Top sports stories of 2010
WDC volleyers win first state title
The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines were absolutely perfect in 2010 as they captured their first Class AA state volleyball championship. Sue Volkmann's veteran squad posted a perfect 30-0 record leading up to their third straight state tournament, then blitzed the competition at the Xcel Energy Center Nov. 14-16 by winning nine straight matches. So outstanding was the team that they only lost two matches all season long. Having dealt with the loss of their home court in a June 17 tornado that destroyed their school, the Wolverines became the darlings of the Class AA state tournament. Courtney Volkmann, Rachael Carlisle and Brittney Noon made the Class AA All-State tournament team. Volkmann was chosen Class AA's Player of the Year and made the Class AA first team. Noon received honorable mention.
Three WDC, BHV wrestlers qualify for state
Norm Gallant's Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines and Mike Barthel's Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale Raiders both sent three wrestlers to the Class A state tournament. Qualifying for the Wolverines were Mitch Steffens (112), Jordan Rentz (130) and Jacob Wegscheid (140). Steffens posted an 8-2 victory in wrestlebacks against Kimball Area's Tanner Mills for WDC's only state tournament victory. Steffens went on to the National High School Coaches Association's Wrestling Championships in Virginia Beach, Va. where he placed sixth and earned All-American honors.
BHV's Jake Braaten made his fourth state appearance and went 1-2 in the 152-pound weight bracket. Colin Turchin qualified for his second state tournament in the heavyweight division. Both wrestlers advanced to the national tournament along with Steffens.
Earning his first trip to state was Amos Schmidt at 189.
Schmidt qualifies for three straight state tournaments
Verndale standout Amos Schmidt had a sensational senior year as he qualified for state competition in football, wrestling and track and field. Schmidt helped the Verndale Pirates win the Section 4 football crown in November of 2009 and scored a first half touchdown against Class Nine-man state quarterfinal foe Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley. Schmidt was one of three Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale grapplers to make it to state in March. He capped his remarkable senior season by running the 300 hurdles in the Class A state track and field meet in June.
Tornado destroys many Wadena sports facilities
Some of the biggest news of the year did not take place on any rink, court or field. The June 17 tornado that hit Wadena roared right over the top of the WDC High School and the Wadena Community Center. The 150 members of the Wadena Hockey Association lost their home ice along with the WDC boys' hockey team and the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Wadena-Deer Creek girls' hockey team.
Losing the high school cost the Wolverines their main gym and their practice gym. School officials worked all summer to insure that the elementary school gym could host games. New bleachers, a new paint job on the walls and the elementary gym was ready for events. The community also lost its fitness center and its outdoor swimming pool. In addition to the losses suffered by the community of Wadena, the Wadena County Fairgrounds was hit hard. The grandstand and the Shockers' baseball field were destroyed.
Isaacson, Steward advance to Upper Midwest
Wadena boxers Justin Isaacson and DeWayne Steward qualified for the Upper Midwest Tournament with victories in the Region IV Golden Gloves Tournament in Wadena. Isaacson shook off an eight-count to decision St. Cloud's Eric Lamb in the Region IV finals. Steward won the 178-pound title by forfeit. Upper Midwest action saw Steward winning the Sportsmanship Trophy but losing to St. Paul boxer Robert Brant. Isaacson lost to Minneapolis fighter Aaron Green.
Snurdbirds win first state baseball crown
The Midway Snurdbirds went all the way in the Class C state baseball tournament and edged Moorhead 5-4 in a 13-inning marathon for the title.
The Snurdbirds were runners-up in Region 16C tournament play. Their pitching staff posted a 1.21 earned run average. Jake Lund earned the Class C Tournament's MVP award by going seven of 17 at the plate for a .412 average and going 3-0 on the mound with a brilliant 1.14 ERA.
Trojans place second in Class A boys' basketball
A strong Sebeka boys' basketball squad reached the Class A finals before falling to the Minnesota Transitions Charter School 61-52.
Alex Brockpahler, John Clark and Joey Cuperus were named to the All-Tournament team.
Sebeka club takes second in Class A state baseball
The Trojans followed up an excellent boys' basketball season last spring by fighting their way to the Class A baseball finals. Sebeka fell to Eden-Valley-Watkins 7-4 in the title game. Named to the All-Class A Tournament team were Sebeka standouts Paul Funk, Alex Brockpahler and Brenen Brockpahler.
Jensen wins first Black's Grove River Crossing race
Fergus Falls' David Jensen won the first mountain bike race at Black's Grove in August. Jensen posted a time of 1:16:58 over the 12-mile course.
O'Kane takes runner-up honors in Hoot Lake Triathlon
Chris O'Kane of Wadena placed second in the rugged Hoot Lake Triathlon in July. O'Kane completed the swimming-biking-running triathlon in a time of 1:11:13. The 39-year-old athlete was runner-up to Fergus Falls' David Jensen, 26, who won the triathlon with a 1:08:55 time. O'Kane would take some of the ideas he gained in the annual Fergus Falls race for the Black's Grove River Crossing bike race.