I remember a spring several years ago that presented some real headaches due to monsoons. I can’t exactly remember the year, but we were in the old high school that now houses Stillwater Junior High School.
Then-Athletic Director C.J. Knoche and his secretary Hazel Ulrich were dealing with postponements and cancellations on a daily basis. This year, the problem is a bit different because softball, golf, baseball, lacrosse and track and field have waited almost two months to get their first games under their belts.
With six more inches of white stuff on April 18 and more earlier this week, current Activities Director Ricky Michel and secretary Jacki Delahunt are up to their ears in postponements and cancellations. The annual Pony Classic track and field meet set for last Saturday has been reset for May 11.
I have to believe that cabin fever must be setting in on our student-athletes. Heck, physical education classes would be well into their outdoor units before now.
My friends in North Dakota tell me that their State Activities Association is considering moving their tournaments back two weeks. I’m sure the land of 10,000 lakes is considering doing the same, but I wouldn’t count on it.
In the meantime, I’ll check out some of our former spring sports standouts who are cavorting in the college sports arena. First off, Nico Gibb is a sophomore playing tennis for St. Olaf and sophomore Eric Hilpert is doing the same at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
No less than 15 girls’ lacrosse players from Stillwater have taken their talents to play on varsity or club teams at the collegiate level, with 13 still active. Allison Kopesky ’09 is playing at NDSU and Abbie Palmer ’09 at St. Ben’s. Rachel Stahura ’10 (UW-RF) Jennifer Klinger ’10 (St. Thomas), Emily Norkol ’11 (UM-D), Whittney Barkey ’11 (St. Thomas), Emily Gould ’11 (St. Ben’s), Jenny Jorgensen ’12 (UW-RF) are playing at the club level.
Playing varsity lacrosse are twin sisters Jacqui and Jessica Morgan ’09 at North Central College in lllinois and Sammi Reiter ’11 at Concordia College in Wisconsin.
I’ll bet the defending conference and section champion girls’ lacrosse team was chomping at the bit before opening the season with Wednesday’s 21-3 win over Park. Captains Katie Casto, Dana Almquist, Maggie Corman and Emma Wiessner are undoubtedly helping the squad overcome cabin fever.
I can only imagine what the defending state champion Ponies softball team is enduring.
What a revolting development this has been, but it will soon come to pass — I think.
Today’s Sports Trivia
Name the four Minnesota colleges and universities that field women’s gymnastics teams?
In the huddle
I was perusing the April issue of the NDSU Bison Illustrated magazine and checking out a story on the Fargo school’s most prolific golfer Amy Anderson. She has won 18 tournaments in her career and holds 18 of 19 school records. In a piece on the Lady Bison called “Fairway to Heaven” I saw a couple photos of the top eight golfers on the team, including a familiar face. Former SAHS star Hailey Boner ’12 is a freshman on the squad and she was asked, as were the others, about their most embarrassing moment on the golf course. Here’s Hailey’s response: “In high school, I bent down to get a putt on the third hole and I split my pants. It took coach 13 holes to get new pants and to cover up what had happened, but it was a great round because I didn’t lose it. I just laughed about it and moved on and shot 75, so that was probably my best round.” Big things are expected from
the Lady Bison this spring when the place eventually thaws and then dries out. There was a time when I would split a pair of pants every time I tried them on…. Answer to Today’s Sports Trivia: The four Minnesota colleges that offer women’s gymnastics team competition are the University of Minnesota, Gustavus Adolphus, Winona State University and Hamline…. A lesson taught is not necessarily a lesson learned! One cannot assume that because the lesson or skill has been presented that it is understood and grasped by all. High school players need constant instruction and continuous coaching. Repetition, drill and review are necessary tools to reinforce learning and to ensure that the skills being taught will be retained. This approach is highly evident on the field, where daily drills constantly bolster and reinforce learned responses. Teaching and learning are on-going activities and must not be allowed to become stagnant. In most athletics, we have that little evaluator called a scoreboard. It’s a tricky invention that’s there to remind the players and coaches of how things are going. Sometimes it’s the informer of a joyous event and at other times it’s there lurking in the shadows with a dose of temporary despair. But life is sometimes like that and athletics helps prepare you for those lessons. I just love athletics so bring it on and give it your best shot…. No less than 39 girls who are outstanding student-athletes from the St. Paul area received Athena Awards at the Prom Center on April 18. KARE-TV anchor Randy Shaver served as emcee and Minneapolis Tribune sportswriter Rachel Blount was the speaker. This year’s Athena Award winner representing Stillwater was Natalie Phippen, who is a track and field ace — if the season ever gets started — and outstanding tennis player for the Big Red. For you Greek mythology buffs, Athena was the daughter of Zeus. She was a top-notch warrior and the Goddess of Wisdom. To get the Athena Award you have to be smart, as well as athletic, and Phippen fills the bill…. Pitcher Hannah Heacox has a strong enough arm — leading a cast of three capable hurlers that also includes Rachel Rhode and Rachel Hartwig — to get the defending state champions back to the promised land…. I have to believe that Ron Gardenhire won’t see many more seasons with the Twins. In fact, it might happen sooner than I think. I hope not…. I’ll bet that you didn’t know that the movie “A League of Their Own” with $107 million in domestic receipts is the highest grossing baseball film of all time. The Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna flick about women’s baseball hit a home run…. Together we build character, courage and loyalty…. finis
Today’s rumination #615
Travel can be a broadening experience, especially when the food is good.
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George Thole retired as head football coach at Stillwater after the 1999 season. He ranks among Minnesota’s top coaches in history with a 285-69-2 record (.805 winning percentage), including four state titles and two state runner-up finishes among 22 championship seasons. He co-authored (with Jerry Foley) “Coaching the Veer Offense,” second edition. His column appears Thursdays in the Gazette. To contact the hall of fame coach e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org