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Fall of 2007 another banner season for area athletes

WORTHINGTON -- It has been six weeks since a "Blast-from-the-Past" has run in these pages. There will be another feature coming soon. The story of the 1982 Westbrook Wildcats has been building in the "hopper" for the past four weeks.

After a remarkable campaign in the fall of 1981, Westbrook was stunned by a fast and deceptive Starbuck team in the state semifinals, finishing 11-1. A bunch of talented all-around athletes graduated off of that team, but the Wildcats came back determined to go all the way in 1982 -- the first year of the "Prep Bowl" -- and win a state football championship at the Metrodome.

Look for names, scores and quotes about that memorable season in the near future -- hopefully next week, before the Daily Globe All-Area team is presented December 22.

This past fall was another sparkling season for area high school athletes, as five teams concluded their campaigns with top two finishes at the state level.

Four teams -- Adrian boys' cross country, Windom volleyball, Adrian football and Luverne football -- were state runner-ups, while the Adrian girls' cross country team won a third consecutive state championship.

Exceptional balance and depth were key ingredients for the success of each of those teams, which featured notable individual performers who continued to come through in the clutch.

Chris Reisdorfer's remarkable lead run -- 16th at the state cross country meet (out of 152 finishers) -- helped the Dragon boys bring home their second-place trophy.

All-state performers Casey Christensen and Megan Ysker were impressive as the Eagles dominated their first two matches at the Class A volleyball tournament, propelling Windom to the state title match for a third time. The Eagles also brought home state volleyball runner-up trophies in 1978 and 2000.

Glen Kruger, Zach Reker, Mitchell Cox, Jesse Brake, Jordan Reker and Tony Thier were six of the top players on an Adrian football squad that had an impressive run to the state finals, duplicating what Adrian had accomplished in both 1997 and 1998.

Luverne won a pair of state tournament thrillers -- including knocking off defending state champion Triton -- to earn its way back to the state championship game for a second consecutive year.

All-stater Kyle Heronimus led a stellar cast, which included key players like Sam Dooyema, Jeremy Hoff, Phil Paquette, Mitch Bauman and Zach Olson.

Veterans Morgan Lynn and Leslie Stover led the Adrian girls back to the state cross country meet and a sparkling lead run performance by seventh-grader Jordin Kopplow (12th) helped the Dragons win that event for the third straight time.

It was quite a fall for Adrian, as the Dragons had a state championship team and a pair of state runner-ups.

There were many other noteworthy accomplishments by area teams and athletes this past fall. Some of the more memorable for this reporter, included: Worthington sophomore Kaitlin Gerber's stellar cross country season, which included a sixth-place finish at the Section 3A meet and a 44th place performance at the state meet.

Sibley-Ocheyedan's two victories to start the football season and then they scored first on rival Sheldon in a game that featured orange and black filling both bleachers.

After 14 consecutive losses, the Fulda Raiders won two-of-three late season football games and made the playoffs. Football mania struck the town, as a fan bus accompanied the trip on its team to Wabasso.

The close and competitive volleyball races in both the Red Rock and Southwest Conferences. Powerhouses Marshall, Pipestone Area and Windom finished in a three-way tie in the Southwest, while Southwest Star Concept emerged as a repeat champion in the Red Rock, which also featured strong teams from Southwest Christian and Murray County Central.

As a reporter, I was privileged to cover many of these teams and events. For me, following Adrian's cross country "run" to repeat state meet success was a highlight, as was covering the improvement of the Jackson County Central football team and its well-played victory over previously undefeated Tracy-Milroy-Balaton in the Section 3AA semifinals.

Yes, it was -- again -- another highly-successful season for southwestern Minnesota athletes. But now the fall of 2007, is already a "Blast-from-the-Past" and we are already well into the winter campaigns.

But next week, this column will return to the fall, flash back 25 years and bring back memories of a goal-oriented group of boys that unified a small community during the farm "crunch" of the early 1980's.