Annandale-Maple Lake has shown their success through many matches, tri-meets, and tournaments. Saturday, February 4, was no different as the wrestlers pinned their way to the top of their brackets and took third place as a team in the Mankato East Cougar Invite.
With a week to prepare for the tournament, it was tough to decide whether the wrestlers needed to be pushed or given a break. The coaching staff took a chance and adopted a more laid-back practice style for the week.
Competing against one team can become monotonous. So, the Maple Lake Irish gymnastics squad hosted a Tri Meet consisting of Mound-Westonka and Dassel-Cokato on Thursday, January 26.
These opponents provided tough competition as Dassel-Cokato ended up in first place with a score of 158.8. Maple Lake took second, just falling behind with 157.275 points and Mound-Westonka ended with 127.4 points.
“Both teams have great programs and great gymnasts,” said Head Coach Kaitlyn Helmbrecht.
On Tuesday night, Jan. 24, the Irish were on the road at Holdingford. This was the only team Maple Lake had yet to play in the conference this season. Breaking their five-game losing streak, the Irish defeated Holdingford with a score of 54-43.
Both teams played tough man-to-man defense, but the Irish grabbed the early lead and never really looked back. Getting the Huskers’ main point guard/leading scorer in foul trouble for most of the game was crucial, leading to the Irish victory.
The Maple Lake Irish gymnastics squad headed to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted on Friday, January 20, in the hopes of adding a win to their record. Thanks to their persistence in practice, they were able to inch past their competition and pull out a victory by less than a point.
With a final score of 126.225, Maple Lake took advantage of every extra point awarded and beat out Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, which earned 125.075 points on the night.
Experiencing a lot of success in the last few months, the Annandale-Maple Lake Lightning hoped to continue their streak going into the meet on Friday, January 27, against state-ranked teams Hutchinson and Foley.
A tri-meet inflicts extra exhaustion, especially when competing against such talented teams as Hutchinson and Foley.
Coming off a four-game winning streak, the Irish girls’ basketball team was ready to face the Rockford Rockets on Maple Lake’s home floor on Monday, Feb. 13. The last time the two teams played in Rockford, the Irish dominated most of the game, despite winning by only seven points, 66-59.
This game started out in nearly the same fashion as the Irish jumped out to a 22-10 lead in the early stages of the contest. However, the Rocket intensity grew as the half went and cut the Irish lead to just 4 points at the half (28-24).
Throughout the year, the Annandale-Maple Lake Lightning wrestlers progressively improved and were the cause of many upsets during matches. They ended the regular season with a record of 16-7 after defeating Litchfield and headed into the Section 6AA Quarter- finals with momentum on Tuesday, February 14.
The Lightning took on two opponents at the meet, Zimmerman and Becker. Head Coach Jason Bartels said that the wrestlers were put through an intense week of practice, both mentally and physically, to make sure they would be ready for the challenges of the post-season.
On Thursday night, Feb. 16, the Maple Lake boys’ basketball team hosted the Milaca Wolves for a non-conference game.
The Irish held tough and came out on top by a score of 78-56.
“We did a nice job of getting the ball to our posts and the posts did a great job putting the ball in the basket,” said Head Coach Tim Staloch. “Jake, Joe, and Isaac shot a combined 18 for 29 from the field.”