Andover girls hockey wins state

The Andover girls hockey team made history in February as it took down three-time defending champion Edina to emerge with the Class AA state title. The Huskies won a 5-3 championship classic to gain the first Minnesota State High School League title in school history.

After falling behind 2-0 early in the finals, Andover tied the game late in the first period on goals by Gabby Krause and Peyton Hemp. Edina went back ahead 3-2 in the second period, only for the Huskies to tie the game again on a goal by Tyra Turner. The game remained tied until Jamie Nelson found Krause for a go-ahead goal with 3:59 remaining in the third period, then Isa Goettl added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the victory. The Huskies reached the finals with a 6-0 quarterfinal win over Farmington and a 4-3 overtime win in the semifinals over Minnetonka.

Andover finished the state championship season with a record of 28-2. Team members included Courtney Stagman, Madison Clough, Sara Kaiser, Joslin Mumm, Peyton Hemp, Halle Fields, Elisebeth Tammi, Jamie Nelson, Kaylin Lisy, Isa Goettl, Kennedy Little, Ella Boerger, Grace Berg, Gabby Krause, Ashley Grabau, Madelynn Jurgensen, Josie Hemp, Tyra Turner, Madison Kaiser and Amanda Pelkey. Melissa Volk was the head coach, assisted by Ronnie Druk, Shannon Kangas and Sarah Thedens.

“The feeling of playing in the championship, much less to win it, is a dream,” senior captain Kennedy Little said. “The atmosphere was insane and we are so grateful for the community support we have been blessed to have. During the game, our team knew we were so close to our end goal and had to do whatever it took to win it. Edina’s power play is so good, it was hard to stop, but 5-on-5 we were playing our best hockey. Lifting that trophy and leading the team to this program’s and this city’s first-ever state championship is a feeling that’s indescribable.”

“I could not be more proud of this group,” Volk said. “They battled through adversity throughout the season and to be able to win a state championship, having to battle back numerous times, shows their strength in character, work ethic, mental toughness and grit. For the five seniors to end their high school careers with a state championship is especially rewarding, because all five seniors have given so much to our program and now have left their legacy at Andover Girls Hockey.”

Anoka wrestling celebrates 75 years

The Anoka High School wrestling team celebrated its 75th year as one of the most successful high school programs in state history during a dual against St. Francis at the end of January.

Over 300 Tornadoes have participated at state, including 52 state champions and 48 runners-up. The team has won 38 conference championships and seven state titles, with 35 wrestlers reaching 100 wins and a pair crossing 200 wins. Another five went on to become Olympians, as well as two serving as Olympic coaches.

“Not many things have been changed, because the wrestlers and coaches before us set the bar high and always had a vision of greatness for the program,” Anoka co-head coach Todd Springer said. “That vision is to build student-athletes and develop young men and women for life after wrestling.”

Mustangs perfect

The Anoka-Hennepin adapted floor hockey CI Division team entered the state tournament with a perfect 11-0 record, but the shutdown of Minnesota State High School League activities due to COVID-19 canceled its chance to compete at state in March.

“It meant a great deal for this team to go undefeated,” A-H head coach Pete Kutches said. “We had nine seniors on this team that have worked very hard throughout their careers. It is something that was done only once before, back in 2010, so it was special for them to run the table on every game we could play. I told them it is something special to go 11-0 and it’s something they will never forget. It’s unfortunate they didn’t get to play in the state tournament, but it obviously was the right thing to do.”

Chutich, Freking honored

Anoka High School graduate Justice Margaret Chutich and Anoka seventh-grader Maddy Freking were honored at the 34th annual Minnesota Girls and Women in Sports Day in February.

Chutich, an associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court, was honored with a Special Merit Award. Chutich has spent a lifetime working as a champion of girls and women in sport. Chutich played on the boys high school tennis team at Anoka until a girls state tournament was created, and she took second in the first-ever Minnesota State High School League girls tennis tournament as a junior before winning the tournament as a senior. She won a Big 10 singles title at the University of Minnesota and helped the Gophers to three AIAW National Tournament berths.

Freking received a Minnesota Milestone Award. In the summer of 2019, Freking became the 19th girl to play in the Little League World Series and the second girl from Minnesota to play on Little League’s biggest stage, starting for Coon Rapids-Andover at second base.

Schultze rewrites record books

Coon Rapids senior Megan Schultze concluded a legendary career in the pool for the Cardinal girls swimming and diving team this fall. Schultze finished with all eight of the school’s individual swim event records and as a part of all three record relays. There was no fall state meet, but Schultze finished the season with the state’s best time in the 200 IM and the second-best time in the 100 breaststroke.

“I’m extremely thankful for everything my swimming career has brought me,” Schultze said. “My family, coaches and teammates have supported me so much throughout my career and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I’ve made so many memories that will last a lifetime. I think what has driven me is the desire to keep getting better. I constantly am thinking about the times I can go and my goals for each season. What makes swimming worth it is when everything comes together and you get your goal times. I just try to do my best in practice and races and see where it can get me. I think my teammates have also helped me get better. When we have to do hard practices, we’re there to support one another and push each other to swim fast.”

Tourney first

After knocking on the doorstep the previous two seasons, the Andover boys hockey team left no doubt as it overwhelmed the rest of Section 7AA on its way to its first-ever state tournament appearance. The Huskies outscored their three section foes by a combined total of 24-1, ultimately finishing as the Class AA consolation champs.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” senior Eric Chartier said. “This same team has been working to get to state since we were Squirts and it’s amazing to finally get there and to be part of the first boys team in Andover to do it.”

Defenseman Wyatt Kaiser went on to be selected in the third round of the 2020 NHL draft by Chicago.

Cardinals win dramatic NWSC title

Coon Rapids wrestling won its 14th conference championship in dramatic fashion, winning its final Northwest Suburban dual of the season 35-34 on criteria over Rogers in February on the sixth tiebreaker. The Cardinals also won two other conference duals during the season in the final bout, defeating Blaine 32-31 and Anoka 28-25.

“(We wrestled) on the edge all season long and have won some dramatic duals in comeback fashion,” Coon Rapids head coach Bob Adams said. “The Cardinals are now 1-4 in tied matches in the past 22 years, so we were due to win one.”

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