Jess Von Arx provides a look at Minnehaha’s spring sports teams as the season draws to a close
With eight seniors on the softball team this year, there is a lot of experience on the team and their record is less than ideal.
But throughout the season the team learned from their mistakes and they made less errors as the games went on, working together as a team.
“We’ve had some wins and some losses but as a team we are coming together and playing hard,” said senior Nessie Toye.
“I am really hoping that we will execute to our fullest ability during playoffs, and prove that we deserve to go to state.”
Unfortunately the Redhawks’ season was brought to an end in a 6-1 loss to SPA on May 19.
The Redhawks finished the season sixth in conference with a record of 7-5. With four underclassmen playing a prominent role on the team, the Redhawks displayed youth and promise for next year’s squad. Despite a disappointing end to the season, the Redhawks have a strong, young core of players in which to build around for the future.
This year the boys’ tennis team has a younger group of boys than in past years. With seventh and eighth graders on the varsity level, head coach Mark Norlander sees it as a positive thing.
“Younger players put pressure on the older players and the older players have the chance to mentor,” said Norlander.
With five wins and five losses, the team has done better this season than last season. A highlight for them was playing St. Paul Academy, who are ranked fourth in the state, against whom they won two matches.
Due to injuries to the top two players, the team was bounced in the first round of the section tournament by DeLaSalle, who lost to Blake 0-7 next round.
Losing six seniors was hard to recover from this season. However, senior captain Michael Ganter is proud of what his team has done so far. He believes his team will keep improving and they were ranked sixth in the state.
“We have a lot of people where this is their first year of legitimate varsity time;” said Ganter. “We’ve made mistakes that just come with the in-experience but those go away as the season goes on. Are we still strong? Ask me that again when we win conference again and get to the section championship to finally seal the deal.”
The Redhawks did in fact win their third consecutive Conference title with a 7-5 win against Providence May 17.
Track and field
With many graduated seniors and injuries that have impaired some from running, the track team is a lot smaller than previous years.
“It’s good to have good people, but more people gives us more of a chance to win,” said senior captain Christina Todhunter.
Some athletes have been switched from long to short distance events and vise versa because with less people on the team the hard coaches expect the athletes to work that much harder.
According to girls track head coach Christian Zimmerman, the season has been frustrating but is always worth it.
The focus this year is on cross training. Zimmerman and the rest of the coaches (Chad Stilp, Kris Sauer, Dante Britten and Ben Linder) have noticed the talent these runners have and the work ethic they exhibit. The coaches are grabbing hold of the opportunity to use them.
With a new coach guiding the team and with a new year the boys’ team was ready to work hard and do all they could to win.
“This year we have a new coach who is a pro at Somerset Country Club and it’s been really cool getting to know him and he offers a lot of help and encouragement to the team,” said senior Ben Johnson.
“We also gained a lot of new players this year which is awesome and definitely gives some depth to the team.”
So far the team hasn’t come out with many wins but Johnson is still hopeful and is still positive about what his team can do.
“We have a lot of talent on our team we just haven’t really showed it yet. Nick Manoles has consistently played well,” said Johnson.
The girls’ golf team had a rough start trying to recover from losing three dominant seniors and losing another good player.
But similar to the boys’ tennis team, they recovered their ground with younger recruits including three freshmen and two eighth graders.
“Our team is building right now and will be great in the future with so many youngsters. We have won one match against DeLaSalle,” said senior Rachel Koebele.
With only three losses, the girls lacrosse team looks strong and ready to play in playoffs.
“What we’re trying to do now is get the highest playoff seed that we can get,” said head coach Todd Wadsworth in mid-May, “so we can make a pretty deep run in the playoffs, play well, play to our potential and have fun.”
The girls’ lacrosse team had a hard schedule along with many close games.
“When the defense plays well, a lot of teams struggle against us and that’s been pointed out to me several times,” said Wadsworth.
The team ended the regular season with a 10-3 record and in the process secured a top ten ranking in the state. Lead in scoring by senior Gabbi Stienstra, the Redhawks triumphed over much larger schools such as Hopkins, Mahtomedi and Apple Valley. Despite losing their last game against top ranked Edina, the Redhawks entered section play as a cohesive unit and a force to be reckoned with.