It wasn’t much of a break as the Maple Lake track team spent their first Friday of spring break kicking off the 2012 season at the CMC St. Cloud State indoor meet. “The first meets of the season are a bit misleading,” said Head Coach Ben Youngs. “We put kids in events they might not be in later on just to test them.” For the girls, Jenny Puncochar took first in the 55 and 200 meter dash. Courtney Pribyl also took first in the 55 meter hurdles. Blair Stewig placed second in the 3200 meter run with a time of 13:22. In high jump, Sara Simonette jumped 4-08, earning her second place. Following right behind her from Maple Lake was Megan Webb with 4-06. Kevin Salveson placed high in the 55 and 200 meter dash, taking second place in both events. Michael Thomas took third in the 3200 meter run with a time of 11:27. Isaac Hendrickson got second place in the 55 meter hurdles. Nick Feikema jumped 36-05.5 in triple jump for third place.
On Monday, March 19, the Irish baseball team began practice, starting with a short meeting held by the coaches discussing guidelines, practice schedules, and expectations. The coaching staff looks a little different this year, starting with the varsity head coach Dave Schroeder. He will be assisted by Brad Baumann and Gerry Giebenhain. Over the past two weeks the team has been able to be outside for the majority of their practices which has been very nice considering that they were inside all of this time last year. Practice has been broken down into two components this year, hitting and fielding. Groups have been divided for hitting, and these groups start their morning hitting every other day at 6:30 a.m. As for the after school practice, teams have been divided up in a similar way and they split up on their fields accordingly. On April 2 the team was able to practice at the Laker Stadium which was nice to mix the routine up, and finally get to their home playing field.
After a long off-season made up of various softball programs, the final bell rang on Monday, March 12, and the 2012 Maple Lake Irish softball team headed to their first practice, awaiting conditioning and drills. So far, the girls have been focused on the basic skills found in softball. To improve on these skills, drills such as base running, four corners, and hitting stations, have been incorporated into practices to help the players. “My favorite thing to do in practice is hitting because there are so many different stations to do,” senior captain Brooke Decker. Working on hitting and other essential abilities is a vital part of practice as Head Coach Tim Knudsen said, “the team needs to improve on the fundamentals of the game, defensively. Also, we need to be better situational hitters when we have people on base.” However, Coach Knudsen said the “passion for the game” and the ability to work together are areas where the girls excel.
With the sun starting to shine and the snow melting away, the track athletes got their running shoes out in preparation for their first practice of the 2012 season which started on Monday, March 12. The coaches are starting something new this year to motivate kids to work extra hard during practice. Each coach nominates an athlete who has been working hard, and on Friday all the nominations are collected and put into a bin and one boy and one girl are drawn. The winner gets a t-shirt, and the first week's winners were Greg Dorow and Courtney Pribyl. The first couple weeks of practice have been very successful. Due to the nice weather, the athletes were able to get outside instead of being stuck inside for the first weeks of practice. “The first two weeks of track are meant to get the kids in general shape,” said Head Coach Ben Youngs. “Those who have come into the season working out will be in a much better situation.
On Monday, March 19, all the players from the 2011-2012 girls’ basketball team gathered in the high school cafeteria to celebrate a well-ended season. The banquet kicked off with a potluck brought in by all the players, from the C-team to the varsity. After eating some delicious food, the banquet officially began. A bunch of thank you’s was given out to numerous people who helped make the season such a success. From then on, the microphone was handed down to all three of the coaches: Craig Grams- C-team, Kim Fynboh-JV, and Adam Ronnenberg-varsity. Before the awards were given out to the varsity players, a 10- minute video, made by Fynboh, was played. It brought happiness to some and a sense of sadness to others as they realized that their career of high school basketball was really over. Many great memories were shown throughout the video that brought a giggle or smile to some faces. The awards were then handed out after the playing of the video.
David Zaske, a 2011 graduate of MLHS, recently completed a very successful first year of swimming for University of Wisconsin-River Falls Falcon men’s swimming and diving. The season concluded on March 24 with the 2012 swim banquet. During the banquet Zaske was honored to receive recognition from his teammates and for times he obtained during the swim season. Zaske was awarded the men’s swimming and diving 2011-2012 Most Valuable Swimmer Award and was recognized for setting two all-time school records. The swim season starts in September and concludes swimming in February at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) and involves much dedication to the sport of swimming, weight training and academic standards. Season highlights include swimming in the WIAC Championships at Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center in Brown Deer, WI Feb. 16 -18, 2012. ·In 100 Breaststroke- Zaske finished ninth with a time of 59.68 which sets an all-time school record.
Most years, summer usually rolls around in May. Not this year! The heat of March quickly melted the snow and completely dried up any prior signs of winter. For the snowmobilers out there, that’s bad news. But, for the golfers, it’s fantastic news. More practice early in the season equals success later in the season. The boys’ golf team at Maple Lake High School is gearing up for the long road ahead. Coach Jeff Kubian has been anxiously awaiting the day that practice would finally begin. “We have a great group of golfers and I expect it to be an enjoyable season,” said Coach Kubian. It is definitely assumed that the boys are to have quite an auspicious season. A big part of the coaches’ jobs is to make sure their golfers are not only having fun, but also furthering their skills. “I'm looking for each of our players to improve their average 9-hole score over last year. I'd also like to see at least one of our golfers finish in the conference top 10,” said Coach Kubian.
On Thursday night, April 19, the Irish hosted the Kimball Cubs for a big conference game. It was a battle for both teams but the Irish came out on top by a score of 12-8. The Irish boys picked up two runs in the first inning, but the big inning of the game came in the second, where they picked up six runs. This began with junior Donnie Mavencamp hitting a single, followed by two walks by junior Bosten Fieldseth and sophomore Zach Johnson. Picking up an RBI was junior Dylan Kotilinek, who reached on error after a groundball to third base, which allowed Mavencamp and Fieldseth to score. This brought the top of the lineup to bat, starting with senior Brian Redemske who kept the momentum going with a single which allowed Z. Johnson to score. Reaching first base on an error was senior Dedrek Berndtson, which allowed Kotilinek to also score. After a couple more batters, freshman Cal Redemske picked up an RBI after reaching on a fielder’s choice.
On Tuesday, April 17, the Maple Lake Irish softball team headed to Dassel-Cokato to battle in a section game. Any game is important but, with a section game on the line, the Irish hoped to secure the win and head back on track toward a winning season. However, their opponents were fired up and ready to compete. “We knew they were a very good hitting team. They swing the bat well and put the ball in play,” said Head Coach Tim Knudsen. The Irish were up to bat first, but were unable to score a run, which put them on the field quickly to defend Dassel-Cokato. Unfortunately, Maple Lake lost control of the game through errors. “We made critical mistakes in the ball game and we had to make plays but sometimes we didn’t, which hurt us,” Knudsen said. The Irish struggled at the plate, which also played a factor during the game. With a total of three hits, Maple Lake was able to hit in three runs but it wasn’t enough to close the deficit in the score.
The first meet of the golf season is always strange. Getting back into the swing of things can take some time. Yes, the golfers had practice for a couple weeks beforehand, but, it’s a whole different experience when it’s the real deal. The Irish girls’ team headed all the way to Pierz to compete on April 12. “It was quite the haul, but the weather was nice,” said varsity golfer Tabitha Latzig. “There was a slight breeze; it was sunny and about 70 degrees. It cooled off as the meet went on.” The boys’ team, on the other hand, traveled to Kimball on April 12. “It was pretty nice outside, but the wind picked up towards the end of the meet,” said varsity golfer Josh Hogan. Weather is a huge factor in the outcome of the teams’ scores. Coach Steve Fuchs’ girls’ team finished in third place with 191 points, not far behind their rival, Osakis, which took first with 185 points. Coach Jeff Kubian’s boys took fourth place, also with 191 points.