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Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - November 23, 2017
Rob LaPlante

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



Young Bison taste first splash of state

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Five of seven members of the Buffalo girls' swim/dive team got their feet wet for the first time competing in the Class AA state tournament last weekend at the Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.

Two of the first timers were middle schoolers. Seventh grader Brianna Shroyer and eighth grader Kolby Schendel helped Buffalo send two relays to state since the 2012 season.

Shroyer teamed with sophomore Sydney Polzin, junior Tianna Kosek, and older sister Kassy Shroyer, a freshman, to finish 26th in the 200 medley relay (1:53.05).

Schendel teamed with Kosek, Kassy Shroyer and older sister Kaitlyn Schendel, a junior, for a 26th place finish in the 200 freestyle relay (1:41.52).

Qualifying their first state relay teams since the 2012 Bison squad sent the same two events was a highlight, but an even bigger highlight was sending two sets of sisters.

"It is a very unique circumstance to have two pairs of sisters on the state relays," said head coach Rachel Busch. "I know they soaked up the experience and built lifetime memories. Even more unique is that each sister pair is made up of a middle schooler. It will be fun to have those sister pairs on the team again next season."

Although two years older, Kassy Shroyer said she was more nervous leading into Thursday's state prelims than Brianna.

"She (Brianna) wasn't as nervous as I was, since I had an individual event to prepare for, too," Kassy said. "I think just swimming against upperclassmen is the most challenging thing about state."

Neither relay advanced past last Friday's preliminary round into last Saturday's top-16 finals, but knowing all four swimmers from both events will return for 2018 bodes well for the future.

Ryan Chev eCoupons"None of us expected coming into this season to be standing here at state, or even finish as conference champs," said Kassy Shroyer, following the conclusion of her 22nd place finish in prelims (1:00.30) in the 100 butterfly.

Kosek also qualified for state in the 100 freestyle, but she too failed to advance to Saturday's finals with a 19th place finish in prelims (53.23).

"I am a little disappointed not to make it to finals – that was my goal," Kosek said. "But I can come off this race knowing I gave it my all and that's what matters."

Kosek is a 2-time state qualifier in the 100 free. She improved on last year's 32nd place finish in the same event where she finished in 55.19. She did not qualify for state in the 50 freestyle where she finished 24th a year ago.

"This year was a really tough section. The three girls I swam against are both going Division-I," said Kosek, referring to Rogers' Beth Kelzer, a University of Illinois at Chicago commit, and St. Michael-Albertville's Jordyn Schnell, a University of South Dakota commit. "They always have been my main competition and they both swam super-good."

Buffalo capped off a remarkable year in which they went undefeated and tied STMA in conference dual meets at 6-0-1. The Bison's only dual loss came early in the year to Delano, who finished third in this year's Class A state meet.

As one of the few upperclassmen, Kosek says she's embraced the fact that the younger girls have looked up to her.

"The girls work hard and have a lot of dedication, and you can tell every day that these young girls look up to us," Kosek said. "They see our hard work that we're (upperclassmen) putting in the pool, and they want to follow in our footsteps. Us older girls being good role models for those girls helps push them and brings out the best in them, especially when they are in a relay with us."  


Area champs

Two area swimmers brought home state titles in the 100 breaststroke. St. Michael-Albertville junior Emma Lezer successfully defended her Class-AA crown in 1:01.02. Delano senior Jordyn Wentzel won her first Class-A state title in 1:03.74.

Just three events prior to Wentzel's championship breaststroke swim, she won her second career state title in the 500 freestyle in 4:56.74. It was two of four trips to the podium for Wentzel, as she was part of two second-place relay finishes. The Tigers finished as state runner-up to Faribault in the 200 medley relay (1:46.30) and second to Hutchinson in 200 free relay (1:36.43).

Delano's 183 points finished third in Class A. Visitation claimed its fifth straight state title with 247.5 points. Monticello finished eighth (120) and Dassel-Cokato 21st (21).

STMA scored 98 points to finish seventh in Class AA. Edina won back-to-back state titles with 382.5 points. Zeiss accounted for Buffalo's 15 points, which was 23rd out of 36 represented schools at last Saturday's finals.

Lezer found her way to the podium four times for the Knights. On top of her state title in breaststroke, she was fourth in the 100 butterfly (56.29) and swam on STMA's 200 medley relay team that finished third (1:45.37) and 200 freestyle relay team that was eighth (1:37.87).


Class A State Tourney

(Thur-Sat, Nov. 16-18 at Aquatic Center)

Team scores (Top 10/Area): 1. Visitation 247.5; 2. Hutchinson 241; 3. Delano 183; 4. Breck 173; 5. Sartell-St. Stephen 161.5; 6. Blake 144.5; 7. Faribault 139.5; 8. Monticello 120; 9. Hill-Murray 88; 10. Detroit Lakes 79; 21. Dassel-Cokato 24.

(Top 8 medalists/state champ/Area)

200 Medley Relay: 1. Faribault (Verity Wray-Raabolle, Bre Bresnahan, Gesa Wilden, Megan Gehrke) 1:45.69; 2. Delano (Emma Kern, Jordyn Wentzel, Laila Rosenow, Lauren York) 1:46.30; 7. Monticello (Lorna Belchak, Alyssa Eckstein, Grace Farnsworth, Emerson Brooks) 1:49.87; 19. Dassel-Cokato (Audrey Jarman, Katelyn Lee, Hayley LaZarre, Kezia Lee) 1:53.18.

200 Freestyle: 1. Taylor Williams (Benilde-St. Margaret's) 1:50.04; 7. Morgan Frank (Delano) 1:55.40; 19. Olivia Travis (Dassel-Cokato) 1:59.32.

200 Individual Medley: 1. Madison Potter (Blake) 2:03.76; 5. Alyssa Eckstein (Monticello) 2:07.38.

50 Freestyle: 1. Grace Hanson (Hutchinson) 23.22; 5. Grace Farnsworth (Monticello) 23.74; 8. Emma Kern (Delano) 24.04.

1-Meter Dive: 1. Saylor Hawkins (Breck) 439.60; 7. Maggie Oliverius (Monticello) 336.90; 9. Megan Nelson (Dassel-Cokato) 332.80; 13. Brynn Olsen (Dassel-Cokato) 323.90.

100 Butterfly: 1. Madison Potter (Blake) 54.63; 3. Grace Farnsworth (Monticello) 56.89; 11. Emma Kern (Delano) 58.60; 12. Hayley LaZarre (Dassel-Cokato) 59.59; 15. Laila Rosenow (Delano) 1:00.56.

100 Freestyle: 1. Lexi Kucera (Hutchinson) 51.12.

500 Freestyle: 1. Jordyn Wentzel (Delano) 4:56.74; 5. Morgan Frank (Delano) 5:10.60; 15. Elise Anselment (Monticello) 5:33.36.

200 Freestyle Relay: 1. Hutchinson (Grace Hanson, Bella Thovson, Ainslea Jensen, Lexi Kucera) 1:35.85; 2. Delano (Emma Kern, Lauren York, Morgan Frank, Jordyn Wentzel) 1:36.43; 8. Monticello (Alyssa Eckstein, Emerson Brooks, Ellie Anselment, Grace Farnsworth) 1:39.60.

100 Backstroke: 1. Gabi Baldwin (Hill-Murray) 56.69; 23. Claire Palmer (Delano) 1:01.24; 24. Olivia Travis (Dassel-Cokato) 1:01.47.

100 Breaststroke: 1. Jordyn Wentzel (Delano) 1:03.74; 3. Alyssa Eckstein (Monticello) 1:05.04.

400 Freestyle Relay: 1. Hutchinson (Grace Hanson, Bella Thovson, Hailey Farrell, Lexi Kucera) 3:29.03; 4. Delano (Morgan Frank, Lauren York, Laila Rosenow, Kylie Strobl) 3:35.57; 14. Dassel-Cokato (Hayley LaZarre, Audrey Jarman, Leah Aamot, Olivia Travis) 3:41.21.


Class AA State Tourney

(Thurs-Sat, Nov. 16-18 at Aquatic Center)

Team scores (Top 10/Area): 1. Edina 382.5; 2. Minnetonka 281.5; 3. Wayzata 333; 4. Rosemount 132; 5. Chanhassen 128; 6. Prior Lake-Jordan 105; 7. St. Michael-Albertville 98; 8. Eden Prairie 92; 9. Anoka 91; 10. Eagan 86; 23. Buffalo 15.

(Top 8 medalists/state champ/Area)

200 Medley Relay: 1. Minnetonka (Abigail Kapellar, Julia Brazeau, Raegen Willis, Emily Haan) 1:42.94; 3. STMA (Kelsey Kocon, Emma Lezer, Kristen Pieper, Jordyn Schnell) 1:45.37; 26. Buffalo (Sydney Polzin, Brianna Shroyer, Kassy Shroyer, Tianna Kosek) 1:53.05.

200 Freestyle: 1. Kelli McCarthy (Edina) 1:48.31.

200 Individual Medley: 1. Isabelle Stadden (Blaine) 2:00.49; 19. Kelsey Kocon (STMA) 2:11.86.

50 Freestyle: 1. Ryenne Hathaway (Lakeville South) 23.20; 14. Jordyn Schnell (STMA) 24.53.

1-Meter Dive: 1. Megan Phillip (Edina) 476.05; 4. Alex Zeiss (Buffalo) 423.30.

100 Butterfly: 1. Molly Meland (Hopkins) 55.36; 4. Emma Lezer (STMA) 56.29; 22. Kassy Shroyer (Buffalo) 1:00.30.

100 Freestyle: 1. Pyper Doo (Roseville) 49.61; 18. Jordyn Schnell (STMA) 53.19; 19. Tianna Kosek (Buffalo) 53.23.

500 Freestyle: 1. Kelli McCarthy (Edina) 4:52.83.

200 Freestyle Relay: 1. Minnetonka (Emily Haan, Ellie Schini, Nicole Burg, Abigail Kapellar) 1:34.10; 8. St. Michael-Albertville (Faye Roberts, Ashton Hobza, Emma Lezer, Jordyn Schnell) 1:37.87; 26. Buffalo (Tianna Kosek, Kolby Schendel, Kaitlyn Schendel, Kassy Shroyer) 1:41.52.

100 Backstroke: 1. Isabelle Stadden (Blaine) 52.78; 11. Kelsey Kocon (STMA) 57.53.

100 Breaststroke: 1. Emma Lezer (STMA) 1:01.92.

400 Freestyle Relay: 1. Edina (Nora Clarkowski, Ashley Post, Kelli McCarthy, Ramie Jones) 3:24.72; 17. STMA (Faye Roberts, Maggie Lombardi, Ashton Hobza, Kelsey Kocon) 3:42.12.



Strenge does trick for Bison

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Head coach Mark Nordvall sent a message to his Bison girls' hockey team following a 9-0 road loss in the season opener last Nov. 11 at Hopkins/S. Louis Park.

"What came out of that game is we learned we have to come ready to play," Nordvall said. "In that game, it was 3-0 before we knew what happened. This past week the whole theme was, to prepare to compete."

His girls followed suit.

Five days after the Hopkins game, the Bison responded with a 6-4 home win last Thursday over the River Lakes Stars.

It took just 1:30 into the opening period for the Bison to strike, when junior forward Hailey Strenge scored her second career goal.

It was the beginning of a wild opening few minutes which saw three goals scored over a 3:02 span. Sierra Flint tied the score 1-1 on breakaway at the 2:42 mark for River Lakes, but sophomore forward Jada Habisch answered for Buffalo making it 2-1 just 20 seconds later.

As things started to settle down, Strenge scored her second of the game at 10:38 of the period when she finished off a 2-on-1 breakout with sophomore linemate Ryleigh Stenson.

Seconds later, Stenson nearly had a hat trick, but was stopped on a breakaway by River Lakes' goalie Nicole Wander, who started in place of injured starter Jordyn Tomaszewski.

"Everyone was talking beforehand how (Tomaszewski) was supposedly a Division-I goalie," Strenge said. "With her out, we couldn't let that get to our heads. We had to play the same way."

Wander allowed three goals on nine shots in the opening period, but penalties allowed River Lakes to close the gap to 3-2 after one period after Brooke Lemke scored with 2:03 left in the first with the Bison skating two-players short.

If there was a negative to take away from the home win, it was the slew of trips the home team took to the penalty box. Buffalo was nabbed for eight minor penalties leading to two power-play goals.

"We had a discussion right after the game," Nordvall said. "We told them the win was great, however, we lost our composure – we can't do that. Those are discipline penalties, and it will be a priority to stop."

Buffalo scored a power-play goal of its own when freshman Allisen Carothers and junior Emma Carlson assisted on junior Erica O'Borsky's goal at 14:43 of the second period. O'Borsky's goal made it 5-2 for Buffalo.

Playing on a line with senior Bailey Braccini and freshman Ryleigh Stenson, the Bison's No. 2 line accounted for three of the team's six goals, including Buffalo's fourth goal when Strenge completed her hat trick on yet another breakaway.

"I tried a different type of move my first breakaway, but it didn't work out," Strenge said. "I usually go for the top-shelf shot. It felt really cool, because it was first varsity hat trick, but I couldn't have done it without my line."

Seconds after scoring her third goal, a few hats from a larger than normal student section came flying on the ice.

"It was really cool to have the students come out," Strenge said. "Last year we had a medium-sized student section on the opening game, and it slowly went downhill afterwards. It felt nice having them cheering with us and we celebrated with them by the boards after both goals that period."

As a team, having a larger student section than normal was both exciting and nerve wracking.

"Oh my God, we never get a full student section," joked Carlson, who eventually would score Buffalo's sixth goal in period three. "I feel like we were all nervous, but we played with way more intensity and we loved having all those people show up. I hope more show up like that again."

In a more serious tone, Carlson admitted a third period that included four penalties and two goals against was something that needed to be straightened out. Three of the four penalties were roughing calls.

"We definitely need to keep our composure," Carlson said. "At some points we completely lost it and I know I took a penalty too. As we go onto better teams, we'll have to focus on not being as chippy. That will be important."



Buffalo (1-1 overall) hosted Rogers on Tuesday, Nov. 21 in the teams' first conference matchup of the season (results unavailable due to early deadlines).

The Royals (2-0-1 overall) are led by senior forward Paetyn Levis, who already has seven goals and 12 points in three games played this season. Levis is a Division-I commit at The Ohio State University.

"Levis controls the speed of play. She can slow it down and speed it up," said Nordvall, on what makes her such a dangerous player. "She can take command of the play, and the really good players like her realize they need to move the puck to others in order to get it back."

In the Bison's 9-0 season-opening loss to Hopkins, senior forward Kylie Hanley had two goals and three assists for the Royals. Hanley is also a D-I commit at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Buffalo has struggled in recent years shutting down opposing teams' top lines, particularly D-I talent.

Hopkins' top line of Hanley, Annika Patterson and Mary Gleason accounted for 11 total points. Patterson had two goals and an assist. Gleason had a goal and two assists.

"Instead of being in awe of these girls, we need to find a way to neutralize them," said Nordvall, on how they need to slow down the D-I talents. "We need to stop being intimidated by them and hopefully another line will pick up the slack."


Hopkins/St. Louis Park 9

Buffalo 0

(Saturday, Nov. 11 at Hopkins)

Bison0  0  0  -   0

Royals4  3  2  -   9

First period: H/SLP -- Sarah McCallon (Kylie Hanley, Amanda Olson) 4:26; H/SLP -- Annika Patterson (Kallie Kuemichel, Hanley) 11:02, SH; H/SLP -- Patterson (Mary O'Neil, Charlotte Rich) 15:07; H/SLP -- Rich (Patterson, Hanley) 16:27.

Second period: H/SLP -- Kathryn Frederickson (Mary Gleason) 0:15; H/SLP -- Olson (unassisted) 4:50; H/SLP -- Gleason (Katherine Kasica) 9:02.

Third period: H/SLP -- Hanley (unassisted) 2:15; H/SLP -- Hanley (Gleason) 11:35.

Goalies: B – Kennedy Sohler (loss) 39 shots, 28 saves; H/SLP – Emily Bolen (win) 19 shots, 19 saves. Shots: B – 0-0-0 – 19; H/SLP – 0-0-0 – 39. Power Plays: B – 0-5; H/SLP – 0-4.


Buffalo 6, River Lakes 4

(Thursday, Nov. 16 at Buffalo)

Stars2  0  2  -   4

Bison3  2  1  -   6

First period: B -- Hailey Strenge (unassisted) 1:30; RL -- Sierra Flint (Brooke Lemke) 2:42; B -- Jada Habisch (Morgan Wurm) 3:02; B -- Strenge 2 (Ryleigh Stenson) 10:38; RL -- Lemke (Olivia Haines) 14:57, PP.

Second period: B -- Strenge 3 (unassisted) 5:43; B -- Erica O'Borsky (Emma Carlson, Allisen Carothers) 14:43, PP.

Third period: RL -- Kianna Roeske (Lemke) 11:30, PP; B -- Carlson (Habisch) 14:38, RL -- Bree Griffin (Haines) 15:15.

Goalies: RL – Nicole Wander (loss) 21 shots, 15 saves; B – Kennedy Sohler (win) 24 shots, 20 saves. Shots: RL – 11-5-8 – 24; B – 9-7-5 – 21. Power Plays: RL – 2-6; B – 1-5.



Zeiss places fourth

Future Badger dives to podium for third straight season

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Making her fourth state diving appearance, Bison senior Alex Zeiss finished fourth in Class AA with an 11-dive score of 423.30.

It was a personal-best score in four state meets, but one spot lower on the podium than her third-place finish as a junior. She scored 400.30 a year ago.

"I was excited about finishing in fourth," Zeiss said. "I had a good last meet."

The top-two state divers finished 1-2 in last year's state meet as well. Edina sophomore Megan Phillip won her second straight title with a score of 476.05. Roseville senior Michelle Schlossmacher was runner-up at 463.80. Finishing third this season ahead of Zeiss was St. Cloud Tech junior Meredith Matchinsky (428.55), whom Zeiss edged out at the Section 8AA diving finals the week prior.

"I was happy for her (Meredith)," Zeiss said. "She's good competition and we both did the best we could, and I think that's what matters. It's been really fun competing against the same girls at state. It's really cool how we are all such good friends, even though we are competitors."

Zeiss started Thursday's preliminary round in fifth place with a 5-dive score of 182.40. Known for saving her best dives for last, Zeiss leaped into third place after Thursday's 8-dive, top-20 semifinals at 296.30.

Zeiss concluded her high school career with three solid dives in Saturday's finals round.

"I will for sure miss my coaches and teammates, but I'm also excited for what the next four years bring," said Zeiss, who will dive next season at the University of Wisconsin. "I'm excited for college because the training will be more intense and I will be competing 3-meter and platform diving, along with one meter. I am excited to meet new people and have new competition."

Nobody will miss Buffalo's top diver more so than her coaches Shannon Barclay and Rachel Busch.

"It was bittersweet to have Alex wrap up her high school diving career on Saturday," Busch said. "She capped off an outstanding prep career. She demonstrated confidence, sportsmanship, and grace throughout the entire meet. We will greatly miss Alex next season."

Diving was one of five events represented by Buffalo at this year's state tourney.

Even though Zeiss was the only one of the five to make it to finals, Busch was satisfied with how such a young squad handled themselves.

"We were hopeful to qualify swim events for finals. The seed times for the 200 free relay, 100 fly, and 100 free were very close to top-16 times," Busch said. "We fell short of making finals, but the girls competed well. Our staff is very excited for the girls to have had this experience under their belts so they are even more prepared for next year. To have qualified five events is a strong improvement from previous seasons and we are excited for the future.  We are eager to get back to State and compete at finals in 2018."


BHS students donate 1,366 socks to Buffalo Rotary

By Laura (Barta) Lindquist

Guest writer

Buffalo High School freshman students and their class mentors (made up of students in grades 10-12) collected 1,366 pairs of socks during their "Socktober" sock drive. The socks collected were donated to the Buffalo Rotary sponsored Adopt-a-Family program. The Adopt-a-Family program will help local families provide gifts of clothing and other personal necessities for their children this holiday season. 

The 50 BHS volunteer mentors work with over 480 freshmen students to help them experience an easier transition from the middle school into the high school and to help them integrate better into high school life. They do this by using games and team-building activities to strengthen and build relationships.

The mentors model what it means to be a "Bison," and one way to do this is through service projects.

After seeing an initiative through "Soul Pancake" about "Socktober," mentors organized the sock drive competition among Bison Times classes (classes that meet the last 20 minutes of the day). Throughout the month of October, freshmen and their mentors brought in new socks to donate. The class bringing in the most socks won a pizza party on Halloween and the Adopt-a-Family program gained over 1,300 socks--it was a win-win for everyone involved.


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