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Thursday, March 26, 2009
Recognize Minnesota

ESPN RISE Magazine

Girls' Golf - Forest Lake

After the first day of last year's Class AAA girls' golf state tournament, Forest Lake trailed eventual champion Woodbury by just one stroke. Although the Rangers slipped on the second day, settling for second place, it is a testament to exactly how good the team was and how good they could be this season. Junior Betsy Kelly, who finished in a tie for ninth at state last year, will be at the center of a tight race for individual honors this spring  seven of the top 10 finishers last season have returned. Senior Mallory Messin was just three strokes behind Kelly in a tie for 11th and will be a crucial member of this year's team. If she scores low numbers, Forest Lake could be very successful. Only four 18-hole rounds in the team competition at state last year went under 80 on the par-73 Coon Rapids course, and the Rangers had two of them  Kelly and Messin both shot 77 on the first day, which put them in a tie for fourth place. Junior Katie Nowicki, senior Brittany Seifert and senior Lauren Gravelle are among those also returning this season, and their play will be crucial to the team's overall success. Though the team shot more consistently on the second day of last year's state tournament, it will take efforts by everyone to again contend for the team championship.

Boys' Golf - Orono

Orono had a Class AA team state title well within its grasp after the first day of last year's tournament, but a hard-charging Detroit Lakes team rallied on the second day to tie the Spartans and share the championship. This year, Orono will be looking to win that title outright. Sophomore Patrick Johnston, who finished in 27th last year but came through late with 18th-hole heroics, is constantly improving. Junior Zach Roach, who finished 17th last season, is expected to lead the Spartans.

Girls' Lacrosse - Blake

In just two seasons of state-sanctioned girls' lacrosse tournaments, Blake has made two state finals. The first was a tough loss to Eden Prairie. Last year's win over the same foe was a fitting revenge. This year, the Bears will attempt to earn three finals trips and two titles in a row. Senior midfielder Hilary Hayssen, who scored the overtime game winner in last year's 11-10 championship contest, returns for Blake. Senior netminder Abby Fink and senior forward Michelle Tremblay make the Bears very dangerous.

Baseball - Hawley

Inexperience didn't seem to matter to Hawley entering last year's Class A state baseball tournament. The Nuggets advanced to the state semifinals, falling only on late-game heroics by eventual champ Wabasso, before rallying to claim third place. Senior Beau Sorenson and junior Andrew Regnier will be as good a 1-2 pitching combo as anyone will find in Class A this season. Junior second baseman Jacob Bjornson's effectiveness at the plate should help the Nuggets, as will the return of senior catcher Matt Guida.


BOYS' TRACK  OWATONNA Discus throwers Casey Dehn and Sean Wallace, both seniors, lead the Huskies. GIRLS' TRACK  PERHAM Junior Abby Anderson will contend for the Class A state title in the 1,600-meter run. BOYS' LACROSSE  EASTVIEW Last year's consolation champions are led by senior attacker Andy Freeman. SOFTBALL  BECKER Junior Kristen Fah's presence in the circle will bring good things for the Bulldogs.