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. Mon, 24 Nov 2014 19:14:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Update: Boys Basketball Wolves 71, Foley 65 Sat, 22 Nov 2014 14:21:38 +0000 In the first half, the Wolves looked very much like a team playing its first game of the season. But Milaca was a totally different team, however, in the second half, outscoring Foley 47-26 en route to an exciting 71-65 road victory on Friday, Nov. 21.
“I thought you could tell that we’re still trying to build quite a bit of team chemistry out there,” said Wolves’ head coach Dustin Naumann. “That first half was, for us, pretty sloppy. Defensively, we’re still trying to find our identity…but the second half was pretty key.”
The Wolves were a whole lot sharper in the second half. They kept their mistakes to a minimum while slowly chipping away at Foley’s 39-24 half-time lead.
“At half-time we kind of put it in there that digging the hole that we dug of 15 points, we said, ‘Take one possession at a time, one stop, one bucket, and then we’ll get back in.’
“And the kids really bought into that and responded well in the second half.”
Foley led 58-54 with 6:09 remaining but Milaca went on a 7-0 run in a 1:17 span to take the lead for good at 61-58. The Wolves did a great job shutting down the Falcons’ offense in the second half while doing a better job on the boards.
“Defensively, the one thing that we stressed was making sure that we got out to our backside help on our zone defense,” Naumann explained. “Our backside help was kind of cheating up a little too much and giving up too many layups. We tried to eliminate the diagonal pass that was kind of killing us in the first half.”
The Wolves increased their lead to four with 40 seconds left in the game and then sealed the win by hitting several key free throws down the stretch. For the game, Milaca was very good at the line, finishing 22-for-26.
“At practice, we do quite a bit of conditioning before we shoot our free throws so we always make sure the kids are shooting with that game-style mentality of shooting when they’re pretty tired and making sure that they really focus.”
The Wolves’ Levi Hunt had several key baskets late in the second half, finishing with a game-high 37 points. The senior guard had a terrific game and that stellar play appeared to rub off on his teammates.
“For Levi, he’s one of those kids that (his strong play) is a testament to all of the off-season work (he did),” Naumann said. “He’s one of the kids that really bought into our program and the kid has a passion for basketball.
“You can tell the kid wears his emotions on his sleeve on the court and when you get him going, the rest of the guys around him feel a bit more comfortable because they know that they have a guy that they can lean on. And he wants to be that guy.”
Sophomore Matthew Fransen also had a strong game for Milaca with 12 points in his first varsity game while Mitch Garber came off the bench and played well, grabbing rebounds and playing well defensively.
Logan Mero, a senior, added eight points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. He was also 6-for-6 from the free-throw line
Mike Garber, meanwhile, scored 11 points while Kyle Kipka led Foley with 19.
The come-from behind win on the road was a great way for Milaca to start its season.
“It was huge,” Naumann stressed. “Not only was it a conference game, it was a section game, and a rivalry game that you could keep adding to it. This (win) was huge just to show that our team can be resilient. We dug ourselves a hole but we’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves.
“We worked together and kept pushing forward. This is one of those things where, now all year, it’s in the back of the kids’ minds that they’re never going to feel that they are out of a game.”
The Wolves have a break in game action and don’t play again until Friday, Dec. 5 when they visit St. Cloud Cathedral. Naumann expects senior Nick Wolbert, a three-year starter, to be back from injury next week.
The Wolves’ head coach would like his club to work on their defensive play in practice before they meet a talented St. Cloud Cathedral team, led by standout guard Brindley Theisen.
“We need to shore up our defense, overall,” Naumann said. “I’m not a big fan of zone defense but it’s what we had to do (against Foley) because of our short rotation. We’re going to continue to work on our man-to-man defense and we’ll improve our zone so we can show a different wrinkle out there.”
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Volleyball results: week of Nov. 20, 2014 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:40:42 +0000 POWER LEAGUE
Team    W    L
Knaffla Chiro.           4    0
Intimidation Fact.    4            0
Blue Line    3    1
One Short One    3    1
Pound it in    3    1
Sultans of Swing    3    1
Teal’s Market    2    2
Hy-Tech Auto    1    3
Jeannie’s Salon    1    3
All State Comm    0    4
New Age Concrete    0     4
Safe Sets    0    4
Team    W    L
First Rate Const    4    0
N. Cent Trans     4    0
Blue Moon Saloon    2     2
1st Nat’ I/B deeper    2    2
Oslin Lumber    2    2
Woody’s Wheelers    1    3
Bumpin Uglie    1    3
Milaca Tanning    0    4

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Wolves archery program seeks to hit the mark Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:36:59 +0000 Front (L to R): Kendall Vesel, Rylee Vesel, Jake Szeflin, Cody Phillippi, Jeighden Manthie, Ruby Hirsch Back row (L to r): Clay Vesel, Carrie Vesel, Nathan Kadelbach, Matt Phillippi

Front (L to R): Kendall Vesel, Rylee Vesel, Jake Szeflin, Cody Phillippi, Jeighden Manthie, Ruby Hirsch
Back row (L to r): Clay Vesel, Carrie Vesel, Nathan Kadelbach, Matt Phillippi

The Milaca Wolves archery program was right on target in its first year.
Now, it’s looking to score even better in its second season.
The Community Education archery program, consisting of students in Grades K-12 (and adults), competes in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).

The Milaca Wolves Archery program began practicing this past Monday for the upcoming season. The program will practice Mondays and Wednesdays until late March and will compete in tournaments throughout the year. Submitted photo

The Milaca Wolves Archery program began practicing this past Monday for the upcoming season. The program will practice Mondays and Wednesdays until late March and will compete in tournaments throughout the year. Submitted photo

Matt Phillippi and his wife Sara started the program to get kids involved in the sport. Both also coach the archery enthusiasts.
“It’s a great way for kids of all ages to compete in a sport,” Matt Phillippi said last week. “And it doesn’t require a whole lot of physical activity like football or hockey. It’s a sport that’s 90 percent mental – even kids with physical limitations can do it.
“It’s also a great sport to teach discipline and focus.”
All of the kids shoot the same compound bow, Matt explained, so they are all on the same level playing field. The club had some outstanding shooters last year.
“The sport is a huge confidence builder for the kids,” Phillippi said, noting their program sent four kids to the nationals in Louisville last year. “We had a great first year last year with 12 kids that shot at the State tournament.”
Last year, the Milaca program had 20 kids but was already up to 32 as of last week.
“I’m even expecting more because we still have a week of registration,” Phillippi said enthusiastically. “I know at least another half dozen will join. We’ll probably be close to 40 kids.”
Under NASP, Milaca will participate in competitions throughout the year, which are held at other schools throughout Minnesota.
The Milaca club shot out of Whitcomb’s in Princeton last year but has moved to the Milaca Public Schools this year. The transition, said Phillippi, was done in an attempt to increase participation numbers.
“We wanted to get the kids involved right after school,” he noted. “So far it’s worked. We’ve (held) a couple of classes at the school this year that were very well attended. I think we ended up with almost 60 kids taking classes.”
Phillippi said the kids practice from both 10 and 15 meters with safety netting and targets. The program’s first practice was held this past Monday.
“The whole program is probably the safest sport out there,” Phillippi said, noting there have been zero injuries in the sport in the state since NASP started. “I don’t think there have even been any injuries nationwide. The element of safety is always No. 1.”
Phillippi said they will keep registration open while the program begins practicing. Their first NASP tournament isn’t until January, he noted. However, archers will have an opportunity to participate in the Geneses Hunger Games Tournament at Whitcomb’s this Saturday.
Kids interested in registering for archery this year can contact Milaca Community Education. Cost is $95 for the season, which runs from Nov. 17 to March 21.
Practices will be held at Milaca Public Schools on Mondays and Wednesdays. Tournaments will typically run Fridays and Saturdays.

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Soup’s on…and so is Wolves wrestling Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:34:11 +0000 milaca wrestling soup 261-4

A good sign that the Milaca Wolves’ wrestling season is about to start is when the aroma of soup fills the air in the school cafeteria.
The Wolves’ wrestling program hosted its annual soup supper Thursday, Nov. 13, attracting 275 people for the evening event, which took place from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“It went really well,” said Wolves’ wrestling co-coach Mitch Vedders last Friday. “It was a good time. (We had) a little more than last year – it turned out really well. It’s always a fun time of socializing and getting excited before the season.”
Vedders, who will coach the Wolves along with Clay Hoeck, said many of the wrestlers’ family members attended the supper but noted many other soup enthusiasts were community members with no association at all to the popular wrestling program.
“They just want to support the program,” Vedders explained. “Or they know about Wendy’s (Hoeck) soup and they come in. It was probably 50/50 with family of wrestlers and just community members at large.”
The soup supper is a fundraiser for the program, but not a big money maker, said Vedders, noting the wrestling program also hosted a golf tournament this past summer.
They also send out letters to businesses in town asking for support while a youth wrestling camp is also held.
The soup supper, meanwhile, is about getting community members together and enjoying some great soup. The big hits this year, said Vedders, were chicken wild rice, always a favorite, and chicken tortellini.
“It’s the fellowship,” Vedders stressed. “Getting people together and socializing.”
Vedders gave huge kudos to Wendy’s cooking and the organization efforts of Heather Hoeck.
“Wendy has been doing this for the wrestling team and she does lots of things,” Vedders said. “She’s kind of one of those wrestling moms that never quit. Her soup, I think, brings in a good portion of our crowd because they know about (the soup) and know about her.”
Heather also plays a key role ensuring that the soup supper is a success.
“Heather pulls together all of the strings,” Vedders said. “She has a very business-like mindset. She’s a secretary here at the school, so she does a lot of getting the word out and keeping things running well.
“Without those two, we couldn’t have this.”
The Wolves hit the mat for practice this past Monday and then will have their first competition Saturday, Nov. 29 at Waconia.

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Special Olympic bowlers bring home 33 medals Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:31:49 +0000 Kerry DeBoer, left, a Unified Partner for Bill Totzke competed in the 2014 Minnesota State Bowling Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 16. Photo provided

Kerry DeBoer, left, a Unified Partner for Bill Totzke competed in the 2014 Minnesota State Bowling Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 16.
Photo provided

The Milaca Community Special Olympics Bowling team knocked over the competition at the 2014 State Bowling Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 16.

Jessica Strohmayer, left, and United Partner Heidi Schroeder bowled well at the State Tournament. Photo provided

Jessica Strohmayer, left, and United Partner Heidi Schroeder bowled well at the State Tournament.
Photo provided

The local bowling crew brought home a bevy of medals – including 15 gold, 11 silver, and seven bronze – at the Brunswick Zone XL in Brooklyn Park.
Milaca also won three fourth-place ribbons and two fifth-place ones.
“I think it went pretty well, there were a lot of kids there from Milaca,”   said Heidi Schroeder, a United Partner for Jessica Stroymayer. “A lot of the kids that I talked to showed me their medals and they were really excited.”
Ken Foss’ son Tony competed at the State tournament. The elder Foss said everyone had a great time bowling.
“There was lots of fun and (it was great) just watching the kids have a good time,” Foss said. “They loved it and this is what they worked and strived for.”
This is the second year that the Milaca Bowling team has competed at the State tournament but only the first time that bowlers were able to compete on an individual basis. Approximately 2,700 athletes from across the state participated in last weekend’s event, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
“It was really neat to see the kids, even though they were competing against each other, all helping each other out,” Schroeder enthused. “They were just so excited when they did well. I think they liked (competing at State) because they get so pumped up and all excited about it.”
Schroeder said she expects the Milaca Special Olympics Bowling program to continue to grow and prosper.
“It’s really increasing and now we’ve done the swimming and the bowling,” she noted. “And they do the track events in the summer. I think this is a really good program to get the kids with special needs out and they get a sense of community and have a goal.”
Schroeder has seen first-hand the positive influence Special Olympics can have on a participant.
“Since Jessica (Strohmayer) has started, she has become more goal oriented and she wants to get faster with her running and do better with her bowling,” Schroeder said.
“Not that she gets upset when she doesn’t, but it’s motivating for her. It gives her a really good push because it’s harder for kids with special needs to get out and do things.”
Meanwhile, the Milaca Special Olympics program is currently recruiting athletes, coaches, and volunteers for aquatics and basketball. Practice begins in January and just three spots are left for aquatics.
Anyone interested can contact Kathy Fitschen at 320-982-7193.

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Bowling Honor Scores: Week of 11-9-14 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:29:06 +0000 Men’s High Game – Jeff Ohman 268, Tim Thomas 257, Rick Schuh 240, Matt Binkowski 234, Bill Andresen 224, Bud Usher 222, Gary Svihel 221.
Men’s High Series – Jeff Ohman 686, Tom Thomas 646, Matt Binkowski 616, Chad Wedell 614, Gary Svihel 605, Rick Schuh 589, Bill Andresen 573.
Women’s High Game – Cyndi Thomas 211, Tasha Bieringer 194, Brenda Kiel 191.
Women’s High Series – Brenda Kiel 547, Cyndi Thomas 543.
Sr. Men’s High Game – Dennis Nelson 264, Jerry Baas 218, Don Kiel 205.
Sr. Men’s High Series – Dennis Nelson 620, Don Kiel 612, Jerry Baas 523.
Sr. Women’s High Game – Lee Bowton 156.
Jr. League Boys’ High Game – Daniel Marx 138, Wyatt Eggen 123, Isek Sopkowiak 120.
Jr. League Boys’ High Series – Daniel Marx 350, Carter Arent 344, Isek Sopkowiak 320.
Jr. League Girls’ High Game – Kayla McCormick 172, Cori Goltz 122, Melody Marx 122.
Jr. League Girls’ High Series – Kayla McCormick 418, Cori Coltz 350, Melody Marx 321.

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Welcome the Times’ new sports writer, Brian Bowman Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:18:06 +0000 Since 1996 when I was first hired as a sports writer in Fort Frances, Ontario, I have interviewed hundreds of athletes and written countless stories on their outstanding achievements in sports.
For me, covering sports is easy.
This, however, is my first time having to write something about myself.
And I find that hard to do.
But to please my new boss, Jeff Hage, I will introduce myself for the first time as the new sports writer and photographer for the Mille Lacs County Times.
Sports writing and photography has always been my passion. To me, covering a high school game is not even work. It’s what I do and have always done since I graduated from the journalism program at Niagara College in Ontario way back in 1996.
I have already had an opportunity to shoot a cross-country meet and a Milaca Wolves’ football and volleyball playoff game, so I’ve had a chance to see what high school sports are like in the community.
And I came away impressed.
My wife, Denise, and I moved to the area from Canada with our two dogs back in April. There were many reasons for our move, but the biggest was to be closer to the Twin Cities area and their professional and college sports teams.
Driving seven-plus hours each way for a Vikings or Twins game every month or two wasn’t too much fun. The logical solution was to move down here.
And, so far, it’s been the best decision we have ever made.
Most of my free time is spent, you guessed it, watching sports and attending games. I still work for three weekly newspapers up in Manitoba on a full-time basis and contribute freelance sports articles for another, so my days are consumed with a lot of interviews and plenty of writing.
But my main focus is the Mille Lacs County Times.
I am very excited to be a part of this news team and covering the athletes in the community.
Please feel free to introduce yourself, or suggest story ideas, to me. I can be reached by phone at 763-231-3249 or send me an email at

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Wolves football: Moving in the right direction Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:17:22 +0000 When the final snap was taken in Milaca’s season-ending 32-18 playoff loss to St. Cloud Cathedral on Tuesday, Oct. 21, it capped off Cory Anderson’s first season as the Wolves’ head coach.
And, while at first glance, a 1-8 record isn’t exactly what Milaca had in mind with 22 seniors on their roster, the future looks bright for the Wolves’ program.
“This program had more going right than going wrong and we’re still struggling to get over the hump,” Anderson said. “But I was happy with a lot of the things that were going for us. We have some things that are going in the direction that I wanted to see them going, not that the others were wrong, but more in my direction.”
A successful season, said Anderson, doesn’t always have to be measured in wins and losses.
“There are a lot of ways to measure success in a high school football program,” Anderson said. “Wins and losses are only one of them. We were so proud (of our players). Every time, we want our boys to go home a little better football players and little better men. We’re trying to teach these boys to be men and responsible and I think we made a lot of ground doing that.”
Anderson also liked the team chemistry, both on the field and in the locker room.
“The camaraderie and brotherhood was awesome this year and the work ethic was great,” Anderson said.
Football-wise, the Wolves celebrated just one victory this past season – an exciting 28-27 victory over Foley – on “Tackle Cancer” night at Claffy Field back on Sept. 5. Milaca also suffered a tough 16-14 loss to Mora and was competitive in regular-season games against Little Falls (22-17) and St. Cloud Cathedral (33-28) just a couple of weeks ago.
“We just played a lot of good football teams,” Anderson noted.
The Wolves hope they will achieve a good football record next season. But it won’t be easy. Of those 22 seniors that will be lost due to graduation, about 16 of them were starters. On offense, Milaca will be returning its starting quarterback, two running backs and their center while defensively the Wolves will be replacing nine starters.
“It will be a significant reboot as far as the starting lineup goes,” Anderson admitted. “But, as far as losing the seniors, that’s the nature of football and athletics. It’s a blessing and a curse. You get these guys and get them growing up into their senior year and then they move on.
“But that happens every year. The blessing part is that the new guys get a new opportunity and we get to give them their football experience and help them grow, too. It’s not as much losing seniors as it is giving an opportunity to some new guys.”

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Hall finishes 11th at State with personal best Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:16:12 +0000 Jon Hall didn’t let the nerves of competing at the MHSHL Class A State Cross Country Championships for the first time get to him.
In fact, he thrived tremendously under the pressure.

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, left, took 11th place in the state cross country meet last weekend.
Times photo by Brian Bowman

sports CC Alex Ploeger

Alex Ploeger Times photo by Brian Bowma

The Grade 9 student at Milaca High School put in a fantastic performance at the state championship in Northfield on Saturday, Nov. 1, finishing 11th with a personal best time of 16:17.3. Waseca’s Shane Streich won the 5km race with a time of 15:46.4
“I was really glad with (my placing),” said Hall Sunday morning. “I honestly didn’t think I would run that well down at state because it was so cold.”
Hall had to battle the cold, windy conditions throughout the race. He managed to fight through the tough conditions while competing against runners that were much older than him. There was only a small scattering of Grade 9 athletes in that race.
Hall said the experience of competing in his first state championship was a real good one.
“It was fun,” he said. “It was a different way of running with all of the people that were fast. But you should run fast – that’s why you’re there.”
Hall said he was very pleased with all facets of his race, particularly in the middle and end of his run.
“I didn’t have (too much energy) at the end, but I was able to sprint,” he recalled.
The course itself was a tough one with hills and gravel to contend with. But Hall often made the run look easy.
“It was probably one of the hardest courses,” Hall stressed. “It was hilly and stuff and there was quite a bit of gravel…your feet slipped quite a bit, even with spikes on.”
The state championship was a great way to finish a fantastic cross-country season for Hall. And his future in the sport looks tremendously bright.
“I thought it was a good year,” he said. “My goal was to make state and I did that. I did really well. I didn’t expect I would finish 11th – I was hoping for, if I was lucky, a top-20 finish.”
Milaca was also well represented on the girls’ side at the state championships as Alex Ploeger placed 131st with a time of 17:01.8. A total of 171 athletes competed in the 4km race, which saw Emily Donnay win with a time of 14:27.5.
“I had fun,” Ploeger said. “But my time was actually a little slower than my usual time. I factored in that it was cold out and there were hills. It was a morning race and I usually don’t run as well in the morning.”
Ploeger said there was one real long stretch that was very difficult to run.
“There were more hills than I expected and the gravel was hard to run on,” she noted. “I slipped a couple of times, so I felt uncomfortable compared to the grass that we would run on at the golf course. But it was a very pretty course, though.”
It was also Ploeger’s first time running in a state championship. The senior admitted she was nervous prior to the race but she loved the experience.
“I decided I was just going to go there and run and not try to think about it too much,” she explained. “The race is supposed to be fun, so I was just going to go out there and run and have fun.”
Ploeger admitted she wasn’t even expected to go to state. But she’s glad she had the experience of competing against the best in Minnesota.
“I dreamed about going (to state) since I was in seventh grade,” said the 17 year old. “It was so much fun, I was able to bring a couple of girls up with me and I had an absolute ball.”
The state championship was a great way to end a very good cross-country season for Ploeger.
“I think I had a real steady year with consistent times,” she said. “And the same with my team. Coming out of sections as a team, we did fantastic and way better than I thought we would have.
“Everyone improved their times…for the girls, I thought we had a terrific year.”

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Hendrickson brings natural talent to section meet Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:09:36 +0000 At right, Chloe Chloe Hendrickson is in the starting position at a recent swim meet.

At right, Chloe Chloe Hendrickson is in the starting position at a recent swim meet.

Standing at 5-foot-10 in eighth grade, Chloe Hendrickson is much taller than her peers.
She’s also well beyond her years in the pool.
Hendrickson, fresh off claiming two all-conference titles at the Granite Ridge Conference meet, has had a tremendous second season with the Milaca Wolves swim team.
“(Swimming) is one of my favorite things to do,” said the 13-year-old, who started swimming competitively in the second grade with the Tsunami Swim Club.
“I wouldn’t know what I would do if I didn’t have (swimming). All of us on the team are so close. No one’s mean to each other, we’re all so supportive of each other. I couldn’t even think of being in another sport because we’re all such close friends.”
Hendrickson swims the 200 medley relay, 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke, and the 400 freestyle. The 200 IM and the 100 backstroke, she said, are her best events.
“I know how to do all of the strokes for the IM, so that (race) is better for me because not all of the people know how to swim all of the strokes,” she said. “(I’m good) in the backstroke probably because I’m so tall and my arms are long.”
Hendrickson had several outstanding performances at the Granite Ridge Conference meet late last month.
“It was really fun because a lot of people got section times,” Hendrickson noted. “Everyone had a really good meet, so it was fun to see everyone doing really well.”
Hendrickson hopes to continue her excellence in the pool when the Wolves travel to Duluth for the 5A sections meet Nov. 7-8. Swimmers that place in the top two in their respective events will advance to the state championship.Chloe Hendrickson
“I’m always really excited and nervous before every meet,” Hendrickson said. “But I’m really excited this year going to this pool because I already know the pool well and everyone seems to swim fast in that pool.”
The competition will be tough this weekend, but Hendrickson is up to the challenge.
“Having a lot of competition helps because it makes me want to bump up a few spots,” she said.
Milaca Wolves’ swim and diving coaches Jennifer Burroughs and Joe Wenner have been very pleased with Hendrickson’s progress in the pool. With hard work, there is no limit to how good Hendrickson can be.
“She has a lot of talent for someone her age and it seems to come natural for her,” Wenner said. “But she does put in the time and she works really hard – she’s extremely coachable. She’s a fantastic kid and she’s incredibly positive at practice all of the time.”
Competition, said Burroughs, brings out the best in Hendrickson.
“She especially stands out when she’s amongst her peers,” Burroughs noted. “When she’s swimming at the junior high level, you really see how much more advanced she is. I think our girls rise to the occasion, so when the competition is there and the competition’s stronger, they tend to perform better.”
The Wolves hope to excel at the sectionals against the tougher competition this weekend.
“We have a really tough section in 5A,” Burroughs noted. “But we do have high expectations of our girls. I think that they’re going to perform well and I think that they’ll step up to the occasion.
“We’re hoping for some good personal bests.”

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