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.”
The Annandale-Maple Lake wrestling program struggled in the beginning of the season due to injuries and holes in many of the weight classes. Throughout the winter months, the Lightning have developed into a successful, well-rounded team which has risen past expectations and outwrestled opponents. On Friday, February 10, Annandale-Maple Lake overcame Litchfield, the number four seed in Section 6AA.
Coming off of a win and season sweep of BBE the previous Thursday, the Irish girls were thirsty for another victory on Monday, Feb. 6, as they faced a non-conference team, Milaca. This was the second game of the year the Irish have played on a Monday, which presents some issues because the last team contact was made approximately three days prior to game time.
Not letting the fact that it was a Monday game bother them, the Irish offense got off to a hot start, scoring 34 first-half points and taking a 14-point lead into the half. The offense was supported by sharp, outside shooting and quick fast-breaks, leading to easy baskets.
Now that the playing of basketball in the regular season ended for the Irish girls’ basketball team, it was time to get even more focused as the first round of the playoffs started on Thursday, March 1, against St. Cloud Cathedral. This game was the second match-up of the year for these teams. In the first match-up, the Crusaders took down the Irish by 3 (50-53). The upset-minded Irish were the #5 seed in the subsection 5AA North, while the Crusaders were the #4 seed.