The Mille Lacs County Times » Sports The Mille Lacs County Times cover community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for Milaca, Minnesota and it's surrounding areas. Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:12:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Swimmer Hendrickson earns two all-conference titles Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:45:05 +0000 The Milaca Wolves’ Chloe Hendrickson made a huge splash in the pool at the Granite Ridge Conference meet at Becker High School on Saturday, Oct. 25
Hendrickson earned All-Conference in the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke.
Rachel Airhart also had a good meet, earning All-Conference Honorable Mention in the 200 freestyle while Tara Airhart earned All-Conference Honorable Mention in diving.
Ashley Cassens, Tara Airhart, Breanna Mehrwerth and Rachel Airhart each earned All-Conference Honorable Mention in the 200 free relay.
Milaca saw four more girls – Vanessa Deerberg, Emma Johnson, Agnes Palm-Fulep, and Alexis Tesch – qualify for the section swim meet in their individual events.
As a team, the Wolves placed third at the conference meet.
Milaca finished sixth in the 200-yard medley relay as Hendrickson, Ashley Cassens, Erika Maalis, and Ellie Hartung combined to finish in a time of 2:09.97.
In the girls’ 200-yard freestyle, Rachel Airhart finished third (2:14.20), followed by Tesch (12th, 2:22.01) and Madison Shores (17th, 2:28.46).
The girls’ 200-yard IM saw Hendrickson place second with a time of 2:31.40, which was ahead of teammates Abby Forker (15th, 2:50.13), Johnson (18th, 2:58.65) and Michelle Crandall (20th, 3:01.73).
The girls’ 50-yard freestyle had Mehrwerth finish seven with a time of 27.53. Her teammates in the race included Tara Airhart (ninth, 27.73), Kate Maneloff (15th, 29:13) and Becca Johnson (20th, 30.23).
Tara Airhart also competed in the girls’ one-meter diving, placing fourth with a finals score of 320.80. Jaedyn Kollar was 11th (2:37.05) while Stephanie Fulin was 14th (175.40).
In the girls’ 100-yard butterfly, Cassens was ninth with a finals time of 1:13.25, followed by Deerberg (1:18.27), Michelle Crandall (1:19.94), and Johnson (1:20.99).
The girls’ 100-yard freestyle saw Rachel Airhart place sixth with a time of 1:00.32 while Mehrwerth was eighth (1:00.72). Other Wolves’ swimmers included Tesch (13th, 1:03.76) and Kate Maneloff (14th, 1:03.98).
In the girls’ 500-yard freestyle, Milaca’s Kayla Trigg was 18th with a time of 7:08.35 while Erin Hackenmueller was 20th (7:14.82), Merrissa Peterson was 22nd (7:19.87), and Emma Eidsvoog was 23rd (7:30.37).
In the girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay, Milaca’s team of Cassens, Mehrwerth, and Tara and Rachel Airhart finished second with a time of 1:48.67.
The Wolves’ combination of Tesch, Becca and Hannah Johnson, and Kate Maneloff, meanwhile, was sixth, finishing at 1:56.55.
In the girls’ 100-yard backstroke, Hendrickson was second (1:11.09), followed by Cassens (11th, 1:14.79), Abby Forker (14th, 1:17.33) and Madison Shores (15th, 1:18.53)
The girls’ 100-yard breast stroke race saw Erika Maalis place 10th with a time of 1:23.67, followed by Emma Johnson (13th, 1:27.32) and Palm-Fulep (16th, 1:28.48).
Milaca placed third in the 400 freestyle relay as Tara Airhart, Hendrickson, Mehrwerth, and Rachel Airhart finished in 4:01.93.

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Football: Cathedral ends Milaca’s season 32-18 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:43:52 +0000 Milaca Wolves’ running back Nick Riebel is tackled by a St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders’ player during fourth-quarter action of last week’s playoff game. Milaca would later score a touchdown on the drive. Times photos by Brian Bowman

Milaca Wolves’ running back Nick Riebel is tackled by a St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders’ player during fourth-quarter action of last week’s playoff game. Milaca would later score a touchdown on the drive.
Times photos by Brian Bowman

The Milaca Wolves’ loss to the St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders on Tuesday, Oct. 21 was a simple one to assess.
The Crusaders simply made more big plays at key times of the game.
St. Cloud Cathedral ended Milaca’s season with a 32-18 victory in Class 3A playoff action at Husky Stadium in St. Cloud.
“They were able to make more plays than us,” said Wolves’ head coach Cory Anderson. “The big ones included.”
One of those big plays came just 46 seconds into the game as St. Cloud Cathedral quarterback Dominic Austing found Tommy Auger for a 20-yard touchdown and an early 6-0 lead (extra point attempt was no good).
With 5:34 left in the first quarter, Austing threw his second TD as he hooked up with Isaac Heying for a 12-yard major and a 13-0 advantage.
That lead would be short-lived, however, as Levi Hunt busted a kickoff return to the outside and used his speed to outrun several St. Cloud Cathedral defenders for a 74-yard TD (two-point conversion attempt failed). Hunt also made big plays on defence, hauling in two interceptions.
“He had an excellent game,” Anderson praised. “He probably played one of his best football games. We were kind of living and dying by Levi Hunt because he was all over the field on defence and he was doing his job on offence.”
Early in the second quarter, St. Cloud Cathedral’s Zachary Sufka ripped off a 35-yard touchdown run to put his club up 20-6. The Crusaders were effective on the ground all night, racking up a season-high 211 yards.
But, once again, Milaca came right back and answered that TD.
Wolves’ junior QB Nathan Hass threw a perfect pass to receiver Mike Garber for a 29-yard TD to close the gap to 20-12 (the two-point attempt again failed).
The biggest play in the first half, however, came late in the second quarter as Austing found Heying for a 72-yard touchdown with just 58 seconds left in the second quarter for a 26-12 lead (two-point conversion try failed).
“That (touchdown) right before half hurt because we had the ball at midfield with about two minutes to go when we were down eight,” Anderson recalled. “I thought, well, maybe we can punch this one in here and either go in down two or tied up and feel pretty good even though they outplayed us.
“But we ended up punting twice in those two minutes and they scored once, so that was kind of disheartening.”
But while the first half had plenty of offense, it was the defense that stepped up in the second half. Just 12 combined points were scored after halftime while Milaca turned over the ball twice on downs at the St. Cloud Cathedral 1-yard line.
Those defensive stops were the difference in the second half.
“All night they controlled the line of scrimmage,” Anderson lamented.
With 3:06 remaining in the third quarter, Austing scored a one-yard touchdown – capping off a 16-play, 99-yard drive – to put the Crusaders up 32-12. Austing, making just his third career start at quarterback, had 129 yards on 22 carries and also completed 19-of-37 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns.
Milaca showed some life midway in the fourth quarter, however, as Hass found Mike Garber for a 31-yard touchdown. Garber showed great concentration hauling in the TD catch over an outstretched Crusaders’ defender.
Garber had a nice game with nine catches for 132 yards and two TDs.
“He had an excellent game,” Anderson said. “I was proud of the way Michael finished the season. He had some nagging ankle and knee injuries for a good part of the year, but he was playing some of his best football the last two games.”
Last week’s playoff game between the Crusaders (5-4) and Milaca (1-8) was the sixth time in three years the Granite Ridge Conference teams have met.
With the win, the third-seeded Crusaders advanced to the Section 5-3A semifinals where they defeated seventh-seeded Foley 29-7 Saturday, Oct. 25 at Husky Stadium.
Foley advanced to the semis after upsetting No. 2 Aitkin 29-14.

Cathedral      13   13   6   0   – 32
Milaca              6     6    0   6   – 18

Individual Statistics
Rushing: Milaca – Teddy Blenkush 10-29, Nick Riebel 3-12, Nathan Hass 16-0, Hunter Daluge 1- -3, Luke Manoleff 2-0, Levi Hunt 1-17. St. Cloud Cathedral – Dominic Austing 20-134, Zachary Sufka 6-65, Matson Courrier 7-19.
Passing: Milaca – Nathan Hass 15-31-191, St. Cloud Cathedral – Dominic Austing 19-37-297.
Receiving: Milaca – Mike Garber 9-130, Levi Hunt 3-36, Josiah Forker 2-19, Teddy Blenkush1-6. St. Cloud Cathedral – Isaac Heying 5-132, Tommy Auger 8-90, Matson Courrier 4-66, Zachary Sufka 1-5, Brady Buckentine 1-4.

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Cross country sends two to State Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:37:19 +0000 The Milaca Wolves will be represented by two cross-country runners – Jon Hall and Alex Ploeger – at the state championship at St. Olaf College in Northfield on Saturday, Nov. 1.
Both ran exceptionally well at the MSHSL Region 5A 2014 Cross Country Championships at Stones Throw Golf Course in Milaca on Thursday, Oct. 23.
“They were really good performances,” said Wolves’ cross country head coach Dave Dillan.

The Wolves’ Jon Hall finished fourth overall in the 5k race at the MSHSL Region 5A 2014 XC Championships at the Stones Throw Golf Course in Milaca on Thursday, Oct. 23 with a time of 16:26.4. He will be running in the state championship on Saturday, Nov. 1. Times photo by Brian Bowman

The Wolves’ Jon Hall finished fourth overall in the 5k race at the MSHSL Region 5A 2014 XC Championships at the Stones Throw Golf Course in Milaca on Thursday, Oct. 23 with a time of 16:26.4. He will be running in the state championship on Saturday, Nov. 1.
Times photo by Brian Bowman

sports CC Alex Ploeger

The Milaca Wolves’ Alex Ploeger earned a spot into the cross country state championship after finishing 13th with a time of 16:14.3 at the MSHSL Region 5A 2014 XC Championships at the StonesThrow Golf Course in Milaca on Thursday, Oct. 23. Times photo by Brian Bowman

“Jon, I would like to say we expected that kind of performance out of him because he’s had a good year all of the way through, but he still had to do it and he showed up and ran a really strong race.”
Ploeger was real good in her race, too.
“With Alex, we were hoping, going in, that she could advance to state and she ran (really well),” Dillan said, noting Ploeger ran a personal-best 16-minute race last year.
Hall placed fourth overall in his 5k race with a very good time of 16:27.2. He looked to be in good position to finish third but Mora’s Noah Moravec found an extra burst late to cross the finish line in 16:26.4, narrowly edging Hall.
“Noah is a good sprinter,” Dillan noted. “That’s just who he is and Jon will get there but that’s just not his strength right now. (Jon’s) a really good runner but he just has to develop a little bit more speed at the end.”
Howard Lake’s Connor Schank was the fastest runner in the boys’ field with a time of 16:16.4, well ahead of Glencoe Silver Lake’s Jac Chelman (16:23.1).
Milaca’s Sam Berg, meanwhile, also ran a good race, finishing 22nd with a time of 17:41.7.
“That was a very nice race,” Dillan said proudly. “It was nice to see that – he shaved off a lot of time. His average going in was 18:31 and he ran a 17:41, so that was a nice performance by him and really encouraging for him.”
Other Milaca boys’ runners featured Jacob Riebel (59th, 18:59.0), Dray Thomas-Ferry (73rd, 19:23.5), Gabe Petty (85th, 19:50.8), Sam Petty (90th, 19:54.4) and Joe Baker (102nd, 20:42.0).
As a team, the Milaca boys placed seventh with a 242 score and an average time of 18:28.4. Mora won the team category with a 34 score, ahead of Glencoe Silver Lake (47) and Annandale (121).
On the girls’ side, Ploeger placed 13th overall with a time of 16:14.3.
Annandale’s Elizabeth Schlafke was lightning-fast in that race, finishing the 4k in a time of 15:15.1. That was more than six seconds faster than Mora’s Brook Wedin (15:21.7).
Jerica Ploeger, meanwhile, didn’t want to be overshadowed by her older sister and ran a nice race to finish 33rd with an impressive time of 16:56.9.
“She’s only in the eighth grade,” Dillan noted. “But she put in quite a performance.”
Other Wolves’ runners included Lizzy Fordyce (35th, 16:58.3), Emma Bolt (40th, 17:14.7), Kendel Resenbrink (76th, 18:19.2) and Sara Demesova (113rd, 20:21.6).
The Wolves placed eighth overall as a team with a 186 score and an average time of 17:08.7. Annandale was tops in the team scoring with 36 points. That was well ahead of Mora (106) and Norwood Young America (111).
Dillan said he was pleased with Milaca’s seventh- and eighth-place finishes as a team. He was also very pleased with the effort the Wolves put in this past season.
“Every one of them came out every night and worked hard,” Dillan said. “They’re good, solid kids and they work hard every night. You can’t run cross country unless you’re committed because we just work too hard. You’re not going to come out and run six, seven miles and goof around – you can’t do it.
“But these guys have just been a treat to work with because they work hard and they’re really fun kids. We have a good time together and that’s what it’s all about.”

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Volleyball season ends with playoff heartbreaker Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:27:22 +0000 Above: Milaca Wolves’ middle Carrie Rosenberg goes up high for a block during the fifth set against the Fridley Tigers in playoff action Thursday, Oct. 23 in Milaca. The Wolves saw the Tigers come back to take three straight sets to win the match 3-2.

Above: Milaca Wolves’ middle Carrie Rosenberg goes up high for a block during the fifth set against the Fridley Tigers in playoff action Thursday, Oct. 23 in Milaca. The Wolves saw the Tigers come back to take three straight sets to win the match 3-2.

There are tough losses in sport – and then there are some really tough losses.

The Milaca Wolves volleyball team recently suffered one of the toughest losses one could imagine.

Milaca led the Fridley Tigers 2-0 in sets (25-22, 25-12) and looked to be well on their way to sweeping their home playoff matchup Thursday, Oct. 23 as they led 12-4 in the third set.

But then, without warning, the sixth-seeded Tigers started to chip away at the third-seeded Wolves’ lead. Soon Milaca’s lead was erased as the teams were tied 15-15. Then it was 19-19.

Milaca scored four straight points to go up 23-19 and, with the home crowd behind them, looked to be on their way to the sweep.

The Milaca Wolves’ Melanie Drew lunges to make sure the ball doesn’t hit the floor during playoff action against the Fridley Tigers on Thursday, Oct. 23. Milaca saw Fridley come back from a 2-0 deficit in sets to win 3-2. Times photos by Brian Bowman

The Milaca Wolves’ Melanie Drew lunges to make sure the ball doesn’t hit the floor during playoff action against the Fridley Tigers on Thursday, Oct. 23. Milaca saw Fridley come back from a 2-0 deficit in sets to win 3-2.
Times photos by Brian Bowman

But the Tigers kept their season alive with four straight points to tie the score at 24-24.

The teams remained deadlocked until Fridley finally outlasted Milaca for a season-saving 29-27 victory in the third set. The Tigers closed out the set with three straight points.

“I think when we lost Game 3, and volleyball is a huge momentum game, even more than what people realize, once the tailspin starts, it’s really hard to pull it back,” said Wolves’ head coach Jamie Taylor. “I’ve been in playoff games before in volleyball and basketball as a varsity coach, but I’ve never been a favorite and lost.”

That excruciatingly tough loss in the third set took a lot out of the Wolves.

“I think it did,” Taylor agreed. “I really do. I think we struggled to finish all year. Even in regular games when we were 21-21 with a better team, we didn’t very often find a way to get it done.”

Fridley continued to play better in the fourth set as the teams were tied at 12-12 and later 20-20. The Tigers, once again, closed out a set strong in the fourth set, scoring five unanswered points for a 25-20 triumph.

“I don’t even think that we led in Game 4,” Taylor recalled. “We were always playing catchup and then in Game 5, I think our kids were tired – mentally and physically. They were just gassed and that was our first five-game match all year.”

The Wolves did a good job shutting down Fridley’s middle Anna Schwint but they struggled, at times, when the Tigers switched to more of a back-row attack.

The Tigers used that style to their advantage in the fifth and final set as they easily handled the Wolves 15-6.

In the losing cause, Molly Banks led the Wolves with 13 kills and four blocks while Paige Quaintance had nine kills. Defensively, Kristina Loegering had 28 digs and Banks contributed with 19.

Taylor is eager to take this Wolves’ volleyball program to the next level by creating a winning mentality amongst the players.

“It’s a growing program and I’ve kind of taken it on that we need to change the culture,” he said. “Usually Milaca averages, six, seven, eight wins (and this season) we ended up with nine. Last year, we had 10 and the season before was seven.

“We had stretches (this year) where we looked fantastic but it was just a matter of finishing – and that’s the winning attitude and the winning tradition that Milaca volleyball doesn’t have.”

Fridley travelled to Rush City on Tuesday, Oct. 28 in the 5AA Sub-Section North semifinal game but no score was available at press time.

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Wolves suffer thunderous defeat Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:15:02 +0000 For the first 17 minutes of the first half, the Milaca varsity team’s defense played at a championship level, holding the high-octane Zimmerman offense scoreless.
But in the final 7 minutes of the second quarter, the Thunder proved hard for the visiting Wolves to handle.
Milaca gave up three touchdowns on the way to the halftime intermission and surrendered 20 points in the game’s final two quarters. The Wolves failed to put the ball in the end zone as Zimmerman easily claimed a 38-0 win in Granite Ridge Conference football action.
And the Thunder did their damage with a backup quarterback. Starter Matthew Dorso left the game with a knee injury early in the first half, giving way to Alex Riley. Riley threw a 33-yard touchdown pass on his only completion of the night and scored two touchdowns on 64 yards rushing, including a 19-yard quarterback keeper for a touchdown.
It was a night that the Thunder ran over the Wolves.
Zimmerman rushed the ball on 60 of 63 offensive plays, accumulating 377 yards on the ground — an average of 6.3 yards per carry. Five of the Thunder’s six touchdowns came on the ground, including a 29-yard run for the first score of the game and a 19-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.
Milaca had 140 total yards as Zimmerman limited a usually active passing game to 103 yards. Nathan Hass hit receiver Mike Garber twice for 35 yards and running back Teddy Blenkush three times for 34 yards. Levi Hunt and Nick Reibel also had three receptions for 22 and 8 yards, respectively.
Zimmerman all but stopped the Wolves’ running attack, allowing 37 yards on 25 rushing attempts for an average of 1.5 yards per carry. Bryce Kohlgraf was Milaca’s top rusher with 26 yards on two carries. Hunter Deluge, the top rusher a week earlier against Becker, was held to 12 yards on three carries.
The Wolves got a good idea what they were in for against Zimmerman on their first drive. They committed a holding penalty on the first play of the game, followed by a 5-yard, two incomplete passes and a punt that netted just 20 yards.
Zimmerman turned around and ran the ball down field with relative ease but came up short of scoring with a fumble at the Milaca 9-yard line. Milaca’s Garber pounced on the ball for the turnover.
Three plays later Milaca quarterback Nathan Hass connected with Garber on a 31-yard pass for one of Milaca’s biggest offensive highlights of the game.
On Zimmerman’s next drive, the Wolves forced what appeared to be a three-and-out. On fourth and eight Zimmerman punter Austin May ran a fake but Wolves defender Austin Weidner came up with a big tackle short of the first-down marker to force a turnover on downs.
Early in the second quarter a Hass pass was intercepted by Trent Milless to set up the game’s first touchdown. Six plays later Thunder running back Ben Schnellman took a 29-yard run into the end zone. A two-point conversion run by running back Mack Riley was no good. Zimmerman had a 6-0 lead.
Zimmerman lined up for the ensuing kickoff and sent a pooch kick toward the Zimmerman sideline. Zimmerman recovered the live ball at the Milaca 38-yard line.
Fifty-two seconds and four running plays later, the ball was at the Milaca 5-yard line. Quarterback Alex Riley took the ball into the end zone on the next play for a 12-0 lead. A two-point conversion run for Alex Riley failed.
It was 2:45 later that Alex Riley hit Haydon Miller for a 33-yard touchdown reception and an 18-0 lead. An Alex Riley pass on the two-point conversion failed.
Zimmerman took kickoff to open the third quarter and marched 61 yards in four minutes. On second-and-eight from the Milaca 19, Riley peeled off a run for his second touchdown of the game. For the fourth consecutive time, the Milaca defense stopped Zimmerman’s two-point conversion attempt to hold the Thunder to a 24-0 lead.
It looked like Milaca would get its best scoring opportunity of the game following its next series. After going three-and-out, Milaca lined up to punt. Zimmerman appeared to fumble the ball at its own 36-yard line. Milaca’s Josh Otten recovered the fumble, but after a conference among the referees, the call was reversed and the ball awarded to Zimmerman. Nine plays later, with 2:05 remaining in the third quarter, Andrew Nixon put Zimmerman up 30-0 with a 4-yard touchdown run. The Joe Loija kick was good, putting Zimmerman up 31-0.
Early in the fourth quarter Milaca did get its best field position of the game after an errant pitch from Zimmerman quarterback Riley. Milaca fell on the ball at the Zimmerman 35-yard line. On fourth down, Hass connected with Hunt on a pass that appeared to set the Wolves up in the red zone at the 20-yard line. But a holding penalty brought the ball back and set up a fourth and long. A Hass pass was knocked down at the line of scrimmage, turning the ball over to the Thunder.
Zimmerman got the ball back at their own 30 with 5:24 remaining in the game. Running back Carter Janu came into the game and rushed on nine consecutive plays for 70 yards, capped by a 10-yard run into the end zone for another touchdown. A Loija kick for the extra point put Zimmerman up 38-0.
Milaca’s record dropped to 1-5 in the Granite Ridge Conference and 1-6 overall. The Wolves traveled to Husky Stadium at St. Cloud State University on Wednesday where they took on St. Cloud Cathedral in Granite Ridge football action.
The Wolves return to the field next week in playoff action. Since the final season was not yet complete when this edition of the Times went to press Tuesday evening, Milaca’s opponent, location and game time were not known. Updates will be posted online at as they become available.

Zimmerman 38,
Milaca 0
Zimmerman   0  18   13   7   – 38
Milaca            0   0     0     0   – 0

Zim—Ben Schnellman 29 run (run failed)
Zim—Alex Riley 5 run (run failed)
Zim—Haydon Miller 36 pass from Riley (pass failed)
Zim—Riley 19 run (run failed)
Zim—Andrew Nixon 4 run (Joe Loija kick)
Zim—Carter Janu 9 run (Loija kick)

Individual Statistics
Rushing: Milaca – Bryce Kohlgraf 2-26, Hunter Deluge 3-12, Luke Manoleff 5-5, Teddy Blenkush 2-1, Nick Reibel 2-0, Nathan Hass 11- -7. Zimmerman –  Austin May 16-100, Carter Janu 8-70, Alex Riley 10-64, Andrew Nixon 8-49, Ben Schnellman 5-45, Trent Milless 4-19, Haydon Miller 3-18, Matthew Dorso 2-11, Joe Loija 1-2, Mack Riley 3- -1.
Receiving: Milaca – Mike Garber 2-35, Teddy Blenkush 3-34, Levi Hunt 3-22, Nick Reibel 3-8, Dylan Hakes 1-4. Zimmerman – Haydon Miller 1-33, Andrew Nixon 1-24.
Passing: Milaca – Nathan Hass 11-22-99-0-1, Blake Kiel 1-2-4-0-0. Zimmerman – Alex Riley 1-2-33-1-0, Matthew Dorso 1-1-24-0-0.

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Wolves runners find success at Purple Pride Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:13:08 +0000 The Wolves were gearing up for last Tuesday’s conference cross-country meet with two top-five finishes and three top-10 finishes at the Oct. 7 Purple Pride Invitational cross-country meet in Albany.
Milaca was running in the conference meet Tuesday as this edition of the Times was in production.
A week earlier at Albany, Milaca ninth-grader Jon Hall continued toward his goal of a conference title with a third-place win at the Purple Pride. Hall ran the course in 17:14.91 and trailed only Nate Sourther of Big Lake (16:41.90) and Noah Moravec of Mora (16:56.38).
Sam Berg (23, 18:39.62) and Drey Thomas-Ferry (30, 19:19.80) rounded out the top 30 for the varsity boys.
In varsity girls competition, it was Anna Donnay of Eden Valley-Watkins taking first place with a time of 15:23.00. Alex Ploeger was Milaca’s top finisher with a run of 16:54.64, good enough for 10th place. Teammate Emma Bolt (20,17:31.06) was the only other top-30 finisher for the Wolves varsity girls.
Milaca’s younger runners had a good day at Albany.
In junior high girls action,  Jerica Ploeger earned a second-place finish (13:45.50) and missed out on first place by 6.21 seconds. The Wolves also got strong performances from Cherramae Erickson (7, 14:51.88) and Brooklyn Eggen (15, 15:26.25) to put three runners in the top 15.
Kendall Rensenbrink turned in a seventh-place finish in JV action (18:14.02). Rensenbrink ran a new personal best by over a minute, cross-country head coach Dave Dillan said.
She was the only girls JV runner to crack the top 30.
In boys JV action, four runners finished in the top 25. Joe Baker led the JV squad with an 11th place finish and a time of 20:02.49. Sam Petty (13, 20:07.92), Brett Husman (16, 20:17.19) and Zack Korvela (21, 20:26.85) rounded out the JV runners finishing in the top 25.
In junior high action, Samuel Bolt led the Wolves with a run of 13:21.79, good for 18th place. Dominick Smith crossed the finish line three places later. His run of 13:41.10 was good for 21st place.

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Volleyball earns home playoff game Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:11:52 +0000 Milaca’s volleyball team was fighting to achieve a certain goal all season.
They wanted a home playoff game.
Just about a year ago Milaca earned the fifth seed in the playoffs, pitting the girls against fourth seed Rush City.
“Five versus four was rough. I think the home court advantage cost us a few points,” said head volleyball coach James Taylor.
This year, the girls wanted more control over their own destiny. That happened Tuesday afternoon when coaches’ votes were counted and playoff seedings set.
To Taylor’s surprise, the Wolves were voted the number three seed. He had hoped for the number four.
The Wolves’ reward for their number three seed is a Thursday, Oct. 3 playoff opener at home against Fridley. Game time is at 7 p.m.
Taylor had said before last week’s game action that his girls needed a couple wins to help improve their playoff chances.
The volleyball team needed a spark going into the final full week of the season, Taylor said, and ignited a winning attitude with two wins as the girls closed in on that home playoff game.
The Wolves earned a 3-1 home win Monday, Oct. 6 against Pine City and a 3-0 victory on the road Thursday, Oct. 9 at Zimmerman. Sandwiched in between was a 3-0 loss to Becker.
“Overall it was a great week as we were able to get two wins,” Taylor. Said.
Against Pine City, the girls opened by winning their first two games 25-18 and 25-22.
“We started strong,” Taylor said. The first two games were nice wins, but we started playing sloppy towards the end of the second game and that continued into the third game.”
Pine City answered with a 25-18 win. Too many errors and inconsistent play meant a win for the Dragons, Taylor said.
Milaca rallied from a 14-19 deficit to take the match 25-19 to earn the win. Molly Banks got a kill that brought Karna Terpstra to the serving line. WIth Terpstra serving, Milaca scored 10 in a row. Terpstra had 5 aces in that run.
The back row of Melanie Drew and Kristina Loegering dug well all night. Each had 22 digs. Banks had 14 kills, Taylor said.
In the loss to Becker, Milaca wasn’t able  to get its offense going. With 25-22, 25-12,  and 25-8 games, the Wolves lost 3-0.
“We were in the first game and Becker gave us opportunities like an overpass on a serve,but we didn’t score on their errors and they eventually started to play better and took the match.
The last game we just got stuck in a rotation that we couldn’t get out of . Not many good stats as we only had 9 kills all night,” Taylor said.
Two days later, the Wolves dominated the Thunder at Zimmerman in what Taylor called the girls’ best match of the season. The girls won 3-0, winning their games 25-8, 25-7,  25-15.5
“I have never seen them play so consistent and confident as we did Thursday night. I was very pleased with every part of our game,” Taylor said.
Milaca served 71 of 73 balls in with 7 aces. Four of those came from Karna Terpstra.
“We passed and played defense almost perfectly,” Taylor said. “We covered, dug, and blocked everything Zimmerman tried all night. Our setters were on with their set ups and our hitters took turns as being the star for all three games.”
Paige Quaintance led the Wolves in the first game, pounding 5 kills from the middle. Molly Banks and Nadesha Dohm were efficient from the outside, leading the Wolves attack in games two and three.
Malayna Sikkink had a  double double with 13 set assists and 11 digs for the night.
The Wolves travelled to Mora for a Tuesday night match. Tonight (Thursday, Oct. 16) Milaca travels to Upsala for a tournament. Milaca faces Royalton, Bertha-Hewitt and Melrose in its pool.

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Swimmers make mark at True Team event Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:08:34 +0000 Milaca’s Chloe Hendrickson swims the 200 individual medley Oct. 9 against Albany. Hendrickson took first in the event.Times photo by Jeff Hage

Milaca’s Chloe Hendrickson swims the 200 individual medley Oct. 9 against Albany. Hendrickson took first in the event. Times photo by Jeff Hage

The Milaca swimming and diving team is optimistic about the upcoming section tournament after a fifth-place showing at the Saturday, Oct. 11, True Team sectional meet at Becker High School.
Eighth-grader Chloe Hendrickson led the girls with four medals while sisters Rachel and Tara Airhart earned three medals each. Ashley Cassens and Breanna Mehrwerth were two-time medalists. The top eight swimmers or teams in each event were awarded as a true team medalists.
The best showing of the day for the Wolves was in the 400 freestyle relay, with Tara Airhart, Mehrwerth, Hendrickson and Rachel Airhart swimming for Milaca. The girls finished with a time of 4:00.64, just 3.51 seconds behind first place Monticello’s time of 3:56.13 and about one second behind second-place Becker’s 3:59.56.
Hendrickson had a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 200 individual medley (a combination of the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle) and the 100 backstroke. In the 200 individual medley, Hendrickson finished with a 2:28.65, 6.6 seconds off the first-place swimmer from Monticello. In the 100-yard backstroke, she finished with a 1:09.05, about 3 seconds behind Sauk Rapids’ first place finish of 1:06.12.
The Wolves had fifth-place finishes in the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle relay. In the 100 freestyle, Rachel Airhart had a time of 59.87 and was less than a second behind the second, third and fourth place finishers. Maggie Knier of Big Lake won the event with a 57.74 finish. In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of Cassens, Tara Airhart, Mehrwerth and Rachel Airhart finished with a time of 1:50.19. The Foley team finished first with a 1:44.98.
The 200 medley relay team of Hendrickson, Ellie Hartung, Cassens and Tara Airhart medaled with a seventh place finish.

Milaca tops Albany
The Milaca Wolves won nine events in defeating Albany 98-88 on Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Milaca High School pool.
It was the last home meet for the Wolves and a night where the team honored the parents of swimmers and the seniors swimming for the last time in their home pool.
The Wolves won all three of the four-person relay events. In the 200 medley relay, the team of Cassens, Hartung, Hendrickson and Tara Airhart turned in a first-place time of 2:08.77. In the 200 freestyle relay, it was Cassens, Mehrwerth and Tara and Rachel Airhart turning in a top time of 1:49.99. In the 400 freestyle relay, the Airhart sisters, Mehrwerth and Hendrickson reached the finish line first with a time of 4:00.92.
Hendrickson was the top finisher in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:29.35. She also finished first in the 100 backstroke with a 1:08.56.
Mehrwerth was first in the 50 freestyle, finishing in 27.54. Rachel Airhart was right behind her in second place with a 28.94. Mehrwerth also had a first place finish in the 100 freestyle. Her 1:00.85 was 2.5 seconds better than second-place finisher Alli Schiffler of Albany.
Cassens finished first in the 100 butterfly with a 1:11.48. Tara Airhart turned in a first-place diving performance, earning 186 points. That was well ahead of the 161.55 of second-place finisher Sam Fischbach of Albany.

Swimming notes
n Milaca hosted the junior high conference meet on Monday, Oct. 13, at the MHS pool.
n The 2014 conference meet is scheduled for Oct. 25 at Becker. First swim is at 11 a.m.

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Hall sets new course for local Mega Meet runners Thu, 09 Oct 2014 17:47:28 +0000 Jon Hall might only be a ninth-grader at Milaca High School, but he has some lofty goals.
As a member of the Milaca High School cross-country team, his most pressing goal these days is to win at sections and earn a berth in the state cross-country tournament.
But he had a greater goal three weeks ago at the Milaca Mega Meet, an event billed as the world’s largest high school cross-country meet that attracted 5,000 runners and thousands of spectators to Milaca’s Stone’s Throw Golf Course.SCAN0001
“I wanted to win it,” Hall said with his trademark smile.
In the days leading to the meet, Hall took to the Internet and looked at times of ninth-graders who crossed the finish line in Mega Meets past and came up with the following conclusion: “I thought I had a good chance.”
On Saturday, Sept. 20, he woke up feeling ready to run, Hall said.
“I thought I’d have a pretty good day,” he said.
The first mile Hall ran in five minutes flat, he said.
“I thought I was going to die. I started out too fast for my own liking. I thought I was going to crash,” Hall said.
Hall was helped out mentally, he said, when former teammate Cameron Sundberg at the first checkpoint gave him his time and some appreciated words of encouragement.
Hall said after that first mile of the 3.1 mile race (5K) that he decided to go forward and not slow down.
“I took the hills hard,” he said of the Stone’s Throw terrain.
When Hall reached the last 800 meters, he broke into a sprint and ran as fast as he could toward the finish line.
“I really kicked it in the last 200 meters,” he said. “And I never looked back.”
All Hall saw was people to the left and people to the right.
“All I could hear was music in the background,” Hall said. He couldn’t hear all the people cheering him on over the music, he noted.
And when he crossed the finish line, all he could think of is that he was glad to be done.
He didn’t know how he fared in his Mega Meet run, but he did know this — no runner ever passed his while he was on the course.
Seconds after crossing the finish line, spectators were patting him on the back, letting him know he had run a good race.
Milaca head cross-country coach Dave Dillan met up with Hall to let him know he did a good job, he recalls.
And when the results were tabulated, Hall was in first place and the first Milaca runner to ever hold the top spot in any division of the Milaca Mega Meet in the 44-year history of the event.
To sweeten the accomplishment even more, Hall ran the race in record time for a Milaca runner, coming across the finish line in 16:31.20. That was 48.1 seconds better than second-place finisher Ryan Fernholz of Sartell. There were 367 runners in the ninth grade race.
Hall’s big day didn’t come without a lot of hard work. It’s a journey that began about three years ago.
After sixth grade, heading into seventh grade, Hall was encouraged by his father, Travis Hall, to run as a means of preparing for an upcoming wrestling season. Hall, one of Milaca’s top young wrestlers, agreed that running would be a good way to get in shape.
A year ago, during his eighth-grade year, Hall joined the cross-country and track teams for the first time.
As an eighth-grader, Hall ran varsity. At the section meet, he defeated the No. 1 senior at Milaca for the school’s fastest time at the meet. He was two places shy of qualifying for the state meet, he said.
Last spring in track, Hall ran the 1600- and 3200-meter races.
This past summer, Hall made a commitment to not just running to prepare for the wrestling season, but to be the best runner he could possibly be. He also wanted to be the best runner he could for his team, he said.
He ran nearly every day during the summer, 7 to 10 miles a day.
“I just ran down the dirt roads by our house. I ran, looked around and would see what I would see,” Hall said.
He ran near Lake Michigan on a family vacation this summer, too, and was glad to have an opportunity to take in some new sights.
A freak accident in August didn’t keep Hall from achieving his first place fete at the Mega Meet, either.
He broke a toe while four-wheeling.
“I stopped running for about a week,” Hall said. After that, he ran through the pain.
When Sept. 20 and the Milaca Mega Meet rolled around, the toe was healed and Hall was ready to run.
And while he regularly runs varsity on the Wolves cross-country team, he made a calculated decision to run the ninth grade race as opposed to the varsity race – in which his time would have placed him at second or third place.
“As winner of the ninth grade race, it says you’re the best,” Hall said.
In the weeks to come Hall hopes a winning attitude can carry over to another big accomplishment of his young cross-country career in the weeks to come.
“I want to go to state,” Hall said.

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Dorr: Larson would be happy with Twins’ move Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:40:44 +0000 Somewhere my friend Gary Larson is rejoicing after last week’s announcement by the Minnesota Twins that they were replacing their manager, Ron Gardenhire.
Larson, who died unexpectedly last March, was editor and a sportswriter for the Mille Lacs County Times for about 25 years.
Gary just wasn’t a fan of Gardenhire and in our Monday morning talks that went on for a few years, he made that very clear.
Last October, in the Ask The Sportswriters feature that ran every week, Gary wrote: “At times old Gardy looked disinterested this season.” Gary did mention that all-time great managers couldn’t have won with the roster Gardenhire was provided.
In answering another question last October, Gary wrote that “any Twins fans who didn’t see this train wreck of a season coming just weren’t paying attention.”
In that same issue the writer of this column made the prediction that, contract or no contract, Gardenhire would not be back for 2015 if the Twins faltered again.
I remember Gary disagreeing with me on that, although he wanted Gardenhire to be gone after the 2013 season.
We had our weekly philosophical discussions about the Twins, about Gardenhire, about Jerry Kill and about the quarterback situation for the Vikings.
But the biggest item for discussion each week in the summer and early fall for Gary was the status of Gardenhire.
Earlier, in July 2013, Gary said Gardenhire should be tougher on the players and opined that both Gardy and pitching coach Rick Anderson “looked clueless in the dugout.”
Even though I would classify myself as not a Gardenhire fan, I would stick up for Gardenhire a bit, saying he just didn’t have the players to do much better.
I wish Gary had been around this past summer to see some of the improvement and the unveiling of some promising young players such as Santana, Escobar and Vargas. And there appears to be some promise with some minor leaguers.
My guess is that Gary would approve if Paul Molitor is chosen as the new manager. He often brought up his name in the summer of 2013 when he talked about who might be next in line to manage.
Gary also wasn’t a big fan of the Pohlad family, the owners of the Twins. He thought they should spend more money. Trouble is, I argued, money doesn’t always solve problems. The Twins had their biggest payroll ever in 2011, $113 million, and they lost 99 games that year.
Sid Hartman, sometimes not Gary’s favorite columnist and radio personality, is pushing hard now for Molitor to get the job, so I think Gary and Sid would be in lock step on this one.
We also had a lot of discussions about U of M football coach Jerry Kill.
I’ve been a Kill booster since he got here, while Gary had some reservations. After last year’s one-sided loss to Michigan, Gary wrote that it would be a long time before that trend would be reversed. So I wish he’d been here for the win over Michigan two weeks ago. He was a big fan of Minnesota football and, like myself, grew up when things were a little better. We both longed for better times.
He was kinder to Kill after the Gophers won four in a row in the Big Ten last year and I’m sure he’d be praising the coach today.
We also had many, many discussions about the quarterback situation for the Vikings, me sticking up for Christian Ponder and Gary saying that Ponder should not be the starter.
The Vikings averaged 27 points a game in their first three games of 2013 with Ponder as the starter, losing twice in the last few seconds when the defense caved in, and Ponder lost his starting job for a couple weeks after losses in those three games.
I reminded Gary that the Vikings won the division the previous year with Ponder as the quarterback in a 10-6 season during which he played very well against playoff teams. The stats from those four games were very good for Ponder and Gary admitted he was surprised at the stats.
But he was adamant that Ponder should not have the job and I think he’d be happy now to see that Ponder was relegated to third string when everyone was healthy.
We had lots of enjoyable discussions, and sometimes disagreements, about the Minnesota sports scene. We had a combined 80 years of experience of covering high school sports and following college and professional teams in Minnesota. And we both had our biases.
I miss those weekly conversations and wish they could have gone on for a couple more decades.
But, since they can’t, I’m glad Gary got his wish about the manager job for the Twins.
Last week he’d probably have been telling me, “I told you he had to go.” And I would have agreed.

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