Robert has been the Sports Editor for the Focus since 2010 covering multiple state and national championship teams and is a mainstay at state tournaments each season covering the successful, athletic programs of Perham and New York Mills High Schools.
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An injury depleted New York Mills girls basketball team came up a point short in a heartbreaker to Rothsay, 36-35 and were outgunned by Bertha-Hewitt, 58-34, both at home. "(Rothsay) was a game we knew we really had a good chance at winning, but we didn't play our best ball," Head Coach J.J. Weller said. Rothsay scored buckets early to take a lead and gain confidence.
Sam Pirrotta hit the mat and took care of business to quickly get Perham up 6-0 pinning Steve Holecek at 1:59 at 103 pounds. The high drama would come at 215 pounds, where with the help of a forfeit to heavyweight Jesse Hein, Cody Nylander brought home a 36-30 victory for the Yellowjackets in exciting fashion. The marquee matchup was to be Hein, ranked #2 in Class 2A versus #3 Nick Cervantes.
Just when it appears the Perham gymnasts have peaked, or can really do no better, barring perfection, they top themselves again. The Yellowjackets scored a season-high 147.75 points defeating Bemidji by over 26 points. Kelsi Vomacka continues to prove untouchable taking another all-around title with 38.50 points.
The New York Mills wrestling team kept rolling along after their victory over Perham, defeating Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale 44-25 and taking home a nail biter versus Barnesville 32-31, by criteria. Tyler Ehnert, Michael Meyer, Peter Stark, Seth Hofland and Tyler Patron all scored pins in the Eagles solid victory over Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale. Jeremiah Harper got the Eagles on the scoreboard early with a tight 4-3 decision over Justin Goron. New York Mills, 32 Barnesville 31 Tommy Selander and Shane Novak got the Eagles started on the right foot versus Barnesville. Selander was victorious at 103
It is never easy to go into the Frazee gymnasium and beat the Hornet wrestling team-even worse to have to do it twice. Perham returned to Frazee after a 60-6 defeat in December. This time, the Hornets were victorious, 47-13. Brandon Lueders came back in the waning seconds of his match versus Jordan Ketter at 119 pounds to keep the match close early. Lueders scored a near fall with under eight seconds remaining in the final period to come from behind for an exciting 5-4 victory. Lueders win cut Frazee's lead to 7-3.
Jayden Cullen, 100 butterfly, Ben Collette, 500 freestyle and Zach Langendorfer, 500 freestyle-all qualified for sections as Perham dominated Morris Area 118-63. The Jackets took first place in nine events. Randy Swanson held the top spot in the 200 I.M., along with Leighton Covington and Luke Potts finishing second and third. Swanson was also tops in the 100-butterfly in a time of 1:04.27. Cullen took second three seconds behind Swanson. Potts, Covington and Jonathon Siira swept the top three spots in the 100-backstroke.
The New York Mills boys basketball team kept their winning streak going and did it in convincing fashion thumping Menahga, 90-60. Head Coach Bryan Dunrud gave his starters a rest with over five minutes remaining to the mild chagrin of players with memories to last year. The two teams split two games last year, but the latter game at Menahga got away from the Eagles ending in an 89-49 Braves blowout. The Braves were less than cordial and some of the Eagles were ready for paybacks. "We didn't want to come out in the last six minutes, but you have to play with class," Isaiah Bauck said. Bauc
Teamwork is nothing new to Isaiah Bauck, but every now and then an individual accolade is mandated for every member of a strong team. For Bauck, it's just a matter of figuring out which team. Bauck is a captain and floor leader of a basketball team full of seniors and talented underclassmen that are currently playing their best ball of the year on a six-game winning streak. He's also brother to six sisters and a little brother. He's the man on the family farm, while his father travels the country most of the year. "All summer I have to work on the farm," Bauck said.
Pillager came out on the winning end of a battle of double-doubles in Pillager. The Huskies prevailed 55-29 Tuesday night. Shauna Maurer finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for Pillager versus Ellie Rutten's 13 points and 14 rebounds. "We didn't have an answer against Maurer as she was able to get the ball and make quick post moves to allow her some inside points," NY Mills Head Coach J.J. Weller said. The Huskies jumped out to a 28-12 lead at the half. "We went up against a good team tonight in Pillager," Weller said.
Perham/NY Mills Swimming and Diving: The Perham swimming and diving team defeated Moorhead 120-65. Zach Langendorfer qualified for Sections in the 200 Freestyle. Jayden Cullen qualfied in the 200 IM. Matt Shipman qualified in the 100 Freestyle. Mark Shipman and Luke Potts qualified in the 100 Backstroke. NY Mills boys basketball: The Eagles won their seventh consecutive game jumping out to a 41-30 lead at halftime and staving off a late Pillager rally in the second half.