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Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - January 18, 2018
Rob LaPlante

Journal-Press Sports Editor Rob LaPlante may be reached by phone at 763-682-1221 or click here to email him



Streak hits five with blowouts over North Branch, Osseo

Red-hot Bison improve to 9-5 with latest wins

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By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

If a scout were to take notes on the Buffalo girls' basketball team, they most definitely would have to circle 31's number – Jordan Zrust.

But in the Bison's most recent hot streak, which featured blowout wins over North Branch and Osseo, the numbers of multiple girls would be circled.

Jordan Zrust's 17.6 points per game ranked 70th among all players in the state this season. Zrust added to her average with 22 points in last Thursday's 70-46 home win over North Branch.

Buffalo led 33-21 at half and outscored the Vikings by 12 more in the second half. Megan Lowell recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Bailee Larson also found double-digits with 11. Eight total players ended the night with points.

"Lowell had a great game against North Branch," said Bison Head Coach Grant Stewart. "Reese Wishart, Sarah Hudson, and Bailee Larson have had great nights. It's not just Jordan leading us. We have 4-5-6 girls that our opponents need to watch, which ultimately makes Jordan a better player and gives her more opportunities in the game."

"When scoring only comes from one person, I think the rest of the team gets a bit down," said Bison center Kiera Johnson. "It needs to be everyone stepping up and working as hard as they can, and points come from that."

Buffalo extended its win streak to five games with a 59-24 road win last Saturday night at Osseo.

The game was featured as one of 30 games this season in the Super 60 Showcase, which features 30 games of 60 high school basketball teams, played at five venues.

A struggling Orioles (2-12 overall) squad fell behind 13-0 before scoring their first points nearly five minutes into the first half.

The Bison extended their lead to 28-6 with four minutes left in the opening half. During the opening 13 minutes, Buffalo was led defensively by Johnson, a 6-foot-1 center who collected three blocks in two straight Osseo possessions.

"You can never underestimate the person you are guarding," said Johnson, who had a definite size mismatch throughout the game. "But they are a shorter team. With my height, automatically, I looked for the mismatch and I think that helped me out in the end." 

Buffalo's biggest challenge throughout the game was trying to stay focused against a team they were clearly superior to.

The Bison led 33-12 at halftime, but easily could have been more if not for the dispersal of multiple players throughout the game.

Larson's outside shooting continued as she scored six of her eight points from beyond the arc. Lowell led all scorers with 12 – eight coming in the first half.

Buffalo's biggest lead was 37 points with four minutes remaining, sending the game into running time for the final 3:48.

Knowing that play can tend to get sloppy and minds can lose focus playing with big leads, Buffalo's game never wavered, throughout.

"I think we kept composure," Johnson said. "It's something we work on in practice. No matter the score, we just keep playing defense and don't even look at the scoreboard."

Ryan Chev eCouponsZrust scored 10 points and Claire Boser and Larson each had eight. Buffalo's birthday girl, Hudson, had five assists and five points. Teammates sang "Happy Birthday" to her on the court at the conclusion of the game.

"Having a lot of team chemistry and everyone having a role on the team has really helped throughout the whole season so far," said Hudson.

After a 1-4 start, the Osseo win marked the Bison's eighth in their last nine games to improve to 9-5 on the year.

Buffalo's rough start could prove costly, as three of the four losses came against Section 8-4A teams.

"It would be fun to play those teams again," Hudson said. "We would definitely give them a run for their money."

"I think we're coming together as a team," Stewart said. "Our assist count is way up. The team's playing well and seeing each other on the court and looking for good shot opportunities. One of the stats I look at is points per possession, and we're doing really well lately in that, which means we're taking care of the ball and making good shot selections."

The Bison currently are 3-3 against section opponents and 3-0 in the conference.

Only St. Michael-Albertville, Maple Grove and Moorhead rank above Buffalo in the section standings, and the Bison and Knights are tied for the conference lead.

A showdown with STMA is coming Friday, Jan. 26 at STMA.

"I think we'll give St. Michael a run for their money," Johnson said. "We've been working really hard in practice and we have great team chemistry. I think that will go pretty far for us."

Next up is a 7:45 p.m. road game on Friday, Jan. 19 at Monticello. The Magic and Bison boys' basketball teams will play beforehand at 6 p.m.


Buffalo 70, North Branch 46

(Thursday, Jan. 11 at Buffalo)

Vikings21  25   -  46

Bison33  37   -  70


Tigers (46) -- Megan Bunes 16; Savannah Linkert 15; Macy Brodin 6; Jillayna Hoppe 6; Katherine Carlson 2; Paige Peaslee 1.

Bison (70) -- Jordan Zrust 22; Megan Lowell 20; Bailee Larson 11; Sarah Hudson 6; Reese Wishart 3; Lauren O'Connell 2; Kiera Johnson 2; Claire Boser 2; Shelby Stoll 2.


Super 60 Showcase

Buffalo 59, Osseo 24

(Saturday, Jan. 13 at Osseo)

Bison33  26   -  59

Orioles12  12   -  24


Bison (59) -- Megan Lowell 12; Jordan Zrust 10; Claire Boser 8; Bailee Larson 8; Reese Wishart 7; Kiera Johnson 5; Sarah Hudson 5; Lauren O'Connell 4.

Orioles (24) -- Not available.



Bison defeat Tigers in return

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By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Metaphorically speaking, time tends to heal all wounds.

With three weeks off for holiday break, the Bison gymnastics team used its time away from competition wisely.

The result was the team's second to highest score of the season in a 138.40 to 128.95 road win last Thursday, Jan. 11 at Princeton.

"It was a great meet," said Bison Head Coach Martha Driscoll-Nelson. "It has been so valuable to have time to condition and practice newer skills and execution problems over Christmas vacation and the first week of January."

Time away from competition also allowed a much-needed body back into the lineup. After missing two meets prior to break due to an ankle injury, Buffalo's Amanda Montplaisir returned to the lineup at Princeton.

Montplaisir finished second to teammate Madi Peters as top all-around. Montplaisir was first on bars, and second on vault, beam, and floor. Her all-around score was 35.775.

"Amanda is excited to be competing," Driscoll-Nelson said. "She did an almost flawless bar routine, where she scored an 8.90. That was an amazing score, because the routine was worth about 9.0 or 9.1, depending on how the judges saw it. She is coming back a bit cautiously, and is planning to do more difficult routines on all events, as her ankle continues to heal."

Peters' score of 36.425 was highlighted by first-place finishes in vault, beam and floor.

"Madi had an almost perfect floor routine," said Driscoll-Nelson, referring to her score of 9.45.

Buffalo's Rachel Haas also performed all-around, where she finished fourth at 32.675.

As a team, the Bison posted their highest score of 35.875 on floor. Behind Peters was Montplaisir second (9.125), Haas fourth (8.75), Sam Poeschl sixth (8.55), and Sam Twardy seventh (8.375).

Buffalo also posted its highest team score on bars with a score of 33.025. Montplaisir was first, followed by Peters second (8.50), Poeschl fourth (7.95), and Twardy and Haas tied for sixth (7.676).

Driscoll-Nelson credits time off for much of the improvements.

"Gymnasts had lots of time to practice what they needed to work on with execution. This is so important in gymnastics, and cannot be done if the schedule is meet-after-meet," Driscoll-Nelson said. "A total of 4.5 points out of their 10-point score per routine can be taken for bent legs and wrong body shapes. So over break they had time to fix those technical problems by watching their meet and practice videos and making corrections that stay in their routines consistently because their bodies can do it from motor memory."

Besides technical skills, Driscoll-Nelson was also happy to have a rested and full lineup.

"Everyone on varsity and junior varsity were able to compete at Princeton," Driscoll-Nelson said. "That was the first time this season we didn't have an injury, sickness or middle school concert conflict."


St. Francis meet



All events are improving,  the most improvement on bars, probably because we have been focusing on bars and doing a lot of video analysis and critique. Over 33 points was the season high. Thursday night was actually not the season high on vault, but the pit is helping with vaulting and on tumbling on  floor.


Buffalo 138.40

Princeton 128.95

(Thursday, Jan. 11 at Princeton)

Vault: 1. Madi Peters (B) 9.05; 2. Amanda Montplaisir (B) 8.6; 3. Rachel Haas (B) 8.50; 4. Millie Anderson (P) 8.475; 5. Sam Twardy (B) 8.45; T6. Peyton Retterath (B) 8.375; T6. Laci Leverty (P) 8.375; 8. Lily Opay (P) 8.30; 9. Sydney Christenson (P) 8.25; 10. Allison Murphy (P) 8.10. Totals: Buffalo 34.60, Princeton 33.40.

Uneven Bars: 1. Amanda Montplaisir (B) 8.90; 2. Madi Peters (B) 8.50; 3. Laci Leverty (P) 8.00; 4. Sam Poeschl (B) 7.95; 5. Allison Murphy (P) 7.875; T6. Sam Twardy (B) 7.675; T6. Rachel Haas (B) 7.675; 8. Briana Dokken (P) 7.65; 9. Sydney Christenson (P) 7.65; 10. Bailey Brunell (P) 7.125. Totals: Buffalo 33.025, Princeton 31.025.

Balance Beam: 1. Madi Peters (B) 9.425; 2. Amanda Montplaisir (B) 9.15; 3. Allison Murphy (P) 8.375; T4. Millie Anderson (P) 8.175; T4. Peyton Retterath (B) 8.175; 6. Sam Poeschl (B) 8.15; 7. Laci Leverty (P) 7.95; 8. Rachel Haas (B) 7.75; 9. Sydney Christenson (P) 7.20; 10. Briana Dokken (P) 7.175. Totals: Buffalo 34.90; Princeton 31.70.

Floor Exercise: 1. Madi Peters (B) 9.45; 2. Amanda Montplaisir (B) 9.125; 3. Laci Leverty (P) 8.875; 4. Rachel Haas (B) 8.75; 5. Sydney Christenson (P) 8.65; 6. Sam Poeschl (B) 8.55; 7. Sam Twardy (B) 8.375; 8. Lily Opay (P) 7.70; 9. Allison Murphy (P) 7.60; 10. Millie Anderson (P) 7.525. Totals: Buffalo 35.875, Princeton 32.825.

All-Around: 1. Madi Peters (B) 36.425; 2. Amanda Montplaisir (B) 35.775; 3. Laci Leverty (P) 33.20; 4. Rachel Haas (B) 32.675; 5. Allison Murphy (P) 32.00; 6. Sydney Christenson (P) 31.60.



Much-needed victory comes against Fighting Saints

Three periods, three lines lift Bison in 5-2 win; setback suffered in Princeton

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By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

They say all good things come in threes.

A 5-2 home win last Friday by the Buffalo girls' hockey team over St. Francis/North Branch was proof.

"We're a really good practice team, and we've been talking about converting that to a game all year long – tonight was the first night we did it for three solid periods," said Bison Head Coach Mark Nordvall. "This was a huge boost. It's the dog days of January. When things go tough, it's how you respond to adversity, and we responded today."

Buffalo came into the contest losers of three straight and six of its past seven games.

Looking to make amends for a 4-1 road loss earlier this season at St. Francis, the Bison got a huge goal off the stick of defenseman Morgan Wurm early in period one.

Wurm's shot from the point beat Fighting Saint goalie Rachel Miller who was screened following a faceoff win by Ryleigh Stenson. 

"Our center won the draw, and our coaches always tell us to shoot fast, so that's what I tried to do," Wurm said.

The goal was especially big, because it came just 1:35 after Lauren White gave St. Francis a 1-0 lead 2:21 into period one.

 White used her speed to burst down the right wing boards and fired a shot from a bad angle that handcuffed Bison goalie Kennedy Sohler.

Sohler and the rest of her teammates would settle down following Wurm's goal. The Bison led 2-1 after one period when Jada Habisch converted her 27th goal of the season just 1:39 after Wurm's strike.

"Morgan's making strides," Nordvall said. "She's doing better, she's keeping her head up a little more, and she was making smart plays."

Period two was nearly a carbon-copy of the first.

Kaylyn Forliti tied the score 2-2 just 2:08 into the second stanza. But like the opening goal, Buffalo responded immediately when Habisch scored her second of the game just 1:01 after Forliti's tally.

The score remained the same until Buffalo's third line struck for an insurance goal at 14:49 of period two.

With Meghan Landsberger and Taylor Ryan working hard on the forceheck, a loose puck in the slot was fired home by Kristi Stendahl, who was instantly mobbed by teammates following her first-career varsity goal as a junior.

"It was an awesome feeling to score, and to be able to pull through and take a win," Stendahl said. "Tonight we stayed positive and moved the puck really well."

More importantly for Buffalo, the goal added much life to a team that has relied so heavily on the top-line of Habisch, Emma Carlson, and Erica O'Borsky.

Buffalo's top-line accounted for two of the Bison's goals in the win, but all three lines contributed, including two from the second line.

"I think it's super-important to not only have the first line to score, but all three lines to contribute," Stendahl said.

"It's huge," Nordvall said. "We don't talk about that this much with this group, because I don't want to single anybody out. But we need those other lines to step up. It's not just on the scoreboard, it's on the bench and in the locker room. It goes a long way towards success."

Buffalo's final tally came 1:47 into period three on Carlson's sixth goal and 23rd point on the season. Assisting on the goal were Allisen Carothers and Bailey Braccini.

"We've all been working really hard, and I think everyone deserves it," said Wurm, on everyone contributing to the win. "We knew it's the little things that matter and we did it tonight and things worked out."

Buffalo outshot the Fighting Saints 30-22. Kennedy Sohler made 20 saves, including several key third-period shots that came during a two-man advantage for nearly a full minute for St. Francis.


Tigers earn payback

Much like Buffalo splitting its season-series with the Fighting Saints, Princeton did the same with a 3-1 home victory Tuesday night over the Bison.

Buffalo had defeated the Tigers 5-2 earlier in the year.

Kenzie Skuza scored a pair of goals and added an assist on an empty-net goal by Dani Slominski late in period three. Maddy Peterson, who was held pointless in the first meeting, added three assists. Habisch scored Buffalo's lone goal. The Bison didn't commit one penalty, but went 0-for-5 on the power play. 


Buffalo 5

St. Francis/North Branch 2

(Friday, Jan. 12 at Buffalo)

Fighting Saints1  1  0   -   2

Bison2  2  1   -   5

First period: SF/NB -- Lauren White (unassisted) 2:21; B -- Morgan Wurm (Ryleigh Stenson) 3:46; B -- Jada Habisch (unassisted) 5:25.

Second period: SF/NB -- Kaylyn Forliti (Jenna Kurkowski) 2:08; B -- Habisch 2 (Emma Carlson) 3:09; B -- Kristi Stendahl (Taylor Ryan, Meghan Landsberger) 14:49.

Third period: B -- Carlson (Allisen Carothers, Bailey Braccini) 1:47.

Goalies: SF/NB – Rachel Miller (loss) 30 shots, 25 saves; B – Kennedy Sohler (loss) 22 shots, 20 saves. Shots: SF/NB – 7-8-17 – 32; B – 7-8-15 – 30. Power Plays: SF/NB– 0-4; B – 0-4.


Princeton 3, Buffalo 1

(Tuesday, Jan. 16 at Princeton)

Bison0  0  1   -   1

Tigers2  0  1   -   3

First period: P -- Kenzie Skuza (Maddy Peterson, Dani Slominski) 1:28; P -- Skuza 2 (Peterson, Eden Betzler) 3:57.

Second period: No scoring.

Third period: B -- Jada Habisch (Erica O'Borsky, Emma Carlson) 4:13; P -- Slominski (Peterson, Skuza) 16:06, EN.

Goalies: B – Kennedy Sohler (loss) 32 shots, 30 saves; P – Kara Schramel (win) 28 shots, 27 saves. Shots: B – 7-13-8 – 28; P – 8-12-13 – 33. Power Plays: B – 0-5; P – 0-0.



Bison improves to 4-0 with huge win at C-I

Fargo North edges Buffalo in 8th Annual Border Battle

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By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

In four dual meets thus far, the 400-freestyle relay teams have yet to record an official point for the Buffalo boys' swim/dive squad.

With a maximum of 12 points awarded to one team in each relay event, the Bison have yet to score in the final event of 12 in each meet. The lack of points has nothing to do with performances in that event, rather performances in the 11 events leading up to the final race.

Buffalo improved to 4-0 in duals with a convincing 101-77 road win last Thursday at Cambridge-Isanti. In each of the four wins, the Bison have clinched the mandatory 94 points to earn a win prior to the 400 free relay.

The most recent win was clinched needing only nine of 12 events. Buffalo's 200-free relay teams finished top-three, giving the Bison an insurmountable 101-39 advantage.

The final 38 points by Cambridge-Isanti came with Buffalo swimming in exhibition in the 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, and 400-free relay.

Bison Head Coach Pam Brophy says exhibition is a great tool for swimmers to get some competitive practice in.

"Many of our top kids were able to swim-off events," Brophy said. "It gives us an opportunity to look at lineup options for the remainder of the season."

Parker Kabe and Max Menzemer each finished first place in four events. Both combined with Cael Tuchtenhagen and Carter Barton for first in the 200 medley relay (1:47.35). Kabe and Menzemer teamed with Triston Kosek and Will Bofenkamp for first in the 200-free relay (1:33.23).

"There is so much competition for all the relay spots. We have five different kids on each relay that are within milliseconds for that final spot," Menzemer said. "We're really trying to break the (200-free relay) record – if not this year, we'll get it next year." 

Individually, Kabe was first in 200 individual medley (2:12.90) and 100 breaststroke (1:09.46). Menzemer was first in 200 free (1:57.00) and 100 butterfly (58.00). Including exhibition, the Bison finished first in all but diving. Cambridge-Isanti placed the top-two divers. Quincy Kabe was third (197.40) for the Bison.

Buffalo built its big lead thanks to top-three finishes in 200 free, 200 IM, 100 butterfly, and 200-free relay. They also finished top-three during exhibition in 100 backstroke.

"We had 37 time drops and 12 kids that swam an event for the first time," Brophy said. "This meet was a great opportunity for the boys to put up strong times that figure into the conference rankings, which count for all-conference status at the end of the season."


Border Battle

Fargo North edged Buffalo 754 to 726.5 to win this year's team trophy in last Saturday's Buffalo Border Battle Invitational.

It marked the fifth time in eight years of the invite that Fargo North has won the meet. Shakopee, the winner of the last two Border Battles, did not participate this year. Buffalo has yet to win its home invite.

Replacing Shakopee was St. Paul Central, who finished fourth with 231.5 points. Watertown-Mayer, a co-op with Waconia and Delano, placed third at 502.

"The Border Battle was another success, both in terms of competition and sportsmanship," Brophy said. "Our visiting coaches were all very positive about our invite, and our parent volunteers did an amazing job setting up and hosting this event."

Unlike other meets, Bison coaches allow the athletes to pick their own events at the invite.

Buffalo accumulated 120 points based on first-place finishes in the 200-individual medley, 400 free relay, 200 individual medley, and diving.

Diving was missing two regulars, but Quincy Kabe still finished first for Buffalo with an 11-dive score of 374.05. Barton was first in 200 IM (2:13.14), and teamed with Tuchtenhagen, Menzemer and Parker Kabe for first in 200-medley relay (1:47.30). Kabe, Menzemer, Marco Maffei and Kosek for first in 400-freestyle relay (3:25.80).

"We had an amazing 55 time drops, with 37 athletes improving in at least one event," Brophy said. "We also had 35 first-time swims, which means kids picked events they haven't done before. It wasn't our most competitive lineup, but we still had our highest team score and highest finish in five years."

The early-season success has even Buffalo swimmers a bit surprised.

"I am surprised," said Menzemer, who has emerged as one of Buffalo's top scorers. "We lost a lot of seniors a year ago that scored points. This year, we've had a lot of people step up in the younger ages, and we have a lot of people doing that on this team."

Menzemer credits a change from a long-distance swimmer to a sprinter for much of his early season success.

"I started out the first three years training to be a long-distance swimmer, but I really didn't like it. That was their long-term goal, but I really wanted to master the 50 and 100 events," Menzemer said. "I'm also training hard in the offseason with things like lifting. I guess I'm just stepping up to the plate."


Plunge Contest

One of the highlights of each year's invite is the Plunge Contest, which features one varsity and one junior varsity swimmer from each team battling to see who can go the furthest length of the pool with no arm or leg movement.

Fargo North's Sam Roehl was the JV Plunge winner. Carter Nelson of Delano was the varsity winner. Nelson went the entire length of the pool on one breath.


Big week ahead

Buffalo (4-0 overall) will be put to the test later this week when they face St. Michael-Albertville at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18 at STMA Middle School East.

The Knights are seeking their seventh consecutive Mississippi 8 title.

Two days later, the Bison and Knights will compete once again in the Section 8AA True Team Meet on Saturday, Jan. 20 at Elk River's VandeBerg Middle School. Diving competition begins at 10 a.m., and swim starts at 1 p.m.


Buffalo 101

Cambridge-Isanti 77

(Thursday, Jan. 11 at C-Isanti)

*Exhibition time

200 Medley Relay (8-4-2): 1. Buffalo (Cael Tuchtenhagen, Carter Barton, Max Menzemer, Parker Kabe) 1:47.35; 2. Cambridge-Isanti (Mitchell Patrick, Jack Hennen, Zach Melby, Carter Slothouber) 1:53.70; 3. Buffalo (Marco Maffei, Dylan Neska, Kolbe Kramer, Triston Kosek) 1:57.15. (10-4).

200 Freestyle (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Max Menzemer (B) 1:57.00; 2. Troy Giddings (B) 2:02.87; 3. Kolbe Kramer (B) 2:05.17; 4. Mitchell Patrick (CI) 2:14.67; 5. Henry Baxter (CI) 2:29.26. (23-7).

200 Individual Medley (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Parker Kabe (B) 2:12.90; 2. Triston Kosek (B) 2:24.91; 3. Dylan Neska (B) 2:26.25; 4. Zach Toms (CI) 2:27.06; 5. Eli Bingham (CI) 2:27.68. (36-10).

50 Free (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Marco Maffei (B) 24.29; 2. Will Bofenkamp (B) 24.47; 3. Carter Slothouber (CI) 25.18; 4. Sam Backes (B) 26.03; 5. Alex Borowick (CI) 30.41. (48-14).

1-Meter Dive (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Ethan Hintermeister (CI) 226.25; 2. Tayler Kassa (CI) 202.25; 3. Quincy Kabe (B) 197.40; 4. Christian Habisch (CI) 178.00; 5. Sam Yost (B) 171.35. (52-26).

100 Butterfly (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Max Menzemer (B) 58.00; 2. Carter Barton (B) 59.04; 3. Cael Tuchtenhagen (1:03.67); 4. Zach Melby (CI) 1:04.12; 5.  Landon Chermack (CI) 1:11.24. (65-29).

100 Free (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Triston Kosek (B) 52.99; 2. Will Bofenkamp (B) 54.04; 3. Zach Toms (CI) 55.40; 4. Nick Oak (B) 55.75; 5. Kale Nelson (CI) 1:07.91. (77-33).

500 Free (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Carter Barton (B) 5:19.60; 2. Troy Giddings (B) 5:38.21; 3. Jack Hennen (CI) 5:49.06; 4. Andrew Plys (B) 5:56.75; 5. Mitchell Patrick (CI) 5:57.94. (89-37).

200 Free Relay (8-4-2): 1. Buffalo (Parker Kabe, Will Bofenkamp, Triston Kosek, Max Menzemer) 1:33.23; 2. Buffalo (Kolbe Kramer, Nick Oak, Troy Giddings, Andrew Plys) 1:43.70; *3. Buffalo (Kolbe Kramer, Nick Oak, Troy Giddings, Andrew Plys) 1:47.71; 4. Cambridge-Isanti (Eli Bingham, Zach Toms, Kale Nelson, Mitchell Patrick) 1:49.55. (101-39).

100 Backstroke (6-4-3): *1. Cael Tuchtenhagen (B) 1:00.99; *2. Marco Maffei (B) 1:03.22; *3. Dakota Malwitz (B) 1:06.64; 4. Zach Melby (CI) 1:06.87; 5. Carter Slothouber (CI) 1:08.64; 6. Landon Chermack (CI) 1:10.20. (101-52).

100 Breaststroke (6-4-3): *1. Parker Kabe (B) 1:09.46; 2. Jack Hennen (CI) 1:09.70; 3. Eli Bingham (CI) 1:11.24; *4. Kolbe Kramer (B) 1:14.83; *5. Dylan Neska (B) 1:19.14; 6. Logan Carlile (CI) 1:35.01. (101-65).

400 Free Relay (8-4): *1. Buffalo (Carter Barton, Troy Giddings, Will Bofenkamp, Marco Maffei) 3:37.63; 2. Cambridge-Isanti (Zach Toms, Zach Melby, Carter Slothouber, Jack Hennen) 3:47.26; *3. Buffalo (Levi Pederson, Sam Backes, Dakota Malwitz, Dylan Neska) 4:02.40; *4. Buffalo (Nick Oak, Noah Christenson, Andrew Plys, Cael Tuchtenhagen) 4:12.27; 5. Cambridge-Isanti (Henry Baxter, Kale Nelson, Alex Borowick, Landon Chermack) 4:38.49. (101-77).


Buffalo Border Battle

(Saturday, Jan. 13 at Buffalo)

Team scores: 1. Fargo North 754; 2. Buffalo 726.5; 3. Watertown-Mayer-Waconia-Delano 502; 4. St. Paul Central 231.5.

200 Medley Relay: 1. Buffalo 40 (Cael Tuchtenhagen, Carter Barton, Max Menzemer, Parker Kabe) 1:47.30; 4. Buffalo 30 (Marco Maffei, Kolbe Kramer, Dylan Neska, Triston Kosek) 1:55.09; 7. Buffalo 24 (Dakota Malwitz, Jacob Kugler, Andrew Plys, Sam Backes) 2:02.56; 11. Buffalo 12 (Bry Peeler, Andrew Johnson, Noah Christenson, Levi Pederson) 2:06.70; 14. Buffalo (Jack Ireland, Jack McDonnell, Kylie Yncierto, Khalil Yncierto) 2:18.49; 16. Buffalo (Zaccaria Johnson, TyAnthony Nuest, Ty Kosek, Mason Baloun) 2:25.43.

200 Freestyle: 1. John Kenison 20 (WMWD) 1:52.85; 4. Troy Giddings 15 (B) 2:01.47; 6. Kolbe Kramer 13 (B) 2:02.79; 7. Triston Kosek 12 (B) 2:03.55; 9. Nick Oak 9 (B) 2:07.39; 12. Cael Tuchtenhagen (B) 2:11.18; 14. Noah Christenson (B) 2:15.23; 15. Levi Pederson (B) 2:17.45; 17. Kylie Yncierto (B) 2:29.69; 18. David Elsenpeter (B) 2:33.59; 20. Khalil Yncierto (B) 2:46.40; 21. Cooper Polzin (B) 3:03.25.

200 Individual Medley: 1. Carter Barton 20 (B) 2:13.14; 6. Dakota Malwitz 13 (B) 2:22.47; 10. Will Bofenkamp 7 (B) 2:24.98; 11. Dylan Neska 6 (B) 2:27.79; 14. Trevor Barton (B) 2:40.75; 15. Ty Kosek (B) 2:45.41.

50 Free: 1. Payton Gabel 20 (FN) 22.74; 2. Max Menzemer 17 (B) 23.20; 3. Parker Kabe 16 (B) 23.32; 6. Andrew Plys 13 (B) 25.35; 12. Jacob Kugler 5 (B) 26.86; 13. Bry Peeler (B) 26.94; 22. Kylie Yncierto (B) 28.84; 23. Alexei Hensel (B) 29.51; 24. TyAnthony Nuest (B) 29.62; 27. Zaccaria Johnson (B) 31.38; 29. Ben Roth (B) 31.83; 30. Mason Baloun (B) 32.08; 32. Joey Anderson (B) 33.12; 33. Cole Madsen (B) 35.33; 34. Josh King (B) 35.48; 35. Austin Willey (B) 36.15; 36. Thomas Hoepner (B) 36.60; 38. Jacob Williams (B) 38.52; 39. Isaiah Kramber (B) 39.43; 42. Jeff Huhn (B) 45.44.

1-Meter Dive: 1. Quincy Kabe 20 (B) 374.05; 6. Grayson Mills 13 (B) 210.35; 7. Brandon Buschel 12 (B) 196.70; 8. Jeff Huhn 11 (B) 168.30.

100 Butterfly: 1. Peyton Fisher 20 (FN) 58.10; 4. Marco Maffei 15 (B) 1:01.20; 5. Troy Giddings 14 (B) 1:02.27; 6. Cael Tuchtenhagen 13 (B) 1:03.45; 10. Dylan Neska 9 (B) 1:06.49.

100 Free: 1. Payton Gabel 20 (FN) 50.34; 6. Dakota Malwitz 13 (B) 56.56; 7. Nick Oak 12 (B) 56.97; 8. Noah Christenson 11 (B) 57.09; 10. Levi Pederson 7 (B) 59.14; 16. Andrew Johnson (B) 1:02.14; 25. Jack Ireland (B) 1:08.27; 27. Khalil Yncierto (B) 1:09.47; 28. Alexei Hensel (B) 1:10.56; 29. Zaccaria Johnson (B) 1:13.49; 32. Joey Anderson (B) 1:16.46; 34. Mason Baloun (B) 1:17.36; 35. Ben Roth (B) 1:19.39; 36. Cole Madsen (B) 1:21.50; 37. Josh King (B) 1:24.23; Isaiah Kramber (B) 1:36.41.

500 Free: 1. Matthew Sullivan 20 (FN) 5:21.59; 2. Triston Kosek 17 (B) 5:26.73; 8. Andrew Plys 11 (B) 5:56.43; 10. Will Bofenkamp 7 (B) 6:09.11; 11. Sam Backes 6 (B) 6:09.99; 12. Trevor Barton (B) 6:11.80; 17. Thomas Hoepner (B) 8:50.24.

200 Free Relay: 1. Fargo North 40 (Peyton Fisher, Caden Boutwell, Sam Roehl, Payton Gabel) 1:34.78; 3. Buffalo 32 (Carter Barton, Andrew Plys, Nick Oak, Will Bofenkamp) 1:40.72; 5. Buffalo 28 (Kolbe Kramer, Levi Pederson, Sam Backes, Troy Giddings) 1:42.33; 8. Buffalo 22 (Quincy Kabe, Ty Kosek, Jacob Kugler, Jack McDonnell) 1:49.46; 12. Buffalo 10 (Josh King, Cayler Roder, Brandon Schiro, Joey Anderson) 2:05.55; 13. Buffalo (Garrett Weis, Mason Baloun, Zaccaria Johnson, TyAnthony Nuest) 2:15.40; 15. Buffalo (Cooper Polzin, Grayson Mills, Jeff Huhn, Brandon Buschel) 2:41.69.

100 Backstroke: 1. Nick Black 20 (WMWD) 1:01.22; 2. Carter Barton 17 (B) 1:01.81; 3. Parker Kabe 16 (B) 1:02.13; 9. Kolbe Kramer 9 (B) 1:11.33; 12. Bry Peeler 6 (B) 1:14.35; 16. Jack Ireland (B) 1:20.34; 18. David Elsenpeter (B) 1:21.95; 21. Garrett Weis (B) 1:42.36.

100 Breaststroke: 1. Peyton Fisher 20 (FN) 1:08.35; T4. Max Menzemer 14.5 (B) 1:12.82; Marco Maffei 12 (B) 1:15.82; 12. Andrew Johnson 5 (B) 1:21.03; 13. Jacob Kugler 4 (B) 1:21.67; 15. Quincy Kabe (B) 1:21.91; 18. Jack McDonnell (B) 1:24.00; 23. Cayler Roder (B) 1:31.84; 24. Cooper Polzin (B) 1:43.87. 

400 Free Relay: 1. Buffalo 40 (Parker Kabe, Triston Kosek, Marco Maffei, Max Menzemer) 3:25.80; 4. Buffalo 30 (Cael Tuchtenhagen, Nick Oak, Troy Giddings, Will Bofenkamp) 3:39.83; 6. Buffalo 26 (Sam Backes, Dylan Neska, Dakota Malwitz, Noah Christenson) 3:48.10; 11. Buffalo 12 (David Elsenpeter, Braden Schiro, Quincy Kabe, Bry Peeler) 4:27.40; 12. Buffalo (Trevor Barton, TyAnthony Nuest, Jack Ireland, Ty Kosek) 4:31.36; 13. Buffalo (Alexei Hensel, Jack McDonnell, Cayler Roder, Kylie Yncierto) 4:33.33; 17. Buffalo (Ben Roth, Thomas Hoepner, Austin Willey, Jacob Williams) 5:08.97.



Shorthanded Bison drop pivotal section game

Four starters out in 4-1 loss to Bemidji; two return in 4-2 win over Osseo

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By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Being shorthanded in hockey can create a number of challenges throughout a game.

For one contest, the Bison boys' hockey squad played shorthanded seemingly the entire night in a 4-1 home loss last Saturday to Bemidji.

Minus two injured regulars in center Tyler Braccini and defenseman Joe McNamara, the Bison were forced to dig into their junior varsity roster as the list of absent players grew when winger Treyton Welch and defenseman Cal James also missed Saturday's game.

Welch was in Texas to participate for Team USA Football's U.S. Under-18 National Team in the International Bowl played Wednesday, Jan. 18 against Team Canada at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. James was in Arizona participating in a baseball camp. Both players are juniors pursuing Division-I status in their respective sports.

Bison Head Coach Aaron Johnson had mixed emotions after suffering a key loss that most likely will drop them behind Bemidji in the Section 8AA standings.

"We would love to have those guys here to help our team," Johnson said. "But, I was a three-sport athlete myself in high school, and I had great support from my coaches in letting me pursue my passion of playing college hockey. I think I have to do the same thing with our kids. Treyton's passion is to play college football and Cal's goal is to play college baseball. This is an opportunity for them, and we have to be supportive of them. We'll be excited to get them back – that's for sure. They are a big part of our hockey program."

Like his coach, Jake Braccini is also pursuing hockey in his future. Braccini, a Gopher commit, upped his team-leading goal total to 14 when he scored the Bison's lone goal against Bemidji.

Braccini's shot from the right faceoff circle deflected off a Bemidji defender, and past a stunned Matt Fitzgerald, who was in goal.

"I was just trying to fight towards the net for a rebound when I released the shot," Braccini said. "That goal gave us an extra step, it's just too bad we couldn't hold that momentum."

At the time, it tied the game 1-1, and settled things down for a Bison squad that clearly looked overmatched in the first period, despite trailing the Lumberjacks only 1-0 after 17 minutes.

Ryan Nelson assisted on the goal with the faceoff win.

 "We were a little nervous in the first period, and we weren't sure what to expect with all the new guys in the lineup," Nelson said. "We got a couple early power plays to get us going that second period and got a lucky bounce on our goal. We just had a couple unlucky bounces go against us later in the game."

Nelson was moved to Buffalo's top line with Tyler Braccini missing his third straight game due to concussion-like symptoms.

"It's definitely really tiring, but it's a lot more fun," said Nelson, on moving from the second line to the first. "You got the coaches trust in you, but you still have to keep working and step up for your team."

Filling in on Buffalo's second line were Jordan Zelenak, Devin Huebner, and Michael Tweten.

Although they didn't score, that line produced some of the best scoring chances, particularly in the second and third periods.

"Props to those guys that came up from JV this game and did their jobs," Braccini said. "It's tough when you don't have some of your core guys, but Huebner, Zelenak and Tweten were some of our best guys tonight."

After a seven-minute stretch where Buffalo appeared to find some life, the air quickly was released when Hunter Olson gave Bemidji a 2-1 lead at 7:37 of period two. Shortly after, the Lumberjacks led 3-1 on a pretty pass from Zak Justice to Joe Leitner, who had a slam dunk as Buffalo goalie Nathan Mueller had no chance on a 2-on-1 executed to perfection.

With McNamara and James both being defensemen, Buffalo relied heavily on Joe Carothers and Ben Lindvall from the blueline, as well as Noah Mueller, Ben Symanietz, and Garrett Kothrade.

At times, Buffalo's blueline played well, but other times they struggled getting the puck out of the zone. The Bison were called for three icings in the opening five minutes of the game.

"I thought they played hard, and this was a great experience for our team. Some guys got some ice time that will maybe help their growth in the long run," Johnson said. "But, I think the most noticeable thing today was missing our top-two defensemen. The minutes they play against other teams' top lines is hard to replace. We also need three lines to play Section 8AA hockey."


Victory over Osseo

Buffalo ended a mini two-game losing streak with a 4-2 home win Tuesday night over Osseo.

Tyler Braccini recorded a goal and an assist in his return to the lineup -- a much-needed boost to Buffalo's scoring depth.

Jake Braccini also had a goal and an assist. He opened the scoring at 10:16 of period one, and assisted on Tyler's goal to start the second period. Nelson made it 3-0 and Carothers tallied his first career varsity goal making it 4-0. Zelenak added two assists.


Bemidji 4, Buffalo 1

(Saturday, Jan. 13 at Buffalo)

Lumberjacks1  2  1   -   4

Bison0  1  0   -   1

First period: BE -- Zak Justice (Joe Leitner) 15:52.

Second period: B -- Jake Braccini (Ryan Nelson) 4:53; BE -- Hunter Olson (Ryan Pogue) 7:37; BE -- Leitner (Justice, Andrew Dondelinger) 11:24.

Third period: BE -- Casey McNamara (Olson, Pogue) 4:26.

Goalies: BE – Matt Fitzgerald (win) 14 shots, 13 saves; B – Nathan Mueller (loss) 25 shots, 21 saves. Shots: BE – 8-6-11 – 25; B – 2-8-4 – 14. Power Plays: BE – 0-1; B – 0-3.


Buffalo 4, Osseo 2

(Tuesday, Jan. 16 at Buffalo)

Orioles0  2  0   -   2

Bison1  3  0   -   4

First period: B -- Jake Braccini (Tyler Braccini, Ben Klein) 10:16.

Second period: B -- Tyler Braccini (J. Braccini) 2:16; B -- Ryan Nelson (Jordan Zelenak) 2:54; B -- Joe Carothers (Zelenak) 6:21; O -- Mitchell Maier (Cade Wessman, Cody Fischbach) 11:47, PP; O -- Jackson Dwyer (Ty Hill) 12:52.

Third period: No scoring.

Goalies: O – Cooper Olson (loss) 29 shots, 25 saves; B – Nathan Mueller (win) 16 shots, 14 saves. Shots: O – 4-9-3 – 16; B – 9-10-10 – 29. Power Plays: O – 1-2; B – 0-3.



'Next men up' do job for Bison hoops

Munsterteiger, Dalbec step in leading Bison to two wins

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By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

The phrase "next man up" is often referred to in sports as a team turning to its depth when an injury or a major lineup change takes place.

For the Buffalo boys' basketball team, the numbers of Trevor Dalbec, Josh Munsterteiger and Josh Birkholz were called upon in a 66-52 road win last Friday, Jan. 12 at North Branch.

Playing without injured starters Tony Dahl and Aidan Bouman, both Munsterteiger and Dalbec each contributed 14 points offensively, and played their usual aggressive style while on defense.

"The North Branch win gave us huge confidence," said Munsterteiger, who was making his second straight start in replace of the injured Bouman. "Dalbec and Birkholz stepping in and scoring 14 was huge. We have a lot of confidence in our depth, and we have a lot of players who can make big plays."

Birkholz added eight points. Buffalo's win was also impressive considering leading scorer Matt Willert – fresh off a career-high 39-point performance the game before against Big Lake – was held to just seven against the Vikings.

Brandon Maatz led all scorers with 19.

"We've really tried to challenge the other guys on the team in accepting a role and stepping up to the occasion," said Bison Head Coach Josh Ortmann. "I think the last week-and-a-half has showed we're a good basketball team. Player number one is just as important as player number 16. Kids rise to the occasion when pushed beyond the limits. It's fun to see them progress as a group."

Buffalo extended its win streak to three straight following an 85-59 home win Tuesday night over Minneapolis Patrick Henry.

The Patriots came into the contest with a 7-5 record, but most of their wins have come against smaller city schools.

The Bison welcomed the return of Bouman to the lineup. Buffalo wasted little time to build a double-digit lead.

Led by Munsterteiger's scoring and grit, Buffalo led 22-5 just 7:19 into the contest. Munsterteiger was responsible for 11 of the first 22 points – most coming on points in the paint.

"Tony and Aidan are bigger dudes. When they were out, we needed somebody to step up and grab some rebounds," Munsterteiger said. "Tonight I just happened to be there to put some back – sometimes it just works that way."

His hustle sparked energy throughout the gym, and soon after, Willert and Maatz created havoc from long range.

Buffalo finished the game with four guys scoring double figures. Willert led the way with 27. Munsterteiger had 17, Maatz 16, and Bouman 10. Dalbec finished with eight and grabbed seven rebounds.

"Jack and Trevor both brought great energy," Ortmann said. "It was fun to see some of that payoff for Jack tonight. He wasn't doing anything he normally doesn't do, Patrick Henry just extended their defense so much, so things were more open for him around the rim."

Munsterteiger said afterwards that it was fun to play a team with athletic players who like to play his style of game.

"Most teams we play all year are kind of hesitant," he said. "With these guys, they are always up in your face and knocking and punching at balls away from you. It's one of those times you buckle down and play smarter basketball."


Doubleheader in Monti

Buffalo's next game comes Friday at 6 p.m. at Monticello.

The early start is due to a doubleheader at the gym with the Magic girls' hosting the Bison girls' at 7:45 p.m.

Monticello (12-2 overall, 3-0 conference) is off to a hot start. The Magic are led by Matt Todd, who recently became the all-time scoring leader in Monticello Magic school history when he surpassed Nate Holmstadts old mark of 2,106 career points.

Todd is no stranger to Bison players. He set the all-time single-game school record for points in a game with 52 last season in a road win at Buffalo.

For Ortmann, he's hoping his own Matt (Willert), along with some red-hot teammates continue their hot streak. After a 1-6 start, the Bison (6-7 overall, 2-0 conference) have won five of their past six games.

"Todd is a good player, but we're going to come out and fight," Ortmann said. "If we continue to play with the same energy we've had the last week-and-a-half, that may not dictate wins and losses, but we'll like the product we'll put on the floor." 


Buffalo 66, North Branch 52

(Friday, Jan. 12 at North Branch)

Bison28  38   -  66

Vikings23  29   -  52


Bison (66) -- Brandon Maatz 19; Trevor Dalbec 14; Jack Munsterteiger 14; Josh Birkholz 8; Matt Willert 7; Cole LaPlante 3; Jake Anderson 1.

Vikings (52) -- Zach Gazda 23; Connor Hartmann 7; Jonah Marcussen 7; Dylan Ramberg 7; Brady Brodin 4; Ben Roetjjer 3; Brandon Tollberg 1.


Buffalo 85, Patrick Henry 59

(Tuesday, Jan. 16 at Buffalo)

Patriots23  36   -  59

Bison47  38   -  85


Patriots (59) -- Yusuf Abdullah 13; Alonzo Army 7; Glentrell Carter 7; Rashaud Rollins 7; Akram Issak 5; Anton Barr 4; Jamar Gardner 3; Marshun Downey 3; Will Laabs 3; Cashun Oliver 2; Mark Campbell 2; Devon Johnson 1; Maurice Hughes 1; Sam Charles 1.

Bison (85) -- Matt Willert 27; Jack Munsterteiger 17; Brandon Maatz 16; Aidan Bouman 10; Trevor Dalbec 8; Josh Birkholz 3; Austin Coyle 2; Jake Anderson 2.



Light week ends with conference loss at Big Lake

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

With only one meet over a 12-day span, the Buffalo wrestling squad enjoyed some much-needed rest and relaxation.

With injuries forcing some wrestlers to miss meets, the Bison head into the home stretch sacrificing wins for health.

After a 4-2 start, last Thursday's 42-24 defeat at Big Lake was Buffalo's third loss in its last four dual meets. It also marked the sixth straight meet the Bison have wrestled with at least two open weight classes.

Ben Ruhr continues to miss time due to injury. Ruhr and the Bison forfeited 126 and 138 pounds. Unlike previous meets, Buffalo also was the beneficiary of two open weight classes by opposing teams. Big Lake forfeited 170 and 182 pounds.

The Hornets won eight of the 10 competitive matchups, but Bison wrestlers lost by only 18 points by only surrendering bonus points in two of the losses.

Fresh off their individual titles in last week's Buffalo Invite, brothers Ryan and Jacob Scherber posted the only victories on the mat with a pair of falls.

Ryan pinned Rocco Visci in 49 seconds at 113 pounds. Visci came into the matchup ranked No. 8 in Class AA at 106 pounds. Jacob, ranked No. 7 in Class 3A at 182 pounds, remained undefeated this season with a pin of Wil Gomez in 1:53 at 182 pounds.

The loss dropped the Bison to 5-5 in duals and 2-3 in conference play. Big Lake improved to 14-4 and 2-1 in the Mississippi 8.

Next up is back-to-back competitions, starting with a 7:30 p.m. non-conference dual meet on Friday, Jan. 19 at Litchfield. The Dragons currently are 12-4 and rank No. 10 in Class AA, and have five wrestlers ranked among the state's top-10 in their weight class.


Big Lake 42, Buffalo 24

(Thursday, Jan. 11 at Big Lake)

Individual results (team score):

106: Christian Noble (BL) 9-4 dec. over John Dahlheimer (B). (3-0).

113: Ryan Scherber (B) fall 0:49 over Rocco Visci (BL). (3-6).

120: Cade Sixberry (BL) 7-1 dec. over Tommy Samson (B). (6-6).

126: Nick Merten (BL) forfeit win. (12-6).

132: Josh Ginther (BL) fall 5:56 over Kyle Baloun (B). (18-6).

138: Lance Christensen (BL) forfeit win. (24-6).

145: Ben Morris (BL) 3-1 dec. over Owen Herbst (B). (27-6).

152: Vince Dailey (BL) 16-9 dec. over Caleb Drews (B). (30-6).

160: Ryan Helgoe (BL) 5-2 dec. over Josh Anderson (B). (33-6).

170: Riley Habisch (B) forfeit win. (33-12).

182: Nate DesMarais (B) forfeit win. (33-18).

195: Jacob Scherber (B) fall 1:53 over Wil Gomez (BL). (33-24).

220: Steven Lloyd (BL) 12-9 dec. over Hunter Hendricks (B). (36-24).

285: Jackson Gardner (BL) fall 0:43 over Seamus Filkins (B). (42-24).



BHS Knowledge Bowl teams show improvement in second meet

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By Doug Voerding

Staff writer

The competition is already ramping up as the Buffalo High School Knowledge Bowl team on Saturday, Jan. 13, faced teams from 14 other, primarily metro, schools at the Rumble on the Run at St. Francis High School.

In the varsity division with 45 teams, Buffalo Varsity One placed eighth with 71.5 points, while Buffalo Varsity Four took 14th place with 62 points.

Buffalo One of Kris Hamann, Jayde Hoppe, Emma Staut, and Josh Thielen showed improvement from last week earning 19 points in the first oral round, one of the top oral round scores of the day. Consistent scores of eight, nine, and seven in the other rounds kept the team in rooms two and three throughout the tournament.

Buffalo Four of Ariana Liljedahl, Heidi Peterson, Rachel Peterson, and Lena Preugschas had a difficult first oral round, scoring only two points. The team bounced back with strong scores of 12, nine, and 13 to end up in 14th place.

Team Two of Ben Dismang, Holly Durham, Aleksandra Kohls, and Anthony Woodis scored 56 points. Team Three of Erin Bowers, Shannon Bowers, and Alex Duerr earned 49 points, while Team Five of Ryan Knutson, Elizabeth Lawrence, Teagan Saylor, and Mariah Scheuermann scored 43 points.

Holy Family won the varsity with a score of 90, followed by Prior Lake with 87.5 and Glencoe – Silver Lake with 81.5.

At the St. Francis meet, the junior varsity teams compete directly with the varsity teams. At the end of the tournament, the scores of the JV teams are separated out for the awards.

Buffalo's JV Team One of Sam Happe, Tommy Chalupnik, Bennet Eld, and Sam Lefebvre took first place with their score of 65.5 points. The team placed ninth overall when the scores of both varsity and junior varsity are compared.

JV Team Two of Nate Kafka, Will Kunze, Jared Schultz, Mason Splichal, and Jackson Upham scored 38 points.

The next invitational tournament will be on Saturday, Jan. 27, at Elk River High School.



Buffalo seeking milestone performance

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Five conference schools will gather Saturday, Jan. 20 at Rogers High School for the 2018 Mississippi 8 One Act Play Festival.

Rogers will host Buffalo, Princeton, North Branch, and St. Francis. The same day, Monticello will host St. Michael-Albertville, Chisago Lakes, Big Lake, and Cambridge-Isanti in the other half of the conference festival. Each year, different schools take turns hosting, and each year schools rotate who competes against who.

Buffalo is looking to make it 25 straight years of earning a starred performance at the conference festival.

Co-directing this year's One Act Play, "Mockingbird" is Tracy Hagstrom-Durant, Brandon Aldrich, and Lostetter. 

Mockingbird, by Julie Jensen.

The story is based on an 11-year-old autistic child named  Caitlin, who relies on her older brother to help make sense of the world. When Devon was killed in a school shooting, she and her father must come to terms with their life alone and together. With the help of those around her, she learns how to get close to other people in spite of the "messiness" of emotions. We experience this play from Caitlin's point of view.

The play was adapted from the National Book Award winning novel by Kathryn Erskine. Commissioned by Kennedy Center and VSA, produced by Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences in 2015, winning the Marc David Cohen National Playwriting Award, and a nomination for a Helen Hayes Award for best new script.

Last year's ensemble and technical crew took home seven all-conference honors for their starred performance on "Amber Waves."

Four of those seven all-conference performers graduated. Junior Emily Kern was all-conference a year ago as a cast member, and seniors Grace Happe and Cierra Fagerlie return as all-conference stage managers.  

Buffalo also looks to return the All-Conference Gold Academic Award for holding the highest cumulative grade-point average as a team. Last year's team held a cumulative GPA of 3.62.

One Act Play uses a maximum of 20 ensemble members, with a 35-minute time limit. As the host school, Rogers will perform first at Saturday's Mississippi 8 Festival starting at 9 a.m.. Princeton will perform from 9:55-10:30 a.m. Following suit will be Buffalo from 10:50-11:25 a.m. North Branch is the first show after lunch break from 12:10-12:45 p.m. and St. Francis goes 1:05-1:40 p.m.

An awards ceremony will conclude the day's events with all-conference honors being awarded. Performances are open to the public with free admission.

Each year, Hagstrom-Durant says the goal of the festival is to earn a starred performance and garner individual and team success. But it's also a chance to see each others work and celebrate a day with fellow fine arts students.



STMA is the host for this year's Sub-Section 5AA Tournament held Saturday, Jan. 27.

The top two schools from the sub-sections will advance to the section finals held Feb. 3 at Buffalo.


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