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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AUDUBON -- The New York Mills Eagles fought back from a 19-point second half deficit but Lake Park-Audubon scored the final eight points of the game to hang on for a 67-53 Section 6A play-in game victory. "I knew they weren't going to give up," Lake Park-Audubon Head Coach Lucas Isaacson said.
Finals ST. PAUL - Shane Novak used the method he has all tournament and leaves St. Paul the Class 1A 113-pound state champion by a 4-1 decision over James Goman of Trinity at River Ridge. Throughout all of Novak's matches at this year's tournament he attacked and shot for a leg against every opponent. He scored early and held on to that lead for the duration of each match. Novak was in control of the finals, as well.
ST. PAUL - Brandon Lueders, Luke Sailer and Ty Haverland all went down in defeat in the first round. Each of Perham's first three wrestlers had draws that matched them up with No. 1 or No. 2 ranked state wrestlers. At 126 pounds, Brandon Lueders (33-9) fell behind 8-0 to No. 2 ranked Eric Madson (40-3) of Hutchinson. Lueders, who typically wrestles best as the match goes on was unable to mount a comeback falling 8-2 by decision. Madson was defeated by John Weeding of Dawson-Boyd Lac Qui Parle eliminating Lueders from entry in the consolation bracket. No.
ST. PAUL - No. 1-ranked Shane Novak (39-1), a state runner-up last year, had no problem advancing to the second round of the Class A state wrestling tournament at 113 pounds. Novak jumped out to leads of 4-0 after the first period and 11-0 after the second en route to an impressive 12-2 victory over Andrew Schmidt (25-10) of Lake City. Novak has a rough draw as he advances to face No. 2-ranked Quinten Berres (39-1) of Kimball Area. The winner will face either Bryce Bruner (33-10) of Minneota or Louie Sanders (34-5) of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial. The No. 3 and No.
With Pelican Rapids defeating Barnesville handily 74-43 and deadlocking the Vikings and Perham Yellowjackets at the top of the Heart O' Lakes Conference, both top teams will wrap up their regular seasons with non-conference opponents. Pelican Rapids, (22-3) which has not been tested since a 51-48 victory over Perham in Pelican Rapids Jan. 27, will face the undefeated No. 3-1A Battle Lake Battlers (23-0) in Pelican Rapids tonight, Friday, March 2. The Vikings have won 15 straight games.
Becky Stoll sank five three-pointers and a game-high 19 points, while Katrina Moenkedick's 17 points made her Perham's all-time leading scorer, but the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels got a strong effort from three players in the Rebels' 65-51 8AA playoff victory. Mandy Mercil led the No. 4-seeded Rebels (19-8) with 18 points and 13 rebounds, recording the games only double-double. Sierra Senske and Kinzie Molstre each scored a dozen for D-G-F. According to Perham Head Coach John Gullingsrud, shooting and rebounding were the big keys to the game.
ST. PAUL -- Brandon Lueders and Cody Nylander both got two wins each, but it was not enough to garner a victory in two match losses at the Minnesota state Class 2A team wrestling tournament. Milaca-Faith Christian defeated the Yellowjackets 32-26 in the 2A consolation semifinals to end Perham's trip as a team to St. Paul. Perham lost its first match in the quarterfinals to No. 4 seed Kasson-Mantorville 43-10. "They're tough," Perham Head Coach Robb Moser said. "We knew that going in. I think the top four teams were clearly the top four teams, so just to have a shot at it is okay.
SEBEKA -- Katrina Moenkedick scored a game-high 29 points closing to within nine points of Perham's all-time girls basketball scoring record, but Sebeka (22-4) found a way to win in a 64-61 victory Thursday. "They are a very good basketball team," Perham Head Coach John Gullingsrud said. Both teams played back and forth basketball. Perham (11-14) held the lead midway through the second half. "Once Sebeka got they lead, we weren't able to catch them down the stretch." The Trojans were led by Jessica Lillquist and Alicia Boe who combined for 43 of Sebeka's 64 points.
FERGUS FALLS -- Cody Nylander and Jesse Hein, the anchors on Perham's state-bound wrestling team both won Section 8AA titles in Fergus Falls over the weekend making their upcoming trip to St. Paul a three-day affair. Three other Yellowjackets will be joining Hein and Nylander in the individual portion of the state tournament, after Thursday's team meet. Senior Brandon Lueders, 33-8, returns to the state tournament at 126 pounds.
WILLMAR -- Zach Langendorfer and Jayden Cullen will represent Perham at the state swimming and diving meet Thursday-Saturday at the U of M Aquatic Center. Cullen finished fourth in the 500-freestyle to qualify in a time of 5:13.99. He swam 5:19.79 in prelims. Langendorfer was one of 10 100-breaststroke swimmers to nip the state qualifying time of 1:05.35. Langendorfer finished fifth in a time of 1:04.31. He swam a qualifying time twice with a 1:04.45 in prelims. As a team, Perham finished in 11th place with 94 points.