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Illustration by Michael Smith / Forum News Service

Minnesota 2013-14 high school top 10 stories of the year

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Mahnomen football dominance continues The longest football winning streak in Minnesota belongs to Mahnomen at 28 straight games. The Indians knocked off the last team to beat them in the Class 1A state title game in Dawson-Boyd 46-13 to win their second straight state title. The Indians outscored teams 638-57 in their second straight 14-0 season.

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Park Christian bball to state for first time everIn his first and only year coaching high school basketball, Erv Inniger – the winningest coach in North Dakota State history – along with a starting five that included of four seniors, punched a ticket to the state basketball tournament for the first time in Moorhead Park Christian history. A 62-59 win over the last undefeated team in Minnesota in No. 2-ranked Battle Lake in the Class 1A, Section 6 title game was the finishing touch. Seniors scored 51 of the 62 Park Christian points in that section title game.

Perham’s Hurley caps prep running career Perham’s Keeghan Hurley had quite the senior season. A few weeks after leading Perham to its second straight Class 1A cross country title with an individual cross country title of his own, Hurley committed to run at Southern Utah. Seven months later, Hurley took home a Class 1A state title in the 3,200-meter run and a second-place finish in the 1,600-meter run at the state track and field meet.

In swimming, cross country and track and field, Hurley finished with nearly 40 Minnesota high school section and state medals.

Smith, Detroit Lakes continue golf dynasty Detroit Lakes girls golf team won its third straight Class 2A state title and it wasn’t even close. The Lakers won by 58 strokes with a two-day score of 590, which was 20 strokes better than the state meet record. The Lakers also topped their own one-day state record with a 293 on the first day of golf.

DL sophomore Kate Smith won her third straight individual title, tying Pequot Lakes junior Maggie Heggerston with a 1-under-par 143. Smith has the chance to become the second golfer in Minnesota history to win four individual titles and the first to win five.

Big changes in high school football The idea to place football teams into districts was approved by the Minnesota State High School League in late January, and the actual districts were approved in early June for the 2015 football season. Teams throughout the state were placed in 18 districts – which all but ends conferences – but with the idea of making scheduling easier.

For the last 32 years, high school football teams have dreamt about getting to “the Dome.” After the 2013 season, teams will dream differently as the Metrodome era of the Prep Bowl came to an end this past season. While the Vikings build a new stadium, the Prep Bowl will be outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium in 2014 and 2015.

Sykora wins 4th state title, commits to NDSU Wheaton High School junior Cameron Sykora capped a 35-0 season with his fourth wrestling state title, winning the Class 1A title match at 120 pounds with a 15-0 technical fall. The win pushed Sykora to 125-1 in his last three high school seasons, and he has the chance to become the fifth wrestler in Minnesota history to win five state titles. In May, he verbally committed to wrestle at North Dakota State.

Fergus Falls core ends career with a bang Fergus Falls seniors Devonie Smith, Kristin Traiser, Anna Monke and Brianna Rasmusson combined for 23 trips to state in volleyball, basketball, softball and track and field in their Otters careers.

All of them were starters on the volleyball team last season, which made it to state for the first time in school history, finishing third in Class 2A. All of them were starters on the girls basketball team as well, which finished third in Class 3A in the girls’ third and final trip to state on the basketball team.

OTC’s Ukkelberg takes a big leap forward

As a freshman with the Ottertail Central track and field team, Tony Ukkelberg found out five days before the beginning of the postseason he had a stress fracture in his back and would miss the rest of the season.

Earlier this month, as a sophomore, Ukkelberg won a Class 1A state long jump title. Ukkelberg needed 44 feet, 9 ¼ inches. On his final jump, he nailed a jump of 44-11 to pass Breck’s Ramaud Chiaokhio-Bowman. Chiaokhio-Bowman could only answer with a 43-2 ¾ on the ensuing final jump of the event.

Underwood, New York Mills come up just short

Underwood’s football team was the little team that could, losing in the Class 9-man state title game 28-6 to Grand Meadow. Representing a town of 341 and led by 5-foot-7 running back Noah Thompson, who led the state in rushing, the Rockets made it to their first-ever state title game after being seeded No. 3 in their section.

New York Mills baseball team suffered its first loss of the season to New Life Academy in the Class 1A state title game. The Eagles fell 5-4, with the tying run just 90 feet away, finishing the season 25-1.

Moorhead’s Lawrence finds redemption

As a junior, Moorhead’s Brett Lawrence entered the Class 2A state track and field meet with the second fastest time in the state in the 400-meter dash. Lawrence didn’t make it out of prelims, missing the finals by 0.02 seconds.

This season, Lawrence not only qualified for the finals, but finished second in the state with a time of 48.52 seconds.

It was the finishing touch on a Moorhead career that included three years of varsity football, three years of varsity basketball and four years of varsity track.

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Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy is the Minnesota preps and Fargo Force beat reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota for the last five years and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so. If reading him in the paper and online isn't enough, you can read more of him at the Forum Preps Blog: http://forumpreps.areavoices.com/  
(701) 241-5548
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