Sports

Wed
14
Dec

Lightning best Delano, fall to Anoka


Annandale-Maple Lake wrestler Nate Carlson won by fall in 2:33 over Jacob McDonald of Delano at 170 pounds. The Lightning beat the Tigers 45-28. (Photos by Mary Christen)

The Annandale-Maple Lake wrestling team started its dual-meet campaign, Friday, Dec. 9, with one of the most important matches of the year for Section 6AA rankings when it took on Delano in Annandale.
The Lightning did not disappoint, defeating the Tigers 45-28 despite missing several key wrestlers to illness and injury.
The 63-9 victory over Apollo, the team’s second match of the dual was expected, but ended up being even more lopsided than anticipated since the Eagles were missing two ranked wrestlers, Irish head coach Ben Youngs said.
On Saturday, Dec. 11, the Lightning traveled to Woodbury where ANML beat Mahtomedi in the first round 43-35, bested Lakeville North 42-36 in the semi-finals then lost a shoot-out to Anoka in the finals.
“A true team effort is one where, despite missing starters, the team perseveres because others step up. That happened, and then some,” Youngs said of the Lightning’s first match of the week against Delano.

Wed
14
Dec

Elsenpeter leads gymnasts


Gracie Elsenpeter performs her bars routine at a Friday, Dec. 9, home meet. She won all four of her events and the all-around to lead the Irish gymnasts.

Maple Lake sophomore gymnast Gracie Elsenpeter won all four events and the all-around in the Irish's 119.875 to 126.75 victory over Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted/Holy Trinity, Friday, Dec. 9, at home.
The Irish kicked off the night on the vault, which coach Kaitlyn Helmbrecht predicted would be one of the team's stronger events this season.
Elsenpeter impressed judges for an 8.8 score which was good enough for first place.
Junior teammate Danica Westrich scored an 8.3 to tie for second and Shauni Johnson finished fourth with an 8.25.
Elsenpeter dominated the bars next, earning an 8.725 from judges for another first. Katelyn Fuller finished second with a 7.4 and seventh grader Brooke Mergen was fourth with a 7.15.
Elsenpeter came away with an 8.25 on the beam to win and Westrich earned runner-up with her score of 8.15.

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Wed
14
Dec

Irish win two


Macy Wurm shoots over the head of a Pierz defender. She had 10 points in the Irish win. (Photos by Brenda Erdahl)

The Irish girls’ basketball team is 2-2 after two wins last week.
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, Maple Lake traveled to Spectrum and came away with a 57-49 win. On Friday, Dec. 9, the Irish hosted Pierz and won the Central Minnesota Conference dual 51-39.
Tuesday’s game was a rough and tumble contest with a lot of sticky situations and turnovers.
Maple Lake trailed 1-0 in the early seconds of the game, then went on a 7-0 run to take the lead, and never looked back.
The Irish’s full court pressure kept the Sting off balance in the first half, coach Adam Ronnenberg said, but the Maple Lake ballhandlers were thrown off when Spectrum started playing pressure man of their own, forcing them into sticky situations that resulted in turnovers.
As a result, Maple Lake led by just five, 28-23, at the half.
The Irish led by as many as 16 points in the second half, but the Sting didn’t let up, cutting the lead to as few as seven before falling to Maple Lake.

Wed
14
Dec

Boys win one, lose one


Junior captain Cole Trager is back on the court after an injury. He had two points in Tuesday’s loss.

The Irish boys basketball team split two games last week.
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, Maple Lake lost 57-32 to Annandale at home, and on Friday, Dec. 9, they went on the road to defeat the St. John's Prep Johnnies 70-64.
Maple Lake was outsized and outgunned against the Cardinals who boast two 6-foot, 6-inch tall starters.
The Cardinals took advantage of Irish shooting woes the first half of the game, claiming a 41-11 lead by the break. Maple Lake shot better the second half, outscoring Annandale 21-16, but it was too little too late.
"Their size gave us trouble on both ends of the floor," Irish coach Tim Staloch said. "We didn't shoot the ball very well. They dominated us in second-chance points and points off turnovers."
Mitch Hoistad lead scoring with 15 points for the Irish. He also had five rebounds.
Annandale held Joe Stockman to just three points and Zack Eder and Andy Mavencamp to five.

Wed
14
Dec

MAML hockey is 5-1

After losing 10-2 to St. Michael-Albertville early in the week, the Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake boys hockey team cruised to two wins to boost their record to 5-1.
The Moose fell to the always-tough Knights in Mississippi 8 conference play, Tuesday, Dec. 6, on the road, then defeated Buffalo 3-2 at home on Thursday, Dec. 8, and Champlin Park 5-3 on Saturday, Dec. 10, in Champlin Park.

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Wed
07
Dec

ANML wrestle to fourth at tournament


Nate Carlson dominates Antony Lenz of Rogers on his way to a first-place finish at the Maple Grove Invitational at 170 pounds. Carlson pinned Lenz in 1:02. (Photos by Mary Christen)

The Annandale-Maple Lake wrestling team opened its season on Saturday, Dec. 3, on the road at the Maple Grove Invitational. The grapplers came home with several top five individual finishes and fourth place as a team overall. Among the eight competing, only Anoka (1st), Byron (2nd) and Mahotomedi (3rd) finished ahead of the Lightning.
Nate Carlson and Trae Bedford took first place in the tournament at 170 and 182 pounds, respectively.
“Nate looked very good, strong and quick. He is up a few weight classes, mainly from the muscle gained from off-season lifting,” coach Ben Youngs said. “He pinned his kid in the finals and that kid was a state qualifier from last year.”

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Wed
07
Dec

Lightning wrestlers show potential


Leading this year’s Annandale-Maple Lake wrestling squad are captains, from left, Trae Bedford, Hunter Manka, Quinn Youngs, Dom Braun and Nate Carlson.

The Annandale-Maple Lake wrestling team returns to the mat with a mixed bag of athletes, some seasoned and others young and inexperienced.
Among the returning is 126-pound junior Quinn Youngs who grappled his way to a fourth-place finish at the Minnesota State High School League State Wrestling Tournament last year, finishing with a 38-6 season record. He is joined by senior Trae Bedford who also finished fourth at state last year and ended the season with a 22-7 record. He wrestles at 170/182 pounds. Nathan Carlson is the other returning state tournament qualifier. A 160/170-pound senior, Carlson finished with a 22-8 season record.
Other strong returners include Jack Klug, Dom Braun, Hunter Manka, Jonah Hayes, Noah Hayes, Walker Weege, Reed Rasset and Joe Driscoll, head coach Ben Youngs said.

Wed
07
Dec

Ben Youngs heads ANML wrestling


Maple Lake’s Ben Youngs takes over as head wrestling coach for Annandale-Maple Lake Lightning.

Maple Lake cross country and track coach Ben Youngs will take over the position of head wrestling coach for the Annandale-Maple Lake Lightning this winter with the resignation of former head coach Jason Bartels.
Youngs comes with plenty of coaching experience. Aside from his current track and cross country duties, he served as the junior high wrestling coach for ANML in 1996-1997, and helped with the youth wrestling program when his own children went through it.
He also wrestled throughout his own elementary and high school career.
“When I heard coach Bartels was leaving, I was worried there wouldn’t be many applicants,” Youngs said. “I met with Jesse Puncochar and we discussed what it would be like if the two of us joined coach Steve Kosloski in the room. I became excited to work with them and also the kids I helped coach in the youth program.”

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Wed
07
Dec

Moose hockey off to strong start

Sports Editor
The Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake boys hockey team is off to a strong start after three early season wins.
The Moose opened the competitive year with an 11-1 victory over Prairie Centre Area at home, on Saturday, Nov. 26. The team continued its winning ways on Tuesday, Nov. 29, with a 5-2 on-the-road win against Pine City.
Friday, Dec. 2, produced another win for the local team. Casey Chiodo, Troy Dahlheimer and Nick Zwack had goals in the 3-0, non-conference success.

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Wed
07
Dec

Gymnasts soar in opener

The Maple Lake gymnastics team got off to a promising start, Friday, Dec. 2, on the road at Dassel-Cokato during the first meet of the season.
The introduction of a substantial number of new gymnasts had all the athletes a bit nervous, coach Kaitlyn Helmbrecht said, but they all “held their own and had a good night.”
“I am especially proud of all the seventh graders for completing their first meet,” she said.
The varsity crew got off to a bumpy start on the bars with a few falls, then went to the vault where scores greatly improved.
“The girls shined with their new floor routines and dance moves,” Helmbrecht said, but their best event, as a whole, was the beam.

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