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Paynesville Press - January 11, 2006

Sports in Review 2005 (Part II)

By Melissa Andrie

Third place in the state tournament was taken by the Paynesville Junior Legion baseball team, which just missed nationals after losing the first game and coming back through the loser's bracket.

alumni The Lake Henry Lakers beat the Farming Flames to secure a spot in the Region 15C baseball tournament and then beat the Richmond Royals to become the Stearns County League South's top seed in that tournament. The team was later eliminated with losses to New London-Spicer and Greenwald, ending with a 20-7 record.

The inaugural class of the Bulldog Hall of Fame was inducted at Homecoming in October. Honored, from left, were coach Carol Smith, coach Virg Vagle, Don Liestman (Class of 1958), Tina (Lang) Fenske (Class of 1994), Sara (Realdsen) Lein (Class of 1986), Loren Wendroth (Class of 1979), Brad Fenske (Class of 1992, represented by his parents Patsy and Dallas Fenske), and Jack Hoppe (Class of 1954).

A first-round loss in the regional tourney for the Paynesville Legion baseball team eliminated the home team.

As state champions, members of the Bulldog varsity baseball team were honored on the field at the Metrodome during the opening ceremony of a Minnesota Twins' game.

Dave Heitke and John Liestman of Paynesville won the Kenora Bass Invitational for the second time by catching 50.65 pounds of bass in three days on the Lake of the Woods. The duo, who have another win as well as second, third, and other top ten finishes, beat over 160 teams, including professional fishermen.

jen hess With a seventh title in the women's championship tournament at Koronis Hills, RaNae Martinson tied the club record. Mitchell Mackedanz won the men's title for the first time, and Mike Atkinson, who is a five-time men's titlist, won his first senior men's title.

Jen Hess, a 2002 PAHS grad and senior at the University of Minnesota, helped the Gophers' women cross country team finish ninth in the nation in November.

The football season began with first-year head coach Ted Nett, who played football at Albany High School and St. John's University, as the newest addition to the team. Club soccer teams - a collaborative effort between Eden Valley-Watkins, Paynesville, and Rocori - began, coached by Ric Koehn of Paynesville and Sue Knutson, a counselor at EV-W High School.

Father Richard Leisen, the priest at St. Louis Catholic Church, hit his second career hold-in-one using a driving iron on #7 at the Koronis Hills Golf Course. He was golfing with his brother, Father Leo Leisen, and used the forward tees.

Eight former athletes and coaches made up the first class inducted into the new Bulldog Athletic Hall of Fame: former athletes Brad Fenske (Class of 1992); Jack Hoppe (Class of 1954); Tina (Lang) Fenske (Class of 1994); Don Liestman (Class of 1958); Sara (Realdsen) Lien (Class of 1986); and Loren Wendroth (Class of 1979); and former coaches Carol Smith (who started the girls' basketball, girls' track, gymnastics, softball, and volleyball programs) and Virg Vagle (who led Bulldog wrestlers to four state titles in 38 years, coached football for 30 years, and coached junior high basketball). The Hall of Fame was initiated by the Bulldog Booster Club, and athletes can be inducted ten years after graduation, while coaches are eligible once retired.

Three girls' cross country runners earned All Conference honors when they placed in the top ten at the West Central Conference North meet. Ninth grader Linda Keller - who was in the top ten in all seven meets she had run up to that point of the season and in the top five in the five meets before the conference competition - took second place. Sophomore Kaitlyn Frenchick placed eighth overall, earning herself All Conference honors for the second straight year.

Junior Kacy Nehowig, with her tenth-place finish, was All Conference for the fifth straight year. This tied former PAHS runner Jen Hess, who did not run cross country as a seventh grader, and she could beat Hess' mark by earning All Conference honors next year.

Keller and Frenchick ran fourth and seventh in the section race to advance to state. It was Keller's first and Frenchick's second time earning an individual spot at the state meet. Keller won the subsection meet, where the Bulldogs placed third, qualifying for sections with Frenchick and Nehowig, who finished eighth and tenth. The girls also qualified as a team for sections but did not advance to state.

Linda Four members of the boys' cross country team - junior Dugan Flanders (ninth place), ninth grader Jonathan Kerzman (11th), ninth grader Jamison Wall (19th), and junior Peder Thompson (21st) - recorded their best times of the season at the subsection meet, where the team finished third. Ninth grader Josh Sturtz placed 28th, completing the team score. The team advanced to sections but did not advance further.

Ninth grader Linda Keller - in her first year of cross country - earned All State honors by placing 16th in Class A in November at St. Olaf.

A career-first hole-in-one was recorded by Don Anderson of Paynesville on #4 at Koronis Hills Golf Course. A golfer for nearly 50 years, Anderson had the fourth ace of the summer at the course.

Eric Bruntlett, grandson of Evelyn Bruntlett and Eileen Flanders, both of Paynesville, played with the Houston Astros as they faced the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. Bruntlett played in 91 games during the season, in every position except pitcher and catcher.

Ninth grader Linda Keller earned All State honors by placing 16th at the Class A cross country meet, held at St. Olaf College in Northfield. Keller, in her first year of cross country, became the sixth female PAHS runner to earn All State honors, joining Tina Lang (1990, 1991, and 1993); Amanda Lieser (1994); Jen Hess (1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001); Brooke Schmitz (2000 and 2001); and Kacy Nehowig (2002 and 2003). Sophomore Kaitlyn Frenchick finished 53rd at state, improving her time and place from 2004.

Senior Jen Hess helped the University of Minnesota's women's cross country team place ninth at the NCAA Division I meet in Terre Haute, Ind. The Gophers made their first trip to national since 2001 and finished ninth out of 31 teams. Hess, a 2002 PAHS graduate, finished fifth for the Gophers and 192nd overall at nationals (which had over 250 runners). At the regional meet, Hess had a strong race, finishing as the fourth runner for the Gophers, to help the team take second and advance to nationals.

Max Meagher, a 2002 PAHS grad, was named All Conference and academic All American for Northwestern College in St. Paul. The junior linebacker led the Eagles (8-3) with 93 tackles.

Seniors Ashley Lieser and Lynn Lieser earned All Conference honors for the PAHS volleyball team, while senior Melanie Mages earned honorable mention. The Dogs finished 10-12-1 in 2005.

Senior quarterback Jamie Paul and junior halfback Matt Hansen, both three-year starters, were named All Conference in football for the 1-8 Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs boys' basketball team opened their season with a 72-52 victory over the Kimball Cubs at Halenbeck Hall at St. Cloud State University. The Bulldogs girls' basketball team also defeated Kimball in their season opener at home, winning 72-30.

The Bulldogs wrestling team started their season by placing second at the Foley Tournament, upsetting state-rated Foley 30-25 in the semifinals before falling to two-time state champion Pierz 35-33 in the finals. The Dogs (9-3) also placed second at Wayzata and moved to #4 in the Class A state rankings.

The River Lakes Stars girls' hockey team set a record with 93 shots in an 11-4 victory over Little Falls.

Ninth grader Anna Kotten earned her first "firsts" in varsity gymnastics, winning the all around, the bars, and the beam at St. James and the all around ,the bars, and the vault against Maple Lake. Senior Kayla Nelson also earned her first varsity first by winning the beam against Maple Lake.

The Bulldogs girls' basketball team handed Minnewaska their first loss of the season with a 46-43 conference victory on the road.

The River Lakes Stars boys' hockey team swept three games at their holiday tournament - beating Redwood Valley 7-0, Prairie Centre 4-3, and Willmar 5-1 - to claim first place in the round-robin tourney.

Sports Year in Review, Part I

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