the winning run for the Huskies in a 6-5 win over Nebraska-Kearney Sunday at the Husky Dome in St. Cloud.

Klontz came into the game as a pinch runner in the bottom of the seventh. Her run capped a rally that saw the Huskies come back after trailing 5-3 in the sixth inning.

SCSU is off until March 11 when it opens play in the Rebel Spring Games in Winter Haven, Fla.

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State gymnastics meet gets under way Friday

Thursday, Feb. 20

Martin County Area will take part in the team competition at the state Class A gymnastics meet Friday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. Meet time is 11 a.m.

The Magic qualified for the state meet by winning the Section 3A title last Saturday in Marshall with a 140.65 total.

MCA qualified for the state team event in its first two years in 2010 and 2011.

Before that, Martin County West made five straight trips from 2005-2009.

Fairmont went to state four times in the 1990's (1990, 1992, 1994 and 1996) and three in the 1970's (1975, 1977 and 1978).

New Prague is the defending champion and the Trojans return with six gymnasts who competed in the state meet last year.

Also back in the team field are second place Melrose Area, third place Austin and fifth place Big Lake.

In addition to the Magic, other qualifying teams are North Branch, Breck and Detroit Lakes.


The individual portion of the state meet is Saturday, also with an 11 a.m. start.

Martin County Area will have three competitors Saturday.

Senior Becca Steen will compete in the state meet for the sixth time. She earned a medal on beam the last two years, placing fourth in 2012 and fifth last year. This year, Becca has qualified for state individual honors on vault, bars, floor and all around. In addition to six trips as an individual, Steen will compete with a team for the fourth time.

You can hear from both Becca Steen and her mom and coach, LeeAnn, on our FYI program at 8:05 a.m. Friday on KKOJ-KRAQ.

The other two Magic gymnasts competing as individuals are freshmen.

Bryanna Peterson will compete on bars, beam and all around, while Martha Olson competes on vault.

Jackson County Central has two gymnasts in the individual competition.

Eighth-grader Brooklyn Schuett returns to compete on floor, while junior Bailey Schneekloth enters the state meet as section bars champion.

Worthington will have two competitors.

Senior Paige Kinley will compete on vault, bars and floor. Freshman Liz Hayenga competes on beam.

Rounding out the Section 3A team will be two gymnasts from Hendricks/Russell-Tyler-Ruthon.

Sophomore Hailey Teske will compete on bars, beam and all around, while eighth-grader Greta Johnson competes on vault, floor and all around.

Doug Johnson will have reports from the state meet both Friday and Saturday on KKOJ-KRAQ.

Friday's team order of competition:

Vault Bars Beam Floor
Detroit Lakes Austin New Prague MCA
North Branch Breck Melrose Big Lake
MCA Detroit Lakes Austin New Prague
Big Lake North Branch Breck Melrose
New Prague MCA Detroit Lakes Austin
Melrose Big Lake North Branch Breck
Austin New Prague MCA Detroit Lakes
Breck Melrose Big Lake North Branch

Saturday's individual order of competition by section:

Vault Bars Beam Floor
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
4 1 2 3
8 5 6 7
3 4 1 2
7 8 5 6
2 3 4 1
6 7 8 5

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Red Bulls at home Friday, Saturday

Thursday, Jan. 30

The way the schedule shook out for the Fairmont/Martin County West Red Bulls wrestling team only left them with three competitions at home this season.

First was a dual meet with Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial Area back on Dec. 6 in Sherburn. The final two of those dates will occur the next two days.

Friday, Fairmont/MCW will host a triangular in Fairmont. Saturday will be the Red Bull/Subway Invitational in Sherburn.

One mat will be used for Friday's action at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont, starting at 5 p.m. with JV matches between River Valley and Saint Peter. That will be followed by the varsity match between the Wildcats and Saints.

Then it's Fairmont/MCW JV and varsity vs. River Valley and Red Bulls' JV matches vs. Saint Peter.

Introduction of Fairmont/Martin County West seniors will take place around 7 p.m., followed by the SCC varsity dual between the Red Bulls and Saints at about 7:10.

We'll have move-by-move coverage of the River Valley match and reports from the Saint Peter dual on 105.7 KRAQ.

On Saturday, it's the annual Red Bull/Subway Invitational at Martin County West High School in Sherburn.

Wrestling is scheduled to start on two mats at 10 a.m. and run into the late afternoon.

Teams scheduled to join the host Red Bulls are Blue Earth Area, Madelia/Truman/Martin Luther, Minneota, Pipestone, United South Central, Waseca and Worthington.

Next weekend will be busier as far as the competition, but nobody from the Red Bulls' program is going to have to move any mats.

Fairmont/MCW will compete in the Valley Conference tournament Friday, Feb. 7 at Madelia, with the South Central Conference tourney the next day in Saint James.

After that, it's the first two rounds of the Section 3AA tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

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

Change could be coming for regular-season football scheduling

Wednesday, Jan. 22

After years of discussion, the way high school football teams in Minnesota put together their regular-season schedules could begin to make a major change Thursday.

That's when the Minnesota State High School League board of directors meet in regular session in Brooklyn Center.

A proposal called district football scheduling would end current conference alignments. New conferences would emerge based on the districts.

The district scheduling method, which would begin with the 2015 season, would create scheduling groups statewide, based on factors that include school size, geography, “like schools” and strength of programs.

Groups should be made up of at least 16 schools or more when possible. Those districts could include teams from more than one class.

School must play all eight regular-season games within its district unless a district had an odd number of schools. Districts would create schedules for teams in their district.

The section playoff format would stay the same as it is now, with section seeding based on regular-season results.

Also, the board is expected to approve games to be played one week earlier in 2015.

TCF Bank Stadium is unable to host the Prep Bowl in late November, so state championship games will be played on Nov. 14-15.

The football coaches advisory committee supports a proposal to begin training camps on Aug. 10 and play the first games on Saturday at the end of the second week of practice than the third week. That's the day most typically hold scrimmages now.

Another possibility is for teams to play only seven regular-season games.

That plan would only be used for the 2015 season. Prep Bowl will move into the Vikings' new stadium in 2016.

Softball is also on the agenda.

The softball coaches advisory committee will ask the board to approve another class of competition, moving to four classes from the current three.

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Former Huskies to be on opposite sides in Norman Sunday

Thursday, Jan. 16

Two former Jackson County Central wrestlers will be on opposite sides of the mat Sunday when Oklahoma hosts Northern Iowa in a 2 p.m. nonconference wrestling dual in Norman.

Travis Rutt is a redshirt senior at OU, while Cooper Moore is a redshirt freshman at UNI.

Rutt is ranked third at 197 pounds in the latest USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll. He has a record of 13-1, with his lone loss coming last Sunday in sudden-victory overtime to second-ranked Kyven Gadson of Iowa State.

Moore (16-5) is rated 10th at 165.

Cooper Moore Travis Rutt

Both teams are undefeated in duals.

The fourth-ranked Sooners are 7-0, while the ninth-ranked Panthers are 5-0.

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Gage, Bakalyar going into Jackson County Wrestling Hall of Fame

Wednesday, Jan. 8

A pair of athletes from the Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield era are this year's inductees into the Jackson County Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Chad Gage and Jesse Bakalyar will be honored during Hall of Fame Night as Jackson County Central hosts a Southwest Conference triangular Thursday.

Wrestling starts at 5 p.m. with Worthington taking on Marshall. That will be followed by JCC vs. Marshall and JCC vs. Worthington.

The induction ceremony will take place before the final dual of the night matching the Huskies against the Trojans.

Gage was a two-time state qualifier and the second state champion from Jackson County. He qualified at 119 pounds as a sophomore in 1988 and won the 135-pound state title as a senior in 1990. He finished with a career record of 109-22.

Chad went on to wrestle at Willmar Community College and at Augustana College. He is currently the head wrestling coach at Eagan High School and brings the Wildcats to town each December for the Pizza Ranch/JCC Invitational.

Bakalyar was state runner-up at 145 pounds in 1993 as a member of the first team from the county to make it to the state dual tournament. The Silver Bullets ended Canby's string of 18 straight appearances in the state tourney and placed third at state.

Bakalyar went on to become a three-time all-American at Augsburg College.

Jesse is following his dad into the JCWHOF. Bruce was one of last year's inductees.

A fund-raising meal for the JCWHOF will be available in the commons, with a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, chips, bars and drinks served from 5-7 p.m. Suggested donation is $6 per plate. A social will follow the duals at Pillars Pub and Eatery.

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Outlaws, ASCS to return to Jackson Speedway

Tuesday, Dec. 17

Jackson Speedway's full 2014 schedule hasn't been announced, but a couple of dates are set as two major racing groups will return.

The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series will make another stop in June, as will the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series Labor Day weekend for the Jackson Nationals.

Friday, June 13 might be the final chance to see “The King of the Outlaws” in Jackson.

Tony Stewart Racing announced last week that Steve Kinser, a 20-time WoO champion, will make next year his final full season on the circuit. A year-long farewell tour – dubbed the “Salute to the King” – begins in February with the DIRTcar Nationals in Florida.

Kinser has collected 576 A Feature victories in his 35-year WoO career.

“Racing with the Outlaws has been my life for almost 40 years,” Kinser said in a statement. “It’s all I’ve known. My family has been around it. I’ve had the pleasure of running up and down the road racing all across this incredible country, and even in Canada, Mexico and Australia with this series. I knew it wasn’t going to last forever.

“I feel like we have a great team here capable of winning a lot of races and challenging for the championship this year.”

Kinser has also branched out into other forms of motorsport during his career. He appeared multiple times in the now-defunct International Race of Champions, with a career-best finish of sixth in the 1994 championship (a year that included a win at Talladega Superspeedway). Kinser also ran a handful of Sprint Cup events in 1995 and competed in the 1997 Indianapolis 500, where he finished 14th.

With Kinser set to embark on one last go-round, his team owner paid tribute.

“I never missed an Outlaw show in the area when I was growing up,” said Stewart. “We waited for those nights like they were holidays. It was incredible watching Steve race with Sammy (Swindell) and Doug (Wolfgang). He was our guy, being from Indiana, and when he won, it gave us all something to brag about. And he won a lot.

“A few years ago, when we had the chance to get him to drive for TSR, it was like a dream come true. When we got him on board, my goal was for him to drive for us for the remainder of his career. I’m really excited for him to go out and have a great season. He’s the best ever and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Kinser finished 11th in last year's stop in Jackson. Donny Schatz was first.

The Jackson Nationals on Aug. 29-30 will again be sanctioned by the ASCS under the direction of AtoZ Promotions.

Brian Brown won the Nationals title last year.

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

Rutt, Moore move up in national ratings

Wednesday, Dec. 11

Travis Rutt and Cooper Moore have both moved up in the latest NCAA Division I ratings by Amateur Wrestling News.

Rutt, a senior at Oklahoma, has moved up two spots to second in the 197-pound ratings after winning the title at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational last weekend. He has a record of 13-0 on the season.

Minnesota's Scott Schiller (13-0) is first.

The Sooners are off until Jan. 9 when they wrestle at Wyoming.

Moore, a freshman at Northern Iowa, climbed four spots to 13th in the 165-pound ratings after placing fourth at Las Vegas. He's 10-3.

The Panthers will host the UNI Open Saturday.

Oklahoma is fourth in the team ratings and Northern Iowa is 10th. Big Team teams Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa go 1-2-3.

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

Hohenstein is second-team all-conference choice

Tuesday, Dec. 10

Alex Hohenstein has been named as a second-team selection on the all-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football team.

Alex Hohenstein
A 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior defensive lineman at Wisconsin-River Falls, Hohenstein is a 2010 Jackson County Central High School graduate.

He started all 10 games for the Falcons and finished with 25 solo and 37 total tackles. He had 6.5 tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks. He also forced a fumble. He had three solo and six total tackles in a game at Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

"Alex was our leader on defense the entire season," said UWRF coach Matt Walker. "He has had a wonderful career and I am so pleased that he was rewarded with this honor."

Hohenstein has also been named to the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll in each of his first three seasons at River Falls.

2012 JCC grad Aaron Brandt finished his sophomore season with the Falcons. He played in eight games, making eight solo and 10 total tackles and had a pass breakup.

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Menke named top offensive player in bowl game

Monday, Dec. 9

Tanner Menke, a freshman quarterback with the Rochester Community and Technical College football team, was named the Offensive Player of the Game Sunday in the Graphic Edge Bowl at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

A 2013 Jackson County Central graduate, Menke's Yellowjackets lost 23-20 in overtime to Iowa Central.

Menke was 12-for-25 passing for 131 yards including a 22-yard touchdown pass.

Martin County West grad Alex Schliesmann, a sophomore running back, carried the ball 16 times for 80 yards in his final game for Rochester.

The Yellowjackets trailed 14-0 before cutting the gap to 14-3 at halftime.

Schliesmann had a 27-yard run on the first play of the third quarter for the

Tanner Menke

Yellowjackets, setting the stage for a 77-yard scoring drive capped with Menke's TD pass.

Rochester would score again to take a 17-14 lead, but the Tritons tied the game in the fourth quarter. The Yellowjackets missed a field goal on the final play of regulation.

In overtime, Rochester got a field goal on its possession, but Iowa Central would then score a touchdown to win.

The Yellowjackets finish the season 10-2.

Also from this weekend, several former area wrestlers were in action:

  • Former JCC wrestler Travis Rutt, a senior at Oklahoma, won the 197-pound title at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Rutt is ranked fourth in the country. The Sooners won the team title. OU is now off until Jan. 9 when it wrestles at Wyoming.
  • 2012 Jackson County Central grad Cooper Moore, a redshirt freshman at Northern Iowa, placed fourth at 165 pounds in that same tourney in Las Vegas. Moore is rated 16th. His losses in the tourney were to wrestlers ranked fifth and eighth. The Panthers were sixth as a team. They host the UNI Open Saturday.
  • Two 2013 JCC grads are freshmen at Minnesota State, Mankato. Darick Vancura was second at 174 pounds at the Buena Vista Open in Storm Lake. Eliot Jurries placed seventh at 141.
  • Trevor Schultz, a 2013 Martin County West grad who is also a freshman at MSU, placed eighth at 125 at Buena Vista.

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

JCC wrestlers at home the next two days

Friday, Dec. 6

You only have five chances to see the Jackson County Central wrestling team compete in its home gym this season and two of them are in the next two days.

The four-time defending state Class 1A champion Huskies host a triangular Friday and then host the 11-team Pizza Ranch Invitational Saturday.

Other home dates for JCC this season are Dec. 19 vs. Blue Earth Area, Jan. 9 in a triangular with Worthington and Marshall and Jan. 24 vs. Adrian.


JCC will open its season with a Southwest Conference dual as the Huskies host Pipestone at 5 p.m. The Arrows and Windom/Mountain Lake are seen as the main competitors to try to take away JCC's league title.

The Huskies are rated first in Class 1A and have five ranked wrestlers.

JCC has one top-ranked wrestler as Keegan Moore is first at 182 pounds. Also, Paden Moore is rated second at 160, Jordan Biehn third at 120, Luke Norland third at 170 and Dalton Wagner is eighth at 106.

Pipestone received mention in the 1A team ratings and the Arrows have two ranked individuals, with Brady Bos second at 152 and Michael Suda ninth at 113.

Pipestone and Fargo Davies will wrestle at about 6:30, with the Huskies taking on the visitors from North Dakota at about 8 p.m.

Davies is 10th in the Class A (large school) ratings in North Dakota.

The Eagles have three ranked wrestlers, including a pair of number ones in Cole Alexander (170) and Hunter Swensen (285). Quinn Martin (182) is ranked fifth.

Davies is 2-1 on the season, losing to No. 5 Turtle Mountain 48-24 and beating Devils Lake 63-16 and Fargo South 47-27.


A shift in the calendar caused some conflicts in wrestling schedules this season. JCC's tournament is now the same day as Blue Earth's.

While the number of teams in the Pizza Ranch tourney is down to 11 from a high of 15, there will be a number of strong teams and talented wrestlers on hand.

There are two other ranked 1A teams in the field, No. 7 Wabasso/Red Rock Central and No. 8 Adrian. Windom/Mountain Lake got votes in 1A and Worthington received votes in 2A.

Other teams in the field are Eagan, Fargo Davies, Fulda/Murray County Central, Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland, Harrisburg, S.D. and Luverne.

The teams have a total of 29 wrestlers who are state-ranked entering the tournament.

Following is a list of those ranked wrestlers, although they won't necessarily be competing at the weight in which they're ranked:

  • 106 - Kyle Hieronimus, Adrian, Class 1A No. 2; Dalton Wagner, Jackson County Central, Class 1A No. 8; Hser Eh Pwae, Worthington, Class 2A No. 7.
  • 113 - Wyatt Stevens, Windom/Mountain Lake, Class 1A No. 2.
  • 120 - Spencer Jenniges, Wabasso/Red Rock Central, Class 1A No. 2; Jordan Biehn, Jackson County Central, Class 1A No. 3; Ryan Elias, Adrian, Class 1A No. 9.
  • 126 - Joe Fischenich, Windom/Mountain Lake, Class 1A No. 3; Anthony Luft, Worthington, Class 2A No. 1.
  • 132 - Jared Willaby, Windom/Mountain Lake, Class 1A No. 4.
  • 138 - Tony Lynn, Adrian, Class 1A No. 2.
  • 145 - TJ Fulton, Wabasso/Red Rock Central, Class 1A No. 5.
  • 152 - None.
  • 160 - Paden Moore, Jackson County Central, Class 1A No. 2; Matt Slater, Class 1A No. 8; Zach Kempema, Worthington, Class 2A No. 10.
  • 170 - Luke Norland, Jackson County Central, Class 1A No. 3; Jesse Slater, Adrian, Class 1A No. 4; Ben Matter, Wabasso/Red Rock Central; Spencer Oeltjenbruns, Luverne, Class 2A No. 10; Cole Alexander, ND Class A No. 1.
  • 182 - Keegan Moore, Class 1A No. 1; Jordan Schroepfer, Wabasso/Red Rock Central, Class 1A No. 6; Quinn Martin, ND Class A No. 5.
  • 195 - Wyatt Richardson, Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland, Class 1A No. 6; Vince Johnson, Windom/Mountain Lake, Class 1A No. 7; Carson Hagen, Worthington, Class 2A No. 3.
  • 220 - None.
  • 285 - Alex Schroepfer, Wabasso/Red Rock Central, Class 1A No. 10; DJ Reker, Luverne, Class 2A No. 10; Hunter Swensen, Fargo Davies, ND Class A No. 1.

JCC edged Wabasso/RRC 195-192.5 for the team title last season.

Varsity wrestling starts at 9:30 a.m. in the main gym, with JV to start at 10 a.m. in the auxiliary gym.

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Rutt earns 12 wrestling honor

Wednesday, Dec. 4

Former Jackson County Central wrestler Travis Rutt has been named the Big 12 Wrestler of the Month for November.

Rutt, a redshirt freshman at the University of Oklahoma, is competing for the Sooners for the first time this season after transferring from Wisconsin and redshirting last season.

He has an 8-0 record to start the season, including a 5-0 mark in dual competition. Five of Rutt’s wins this season have come with bonus points, including two major decisions and three falls.

In the Bedlam dual against in-state rival and fifth-ranked Oklahoma State on Sunday, Rutt claimed the only bonus point victory of the dual as he won a 12-3 major decision over the Cowboys' Blake Rosholt.

The extra point at 197 pounds proved to be the

Travis Rutt in action in Oklahoma's win over Oklahoma State Sunday.

difference for fourth-ranked OU as it rallied from a 15-3 deficit to take the dual 16-15.

The Sooners won the first match but dropped five straight to the Cowboys before winning the final four of the contest. Rutt’s match was the third of four wins for OU to close out the dual.

Additionally, Rutt won an individual title at the Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational on Nov. 9 as the Sooners claimed their 15th straight victory in the event.

During his junior season at Wisconsin, Rutt was recognized as the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week.

Rutt is up to fourth in this week's 197-pound ratings by Amateur Wrestling News.

Also, Jackson County Central graduate Cooper Moore, a redshirt freshman at Northern Iowa, is ranked 17th at 165 pounds this week.

Oklahoma is up one place to fourth and Northern Iowa up four spots to 12th in this week's USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll.

The Sooners and Panthers will be both at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Friday and Saturday.

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Vancura second in tournament

Monday, Nov. 25

Several former Jackson County Central wrestlers and a former Red Bull were in action on college wrestling mats this weekend.

JCC grad Darick Vancura of Minnesota State, Mankato went 4-1 as he placed second at 174 in the Black (freshman-sophomore) Division at the Joe Parisi Open in St. Charles, Mo.

Vancura won his first two matches by fall, won an 11-6 decision in the quarterfinals and by fall in the semifinals before dropping a 5-3 decision to Parker Von Egidy of Missouri in the finals.

Also for the Mavericks, JCC grad Eliot Jurries went 2-2 at 141 and MCW graduate Trevor Schultz was 1-2 at 125, also in the Black Division.

Baker also second

JCC graduate William Baker, a freshman at Air Force, went 4-1 to take second place at 174 pounds at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Open Saturday.

Baker won his first match by fall, his next two by decision and by fall in the semifinals before losing by an 8-1 decision to Air Force teammate Konner Witt in the finals.

Moore splits at triangular

Cooper Moore, a 2012 JCC graduate and a redshirt freshman at Northern Iowa, split a pair of matches for the Panthers Saturday.

Moore, ranked 15th in NCAA Division I at 165 pounds, won a 14-2 major decision over Samuel Bennett at 165 pounds in UNI's 32-6 win over Northern Illinois.

Later that day, he lost 4-2 in triple overtime to fifth-ranked Steven Monk of North Dakota State. Moore had defeated Monk in the finals of the Cobber Open the previous weekend, helping him earn Mid-American Conference Wrestler of the Week honors.

The Panthers beat the Bison 29-12.

UNI will compete at home for the first time Saturday, hosting Wisconsin.

Also this weekend:

  • MCW grad Conner Grupe scored six points for the Buena Vista men's basketball team in a 100-94 loss to Clarke Saturday and then had six points, two rebounds and two assists in a 100-62 win over Finlandia Sunday.
  • MCW graduate Bailey Tish had five points and four rebounds for Minnesota West in a 65-56 win at Iowa Lakes.

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

Cooper Moore wins tournament title

Sunday, Nov. 17

Cooper Moore won four matches Saturday to win the 165-pound title at the Finn Grinaker Cobber Open wrestling tournament Saturday at Concordia College in Moorhead.

Cooper Moore
A 2012 Jackson County Central graduate and a freshman at Northern Iowa, Moore opened the tournament by pinning Jordan Engen of Northland in 1:41.

In the quarterfinals, Moore won 7-3 over Kyle Begin (Southwest Minnesota State) and he won an 8-0 major decision over Marcus Polak (Minot State) in the semifinals.

In the finals, Moore won a 6-4 decision over North Dakota State's Steven Monk, who is ranked third in the country.

The Panthers wrestle NDSU and Northern Illinois in duals next Saturday in DeKalb, Ill.

Also this weekend:

  • Darick Vancura of Minnesota State, Mankato won four matches, all by falls, to win the 174-pound title in the Freshman Division of the Luther Open Saturday in Decorah, Iowa. Vancura pinned Mitch Stoltzman (Simpson College) in 1:19; Faraan Brantley (Iowa) in :39; Michael Maksimovic (Cornell College) in 0:33; and Grant Rosenboom (Wisconsin-Whitewater) in 3:22.
  • Whitney Burmeister had a double-double of 16 kills and 16 digs for Southwest Minnesota State in a 3-1 win over Northern State in Aberdeen. The Mustangs are seeded third for the NSIC tourney, hosting No. 6 seed Wayne State Wednesday.
  • Briel Hendricksen closed out her volleyball career at Minnesota State, Mankato as the Mavericks lost 3-0 to Saint Cloud State.
  • Windom graduate Courtney Ysker had seven kills and six digs for Augustana in a 3-0 win over University of Mary. The Vikings are seeded fourth for the NSIC tournament and host fifth-seeded Northern State Wednesday.
  • Sam Fransen closed out his cross country career at Gustavus by placing 128th out of 181 runners at the NCAA Division III Central Regional Championships at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
  • Alex Hohenstein had one solo tackle and three assists in his last game for Wisconsin-River Falls, a 43-6 loss to fifth-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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

Schuller receives academic award again

Friday, Nov. 15

MADISON, S.D. – Stacey Schuller of Dakota State has been named as a second-team selection on the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) all-District 3 Volleyball Academic team.

It was her second time being named to the team. Schuller was also recognized as a sophomore.

To be nominated, a student-athlete needs to have at least 3.2 cumulative grade-point average on a 4.0 scale and must be at least sophomore in eligibility.

Schuller, a junior setter for the Trojans, is second in the Trojan volleyball record book for career assists with 3,047 assists through three years at DSU. She is 104 assists shy of breaking the school record.

A Jackson County Central graduate, Stacey is the daughter of Tom and Deb Schuller. She is majoring in Elementary Education/Special Education at Dakota State.

Stacey Schuller

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Keegan Moore nationally ranked

Thursday, Nov. 14

Jackson County Central sophomore Keegan Moore is rated 20th in the country at 170 pounds in national high school ratings by InterMat.

Keegan was 37-4 last season and placed third at 160 pounds in Class 1A as a freshman, losing in the semifinals to the eventual champion.

He was a state qualifier at 138 as an eighth-grader and compiled a 35-9 record and was 26-17 as a seventh-grader.

Keegan is one of 11 Minnesotans to appear in the national ratings, with two at his weight class as Apple Valley's Mark Hall is ranked second in the country.

There are three nationally ranked teams, with Apple Valley second, Saint Michael-Albertville 33rd and Prior Lake 49th.

Following are the nationally ranked wrestlers from Minnesota:

  • 106 - Tucker Sjomeling, fr., Delano, 14th
  • 126 - Tommy Thorn, sr., Saint Michael-Albertville, 4th
  • 138 - Seth Gross, sr., Apple Valley, 6th
  • 145 - Brady Berge, fr., Kasson-Mantorville, 20th
  • 160 - Dayton Racer, jr., Apple Valley, 16th
  • 170 - Mark Hall, soph., Apple Valley, 2nd; Keegan Moore, soph., Jackson County Central, 20th
  • 182 - Robert Stevenson, jr., Apple Valley, 12th
  • 195 - Lance Benick, jr., Totin-Grace, 1st; Nathan Rose, sr., Sibley East, 10th
  • 285 - Sam Stoll, sr., Kasson-Mantorville, 3rd

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6 of JCC's 8 losses came to state tournament teams

Thursday, Nov. 7

For the seventh straight year, the Jackson County Central volleyball team saw its season end with a loss to Marshall.

The Huskies and Tigers were in the same sub-section for five of those seasons, with the teams meeting in the sub-section finals four times and the semifinals the other time. In two of the years the teams were in different sub-sections and met in the Section 3AA finals.

Each season along the way Jackson County Central was won at least 20 matches.

The Huskies were 20-7 in 2007, 25-3 in 2008, 26-2 in 2009, 27-1 in 2010, 26-4 in 2011, 24-6 in 2011 and 22-8 this season. That's a cumulative record of 170-31, an .846 percentage.

Of JCC's eight losses this season, six came to teams that will be playing in the state tournament.

Among Class 2A teams, the Huskies lost twice to top-seeded Marshall and once to third-seeded Hill-Murray.

JCC lost two teams in the Class 3A state tourney field, top-seeded Eagan and unseeded Rochester Mayo. The Huskies also lost to Class 1A second-seeded Minneota.

Another JCC loss was to Sioux Falls Roosevelt, which is ranked second in Class AA (the largest class) in South Dakota and won its first postseason match Tuesday.

The other loss for the Huskies was to Class 3A Edina.

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Sussenguth 2-3 in state tournament trips

Thursday, Nov. 7

In her third season as head coach at Martin County West, Mary Sussenguth is taking her second team to the state tournament.

The Mavericks will face third-seeded Southwest Christian High School of Chaska in the first round at 3 p.m. Thursday at Excel Energy Center.

MCW was 17-10 in 2011, 23-12 last season after going 0-2 at the state tourney and will take a 26-6 record onto the court Thursday.

Most of the players on this year's Martin County West squad practiced against last year's state tournament team every day and go to at least experience the state tournament atmosphere from the bench if not see some playing time.

Sussenguth said that experience is invaluable and this year's team wants to improve on last year, whether that be winning a set or a match. The team's goal is to play on Saturday, which would mean either a first-round upset of Southwest Christian Thursday or beating either second-seeded Minneota or Carlton in the consolation bracket Friday.

Minneota defeated MCW 2-0 (25-7, 25-22) at the JCC tournament in September.

Sussenguth, a native of Willmar, was the Dragons' team captain in 2009 and is the all-time leader in block assists.

One of Sussenguth's college teammates at Minnesota State University Moorhead also has her team in the state tourney, as Megan Chatterton has guided Dassel-Cokato a berth in the Class 2A tourney, the first in school history.

Mary's brother, Joe, will also be busy coaching this weekend as his Ridgewater Community and Technical College team will play in the Region 13A tournament in Rochester. Joe has coached the Lady Warriors to NJCAA Division III national titles in 2006, 2010 and 2011. He's also the director of the Southwest Minnesota Juniors program.

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Fransen, Gusties run in MIAC meet

Monday, Nov. 4

Sam Fransen
Gustavus Adolphus senior Sam Fransen finished 69th out of 230 runners with an 8K time of 27:41.5 at the MIAC Men's Cross Country Championships at Como Park Golf Course in Saint Paul Saturday.

He was 50th team standings and third for the Gusties, who were seventh as a team.

Fransen and Gustavus will compete in the NCAA Division III Central Region Championships on Saturday, Nov. 16 in Northfield.

Gustavus volleyball triangular

Two Martin County West graduates and a Jackson County Central grad were part of a volleyball triangular at Gustavus Adolphus College Saturday morning and afternoon on Gus Young Court in St. Peter.

The teams all went 1-1, with Gustavus beating Buena Vista 3-2, Buena Vista topping Wisconsin-Superior 3-2 and Wisconsin-Superior winning 3-0 over Gustavus.

MCW grad Paige Breneman had 38 digs and two ace serves for Gustavus in the win over Buena Vista and then recorded 18 digs and two in the match with Wisconsin-Superior.

Fellow former Maverick Alyssa Taylor put down 23 kills in the BVU match and then had eight kills and three digs vs. Superior.

Then Saturday night, Alyssa got to watch her sister, McKenna and this year's Mavericks gain a berth in the state tournament.

Paige and Alyssa were on MCW's state tournament teams that placed sixth in 2008 and second in 2010.

Gustavus finished its season with an overall record of 11-20.

Breneman and Taylor are both juniors.

Paige Breneman (top) and Alyssa
Photos courtesy of Gustavus
Adolphus Sports Information.

JCC graduate Sydnee Donnelli, a freshman at Buena Vista, had 19 digs, four aces and two assists vs. Gustavus and then recorded a double-double of 15 digs and 10 kills vs. Superior.

The Beavers finished their season with an overall record of 17-13, the program's highest win total since 2005.

Also this weekend:

  • Stacey Schuller had 16 assists as Dakota State beat Presentation 3-1 in the first round of the North Star Athletic Association Volleyball Conference tournament Saturday. The Trojans travel to Jamestown for a semifinal match Wednesday.
  • Jessi Jurries had 10 digs as Bethany Lutheran closed out its volleyball season with a 3-0 win over Northland Saturday.
  • Carlee VonHoldt had 17 digs for Waldorf in a 3-0 win over College of Saint Mary.
  • Briel Hendricksen had an ace serve for MSU, Mankato in a 3-1 win over MSU, Moorhead.
  • Windom grad Courtney Ysker had 18 kills and 13 digs in a 3-0 loss to Minnesota-Crookston. The first set was 37-35, a Division II record for most points in a set.
  • Whitney Burmeister had seven kills, seven digs and one ace for SMSU in a 3-0 road loss to Minnesota-Duluth in NSIC volleyball.
  • Alex Hohenstein had four solo tackles and one assist for five total tackles for Wisconsin-River Falls in a 24-21 double overtime loss to Wisconsin-LaCrosse.
  • Alex Schliesmann had 11 carries for 83 yards and a TD in Rochester's 33-7 MCAC semifinal win over Vermilion. Tanner Menke was 17-for-27 passing for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Yellowjackets.
  • William Baker of Air Force went 2-2 at 174 pounds in the Elite Division at the Cowboy Open wrestling tournament in Laramie, Wyo.
  • Former JCC wrestler Travis Rutt of Oklahoma won a 4-1 decision at 197 pounds in the Sooners' 34-12 win over Shorter University.

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

Schliesmann has second 200-yard game

Monday, Oct. 28

Martin County West graduate Alex Schliesmann had his second 200-plus yard rushing day of the season Saturday as Rochester Community and Technical College defeated Ridgewater 27-15 in the first round of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference Southern Division football playoffs Saturday.

Schliesmann, a sophomore, carried the ball 20 times for 207 yards rushing, including a 19-yard touchdown run. He also had non-scoring runs of 43, 44 and 66 yards.

Schliesmann had run for 226 yards in a win over Minnesota State, Fergus Falls on Sept. 21.

In nine games this season, he has 1,117 yards, an average of 124.1 yards per game. He's scored six touchdowns.

Jackson County Central Tanner Menke was 10-for-24 passing for

Alex Schliesmann

155 yards and one TD for Rochester. The freshman signal-caller also had a rushing touchdown. Rochester will host Vermilion in the semifinals this Saturday.

Another MCW grad, Austin Krumwiede, a freshman safety at Central Lakes, had three solo tackles for the Raiders in a 55-26 win over Minnesota West.

Central Lakes travels to Northland in the other semifinal.

Also this weekend:

  • Alex Hohenstein had three tackles and Aaron Brandt two for Wisconsin-River Falls in a 13-6 loss to Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
  • Whitney Burmeister had seven kills and 19 digs for Southwest Minnesota State in a 3-0 NSIC volleyball win over Minnesota-Crookston.
  • Courtney Ysker had 16 digs and 14 kills, but Augustana fell 3-0 to Minnesota-Duluth.
  • Alyssa Taylor had 14 kills and three digs, while Paige Breneman posted 29 digs two aces for Gustavus in a 3-1 loss to St. Mary's.
  • Maggie Prunty had 10 digs and six kills for St. Olaf in a 3-0 loss to cross-town rival Carleton.
  • Jessi Jurries had 11 digs and two assists for Bethany Lutheran in a 3-0 UMAC volleyball win over Crown College.
  • On Saturday, Carlee Von Holdt of Waldorf College had 28 digs in a 3-2 loss to Ozarks and 17 in a 3-0 win over Mount Mercy.
  • Matt Kocak of the Wisconsin-Platteville men's cross country team placed third out of 30 runners at the Wisconsin-Oshkosh Invitational Saturday with an 8K time of 27:20.

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JCC, MCW football teams to meet for first time

Friday, Oct. 25

Saturday will mark the first-ever varsity football meeting between Jackson County Central and Martin County West. JCC became a school district in 1997, MCW consolidated in 1988.

However, there were three games between Jackson and Sherburn-Dunnell in the early 1980s.

The Blue Jays won the first meeting in 1981, but the Raiders won in 1982 and 1983.

Jackson had three different coaches in those three games as it was in a stretch of five different coaches in five years.

Paul Krohn, who was from Sherburn, coached Jackson to a 19-0 win over S-D in the 1981 contest. That was one of two wins that season for JHS.

The Raiders beat the Blue Jays 13-6 in 1982, the lone season Dave Wells was the head coach at Jackson.

Sherburn beat Jackson 21-8 in 1983, Tyrone Wacker's first year as coach of the Blue Jays.

That 1983 Sherburn-Dunnell team, coached by Jerry Tietje, would advance to the state playoffs.

Sherburn-Dunnell also went to the state playoffs in 1986 and reached Prep Bowl, where the Raiders lost 52-19 to Minneota. Tietje was named the Class C Coach of the Year that year.

Tietje coached in the 1986 Minnesota All-Star Football Game and would go on coach at Fairmont High School.

His sons, Jeff, Josh and Jake played at Faimont and would play in the all-star game. The Tietjes are one of three families where the dad coached in the all-star game and his sons played.

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Rochester football team sets scoring record

Monday, Oct. 7

Rochester Community and Technical College set a National Junior College Athletic Association football scoring record Saturday in a 91-7 win over Minnesota State, Fergus Falls in a Minnesota College Athletic Conference Southern Division game.

Martin County West graduate Alex Schliesmann had 104 yards on only four carries for Rochester, including a 44-yard touchdown run.

Jackson County Central grad Tanner Menke was 13-for-20 passing for 263 yards and four touchdowns for the No. 13 Yellowjackets, who are 2-0 in the division and 6-0 overall. The Yellowjackets had 634 yards of offense.

Rochester travels to Willmar to face Ridgewater next Saturday.

Here's what other Jackson County Central, Martin County West and Windom graduates did this weekend:

  • MCW graduate Austin Krumwiede had an interception for Central Lakes, his second of the season in a 50-39 win over NJCAA No. 18 Minnesota West. He also had two solo and one assist for three tackles for the Raiders, who are 4-2.
  • JCC graduate Travis Beeck had one solo and one assist for two tackles for the Bluejays vs. Central Lakes. Minnesota West is also 4-2.
  • Alex Hohenstein had 3 solo and 3 assists for 6 tackles, while Aaron Brandt went 1-1-2 for UW-River Falls in a 47-14 loss to UW-Stevens Point.
  • Whitney Burmeister had 9 kills, 12 digs, 3 assists and 1 ace for the SMSU volleyball team in a 3-0 win at Minot State.
  • Briel Hendricksen had 2 digs for MSU, Mankato in a 3-0 loss to Minnesota-Crookston.
  • Windom grad Courtney Ysker posted 18 digs and 11 kills for Augustana in a 3-2 win over Minnesota State, Moorhead.
  • Paige Breneman had 25 digs, 3 assists and 1 ace, while Alyssa Taylor 13 kills, 5 BA and 3 aces for Gustavus in a 3-2 loss to Minnesota-Morris.
  • In a 3-0 loss to Northwestern (MN), Paige Breneman had 7 digs, while Alyssa Taylor had 8 kills, 4 digs and 2 BA.
  • Bethany Lutheran was a 3-0 UMAC volleyball winner over Northland with Jessi Jurries getting 5 digs and 1 assist.

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

MCW volleyball team to host cancer awareness event

Wednesday, Oct. 2

Martin County West schools, in cooperation with the Mavericks' volleyball team and its parents, are recognizing Thursday as "Imagine a World Without Cancer Day."

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

Funds raised from the event will be divided equally between the American Cancer Society and Fairmont Community Hospital's chemo fund.

All students, staff and everyone in the Martin County West communities are being encouraged to dress in white Thursday to recognize Cancer Awareness.

The MCW volleyball team will be hosting Saint Clair in a Valley Conference match in Trimont Thursday. The C-squad starts at 4:30 p.m., with the B-squad scheduled for 5:45 and varsity for 7:30.

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

There will be a bake sale of items provided by the families of players in grades 7-12 throughout the night. Also, there will be a silent auction with a number of items available including a volleyball autographed by the MCW players, Maverick wear, hand-crafted items and numerous gift certificates.

After the match, there will be a volleyball serving competition with prizes awarded.

T-shirts will be on sale to promote cancer awareness. They're white with teal lettering.

If you'd like to make a donation, but can't attend the match Thursday, you can do so at any of the Martin County schools. Checks should be made payable to Fairmont Community Hospital Foundation or American Cancer Society.

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

Weekly update on area graduates

Monday, Sept. 30

The weekly update on what Jackson County Central, Martin County West and Windom graduates did this weekend:

  • Sydnee Donnelli had 14 digs, 4 assists, 1 kill, 1 ace and 1 BA as the Buena Vista volleyball team beat Wisconsin Lutheran at the Wisconsin Dells tournament.
  • Bethany Lutheran beat North Central 3-0 in UMAC play. Jessi Jurries recorded nine digs.
  • Gustavus was a 3-1 MIAC volleyball winner over Macalaster. Paige Breneman had 16 digs, 2 assists and 1 ace. Alyssa Taylor had 5 kills, 4 BA and 3 digs.
  • No. 3 Saint Thomas beat Saint Olaf 3-0. Maggie Prunty posted 10 kills, 6 digs, 1 BS and 2 BA.
  • Waldorf won twice in volleyball. Carlee VonHoldt had 21 digs in a 3-1 win over William Penn and 8 digs and 2 assists in a 3-0 win Grinnell.
  • Whitney Burmeister had 10 kills, 7 digs and 1 BA for the SMSU volleyball team in its 3-0 win over Minnesota State, Moorhead.
  • Briel Hendricksen had one dig and one assist for MSU, Mankato in a 3-0 loss to top-ranked Minnesota-Duluth.
  • Windom grad Courtney Ysker had a double-double of 10 kills and 10 digs for Augustana in a 3-1 NSIC volleyball win over Minot State.
  • Travis Beeck had a solo tackle for the Minnesota West football team in its 26-6 home win over Ridgewater.
  • Alex Schliessman rushed for 118 yards on 12 carries for Rochester in its 31-7 win over Mesabi Range as the Yellowjackets improved to 5-0.
  • Austin Krumwiede had 1 solo tackle and 3 assists for 4 total tackles for Central Lakes in a 40-23 win over MSCTC-Fergus Falls.

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

Schliesmann runs for 226 yards in Rochester win

Monday, Sept. 23

Your weekly update on what some Jackson County Central and Martin County West graduates were up to over the weekend:

Three local grads were on the same football field in Rochester, where the unranked Yellowjackets beat NJCAA No. 15 Central Lakes 48-21 in a Minnesota College Athletic Conference matchup.

MCW grad Alex Schliesmann rushed for 226 yards and a touchdown for the Yellowjackets.

JCC grad Tanner Menke threw for 111 yards and three touchdowns for Rochester. He was 10-for-27 with an interception.

Coming up with that interception for Central Lakes was MCW grad Austin Krumwiede, who returned it 10 yards.

Also this weekend:

  • Alex Hohenstein and Aaron Brandt each had three tackles for Wisconsin-River Falls in a 35-34 loss at Simpson.
  • JCC grad Sam Fransen, a senior with the Gustavus cross country team, was 98 of 272 runners at the St. Olaf Invite with an 8K time of 28:21.6.
  • JCC grad Whitney Burmeister had a career-high 25 digs and 13 kills as the SMSU volleyball team beat previously unbeaten Wayne State 3-1.
  • Briel Hendricksen had seven digs and two ace serves for MSU, Mankato in a 3-2 win over Upper Iowa Saturday.
  • Stacey Schuller had 13 assists, 9 digs and 1 kill for Dakota State in a 3-0 loss to Jamestown in Madison.
  • MCW grad Jessi Jurries had 13 digs, one ace and one assist for Bethany Lutheran in a 3-0 win over Crown.
  • Maggie Prunty had 8 kills and 12 digs for St. Olaf in a 3-0 MIAC volleyball loss to Hamline.
  • Gustavus volleyball lost 3-0 to No. 3 St. Thomas. Alyssa Taylor had 7 kills, 2 block solos and 5 block assists. Paige Breneman had 7 digs.
  • JCC grad Travis Ahrens won his first game as a varsity head football coach as his Flandreau team beat Sioux Valley 14-7. The Fliers stopped the Cossacks on their own 15-yard line with two minutes remaining.

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

Two home events for Huskies Thursday

Wednesday, Sept. 18

It's homecoming week at Jackson County Central and when most people think of homecoming, the first sporting event that comes to mind is the Friday night football game.

Indeed, there is a football game Friday and it figures to a pretty good one with conference and section implications as the Huskies host Luverne.

Before that there are a pair of home events Thursday and the student-athletes on those teams would appreciate your attendance and support.

First up is the lone home meet of the season for the JCC cross country teams as the KKOJ-KRAQ/Subway Invitational is held at Loon Lake Golf Course.

There are four races, with the seventh- and eighth-grade girls at 4:30 p.m., seventh- and eighth-grade boys at 4:45, varsity girls at 5:00 and varsity boys at 5:25.

That evening you can make your way to the JCC High School gym as the volleyball team hosts two-time defending state champion Marshall. The B- and C-squad matches will start at 6 p.m., with the varsity match to follow.

Don't worry about not having a chance to eat. There will be Subway sandwiches available at the cross country meet and the concession stand at the school will be fully stocked and ready for you.

Look for more details on those events on the sports page of KKOJ.com later in the day Wednesday and get out to support the Huskies.

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

Area grads busy on Saturday

Monday, Sept. 16

Here's what some Jackson County Central, Martin County West and Windom graduates did Saturday.

  • Whitney Burmeister had 2 kills and 2 digs vs. Tampa and 10 kills and 17 digs vs. Angelo as the No. 14 SMSU volleyball team went 1-1, losing 3-0 to No. 1 Tampa and beating No. 14 Angelo State 3-1. She'd had two-doubles Friday.
  • Windom grad Courtney Ysker had two double-doubles for Augustana in wins over Northwest Missouri State and Missouri Western. Ysker had 19 kills and 15 digs vs. NW and went 16 and 10 vs. Mo. Western. She has three straight double-doubles going back to Friday. SMSU and Augustana open the NSIC schedule Thursday in Sioux Falls.
  • The Minnesota State, Mankato volleyball team lost in four sets to Northern State. Briel Hendricksen 12 digs and 2 assists for the Mavericks.
  • Dakota State drops two in Nebraska. Stacey Schuller had 13 assists and 8 digs vs. Friends and went 12-4 vs. Mount Marty.
  • Three MCW grads were on the court in the same match in St. Peter. Paige Breneman and Alyssa Taylor for Gustavus, Jessi Jurries for Bethany Lutheran. Paige had 10 digs and Alyssa nine kills for the Gusties, while Jessi had 13 digs for the Vikings. Gustavus won 3-0.
  • Also, Gustavus lost 3-1 to Simpson. Breneman had 15 digs and Taylor 11 kills.
  • Bethany lost 3-0 to Simpson. Jurries had 12 digs.
  • Maggie Prunty had 12 kills and 7 digs for St. Olaf in a win over Grinnell and 4 kills and 8 digs in a loss to Colorado College.
  • Tanner Menke was 12-31 for 146 yards for Rochester in its 26-0 win over Fond du Lac. He also had an 18-yard run that led to a FG. Alex Schliesmann had 97 yards rushing and caught a pass from Menke for 27 yards. The Yellowjackets are 3-0.
  • The Minnesota West football team is 3-0 after beating Mesabi Range 38-6. JCC grad Travis Beeck had three tackles for the Bluejays.

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

Friday, Sept. 13

Three Top 10 state-ranked teams and two who received votes are part of the 12-team field for the Jackson County Central Invitational volleyball tournament Saturday.

There are four pools of three teams apiece, with teams playing round-robin within their pool.

First-place teams from pool play advance to Division A, second-place teams to Division B and third-place teams to Division C.

Host and Class 2A seventh-ranked Jackson County Central is in Pool A, along with Rochester Century and Red Rock Central.

In Pool B, Minneota is ranked third in Class 1A, with Martin County West receiving votes. Rounding out that pool is Cannon Falls.

Playing in Pool C are Rochester Mayo, which beat JCC at the Shakopee tournament last weekend, along with Saint James Area and Westbrook-Walnut Grove.

Class 1A No. 9 Windom is in Pool D, along with Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, which received votes; and Mankato East.

Pool play starts at 9 a.m. and runs continuous. Division play follows.

Following are the schedules:

Pool A
Jackson County Central vs. Rochester Century
Jackson County Central vs. Red Rock Central
Rochester Century vs. Red Rock Central

Pool B
Martin County West vs. Minneota
Minneota vs. Cannon Falls
Martin County West vs. Cannon Falls

Pool C
Rochester Mayo vs. Saint James Area
Rochester Mayo vs. Westbrook-Walnut Grove
Saint James Area vs. Westbrook-Walnut Grove

Pool D
Windom vs. Tracy-Milroy-Balaton
Windom vs. Mankato East
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton vs. Mankato East

Division A (First-place team from each pool)
First round

Pool A vs. Pool C
Pool B vs. Pool D
Third match
First-round losers
Final match
First-round winners

Division B (Second-place team from each pool)
First round

Pool A vs. Pool C
Pool B vs. Pool D
Third match
First-round losers
Final match
First-round winners

Division C (Third-place team from each pool)
First round

Pool A vs. Pool C
Pool B vs. Pool D
Third match
First-round losers
Final match
First-round winners

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

Former Huskies, Mavericks competing in college

Friday, Aug. 30

A number of Jackson County Central and Martin County West graduates are involved in sports on the collegiate level this fall.

While concentrating on what the current Huskies and Mavericks are doing, we'll try to keep you updated on what these former JCC and MCW standouts are up to.

If I've missed somebody, feel free to contact me.


Six Jackson County Central grads are playing volleyball, including two in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

Briel Hendricksen is a 5-foot-5 senior defensive specialist at Minnesota State, Mankato; and Whitney Burmeister is a 5-9 sophomore outside hitter at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Stacey Schuller is a 5-7 junior setter Dakota State University in Madison, S.D.

Three 2013 JCC grads are in their freshman campaigns.

Sydnee Donnelli is a 5-7 freshman outside hitter at Buena Vista; Lydia Brandt is a 6-1 outside hitter at Morningside; and Michelle VanEpps is a freshman setter at Iowa Lakes Community College.

In addition, another JCC graduate, Megan Bezdicek, is an assistant coach at Iowa Lakes while she does her student teaching in Spirit Lake.

Four Martin County West grads are playing volleyball, including two at Gustavus.

Paige Breneman is back as a 5-4 junior libero, while Alyssa Taylor, a 6-2 junior middle hitter, has joined the Gusties this season.

Another member of MCW's state runner-up team in 2010, Maggie Prunty, is a 5-11 junior middle blocker at Saint Olaf.

Also, Bailey Tish, a 6-0 freshman middle hitter, is playing at Minnesota West.


There are two local grads vying for some playing time as freshmen with their respective football teams in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference.

JCC grad Tanner Menke is a quarterback candidate at Rochester, while Austin Krumwiede is looking for a spot as a defensive back at Central Lakes.

Cross country

Three Jackson County Central grads are back running cross country this fall.

Sam Fransen is a senior at Gustavus, Justin Cook is a sophomore at Augustana and Matt Kocak is a sophomore at Wisconsin-Plattveille.

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

Huskies Fighting Cancer events next week

Thursday, Aug. 29

Huskies Fighting Cancer has scheduled its first two events for the new school year for next week.

HFC is calling its events "Gold Rush" this year in honor of Childhood Cancer, which the color is gold.

"Gold Rush" events are scheduled for Jackson County Central's volleyball match vs. Redwood Valley Thursday, Sept. 5 and the home football game, also vs. Redwood Valley, on Friday, Sept. 6.

At the Sept. 5 volleyball match, Huskies Fighting Cancer is encouraging fans to wear gold in honor of Childhood Cancer awareness.

There will be tailgating before the B-squad match in the high school commons with pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad and lemonade. Cost will be $5. Also, cupcakes will be on sale for $1.

The “Gold Rush” will continue at the Sept. 6 football game.

Fans can enter the “Play the Ball” chance game.

You can “purchase” a yard line for $2. If your name is on the yard line at the end of first and third quarter, you will win a prize. Only one name will be allowed per yard line.

There will also be a friendly team spirit competition between fans of the Huskies and Cardinals at halftime.

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

Schuller vs. Wacker on the volleyball court, sort of

Thursday, Aug. 29

There was a semi Schuller vs. Wacker matchup on a college volleyball court in Sioux City Wednesday night.

Morningside defeated Dakota State 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-20) in a nonconference matchup.

Jackson County Central graduate Stacey Schuller had 10 assists and eight digs for the Trojans. She's a junior and is the daughter of Tom and Deb Schuller.

Setting on the other side of the net for the host Mustangs was TyAnn Buddenhagen, who is the grand daughter of Tyrone and Vereen Wacker and the daughter of Tim and Shelly Buddenhagen of Huron.

TyAnn, a sophomore, had 21 assists.

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

Booster Club tailgate set for first home football game

Wednesday, Aug. 28

It's going to be too hot to cook at home all week, so you can let someone else do it when you go to Jackson County Central's home football opener vs. Foley Friday. Kickoff has been pushed back to 7:30 p.m. to alleviate a little of the heat.

The JCC Booster Club will be hosting a pork burger tailgate on Friday at Swearingen Field. Serving will begin at 6 p.m. on the new patio. Cost is $4 per plate.

Members of the Community Pride committee will be available to answer questions you may have about supporting the project.

A lot of people have done a lot of work in a short time to change the look of the football field. This will give you a chance to check it out and support the Huskies football team.

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

Marshall will stay in Southwest Conference in football

Wednesday, July 31

It turns out Marshall High School probably won't be making a farewell tour through the Southwest Conference football ranks this fall after all.

The Tigers had been set to join the Wright County Conference in football only starting with the 2014 season.

However, that plan was squashed with the breakup of the Missota Conference.

Teams from the Missota are headed in several directions, including the Wright County Conference. The WCC is adding New Prague as its 12th member, participating in all sports. Marshall's membership plan had been for football only so the WCC apparently rescinded its offer.

That sends Marshall back to the Southwest Conference, giving it seven teams. Having an odd number of teams for football has created scheduling issues for approximately a bazillion years.

Schools in the Southwest Conference and South Central conferences have had discussions on merging or at least working together on scheduling.

That has previously been tried with the Southern Minnesota Alliance, a football-only conference that lasted two years (2005 and 2006).

If you do the math you'll find seven-plus-six equals 13 and that's still an odd number, just as it was the first time around.

During the run of the SMAC, there was still a school each week searching for a game. There is now a Zero Week option that didn't exist during the short-lived tenure of the SMAC and that would help.

But there's also a discrepancy in size of the schools in the two conferences, with the teams spread out among three classes for postseason football play.

Jackson County Central is one of four Southwest Conference schools currently in Class 2A for section play. The others are Luverne, Pipestone and Windom. Saint James Area is the only SCC team in Class 2A.

Two SWC teams are in Class 3A (Redwood Valley and Worthington). There are a trio of 3A teams in the South Central (Blue Earth Area, Fairmont and Saint Peter).

There are three Class 4A teams. Marshall from the SWC and New Ulm and Waseca of the SCC.

Superintendents, athletic directors, high school principals and board representatives of the Southwest and South Central conferences will meet on Wednesday, Aug. 21 in Saint James to discuss options.

It appears pretty much anything could come from those talks, whether it be working together for football only or expanding to other sports and activities.

Section football scheduling in Minnesota has been widely discussed for years. That won't solve all the problems but they would be significantly reduced.

However, that's not likely to happen any time soon.

I won't pretend to have all the answers. I'm not even sure of all the questions.

I'm certain one of the items that administrators from the SWC and SCC would like to know before proceeding is just how likely section football is.

From the outside looking in, I'd hate to see the conferences enter into an agreement that is largely being driven by football, only to have section football take effect.

Unless I'm missing something, the only other sports that would benefit from a merger of the conferences is hockey. And even at that, just girls hockey more than boys.

I don't know that a scenario where Luverne travels to Saint Peter for a softball game on a Tuesday afternoon in April is a good one.

When the administrators get together, the elephant in the room (literally and figuratively) c